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The Algebra of Need #3

Happy Friday, Beautiful People! I'm writing to you from the Rose Room of the New York Public Library,
The Algebra of Need #3
By Shameel Arafin • Issue #3 • View online
Happy Friday, Beautiful People! I’m writing to you from the Rose Room of the New York Public Library, where I’ve just become a member after 21 years in the city. It seems a fitting place to think about journalism and its discontents.

The Facebook
When their growth or profit is challenged, Facebook and its big brothers borrow tactics from the threatened behemoths in industries like tobacco and oil, deceiving lawmakers, funding their own experts, and working to forestall regulation.
Facebook's Dirty Tricks Are Nothing New for Tech | WIRED
Now, people now have burner phones to talk shit about the company — not even to reporters, just to other employees…
Mark Zuckerberg's Biggest Problem: Internal Tensions At Facebook Are Boiling Over
It’s hard… to reckon with the idea that we have taken life and career advice from someone who could be building something that’s not good for the world.
Lean In’s Sheryl Sandberg Problem - The New York Times
Business Models
The user experience across devices, the loss of control over what’s displayed on publisher sites, and how this loss may impact brand reputation have all gone understudied by professional journalism curricula. This is a worrisome trend, as ad tech may influence the production, distribution, and perception of journalism in both obvious and subtle ways.
The concept is that whenever a client requests a combination of research and thought leadership strategy, content creation, ads, events, and distribution, the FT can assemble a marketing services team that includes all the necessary skill sets from each of the existing departments. In total, 250 FT staffers globally have been trained on the new marketing services product offers, 170 of whom are in the U.K., 30 in Asia and 50 in the U.S.
How The Financial Times is making marketing services a central part of its ad offering - Digiday
You can’t be just a great journalism organization anymore. Along with great journalism, you need to invest in technology and infrastructure. It’s not about the next big product, but building the test-and-learn discipline.
We have a market that penalizes long-term relationships. If I have been working with a publisher year after year, you’d think they could raise prices. If I’m working with a client for years, I should be able to charge more. But I have to give a better deal to those clients. Basically, we grind down the publishers.
Ad buyers: Don't blame us for the death of the publishing middle class - Digiday
Disinformation
How mainstream media helps weaponize far-right conspiracy theories
The Fake News About Journalism – Financial Times – Medium
The Industry of Journalism
The magazine’s precarious position comes after its leadership spent months searching for a buyer…
Fate of The Weekly Standard is uncertain, editor tells staff - CNN
Did you enjoy this issue?
Shameel Arafin

"The Algebra of Need" is a weekly newsletter on journalism, media, technology and literature, with the occasional post on capitalism, poker and running.

A note on the name. It comes from the introduction to William Burroughs' Naked Lunch: "Junk yields a basic formula of 'evil' virus: The Algebra of Need. The face of 'evil' is always the face of total need... Beyond a certain frequency need knows absolutely no limit or control."

When did our world become one of total need?

www.shameelarafin.com

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