Summary of “Who Will Save These Dying Italian Towns?”

Sometimes up to 5,000 people a day wander the town, which at its seasonal height sleeps only about 100.
The effect of all these people – selfie sticks moving through the air like antennae – gives the place the unfortunate air of a Disney set: a hyper-clean, historically accurate medieval town as realized on a Universal Studios back lot.
To help the refugees, most of whom are from sub-Saharan Africa, integrate into the community, they are paired with local families, and required to take Italian lessons, given to them by the town’s citizens.
One of the first towns to invite migrants into its walls was Riace, in Calabria, whose mayor, Domenico Lucano, was named one of Fortune’s ”World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” last year.
Lucano told the BBC, ”The multiculturalism, the variety of skills and personal stories which people have brought to Riace, have revolutionized what was becoming a ghost town.
Even physically, the towns appear like natural outcroppings, terraced along the sides of hills, as if sprouting from the earth beneath them.
Once a bustling center of agriculture and wool production, it began to shrink when the Italian wool industry went into decline, crippled by competition from abroad. By the 1990s, the town had only about 100 full-time residents.
The ancient hill town came as a shock, a revelation really, to Daniele Kihlgren, the renegade scion of an Italian concrete fortune, when he came upon it while on a motorcycle ride in the late 1990s.

The orginal article.

Summary of “As ESPN Falters, Sports Startup Chases Fans Tired of ‘Old Fluff'”

2017 is shaping up to be a rough year for sports journalism.
ESPN, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo Sports have all cut staff positions in the last several months, showing the deep cracks in the predominant business model of online sports news.
The founders of the Athletic, an 18-month-old online sports publication, see opportunity in the struggles of the biggest companies.
The plan is to scoop up laid-off writers, and put them to work building a new kind of sports news operation as the traditional industry leaders are in retreat.
Peeling away sports from other local news coverage seems like a particularly good target for a subscription business, according to Brian Moritz, an assistant professor at SUNY Oswego who studies the economics of sports journalism.
The leading online sports journalism operations are built on advertising, meaning they need to attract as many readers as possible, then present them with the maximum amount of clickable content.
The prevailing aesthetic is the visual equivalent of a sports talk radio host screaming things at you.
Paul Fichtenbaum, the former editor-in-chief of the Sports Illustrated Group, who has been a consultant, is coming on full-time to serve as chief content officer.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Google is funding a new software project that will automate writing local news”

Google is awarding the Press Association, a large British news agency, $805,000 to build software to automate the writing of 30,000 local stories a month.
The Press Assocation received the funding in partnership with Urbs Media, an automation software startup specializing in combing through large open datasets.
Together, the Press Assocation and Urbs Media will work on a software project dubbed Radar, which stands for Reporters And Data And Robots.
Radar aims to automate local reporting with large public databases from government agencies or local law enforcement – basically roboticizing the work of reporters.
The Associated Press, a major U.S. news agency, started using automation software to generate stories about corporate financial quarterly earnings in 2014.
The Radar project, on the other hand, plans to cover issues of local importance, digging into government datasets to find stories that matter.
That kind of news judgement takes a deep understanding of social, political and local contexts, which humans are better suited to determine than software.
Still, Clifton says that this type of automated reporting can go a long way at a time of extreme financial pressures on media outlets, helping to cover important local stories – albeit with fewer people involved in the process.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Local News Business Model – Stratechery by Ben Thompson”

Most local newspapers are simply not worth saving, not because local news isn’t valuable, but rather because everything else in your typical local newspaper is worthless.
To be clear, I agree with Rutenberg when he states that “A vibrant free presskeeps government honest and voters informed.” Local government needs oversight, which is another way of saying local news is necessary for a well-functioning democracy.
For newspapers, the analogies to equipment, ordnance, and personnel are physical infrastructure, business operations, and editorial staff; just about none of them are actually necessary for covering local news.
The 15~20% of revenue newspapers are paying for business operations has nothing to do with local news.
This is the biggest blindspot for those lamenting the travails of local newspapers: it may be obvious that printing presses don’t make much sense with the Internet, and most websites have moved to ad networks for the obvious reasons; in fact nearly all of the content in most newspapers is not just unnecessary but in fact actively harmful to building a sustainable future for local news.
A lot of this content has long since been standardized across newspapers, but the broader point remains the same: absolutely none of it has anything to do with local news, and it should not exist in the local news publication of the future.
I’ve already hinted at the general outline of a sustainable local news publication, but the critical point is the one I just made: everything must start with the business model, of which there is only one choice – subscriptions.
All too many local newspapers, built for an ad-based business model that calls for daily content to wrap around ads, spend their limited resources churning out daily filler even though those ads no longer exist.

The orginal article.