Platforms and the Press

Sustaining Journalism, Sustaining Democracy A Policy Guide on Platforms and the Press

The UCLA Institute for Technology, Law & Policy is excited to launch the first research output from our new Information Policy Lab – on platforms and the press, and legislative and regulatory interventions to support sustainable journalism.

The importance of the press to maintaining democracy means that, as the financial models which underlie the news media industry have come under increasing strain, both emerging and established democracies have seen a steady erosion of trust in institutions of knowledge and governance.

This publication considers the range of policy changes that have been tried or recommended by global regulators to support sustainable journalism, assessing their impacts with consideration for the risk of capture, and other potential tradeoffs of these interventions. It examines four categories of interventions: related to taxes and direct subsidies; copyright and licensing; competition and antitrust regulation; and transparency.

The publication was developed as part of an innovative new experiential learning clinic aimed at onboarding students into the tech policy space and developing their critical analytical capabilities by training them to answer emerging policy questions.

Fact-based journalism is essential to public health, development, and accountable governance. The increasing dominance of online platforms over our public sphere has led to an uneasy relationship between news organizations and large tech companies. While the latter have generated new opportunities to connect journalists with audiences, evade censorship, and engage in influential cross-border collaborations, they have also forced journalists to contend with shifting algorithmic priorities, warped incentive structures in the online economy, and an increasingly complex array of technology policies that shape the environment in which they work and the business models for sustainability. Perhaps most urgently, the platformization of journalism has contributed to a crisis in funding in which quality journalism, particularly locally-focused and investigative journalism, has struggled to figure out how to navigate sustainability in the information age.

This Symposium, which is organized by the UCLA Institute for Technology, Law & Policy, is intended to respond to the recent wave of legislative proposals aimed at supporting sustainable journalism by considering the trade-offs, challenges and opportunities related to various legislative interventions, with an eye to developing better practice regulatory standards, and a clear roadmap for how institutions should promote quality journalism.

This event is sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Symposium Recordings

The Platformization of Journalism

This panel aims to define the objectives of our discussion, by considering the impact of the platformization of the public sphere on journalism and establishing the goals underlying legislative interventions in this space.

  • Julia Angwin, David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation
  • Alan Soon, Splice Media
  • Dale Cohen, Special Counsel, “Frontline”; UCLA Documentary Film Legal Clinic
  • Moderator: Anya Schiffrin, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs

Regulation and Platform Responsibility

The panel will introduce the platforms’ impacts on freedom of expression and information integrity, and introduce challenges related to promoting responsible conduct among private sector intermediaries.

  • Sarah Roberts, UCLA School of Gender Studies
  • Jesse Gabriel, California State Assembly
  • David Kaye, UC Irvine
  • Joanna Smolinska, Delegation of the European Union, San Francisco Office
  • Moderator: Michael Karanicolas, UCLA ITLP

Platforms, Data, and the Information Ecosystem

This panel will present authors’ perspectives from a Special Issue of the UCLA Journal of Law & Technology on regulating journalism and news media sustainability.

  • Maria Stasi, Article 19
  • Courtney Radsch, UCLA ITLP
  • Frank LoMonte, CNN
  • Moderators: Ariana Wilner & Nathan Siegal, UCLA JOLT

The Future of News

This panel explores new financial and economic models impacting the interplay between the news industry and online platforms, as well as the implications for journalism’s role in serving the public interest. It also considers early lessons from interventions aimed at supporting sustainable journalism, with an eye to developing lessons for future regulatory efforts.

  • Emma McDonald, Minderoo Foundation
  • Preethi Nallu, Report for the World
  • José María León Cabrera,
  • Jesse Brown, Canadaland
  • Moderator: Irving Washington, Kaiser Family Foundation

Information Integrity and the Future of Democracy

A healthy democracy requires an informed electorate, and a vibrant and open political discourse. Questions around news media sustainability are inextricably linked to efforts to combat misinformation, both because quality journalism is essential to debunking conspiracy theories, and because a common concern which permeates efforts to support news media is that they will channel funds to purveyors of misinformation. This panel will explore the nexus between journalism, education, misinformation, and efforts to safeguard democracy.

  • Safiya Noble, UCLA Gender Studies and African American Studies 
  • Joan Donovan, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Courtney Radsch, UCLA ITLP
  • Moderator: Michael Karanicolas, UCLA ITLP 

Confirmed Participants

  • Julia Angwin, David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innocation
  • Jesse Brown, Canadaland
  • José María León Cabrera, GK.City 
  • Aisha Counts, Protocol
  • Jennifer Dixton, Loyola University Chicago
  • Joan Donovan, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Jesse Gabriel, California State Assembly
  • Amy Gajda, Tulane Law School
  • Melinda Henneberger, The Sacramento Bee
  • Michael Karanicolas,  UCLA School of Law
  • David Kaye, UC Irvine School of Law
  • Frank LoMonte, University of Florida
  • A. Douglas Melamed, Stanford School of Law
  • Neil Netanel, UCLA School of Law
  • Preethi Nallu, Report for the World
  • Safiya Noble, UCLA Gender Studies and African American Studies 
  • Courtney Radsch, UCLA Institute for Technology, Law & Policy
  • Sarah Roberts, UCLA School of Education and Information Studies
  • Anya Schiffrin, Columbia University
  • Joanna Smolinska,  Deputy Head of the Office in San Francisco, Delegation of the European Union to the US, San Francisco Office
  • Alan Soon, Splice Media
  • Maria Luisa Stasi, Article 19
  • Emma McDonald, Minderoo Foundation
  • Subramaniam Vincent, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University
  • Eugene Volokh, UCLA School of Law
  • Irving Washington, Kaiser Family Foudation 
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