Platforms & Publishers

Platforms & Publishers

Reports & Briefs

Tow/Knight Projects


A listing of past events related to the Platforms and Publishers project. For upcoming events, please visit our Eventbrite.

Project Leader:

Below is a listing of past events related to the Platforms and Publishers project. For upcoming events, please visit our Eventbrite.


  • Artificial Intelligence: Practice and Implications for Journalism (6/13/2017)
  • Journalism and Silicon Valley: The Balance of Power (5/29/2017)
  • Digital News in a Distributed Environment (6/21/2016)


Artificial Intelligence: Practice and Implications for Journalism 

June 13, 2017 at Columbia Journalism School

On June 13, 2017, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation co-organized a one-day event on AI and Journalism featuring renowned scholars and practitioners on the field. The event revolved around three main areas: technology (network analysis, data quality, AI and surveillance…), ethics (algorithmic bias, ethics of errors, trust and propaganda…), and the newsroom (automatic writing, algorithms displacing writers, the skillset of the modern journalist…)

The morning session (8 to 10.45am) was a Policy Exchange Forum closed to the public; the afternoon session (1 to 3.45pm) was public conference. Read more about our Policy Exchange Forums here.


1:00pm Welcome Address from Steve Coll (Columbia Journalism School)

1:15pm Exploring the Ethics of the AI Powered Products
With Angela Bassa (iRobot), Jerry Talton (Slack), Amanda Levendowski (NYU), Madeleine Clare Elish (Columbia University), Gilad Lotan (Buzzfeed), John Keefe (Quartz), moderated by Nick Diakopoulos (University of Maryland)

2:15pm Future Ethical Dilemmas: Joshua Benton (Nieman Journalism Lab) in conversation with Rachita Chandra (IBM Watson Health)

2:45pm AI in the Newsroom: Technology and Practical Applications
With Sam Bowman (NYU), Marc Lavallee (The New York Times), Sasha Koren (The Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab), Judith Donath (Berkman Center), Meredith Whittaker (Google Open Research / AINow), moderated by Christopher Mims (The Wall Street Journal)

3:30pm Closing Remarks from Emily Bell (Tow Center for Digital Journalism)

Click here to read As AI enters newsrooms, journalists have urgent responsibility, a CJR piece with the highlights of the conference.

What problems in journalism can AI help solve?


Journalism and Silicon Valley: The Balance of Power

March 29, 2017 at Parisoma in San Francisco

The panel, in tandem with the release of our report, “The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley reengineered journalism,” featured: Joaquin Alvarado, CEO for The Center for Investigative Reporting; Jay Hamilton, Hearst Professor of Communication and the Director of the Journalism Program, Stanford University; Clara Jeffery, Editor in Chief of Mother Jones; Nicco Mele, Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University; Justin Osofsky, Vice President of Global Operations & Media Partnerships, Facebook; and Nicholas Thompson, Editor-in-chief at Wired. Moderated by Tow Director Emily Bell.

Watch the archived live stream here:

Posted by Tow Center for Digital Journalism on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Or read the write-up on CJR.


Digital News in a Distributed Environment

June 21, 2016 at Columbia Journalism School

On June 21, the Tow Center hosted “Digital News in a Distributed Environment” at Columbia Journalism School, which featured the US launch of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism’s 2016 Digital News Report, as well as the release of preliminary findings from a new research project by the Tow Center examining the relationship between social platforms and publishers.

Watch the full event below.

The Report, which is the largest ongoing international study about news consumption, supports what we know about the growth of smartphones and social media for finding news, but also looks below these macro trends to reveal a number of surprising results about how people consume news worldwide.

Rasmus Klein Nielsen, the Director of Research at the Institute, presented the research, which is drawn from a YouGov survey of 50,000 online users and 26 countries, as well as a series of focus groups. The presentation was then followed by a panel led by Nielsen, with Liz Heron, the executive editor of The Huffington Post; Edward Roussel, Chief Innovation Officer at Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal; Vivian Schiller, the former president and CEO of National Public Radio and now an independent strategist; and Tow’s own director Emily Bell.

Tow Center’s brand new data on publishers and platforms dovetailed with this discussion, showing the sheer amount that publishers are now relying on platforms to distribute content. Platforms are publishers, whether they like it or not, said Emily Bell.

The research is based on week’s worth of tracking several different news organizations, where they post, and how much they post on each platform. Tow also reached out to a number of social media teams at various news organizations, and a number of platforms, to understand the different experiences they’re having working with each other. The slides from the presentation are embedded below, and the new research is accompanied by analysis by Bell at Columbia Journalism Review: “Who owns the news consumer: Social media platforms or publishers?

View the full Tow presentation below. For the full recording of the event, click here. The Reuters Institute 2016 Digital News Report is available here.

The Tow Center research team was lead by research director Claire Wardle, and research was conducted by Tow Fellows Pete Brown, Nushin Rashidian, Priyanjana Bengani, and Alex Goncalves.

July 25, 2017