The Weekly Tally 08.04.22

FREE SPEECH

Social media giant Facebook is backing away from the news business. A report by the short-form news site Axios revealed that Facebook parent company Meta will no longer pay U.S. publishers to post content on their Facebook News tab. Since Facebook News’ launch in 2019, the social media site has been paying millions of dollars to organizations like the New York Times ($20 million), Washington Post ($15 million) and Wall Street Journal ($10 million) to bring content to Facebook’s internal feed. Now the company is no longer interested in this kind of investment. “Most people do not come to Facebook for news, and as a business it doesn’t make sense to over-invest in areas that don’t align with user preferences,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Gizmodo. In the fall of 2020, 36 percent of U.S. adults surveyed by the Pew Research Center said they do regularly get news from Facebook – a higher share than any of the other social media platforms included in the Pew survey. Facebook has been criticized for creating an echo chamber, and it has also been targeted as a platform for disinformation campaigns, used to deliberately disseminate falsehoods.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“It is about them – it’s their stories.” - Playwright and Performance As Education co-founder John Fraire on Las Memorias, a play by and about Monterey County high school students. They rehearsed at CSU Monterey Bay, and the performance runs from Aug. 4-6 on campus and in King City (see Arts story).

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD:

A big challenge nonprofit organizations often face is that donors and foundations are enamored with giving money for specific initiatives but less interested in donations toward general operating expenses. It’s a good week for Community Human Services, which received a $50,000 grant toward operating support over the next two years. The Community Impact Grant comes from the Lauralie and J. Irvine Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County. The nonprofit serves as a Joint Powers Authority of the cities and school districts of the Monterey Peninsula, Salinas and North County, and offers help for middle – and low income-people and families with substance abuse and mental health issues, as well as temporary housing. The grant comes as CHS faces the big task of creating a new shelter for women and families, the Shuman HeartHouse, which will be located in Monterey.

GREAT:

The Monterey County Regional Fire Protection District has a new leader. The board chose Interim Fire Chief David Sargenti to step into the role on an official basis effective Aug. 1. The 400-square-mile fire district, which serves a population of roughly 40,000 out of six fire stations, has been searching for another fire chief since longtime leader Michael Urquides retired in December 2021. A nation-wide search garnered nine applicants, out of which Sargenti was eventually chosen. Sargenti himself has been with the district for 26 years, starting as a volunteer. This is a similar path to the one Urquides followed. “I am excited and honored to continue my career of service as the fire chief of this great organization,” Sargenti said in a statement. “My goal is to support the amazing team of professionals who are MCRFD and continue to enhance services, staffing levels, and community relationships.”

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