On the latest “What Works” podcast, Ellen and I talk with Priyanjana Bengani, a fellow in computational journalism at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. Her work focuses on using computational techniques to research issues in digital media.
Her most recent project, published in the Columbia Journalism Review, focused on uncovering networks of “pink slime” local news outlets. There have been several iterations of pink slime sites over the years, such as the North Boston News. Bengani has studied partisan political sites disguised as genuine community news organizations. (There’s no such place as “North Boston,” by the way.) They get their name from the pinkish beef paste that is added to hamburger meat.
In Quick Takes, I revisit Press Forward, the $500 million philanthropic effort aimed at revitalizing local news. When Press Forward was announced a few months ago, many observers were worried that a national, top-down effort might clash with local needs and local concerns. Fortunately, Press Forward is now getting involved in the grassroots in an attempt to leverage its funding and help a wide range of local and regional news projects.
Ellen delves into a piece in Racket, an alternative news site in Minneapolis. (The What Works podcast with editor and co-owner Em Cassel can be found here.) Racket takes a steely-eyed look at Steve Grove, the new CEO and publisher of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Just before taking the journalism job, Grove settled a lawsuit alleging he withheld public records from the press when he was a state government official.
You can listen to our conversation here and subscribe through your favorite podcast app.