Weekend reads for July 1-2

Back by popular demand, here's a few longer reads on matters economic, social and political for the weekend.

The Saudi Arabia vs Qatar dispute seemed come out of nowhere and is now causing all sorts of ructions in the Middle East. Here's a useful analysis from the US side of things from Mark Perry in The American Conservative. It seems Jared Kushner endorsed Saudi Arabia's plans, while the US military and State Department are not on the same page. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appears to be mightily frustrated by President Donald Trump's tweets and Kushner's involvement.

The latest Reuters annual report on digital news is well worth a read. It shows the young aren't that interested in watching video news and are becoming more interested in paying for news, as Nieman reports.

This little factoid illustrates the challenges for news organisations depending on advertising. Google and Facebook now make more money from advertising than every newspaper, magazine and radio network in the world, inc.com reports.

The algorithms inside Facebook and Google are now the most powerful chunks of IP in the world, and secret. They determine so much about what we read and buy. Propublica got its hands on some internal documents from Facebook that explain how its algorithm differentiates between hate speech and legitimate political expression. It protects white men, but not black children.

Sir Peter Gluckman's report on using citizen-based analytics to inform social policy (ie social investment) is well worth a read.

Have a great weekend.