Who – not what – picks the stories for Apple News

“Many of Apple’s employees moved into a glistening new $5 billion glass headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., this year. A mile west, at Apple’s old campus on 1 Infinite Loop, a project antithetical to Silicon Valley’s ethos is now underway,” Jack Nicas reports for The New York Times. “In a quiet corner of the third floor, Apple is building a newsroom of sorts. About a dozen former journalists have filled a few nondescript offices to do what many other tech companies have for years left to software: selecting the news that tens of millions of people will read.”

“One morning in late August, Apple News’ editor in chief, Lauren Kern, huddled with a deputy to discuss the five stories to feature atop the company’s three-year-old news app, which comes preinstalled on every iPhone in the United States, Britain and Australia,” Nicas reports. “They largely chose from a list of contenders compiled that morning by three editors in New York who pored over the home pages and mobile alerts of national news sites, as well as dozens of pitches from publications.”

“Apple has waded into the messy world of news with a service that is read regularly by roughly 90 million people,” Nicas reports. “But while Google, Facebook and Twitter have come under intense scrutiny for their disproportionate — and sometimes harmful — influence over the spread of information, Apple has so far avoided controversy. One big reason is that while its Silicon Valley peers rely on machines and algorithms to pick headlines, Apple uses humans like Ms. Kern.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Regardless of your interests, politics, etc., human curation of things like Apple News should be a concern.

If you’re not concerned, simply flip it the other way and imagine that 91% of contributions by Apple employees have gone to Republicans vs. 9% to Democrats and see if you’d then be concerned about human curation of products like Apple News.

Once again, do not solely trust Apple News or Google News or ABC News or Sky News or CNN or Fox News or The BBC or, for God’s sake, Facebook.

Do not trust any single gatekeeper.

The best way to consume so-called “news” is to cast a wide net. There is no such thing as a truly impartial journalist or algorithm.

As always, readers of “news” need to consider the sources and interpret what they are being told accordingly. The more disparate sources you can find, the better. And we don’t mean different newspaper, network, website brands that are all owned by the same conglomerate. Determining the actual ownership of your “news” sources is an investment that requires a bit of time, but it is very enlightening. — MacDailyNews Take, June 17, 2015

91% of contributions by Apple employees have gone to Democrats vs. 9% to Republicans since 2004 – October 5, 2018
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey: I ‘fully admit’ our bias is ‘more left-leaning’ – August 20, 2018
Facebook and Apple disagree on how to curb ‘fake news’ for U.S. Midterms – July 3, 2018
Apple News’ plan for the 2018 midterms: Be the opposite of Facebook – June 26, 2018
Apple shoots for the high ground in ‘fake news’ debate – June 26, 2018
Apple News launches 2018 Midterm Elections section – June 25, 2018
Editorial bias: Apple News’s human editors prefer a few major newsrooms, study shows – June 6, 2018
Apple, J.P. Morgan under fire for donations to notorious Southern Poverty Law Center – August 28, 2017
New York magazine editor Lauren Kern named first Editor-in-Chief of Apple News – May 25, 2017
Apple refuses to aid 2016 GOP presidential convention over Trump comments – June 18, 2016
Who’s going to ‘curate’ Apple News? – August 13, 2015
The Apple News app is doomed – July 30, 2015
The future’s not looking too bright for Apple News – July 30, 2015
Apple hiring team of journalists for News app; a ‘jaw-dropping’ development says publisher – June 15, 2015
Apple News is fast, responsive, enjoyable, and it might become your only news app – July 15, 2015
Apple News shows that Apple wants to bolster and profit from ads, not eliminate them – July 10, 2015
Apple News to have human curation – and that raises issues – June 15, 2015
Apple employees donate $15 to Obama for every $1 to Romney – July 27, 2012
Apple, other tech firm employees’ contributions favor Democrats over Republicans, Obama over Clinton – April 14, 2008


  1. It’s impossible to read the news in a purely unbiased fashion. Either the journalist/publication is trying to sell their opinion or get clicks/revenue…or our own confirmation bias steers us towards what we want to read and hear. Opinion also passes for news nowadays

  2. And, you can totally tailor and customize your news feed. Choosing the news sources and topics you want, and blocking those you don’t. And then, in prefs, you can choose to not allow Apple to suggest stories or topics, and you can choose to restrict stories to only those sources you follow.

  3. “Casting a wide net” in this day and age means ignoring most of the mass media and frankly most “news” in general, it’s almost all political propaganda. You are far better off reading books from independent publishers or those published 20+ years ago before political correctness replaced Christianity and took near-complete control of the public discourse in the West (President Trump being its one major opponent).

    It doesn’t matter if the editors of Apple news are humans or algorithms because the former are virtually all leftist and the programmers of the latter are also virtually all leftists. Even the “right wing” Drudge Report leans left because he links to mostly far-left news sites like the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN.

    1. Christianity?

      My religion is the ultimate truth.
      — How do you know?
      Our book says so.
      — You do realize that is EXACTLY what all other religions say?
      Yes, but they are mistaken.
      — How do you know?
      Our book says so.

      And I always love the ten commandments:
      1-5: Praise only me.
      6-10: Don’t kill, lie, commit adultery or be jealous. And honor your father and mother.
      Wowee-zowee! That’s deep!

      1. And don’t forget the carrot and the stick…

        “If you don’t believe in me properly or break any one of a number of often bizarre rules, I’ll burn you in hell. Not for a trillion years or a trillion trillion years, but for e-fucking-ternity.”

        “P.S. I am REALLY preoccupied with what bits of their bodies people touch against what bits of which other people’s bodies. And, also, I really, really love beetles. That’s why I created about 100,000 species. Mind you, that is nothing compared to my love of blobs of jelly and various worm-like organisms, which, between them, comprise most of the animals on the planet.”

    2. This isn’t directly in response to you, Nick, but it has to be said. The media isn’t left or right, it is rich versus poor. Corporate interests sew discord to keep the masses fearful, dependent, and consumerist. The few news outlets that aren’t owned by foreign powers (the Murdoch empire for example) are either entertainment divisions of multinational corporations (Turner) or extremist nuts with dirty backgrounds (Sinclair, Clear Channel) whose goal is to brainwash the masses with self-serving propaganda all day every day.

      To top it off, it is hilarious how the extreme right adopts christianity into its propaganda, while generally adhering to none of the commandments. The evangelical crowd, always short on facts, rallied around the least christian candidate ever in US history rather than using their brains to elect a sane and decent 3rd party candidate.

      It you want to read good books, the renaissance ushered in clear thinking to replace the dark ages of christian dogma. Great men of science brought forth true knowledge borne of hard work against a tide of closed minded church-sponsored bigots. Most of what we rely on today as a civilization comes from science. Interestingly, the right wing demands that faith in a heavenly superbuddy father/son/Zeus construct is absolutely believable but reporting current events, with verifiable facts, must all be thrown out because the facts are inconvenient and often undermine the false political narratives that Herr Fuhrer proclaims.

      In political discourse, only one political faction employs Jesus as a trump card (pun intended) while they follow a political leader that has never followed a single commandment and couldn’t pick out a passage of the bible apart from Mother Goose fairy tales. Worse still, the right wing totalitariams now trash facts and reporters because knowledge in their minds are less important that political domination — never mind the separation of powers concept, they want totalitarianism with a religiousity frosting wrapped in extremist nationalism.

      You can’t have it both ways. Science replaced witchcraft and mass herding religions that pushed their own brands of “intelligent design” because done properly, science delivers guaranteed results. Religion provides community and comfort, but not results. You can’t fly the Jesus banner — himself a refugee — while denying basic human dignity to other refugees. You can’t be a christian and insult other nations for “bad” trade deals while bullying everyone with thinly veiled military threats. And you can’t throw reporters under the bus in the USA claiming they are all bad. There are still independent non-partisan news sources out there, not that the right wing will ever admit it. They brag that Faux news has more viewers than any other TV news channel and then claim all news is leftist. How can that be? CNN is just a mirror or the extremely biased propaganda Faux news spouts incessantly. Both corporate enterainment, neither offering deep investigative reporting to find the unvarnished truth.

      As dumb as many leftists are, I have come to truly hate the antagonism coming from the right — now elevated to pipe bombs delivered to has-been out of office democrats. That is beyond repulsive.

      I have had enough of the right wing trashing of scientists and non-christians. Other religions, agnostics & athiests (which includes the authors of the US Constitution, incidentally) have done more good for humanity than the hypocritical bible thumpers that force their antiquated self-serving dogma on the masses.

      Current events, reported an NOT narrated by reliable news agencies, remains fundamental to the continuation of democracy. Religion and political totalitarianism, two irreconcilable planks of the current republican party, together with incessant FUD that undermines people’s understanding and trust of democratic institutions, is accelerating America’s demise. Paul Volker recently offered an excellent interview illustrating that point. The current totalitarianist regime in the US can’t even let the US Federal Bank remain independent and do its job, even it is put under constant political attacks from the extreme right.

      As usual, I expect Goeb and this fine site’s political extremists to attack me as being a democrat, leftist, or whatever other labels they can find to personally attack. I am not leftist or democrat. I am a fiscally conservative centrist independent and prefer that the extremists on both ends regain your sanity by using honest reported facts instead of your nasty underhanded twisted illogical politics to attack everyone else.

  4. News has ALWAYS been curated. Journalists spend years honing their craft and learning to separate news from gossip and innunendo. It’s not easy, and journalists sometimes get things wrong. But a free and fair press is essential for a democracy to function.

    And if you’re concerned that most reporters (like most tech employees) are Democrats, you should take comfort in knowing that their bosses are most likely Republicans. It tends to balance out. Often in surprising ways.

    For example, the New York Times has a famously liberal editorial page. But their news operation has always been decidedly centrist, even hawkish. On the other hand, the Wall Street Journal has a famously conservative editorial page. But their news coverage has often been as progressive as any newspaper in the country.

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