Mynewsdesk launch CoPilot: A new AI-powered, creative partner to enhance PR and marketing campaigns
Media OutReach Newswire Launches Industry-First Press Release Distribution Campaign Intelligence Report
Media OutReach Newswire announces expansion to Thailand
GlobeNewswire Distributed a Record Number of Press Releases in 2022, Resulting in a 16% Increase Over the Last Two Years
President of HINA: To fight with propaganda and disinformation, we need to educate the public and the media
Media of the Future/Orłowska: We are campaigning against disinformation about the war in Ukraine
Announcing the Launch of a Revolutionary Platform for Black Content, News, and Professionals
Media of the Future: Reliable media allow the society to distinguish truth from untruth
Media of the Future: The fight against disinformation is purifying murky water
Media of the Future: The free world must understand that Russian propaganda threatens its existence
Media of the Future: The right technology supports the activity of every newsroom
The latest content management systems are always adapted to the target customer, which allows you to implement innovative projects based on verified systems - this conclusion comes from the presentation of Evi Varsou, Director of the Media and CMS Department of the Athens Technology Center (ATC). During the Conference Media of the Future organized by the Polish Press Agency, Evi Varsou presented her company and the latest trends in the field of content management systems. "ATC provides innovative software solutions worldwide. We specialize mainly in media and content management, and have more than 30 years of experience in the industry", said Varsou. The company was founded in 1987, it employs around 100 people, and the head office is located in Athens. As the representative of ATC emphasized during her presentation, the company has developed a whole spectrum of technological solutions useful for the media, but also for government organizations. From editorial tools and digital asset management systems integrated with multi-channel publishing, to solutions that help media organizations fight disinformation. The latter focus on fact-checking, combating the dissemination of false information and analysing social profiles and trends. "Our solutions are always complete and modular, so depending on the needs of the customer, they can decide which part of the ecosystem best meets his needs", summed up Evi Varsou. Source: PAP MediaRoom
Media of the Future: Reliable information, like public schools, should be free
"The most effective way to gradually eradicate fake news from the public debate is to make it easier for citizens to access information prepared by press agencies", said Kiril Valchev, General Director of the Bulgarian Press Agency (BTA). Valchev was one of the guests of the Media of the Future conference organized by the Polish Press Agency. The Director of BTA also referred to the strategic agreement with PAP signed a week ago. "As part of the agreement, each agency will publish one article of the partner editorial office every day. We will also be able to use each other's information and photo services. In the era of the fake news pandemic, this type of cooperation takes on additional importance for the societies of both our countries", said Kiril Valchev. The fourth edition of the Media of the Future conference was attended by representatives of mass media, technology companies and publishers from Poland and abroad. Special guests of the event were the heads of leading European press agencies. Source: PAP MediaRoom
Media of the Future: In the information domain, the war began before February 24
"The fight against Russian disinformation is a priority for all news agencies of the free world today", said Caro Kriel, CNN and Sky News star, currently General Director of Thomas Foundation, during the Media of the Future conference organized by the Polish Press Agency. "First the pandemic, and now the aggression in Ukraine have shown that fake news, even created by amateurs, can destabilize entire societies. Therefore, the number one goal for professional and reliable media must be to constantly improve the qualifications of their employees and provide them with modern tools that allow quick and effective verification of information”, said Kriel. The fourth edition of the Media of the Future conference was attended by representatives of mass media, technology companies and publishers from Poland and abroad. Special guests of the event were the heads of European Press Agencies. Source: PAP MediaRoom
Global Licensing Rights to Historic Italian American Newspaper America Oggi Purchased by North Sixth Group; to Launch America Domani
North Sixth Group announced today it has purchased the exclusive global licensing rights to the leading Italian American newspaper America Oggi and invested in the revival of the historic Il Progresso Italo Americano (“Il Progresso”). Both will be integrated into a newly created digital community launching this summer called America Domani (“Tomorrow”). America Domani will be launched in summer 2022 as the leading digital media community for the 17 million Americans of Italian heritage and millions more who have a love and affinity for Italian culture. Staying true to the “Domani” name, which means “Tomorrow” in Italian, America Domani will showcase an array of engaging content from top Italian American influencers and personalities, including news, food and wine, culture, travel, comedy, language, sports and entertainment, and more. Both America Oggi and Il Progresso will be integrated into America Domani as special sections. America Oggi will be published as a daily news and current events section with the latest updates from Italy. The Il Progresso section will feature historical content, vintage footage, interviews and interactive media chronicling the Italian American journey over the past centuries. America Oggi was founded in 1988 and has grown to become the most popular daily Italian language newspaper in the world outside of Italy. Il Progresso was founded in 1880 and for generations of Italian Americans, served as the most trusted and highly circulated daily newspaper, engaging millions of readers and leading advertisers from across the world. “Beginning in the 19th century, Il Progresso and America Oggi became indelible parts of the Italian American experience,” said Massimo Basile, renowned journalist for La Repubblica and other leading Italian publications. “North Sixth Group’s vision for America Domani will pave the way for current and future generations and the restoration of these historical titles within the community will be a critical link to the heritage of brands that are as synonymous with the Italian American experience as any others in the world.” Media industry veteran Al DiGuido has been appointed CEO & Publisher of America Domani. DiGuido’s career is highlighted by serving as Publisher of Ziff Davis’ Computer Shopper, which was the world’s largest PC magazine. He then founded Bigfoot Interactive, subsequently becoming CEO of Epsilon Interactive following its acquisition of Bigfoot for $120 million. “As a proud Italian American, it is an honor to bring together Americans of all backgrounds who share a passion and love for Italy,” said Al DiGuido, CEO & Publisher of America Domani. “The history of Italy and the stories of the millions of Italians who have sacrificed to achieve the American Dream have been told through the pages of America Oggi and Il Progresso. We will carry this legacy forward proudly as we marry them with America Domani to create the leading digital platform for future generations.” “Regardless of blood lines, every American is proudly Italian in some way. Despite the mass influence and affinity for Italian culture, there is a longstanding void in serving this community through digital content,” said Matt Rizzetta, Chairman of North Sixth Group. “Our investment in America Domani is one of the most significant in the history of Italian American media as it will bring to life the beauty, authenticity and richness of Italian culture through two of the most historic brands that have been cherished by generations of Italians living abroad.” To sign-up for notifications ahead of America Domani’s launch this summer, visit www.americadomani.com. For advertising inquiries, visit www.americadomani.com/advertise
Connective Earth Announces Channel Partnership with News Direct
Connective Earth is pleased to announce a strategic channel partnership with News Direct, a state-of-the-art news and content distribution service founded by former Business Wire president, Gregg Castano, designed to meet the demands of modern media outreach. The partnership signals the alignment of two strategic advisors who will leverage their skills, solutions, and proprietary approaches to better serve their clients within the PR, IR corporate communications community. This partnership will provide Connective Earth clients and members a seamless transition when working within its award-winning technology, by Carii, Inc., to distribute press releases at a fraction of the time, effort and cost of other legacy wire services. News Direct has further disrupted the traditional financial news and earnings distribution workflow with its industry-first feature, SimpliFi™. Now, busy IROs can save valuable time—and likely thousands of dollars—while maintaining total control and protecting pre-market data with the highest security protocols in the industry. Further, every News Direct public company distribution includes insightful analytics and an Equity Impact Report to track the impact of your market-moving news in real time. Don Schreiber CEO of Connective Earth commented, “The Connective Earth-News Direct partnership enables us to build upon our end-to-end ESG Offering: Delivering and amplifying Corporate ESG achievement. We stand ready to help businesses gain control and execute in today’s ESG conscious environment, quickly and efficiently.” “Legacy newswires, which so many brands have relied on for decades to distribute their company news, remain tethered to a traditional model. At News Direct we have reimagined every step of the news distribution workflow to meet the modern-day demands of IR and PR professionals.” said, Gregg Castano, CEO, News Direct. “We are proud to partner with Connective Earth, which has earned its reputation as a leader in providing ESG guidance and compliance. “Companies are confused by the lack of standardized ESG reporting and the jargon being used in the sustainability world. They need assistance from experts to navigate their enterprises to a more ESG compliant and sustainable world,” said Peter C. Fusaro, Partner, Connective Earth.
COD Launches Virtual Newsroom to Expand Coverage of Stories, Experts and Events
The College of DuPage News Bureau recently launched a new virtual newsroom to enhance coverage of events, subject-matter experts, features and other news from the Glen Ellyn campus, its centers and ongoing work in the community. The new virtual newsroom website provides an overview of the College’s latest news, student success stories and faculty experts through stories, videos and photos. Visitors to the site also can read the latest from COD President Dr. Brian Caputo and other College thought leaders to learn more about campus happenings and programs. “Our inaugural virtual newsroom brings forth a unified user interface and solid experience that is uniquely designed to meet the needs of both internal and external audiences,” said Wendy E. Parks, Vice President of PR, Marketing and Communications. “We are excited to share this digital platform that will serve as a news hub and repository of sources, industry trends and information.” In addition, media outlets now have direct access to COD footage and photos, and easily can contact News Bureau staff through the website’s improved navigation. “College of DuPage is a multi-faceted institution, and it is important for us to better capture our vital and engaging content by incorporating the multitude of tools we use to convey our institutional story,” said News Bureau and Community Engagement Senior Manager Jennifer Duda. “The News Bureau and COD’s web team collaborated to create a platform that operates very much like front page news for the institution.” The site features videos from COD’s award-winning Multimedia Services department, information on upcoming events, and analysis on current issues and trends from faculty experts who share their knowledge through the College’s Speakers Bureau. “We are very proud of the end result and excited to share this resource with our community members and local media,” Duda said. The News Bureau crafts dynamic and compelling stories to support the College's mission and vision through media outreach, social media strategy and multimedia pieces. The department is responsible for developing press releases and obtaining media placements in local, regional and national media outlets to enhance visibility of the College's news, programs, students, faculty, events and thought leadership.
Weekly World News Launches its First NFT Collection on OpenSea Monday, Nov. 29th at High Noon ET
Weekly World News, the iconic tabloid brand and Bat Boy chronicler, announces that its first NFT collection, “Is Time Dead?” will launch in OpenSea.io online, no-reserve auctions Monday, November 29th at noon ET. View NFTs here https://opensea.io/collection/wwn-covers The portfolio includes three never-before-seen Weekly World News NFT covers, one NFT featuring all three covers as a set, and for long-term fans, a classic 2003 Bat Boy cover NFT. Winning bidders in the “no reserve” auctions will also receive a physical copy of this year’s limited-edition Weekly World News Greatest Covers print issue autographed by Bat Boy! The NFT series covers the hotly debated questions of today: “Is Time Dead?,” “Is Satan Dead?” and “Is Reality Dead?”. Rendered in Weekly World News’s unique style, each cover is a 1 of 1 edition and includes other head-turning stories, such as Bill Gates’s upcoming stint on TV’s The Bachelor. The “Is Time Dead?” cover exposes scientists’ discovery that the space-time continuum is melting and will end timekeeping as we know it; “Is Satan Dead?” reveals the shocking news that—realizing he’s no longer needed—the Devil admits to selling his tattered soul to a blues musician for 30 Bitcoin; while “Is Reality Dead?” tells the tragic story of families ripped apart by loved ones departing for the metaverse. Other supporting stories tackle issues such as finding lost seed phrases, how to tell if you are an NFT and the vicissitudes of newsmakers Dave Grohl, Elon Musk, Gary Vee, Mark Cuban and more. For die-hard Weekly World News tabloid fans, the auction will also include a 2003 Bat Boy cover—his NFT debut—detailing the half-human, half-bat’s attempt to evade police in a stolen Mini Cooper in a high-speed chase across three states. With a 42-year history, 110,000+ stories and over 300 characters, the Weekly World News universe is fertile ground for unique content, distinctive digital collectibles, media & entertainment, consumer products, advertising and promotions—and the fun has only just begun!! Sign up for our email newsletter to stay on top of the latest WWN news and developments!
News Direct Introduces NewsBoost, a Story Syndication Program that Fast-Tracks Coverage from News Releases
News Direct, the state-of-the-art news and content distribution service designed to meet the demands of modern media outreach, today launches NewsBoost, a novel story syndication program powered by its partnership with Broadry, a newsroom that offers content partnership opportunities for online publishers. NewsBoost utilizes Broadry’s team of journalists to quickly turn news releases into publication-ready news articles to be shared across its nationwide network of digital newspapers and websites. News releases are made to be distributed to newsrooms but they can often fall short at engaging with reporters enough to transform company news into unique coverage. To ensure immediate editorial coverage and wider reach for press announcements, NewsBoost allows News Direct users to: Create awareness of brands, services, and products through customized articles Reach an additional 800,000 to 1,000,000 impressions Receive detailed reporting of article pickup Similar to News Direct, Broadry harnesses innovative features to stay in tune with the changing landscape of journalism, and through NewsBoost, they’re able to extend their content-creating capabilities to help generate coverage around company announcements. The partnership between the two companies will facilitate even more efficient and modernized news dissemination to meet the needs of businesses and communication professionals. “PR professionals are under pressure to improve the news distribution process to better generate unique coverage in crowded market spaces,” said Gregg Castano, CEO and founder of News Direct. “Broadry’s innovative approach is key to NewsBoost’s ability to elevate press release distribution and generate content that helps companies promote their brand easily and efficiently.” NewsBoost also helps brands that may otherwise find difficulty in securing earned media to increase their press coverage. This is done by harnessing Broady’s team of journalists to convert news releases into nationwide digital coverage to better ensure that content is represented in the media. News Direct is dedicated to identifying synergistic solutions designed to help industry professionals excel in media outreach, and with this goal in mind, their launch of NewsBoost was made in tandem with other purpose-built offerings that enhance the release distribution process. This includes SimpliFi, a new solution that streamlines the process of creating and distributing financial content, and DB Direct, an in-platform global media database. Combining NewsBoost with the company’s recent product updates allows News Direct to go beyond the requirements of a top-tier news distribution service and provide relevant, meaningful solutions to drive value for PR and IR professionals. To learn more about News Direct, please visit newsdirect.com
News Direct Introduces DB Direct, an In-Platform Global Media Database
News Direct, the state-of-the-art news and content distribution service designed to meet the demands of modern media outreach, now offers clients the ability to augment their distribution and amplify their message with DB Direct, an in-platform global media database powered by Agility PR Solutions, a subsidiary of Innodata Inc. (NASDAQ: INOD). The partnership provides subscribers with a seamless workflow integration that maximizes potential visibility and engagement opportunities. Featuring more than one million contacts and outlets from around the globe, DB Direct enables PR and communications professionals to identify key journalists, online influencers, analysts, and bloggers, resulting in more effective and targeted campaigns. Agility has consistently earned top honors for its comprehensiveness, ease of use, and customer support. "News Direct's robust global distribution combined with the convenient, in-platform access to the high-performance DB Direct media database significantly enhances efficiency and ROI opportunities for our clients," observed Gregg Castano, founder and CEO of News Direct. "DB Direct is another example of News Direct's synergistic approach to PR solutions, illustrating our commitment to introduce clients to best-in-class service providers." The intuitive database platform provides numerous tools to facilitate list creation. Keyword search functionality draws results from billions of past articles to surface the most relevant influencers. Additional search criteria include by beat, media type, and location, among other variables. Backed by Agility’s research team that leverages AI to makes 2 million annual updates, DB Direct includes phone, email, and social media details. Agility's dedicated customer success team provides training sessions, tutorials, as well as chat, phone, and email support. To learn more about News Direct, please visit https://newsdirect.com
Game-Changing New Feature, SimpliFi, Changes the Way IR Pros Issue Market-Moving News
News Direct, the state-of-the-art news and content distribution service purpose-built to meet the demands of modern media outreach, introduces SimpliFi, an innovative feature specifically for IR pros. SimpliFi streamlines the process of creating and distributing financial content, including earnings releases, mitigating security risks and maximizing cost savings in the process.
Inc. Magazine Unveils Its Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc. 5000
Inc. magazine today revealed that Edison Interactive is No. 144 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Intuit, Zappos, Under Armour, Microsoft, Patagonia, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000. “Edison Interactive is honored to be recognized by Inc. 5000 on their list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies, ranking 144 in the country and fourth in Colorado,” said Jeremy Ostermiller, CEO & Co-founder. “As we continue to expand the company’s portfolio with new partnerships and connected device solutions, we are incredibly grateful and exhilarated by the outstanding work and dedication of our employees and the results they drive. The support of our shareholders and partners means the world to us as we continue our growth in today’s digital-first world.” Not only have the companies on the 2021 Inc. 5000 been very competitive within their markets, but this year’s list also proved especially resilient and flexible given 2020’s unprecedented challenges. Among the 5,000, the average median three-year growth rate soared to 543 percent, and median revenue reached $11.1 million. Together, those companies added more than 610,000 jobs over the past three years. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000. The top 500 companies are also being featured in the September issue of Inc., available on newsstands August 20. “The 2021 Inc. 5000 list feels like one of the most important rosters of companies ever compiled,” says Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief of Inc. “Building one of the fastest-growing companies in America in any year is a remarkable achievement. Building one in the crisis we’ve lived through is just plain amazing. This kind of accomplishment comes with hard work, smart pivots, great leadership, and the help of a whole lot of people.”
News Direct Joins OTC Markets Group’s Premium Provider Directory
News Direct, the state-of-the-art news and content distribution service designed to meet the demands of modern media outreach, today announced it has joined the OTC Markets Group Premium Provider Directory in the News Dissemination section. Through inclusion in the Premium Provider Directory, News Direct’s news and content distribution services will be easily accessible to the thousands of companies that trade on the OTCQX®, OTCQB® and Pink® markets. News Direct is reinvigorating the newswire industry by utilizing rapidly advancing software technology to help companies succeed in today's challenging and ever-changing media environment. Notable features that are now more available to OTC companies include News Direct’s collaborative content studio including their proprietary SimpliFi™️ capability that dramatically streamlines the earnings distribution workflow, 24/7 live customer support, standalone multimedia distribution and the most advanced security protocols in the industry. These services, combined with unsurpassed global reach, provide OTC companies with a more efficient distribution workflow that helps amplify their content beyond the traditional channels in today’s competitive business landscape. “We recognize that fast growing companies need an update to the news dissemination process if they’re to standout in highly competitive industries so we’re excited to offer access to streamlined solutions that enhance speed, control, security, and efficiency in the press release drafting and distribution process” said Gregg Castano, Founder and CEO of News Direct. “The way PR and IR professionals create, disclose and distribute company news has gone unchanged for decades and we’re happy to offer a modernized way to simplify workflow and increase effectiveness in drafting content and reaching relevant media outlets at scale”. News Direct designed a self-directed platform to empower communications professionals to work more efficiently, with greater control and flexibility. To secure sensitive information, the company mitigates third-party risk with two-factor authentication, cloud isolation technology, and secure sharing capabilities. Once media content is published, companies can assess goal-oriented analytic reports powered by AI software. Unlike other global newswires, News Direct media distribution comes at a flat-rate asset fee, regardless of word count or geographic distribution. To learn more about News Direct, please visit https://newsdirect.com
News Direct and Media OutReach Form Distribution Partnership for Asia Pacific and America
News Direct and Media OutReach - two newswires that are revolutionizing the news distribution industry with advances in technology, analytics, security and workflow - have entered into a reciprocal press release distribution arrangement covering the United States and Asia Pacific region. Media OutReach clients will benefit from News Direct's full-fledged access to The Associated Press distribution network in the US, which includes the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, and online sites. Additionally, releases are posted to AP's popular app and apnews.com, the news agency's heavily trafficked consumer-facing site. News Direct's geographic distribution capabilities are supplemented by its robust industry-specific reach, allowing for highly relevant targeting. Trade sector and consumer-focused lists are refreshed with each use for maximum effectiveness. The partnership also allows Media OutReach clients to issue multimedia such as infographics, videos and images as independent assets in line with journalistic preferences. As a confirmation of ROI, clients receive a robust Performance Report that includes postings on major portals including Yahoo! Finance and MarketWatch. Media OutReach is the first global newswire founded in Asia Pacific and has a unique, in-depth understanding of the media landscape in the region. Its success has been driven by its technology-led distribution platform with an unrivalled Asia Pacific network, comprehensive database and precise editorial targeting capabilities which has proven to be highly-effective for PR professionals to reach out to journalists and editors - including influencers in their target media and countries. Through this partnership, News Direct's clients can expand their reach and build direct connections with journalists in the region. Additionally, News Direct clients can leverage Media OutReach's extensive media partnerships which guarantee online postings. As such, they will see their stories posted on leading news portals such as SINA, Viet Nam News and AsiaOne among others, further enhancing their exposure in Asia Pacific. News Direct clients will have access to the Media OutReach automated post release reports which provide qualitative and quantitative performance metrics. Importantly, this includes access to the proprietary Media and Journalist Insights dashboard, which provides insights such as the interaction between journalists and the press release including story open rates by publication, by country and eventual write ups. "News Direct aims to differentiate itself in many ways," noted founder and CEO Gregg Castano. " but above all we want to be known for the unrivalled quality of our distribution network. We are proud to partner with Media OutReach, which has earned its reputation as Asia's most innovative and dynamic distribution service." Jennifer Kok, founder and CEO of Media OutReach said, "This partnership enhances our USA distribution capabilities and customers can now distribute their news release and multimedia through its leading-edge delivery platform in America. Overall, this adds further strength to Media OutReach's global distribution network, and we are pleased to be working with News Direct. The team at News Direct are industry veterans, many of whom are formerly from Business Wire and have built on their expertise to create an exceptionally strong distribution platform and service."
Daily Mail GH partners with Asianet-Pakistan for global distribution of editorial content
Daily Mail GH, the premier source of news from Ghana, has signed a partnership agreement with Asianet-Pakistan, one of the oldest content distribution companies in the world. Currently distributing over 300 leading newspapers, news agencies, magazines and journals from 25 countries around the world, Asianet-Pakistan will facilitate the global syndication of Daily Mail GH’s rich content. The company will further make it available to institutions that are registered with its databases, such as universities, corporate libraries, government departments, think tanks and research organizations. Regarding a deal of such significance, Sammie Frimpong, Head of Content for Daily Mail GH, states: “Given the objective of establishing our portal as a ready reference for trustworthy content, collaborating with Asianet-Pakistan — known for not compromising on quality of journalism in nearly two decades of existence — would offer a wider reach than we’ve already acquired in the short period of our operations.” On his part, the chairman of Asianet-Pakistan, Owais Aslam Ali, said: “The agreement reached would help raise awareness of developments in Ghana to the global audience.”
Reuters Wins SOPA Award for Public Service Journalism for Story on the Rohingya Crisis
The Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA), a Hong Kong-based not-for-profit organization, named Reuters as the winner of the SOPA Award for Public Service Journalism for its reporting on the Rohingya crisis. The announcement was made at the SOPA 2018 Awards Gala Dinner on Wednesday evening. Now in its 20th year, the SOPA Awards are widely considered the most prestigious in the Asia-Pacific publishing and media industry. This year, the SOPA Award for Public Service Journalism replaces Journalist of the Year as the top award in an effort to honour outstanding work by individuals and teams that make an exemplary contribution to public service in the region. One of the journalists in the winning team is currently being detained in Myanmar as a result of his work covering the Rohingya crisis, which shows the ongoing challenges facing the media, the strong commitment and courage of journalists as well the need for the whole community to stand up for press freedom. Awards for Excellence in Business Reporting across the three award categories -- global, regional and local media -- went to the Financial Times ("Unravelling the mystery of China's HNA"), Frontier Myanmar ("Funny money") and Caixin Global ("穿透安邦魔术" or "A Maze of Capital Leads to Anbang's Aggressive Expansion"). These awards were among the 95 SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence across 17 categories announced at the event (see the full list here). This year, SOPA saw the highest number of entries since the launch of the awards in 1999, with more than 850 English- and Chinese-language submissions by international, regional and local media in the region. The entries were assessed by a judging panel appointed by the Journalism & Media Studies Centre (JMSC) of the University of Hong Kong. Led by Jeffrey Timmermans, SOPA Awards Head of Judges and Associate Professor at JMSC, the panel comprised more than 100 media professionals, including journalists, editors and columnists from some of the region's most influential publications, along with academics from a number of Asia's leading journalism schools. "Congratulations to all the winners! Competition was especially fierce this year, with a record number of entries and extremely high standards. The winning entries covered a wide range of crucial issues, from the Rohinghya crisis to the assassination of Kim Jong-nam. By recognising their excellence, we hope to inspire and encourage journalists to keep producing work of the highest quality," said Cliff Buddle, Chair of the SOPA Editorial Committee. The keynote speaker at the dinner was Maria A. Ressa, former bureau chief in Manila and Jakarta with CNN, and now CEO and Executive Editor of Rappler, a Philippines-based social news network that connects factual reporting with public opinion to foster conversation and drive social change. Addressing the gathering, Ressa shared her thoughts on the rollback of press freedom globally and specifically in Southeast Asia, the threat to journalism with a particular focus on the Philippines, as well as the challenges faced by media in the age of social media. About 300 media executives, editors, journalists and industry practitioners attended the gala event.They came from across the region, including mainland China, Myanmar, Australia, the Philippines and Taiwan. The SOPA 2018 Awards for Editorial Excellence are supported by Facebook and Google (both are Platinum Sponsors). FleishmanHillard, Media OutReach and High Technology Printing Group Limited provide SOPA with support respectively on public relations, newswire and printing services. Event highlights, photos and judges' comments, plus the video of Ms. Ressa's speech, can be found on: https://www.sopawards.com
As Russia Bans Telegram, NordVPN’s Russian Users Grow by 150%
Russia’s state telecommunications regulator said on Monday that it’s starting to block the access to messenger service Telegram. Telegram refused to comply with an order to give Russia access to users’ private communication. NordVPN, a VPN service provider, has seen a 150% increase in Russian users since Russia announced its plans to block Telegram. Telegram is blocked by banning certain websites or IP addresses that provide access to the app – and this block can be bypassed by using a VPN. A user can choose to connect to a VPN server in any country where Telegram is accessible and easily circumvent the restrictions. “VPNs come really handy when governments block certain websites or apps – or implement harsh surveillance rules,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “We always see an increase of users from the countries where freedom of speech is restricted or surveillance is increased. For example, UK users grew by 300% when Investigatory Powers Act, which allows mass hacking by the government, was introduced in 2016. U.S. users also grew by 300% in the past year due to many reasons, including the repeal of net neutrality. Now it’s Russia’s turn. While Russia has been blocking thousands of sites for years, Telegram’s ban seems to have really crossed the line.” Besides giving access to blocked sites, VPNs encrypt all the information that passes between a user’s device and the VPN server. In this case, Telegram users should look for a VPN service with mobile apps for Android and iOS. Telegram is a very popular messaging app in across the former Soviet Union and Middle East, also used by Russia’s journalists and political opposition.
New U-M center will promote social media responsibility, tackle fake news
Google the words "fake news" and you'll find articles about made-up accounts of the recent school shooting in Florida, new evidence that false stories influenced the last election, and numerous references to the current president's accusations against media. Dig a little deeper and find that the proliferation of fake news has moved beyond an assault on the integrity of traditional and social media to a real concern about how easy it is for anyone to manipulate the news people are reading and watching. While Google itself and Facebook are among the web and social media corporations that have promised to crack down on fake news and other false information on the internet, University of Michigan School of Information experts say the problem is bigger than filters built into apps. In fact, they are sounding the alarm on what they call an infocalypse, or information apocalypse, a state when fake news and altered videos on social media and elsewhere on the web effectively end social reality as we know it—something they warn is not far off. To address this growing concern and bring some of the brightest minds together to brainstorm creative solutions, U-M has formed the School of Information Center for Social Media Responsibility, and hired one of President Barack Obama's former social media managers as its executive director. The center will build upon the school's strong global leadership in social media research. Garlin Gilchrist II. "The Center for Social Media Responsibility is really a response to a unique challenge and opportunity," said Garlin Gilchrist II, executive director of the center. "Social media has become the way so many people across the world have conversations. It is as diverse as humanity—there are usages of it that are positive and there are uses that can be for more nefarious purposes. "Our job is to create tools, and to use and make our research usable to media makers to media consumers to platform companies, to make sure we deal with this ongoing threat of more difficult-to-understand and potential misinformation." Gilchrist, a Detroiter who worked in the city for a number of years, has extensive experience as a technology innovator and non-profit and political organizer. He recently served as director of innovation and emerging technology for the city of Detroit. He is a U-M graduate with degrees in computer science and computer engineering. Developing a center that addresses the growing phenomenon of social media was one of Thomas Finholt's top goals when he took the reigns as dean of the U-M School of Information in 2016. At the time, social media was coming into its own as a much-consulted information source, yet was proving increasingly unreliable in much of what was purported to be news. Unlike print and broadcast journalism, there are no gatekeepers or regulators to make sure the information on the internet or social media is credible. Yet, the latest Pew Research Center poll shows 67 percent of Americans get at least some of their news from social sources, with 78 percent of those under 50 and 55 percent over 50 saying they are more likely to get news from these sites. "From the earliest days of the internet, technologists envisioned the benefits of broader access to the means of public communication: social mobility, resistance to despotism, universal authorship and open source software," Finholt said. "Much of this has come to pass. However, we now also see the challenges arising from such unedited and unhampered access: harassment and bullying, a credibility vacuum, a race to the bottom in competing for attention and a triumph of mobilization over persuasion that threatens to fracture our society. "We at the School of Information are committed to meeting the intellectual and social challenges of this new era of unregulated public communication via social media. Our new Center for Social Media Responsibility will help to produce the designs, systems and metrics that will steer social media use toward more civil and beneficial discourse." Specifically, the center will feature working groups that will monitor progress, articulate principles and create metrics and tools that empower technologists to find ways to influence responsibility on the part of those who own social media organizations, and increase social media user savvy. "Our information ecosystem determines what we all know, understand and believe—and if it fails, then we fail with it," said Aviv Ovadya, a technologist who will work with Gilchrist to spur ideas and technical solutions to understand and improve the health of that information ecosystem. "For example, if our social networks are designed such that sensationalist and false information is significantly more likely to spread, then that can hurt our democracy—and even our health." The School of Information has launched this project with an investment of its own resources and significant funding support from the Office of the Provost. Ovadya and Gilchrist will present a session titled "Infocalypse: The Future of Misinformation and How We Stop It" at 2 p.m. CDT (3 p.m. EDT) March 13 at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference, Interactive track, in Austin, Texas.