By Kevin Douglas Grant
MIAMI — The Knight Foundation will commit $300 million to strengthen local news over the next five years as part of a major effort to revitalize American democracy in an era of decreased trust in institutions and rising authoritarianism...
[danah boyd], a leading scholar on technology and social media, sobered the audience by detailing how easily bad actors exploit an information landscape that has been fractured in the absence of strong local news, for example by loading platforms like YouTube with corrosive conspiracy theories and hate speech that are consumed and adopted by young news seekers.
“Local news anchored epistemological difference,” [boyd] said. “It allowed a way of seeing the world different and seeing the range of views of the community. All of that was a tremendous community service. But unfortunately it’s not a business...”
“Many of us who built social media imagined that we would do it just be building the networks,” [boyd] continued. “We were wrong. The key is to get down into the roots and actually address those communities. We need you. We need you to work in communities around the country so we can be resilient to all of the information environment issues that we’re facing.”
danah boyd received her Ph.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Information and is the founder of the Data & Society Research Institute. She is also a researcher at Microsoft and a visiting professor at New York University.