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Big Revolution - A 'Wikipedia for news'

Welcome to Tuesday's Big Revolution. There's a lot to dig into today, so let's get started. – Martin
July 17 · Issue #142 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Tuesday’s Big Revolution. There’s a lot to dig into today, so let’s get started.

Big things you need to know today
- Pinterest is spinning Instapaper back out as a separate company. Although the official announcement doesn’t say as much, some believe it’s related to GDPR. Instapaper hasn’t been unavailable in the EU since the data protection law came into force in late May. Will it soon return?
- Amazon’s Prime Day discount event had a dog-rough start, as many people struggled to access the site. Not even the photos of cute canines the company showed on its error screen could stop the AMZN share price falling.
- The company behind the ‘Kodak KashMiner’ has collapsed. The KashMiner was a Kodak-branded cryptocurrency mining rig shown off at this year’s CES. Many thought it was a scam.
- An app pushed users updates on the ‘Qanon’ conspiracy theory, thus letting Google and Apple profit via revenue share from lies about 'Pizzagate’ and a 'Trump secret police force.’ Apple has removed it from the App Store after NBC News pointed it out.
The big thought
Wikipedia is sometimes, but definitely not always, good for news
A ‘Wikipedia for news’
It’s easy to feel lost in today’s world. Information overload was already a serious problem before 2016, when world events went crazy and have refused to slow down ever since.
The 'storyline’ I always end up getting wrapped up in is the supposed links between Trump, Brexit and Russia – how much of it is a conspiracy theory? How much of it is real? But there are many other overly-complicated 'storylines’ you can follow in the news these days if you want to get overwhelmed by facts and speculation.
Information overload itself isn’t so much of a problem anymore. Apps like Nuzzel, and newsletters (like… this one?) help highlight the most important, or most talked-about, nuggets, to help you ignore the rest.
The bigger problem now is that many of the biggest stories are so ludicrously complicated. The Trump-Russia collusion allegations, for example – can you honestly keep track of all the strands of that story? Meanwhile, last night the UK government squabbled over technical details of their Brexit deal that were so detailed I suddenly felt like I didn’t understand Brexit at all.
There have always been complicated news stories, and you could often ignore them unless you needed to know more. But right now, the stakes are so high with a lot of this stuff, that understanding the finer points can really help you understand the world better than other people.  Journalists can do an excellent job of distilling it down, but at the pace things move now, there often isn’t time.
What’s the solution? One thing no-one really does well is offering a central resource to help you understand news stories – like a Wikipedia page for each story. Jimmy Wales’ own WikiTribune isn’t it, and Vox, which started out wanting to be a 'Wikipedia for news’, didn’t turn out that way.
Wikipedia itself sometimes fits the role perfectly, especially if a small group of people care enough about a story to do a good job compiling its page. But not every news story suits a Wikipedia page.
I’d love a news site that doesn’t do standard stories, and instead focuses on clearly explaining different stories as they evolve. It would have simple language and a neutral tone, and be the place to go to catch up on a story and thoroughly understand it.
Now, who’s going to build it?
One big read
How a cabal of romance writers cashed in on Amazon Kindle Unlimited How a cabal of romance writers cashed in on Amazon Kindle Unlimited
Here it is, a tech angle on trashy romance novels! “In the strange universe of Amazon Kindle Unlimited, self-published romance authors collaborate and compete to game Amazon’s algorithm by any number of means. Trademark trolling of words like ‘cocky’ is just the beginning: there are private chat groups, ebook exploits, and conspiracies to seed hyperspecific trends like "Navy SEALs” and “mountain men.”
Bonus read
It’s time to pull the emergency brake on Brexit
I meant to share this yesterday, but today’s news that the official Vote Leave campaign broke electoral law makes it all the more pertinent. Here’s something I wrote about what the UK should just call Brexit off, and stop getting hung up on delivering a referendum result that can’t be delivered in a way any responsible government would risk.
One big tweet
Pro tip: don’t ask journalists to go back and edit old stories to add extra info that isn’t pertinent to the accuracy of those stories. The other trick is ‘we’re changed our name, can you change it in your old news stories about us?’ Nooooooo……
Alex Konrad
Boldest PR move of the day: a law firm requesting to be retroactively added to past articles about startup funding rounds it advised on
6:32 PM - 16 Jul 2018
That’s all for today...
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