A Manifesto: Using Empirical Research in Journalism and Scholarship to Understand Big Tech

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On April 22, Julia Angwin, an award-winning investigative journalist specializing in technology, was somewhat bizarrely fired as editor-in-chief from the fledgling media company she’d founded. The company, The Markup, was created in order to focus on data-driven journalism, and in solidarity five members of the seven-person editorial team resigned as well. Shortly after, one of the leading and longest working reporters in privacy and technology, Kashmir Hill, was among those unceremoniously let go in a round of layoffs at tech publication Gizmodo as the site changed ownership.

Aside from the specific cost in new reporting and thoughtful projects, the loss of Angwin’s and Hill’s reporting—even if it’s only temporary—should be a reminder of the power of their new brand of journalism to shape both the internal policies of technology companies and traditional government regulation. Theirs is a model that should not be confined to journalism but should be expanded into legal scholarship as well.