Why the BBC's Project Origin focuses on provenance
Future News 45
The war against fake news, disinformation and misinformation is being fought across multiple fronts over several continents at varying times.
The battles, if we are going to run with the military analogy, are expected to intensify in the US as the general election campaign ramps-up to the November vote. America and its voters have become a proving ground for state and non-state actors and their malicious campaigns.
The BBC, CBC/Radio Canada, New York Times and Microsoft (which, full disclosure, I’m long on) have been working quietly behind the scenes since September 2019 on something called Project Origin to help them. The initiative, as the name suggests, focuses on a very particular and perennial problem: provenance.
The organisations are concentrating on a “few use cases” to “demonstrate how the content can be verified”, FN has been told, with the hope of demonstrating its “usability, specification and implementation” by the end of 2020.
Project Origin is working on a digital watermarking prototype, which uses technology techniques from hashing and fingerprinting, to give an indicator of authenticity and to avoid manipulation of media content, something like brand marks and other traditional indicators of trust are open to.
If the programme proves to be successful, it will be highly scalable and members of the international Trusted News Initiative, including the FT, Wall Street Journal and AfP, have already signed up to trial Project Origin.
Connect Group, which owns print newspaper distributor Smith News, has issued a positive Trading Update, noting that just 5% of its customers' stores were closed (it was 10% in May). Sales are recovering, albeit it slowly. Connect’s FY Results will be in November. FN recently covered the print distribution industry here.
💼 Jobs and biz
The internal editorial strife at the New York Times continues, with opinion editor Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) quitting the Gray Lady. Twitter has become the outlet’s “ultimate editor”, Weiss claimed in a fiery resignation letter. The publication’s share price, meanwhile, hit a record high of $43.40 yesterday.
Private Eye editor Ian Hislop has turned 60.
First Draft has launched an anti-misinformation course through text messages.
A good long read on ‘social media and the end of discourse’.
Politics/tech/business outlet Axios has launched two new podcasts, Axios Today and Axios Re:Cap, with the latter promising to "unpack the biggest business story of the day in just 10 minutes".
Why digital publishers are suffering.
The Guardian is to cut 180 jobs, revenue down by more than £25m.
For high-praise, tips or gripes, please contact the editor at email@example.com or via @ianjsilvera.