Apr 24, 2019

Behind-the-scenes turmoil at Big Tech watchdog site The Markup

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

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 5,543,439 — Total deaths: 347,836 — Total recoveries — 2,266,394Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,669,040 — Total deaths: 98,426 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. Trump administration: Mike Pence's press secretary returns to work after beating coronavirus.
  4. States: New York reports lowest number of new coronavirus deaths since March.
  5. Public health: The final data for remdesivir is in and its benefits are rather limited.
  6. Education: A closer look at how colleges can reopenNotre Dame president says science alone "cannot provide the answer" to reopening.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns

Fine testiying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Glenn Fine, the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general, submitted his resignation on Tuesday.

Why it matters: President Trump removed Fine as the Pentagon's acting inspector general in April 7 after a group of independent federal watchdogs selected him to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which was set up to oversee the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

New York reports lowest number of daily coronavirus deaths since March

The number of daily new coronavirus cases and deaths reported in New York was the lowest since the state started its lockdown in March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, calling Memorial Day a "pivot point" for New York.

By the numbers: 73 New Yorkers died from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 200 people tested positive. Hospitalizations and intubations also decreased.