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The Markup, a well-funded journalism nonprofit launched last year to produce exposés of Big Tech's power, fired its editor-in-chief yesterday before it had published a single article. 5 of its newsroom of 7 quit in protest.

Backdrop: Julia Angwin, a Pulitzer-garlanded former ProPublica and Wall Street Journal reporter whose work has watchdogged Facebook and Google on issues like privacy and discrimination, had been The Markup's most prominent public face.

  • On Twitter, she attributed her ouster to a dispute with her co-founders, saying the site was shifting from data-driven investigation to advocacy.
  • Angwin also made her case in a letter to Craigslist founder and journalism philanthropist Craig Newmark, who has put $20 million into The Markup.

But, but, but: The Markup CEO Sue Gardner and Jeff Larson, Angwin's former reporting partner, disputed that account and said, in statements to the New York Times and on Twitter, that the nonprofit's mission hadn't changed at all.

  • Newmark said he was aware of the developments but declined to share his view on the matter.
  • "Ethically I am obliged to keep my mouth shut," he told Axios after the Center for Humane Technology event in San Francisco.

Why it matters: Investigative journalism remains an endangered species, and the tech industry could use more of it. The Markup had outlined a creative data-journalism strategy of pairing reporters with coders to come up with new ways to test hypotheses about tech platforms. That's still a worthy undertaking.

Go deeper: Craigslist founder puts another $15 million into journalism efforts

Go deeper

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

6 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

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