This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers ideas and insights you’ll want to share and discuss.

To get into the advertising and content business, Verizon will have to change its relationship with its customers

By acquiring AOL and Yahoo, Verizon was setting the stage to get into the content business. But Verizon could be facing an uphill battle as a telecoms company trying to get into the content business, Lucia Moses writes. Charlene Li, a principal analyst at Altimeter, says that Verizon currently represents little more than a monthly […]

Can you moderate 5 NYT comments?

The New York Times is helping its readers get a taste of the work and thought process that goes into moderating comments with a comment moderation test. With some rules as background, readers are given five comments, which they can then approve or reject. Once the reader makes their choice, they’re then given an explanation […]

Lessons from’s social-first model: There’s a balance between protecting people and informing them, and choose your platforms wisely

At the Online News Association conference on Saturday, the staff of gathered to talk about the lessons they learned from the 20 months of The goal of was to inform people through social media, but its small size meant that it couldn’t do everything, Andy Carvin says. While the team wanted to […]

What Hearken means when it talks about engagement: Members of the audience are responsive to newsrooms, and newsrooms are responsive in return

The news industry can’t seem to agree on what exactly “engagement” means. So, Jennifer Brandel is defining what Hearken means when it talks about “engagement”: “Engagement happens when members of the public are responsive to newsrooms, and newsrooms are in turn responsive to members of the public.” Brandel says to determine if there’s actual engagement […]

Facebook is tracking ‘trends,’ and The Washington Post is tracking Facebook (and Google and Twitter)

“Before Gizmodo published allegations that Facebook’s editors were biased, no one thought much about the “Trending” stories the site promotes in the top-right corner of its home screen,” Caitlin Dewey writes, but the section’s mishaps shows the fallibility of algorithms. To better understand what kinds of news stories and topics the trending news section tends […]

Journalists do read and respond to comments, new research from the Engaging News Project finds

New research from the Engaging News Project finds that journalists do actually read and respond to comments. Based on interviews with 34 journalists, all journalists interviewed said they read comments at least occasionally and two-thirds of those interviewed said they responded to commenters at least occasionally. And while some journalists were more enthusiastic about reading […]

Just three days after removing human editors, Facebook’s trending news section included a fake story about Megyn Kelly getting fired from Fox News

On Friday, Facebook announced that it would no longer employ human editors for its trending news section; on Monday, Facebook’s trending news section included a fake news story claiming Megyn Kelly was fired from Fox News. The story about Kelly occupied the top spot on Facebook’s trending news section, a spot that supposed to include […]

What’s missing from investigative journalism right now: Time and funding

“Stories that truly reveal something about the way power works” can’t happen in our current framework, Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery write. Investigative journalism requires time for reporting — and time costs money. To that end, Mother Jones is calling for its readers to make a tax-deductible, recurring gift to supplement foundation funding, which Bauerlein […]

Facebook is changing its algorithm again: Now, it will show people more ‘personally informative’ stories

Just over a month after Facebook announced it was making changes to the news feed to rank friends and family higher, it’s announcing that it’s making a few more changes to the news feed algorithm. This time, Facebook is aiming to show people more “personally informative” stories — meaning, people will see more informative stories, […]

A cost-benefit analysis of accountability journalism: For every dollar The Washington Post invested in a 1999 series on police shootings, society gained $140 in net policy benefits

Analyzing The Washington Post’s 1999 series “Deadly Force,” James T. Hamilton finds that this sort of accountability journalism doesn’t come cheap to news organizations, but it does deliver “tremendous value” to society. The series led to a drop in fatalities from police shootings, a number Hamilton puts at eight statistical lives saved each year valued […]