Posts tagged with "Los Angeles Times"

Facebook gets grief for including Breitbart in News tab

October 29, 2019

Can Facebook do anything that doesn’t draw fire from users, regulators, legislators, and the media? After years of complaints from American news outlets that the social media site has The Washington Post reports that Facebook has agreed to compensate at least some news organizations as part of a specialized “News” tab meant to steer users toward curated national and local news stories.

But the project immediately raised new controversy when it became known that Breitbart News—a Web outlet linked to right-wing causes that was once run by former Trump adviser Steve Bannonhad been included among the 200 media outlets participating in the program.

“Given that Facebook is putting actual news outlets in the same category as Breitbart, actual news outlets should consider quickly withdrawing from the program,” Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters for America, a liberal nonprofit media watchdog, told the Post.

At an event in New York to launch the project, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended Breitbart’s inclusion. “You want to include a breadth of content to make sure all different topics can be covered,” Zuckerberg said.

Other outlets participating include The Washington Post, The New York Times, News Corp., BuzzFeed News, Business Insider, Bloomberg News, Fox News, NBCUniversal, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times.

The News tab marks the latest iteration of Facebook’s approach to online news, the Post reports. Before January 2018, the company had been a leading distributor of news, but that role was dogged by the presence in its feed of false and misleading information, as well as by allegations that its news feed and other features tilted toward liberal viewpoints

Zuckerberg did not go into specifics about how different publishers would be compensated, and media analysts expressed skepticism that the arrangement will help the small and medium local outlets that have been most seriously undercut by the rise of online news distribution.

“The vast majority of local news outlets are not included, and that is part of the news ecosystem that’s most at risk,” David Chavern, the president and chief executive of the News Media Alliance, a trade association of news publishers, told The Washington Post.

Chavern called Facebook’s agreement to pay at least some news outlets for their content a step in the right direction, noting that tech platforms have been “uniquely unwilling to pay for news and quality journalism.”

The News tab already is available to more than 200,000 Facebook users in the United States, with a broader rollout planned for early next year. The new service, Facebook executives say, should make it easier for users to locate the day’s major headlines, as well as stories geared toward particular topics or locales.

The initiative could reach 20 million to 30 million people over a few years, Zuckerberg said.

 Research contact: @washingtonpost

On the West Coast, there’s a clandestine pickle club with a cult following

June 26, 2019

Pickles may not strike you as a super-popular food—but Americans consume more than nine pounds of pickles per person annually, according to Natural Harvest. Not only that, but whether they are dill, sweet, bread and butter, sour, half-sour, or garlic, more than 67% of U.S. households have a jar on-hand—and they purchase pickles on an average of every 53 days.

In fact, there’s even a Pickle of the Month Club that will ship “premium, artisan-style pickles every month” from “specialty and award-winning producers across the country.” The cost is about $25/month.

But for real pickle fanatics, there’s only one place to go—and few people know about it.

According to an exclusive report from The Los Angeles Times, for the last year and a half, Jessica Wang, a pastry chef-turned-fermentation enthusiast  who worked at State Bird Provisions in San Francisco and Lasa and Madcapra in Los Angeles, has supplied a cult pickle subscription under the name Picklé Pickle Co. to a small circle of brine-minded colleagues.

Each jar, the Times gushes, “is a subtle surprise of vegetables and aromatics, usually dry-salted rather than wet-brined: watermelon rind with chive blossoms; cauliflower with curry leaf, green peppercorn and sesame oil; jicama with calamansi and a hint of habanero; preserved lemons with mango leaf and Utah salt.”

And it’s actually cheaper than the pedestrian club that “anybody can buy into.” A quarterly subscription runs $25 for three half-pint jars.

“I love having them in my fridge because you can throw them in anything you’re making and they will immediately pep it up,” photographer and gallery owner Asha Schechter, one of Wang’s first subscribers, told the news outlet in a recent interview. “I also like seeing her transform things I see at the farmers market. It’s very inspiring.”

Wang said experimentation, volunteering with farmers through the Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement, a stint with Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley and a retreat at the home of food activist Sandor Katz all paved the way for a future in pickles.

“It’s such a joy and I feel so alive after eating them,” she said. “And it’s something that I can spread to others.”

You can sign up for Wang’s workshops via @picklepickle.co on Instagram.

Research contact: @latimes