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The State of the Metanews Media

Things aren’t getting any simpler. Or maybe they are. I don’t know what to think anymore.



This post contains a handful of websites, apps, and tools which reveal the hidden subtleties of your news diet, such as the way stories are framed, what values or emotions they invoke, or simply who owns the media.

I’m tempted to diatribe on the topic of news media, but there is a time and place for that which is not here or now. I’ll just assume if you’ve found your way here, you doubt that one source of news, like the traditional TV networks, can provide you with an accurate view of the world. Hopefully we agree that metanews (news-about-news, analysis of inner structures of news, education about how to read/interpret news) is needed for us to see clearly and synthesize many partially-true perspectives.


Below, you will find a few extremely helpful tools which go beyond typical news in important ways. I hope this post helps you find your way in the world.


Sensemaking:


Consilience Project - Deep analysis and educational articles on news-related topics


Blindspot - News app which shows which news stories are or aren’t getting covered across different parts of the political spectrum, revealing the “blindspots” in your news diet.


Metaculus - A popular prediction market, a tool for collective intelligence. They also offer “fortified essays” on important current topics, which is news/analysis that has been supplemented with predictions.


Social media analysis:


BotSight - Reveals Twitter accounts which are likely to be bots.


Mediaopoly: Analyze any Twitter account and see a visualized breakdown of whose dollars are funding the news in their feed.


Podcasts/Films:


Your Undivided Attention - A podcast about news, social media, technology, and the systemic patterns which lead to outrage, addiction, hatred, shortened attention spans, political extremism, and disinformation.


Glow Kids - A talk by the author of the book of the same name, mostly about “screen addiction” and its effects on kids and teens in particular. As with the podcast above, this film addresses what screens, social media, and technology in general does to our brains. If we want to make sense of the world, a good place to start is asking what actions we are currently taking to either support or hinder the development of children into adults with a healthy relationship to screens, news, and the world as a whole.

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