Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

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This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers useful insights and ideas you can try yourself.

What journalists can learn from service design

Service design “combines customer experience, operational model design and design thinking methodologies as tools. It considers the end to end service journey across all channels and touchpoints not only from a customer, but also from an organizational perspective,” says Deloitte’s Jani Modig. As we think about how to break people out of their “filter bubbles,” […]

What video lengths on Facebook get the highest levels of engagement?

NewsWhip analyzed videos from 11 publishers with some of the most video shares in January 2017, looking at their overall engagement (likes, shares, comments, reactions). Here’s what they found: The average length of these publishers’ most engaging videos (without counting livestreams) are now over a minute long, and many of these publishers’ most engaging videos […]

Ideas for moving ‘beyond the article’

In a new report for the Reuters Institute, Kevin Anderson examines how news organizations are moving “beyond the article” and adopting new story forms and methods of distribution. Some of the key findings from the report: All of the cases Anderson studied involved using distributed methods to spread stories via social media or messaging apps; […]

3 free things you can do right now to protect your data and sources at the US border

“It’s not a bad time for journalists to be exercising a little extra caution,” Laura Hazard Owen writes. Owen offers three tips for things journalists can do right now for free to protect their data and sources at the border: Don’t know your social media passwords (you can use a password manager, have a friend […]

A new tool from Alphabet helps publishers moderate comments with artificial intelligence

Jigsaw, a technology incubator within Google’s parent company Alphabet, has released a new tool called Perspective, which uses artificial intelligence to help publishers weed out abusive comments. Perspective uses a rating system based on how “toxic” a comment is, letting the publisher choose a threshold for which comments are displayed publicly. In the next year, […]

Steps newsrooms are taking to boost diversity: Prepare the employees you already have for leadership roles and create fellowship programs specifically for people of color

The benefits of diversity cannot be overstated, Carlett Spike writes: Communities that are undercovered often see no reason to pay attention to a news outlet, and fewer consumers translates into lower revenue. CJR asked news organizations for specific examples of what they’re doing to improve the diversity of their staff. Here’s some of the answers […]

What makes up a successful data story: Interactive elements, tools for data visualization and serving more than one purpose for their audiences

Analyzing the winners from the Global Editors Network’s annual Data Journalism Awards, researchers from University College Dublin and National University of Ireland Galway identified the characteristics of the winning stories. Among their findings: Many of the stories had interactive elements to them, most often in the form of an annotated graphic or map; more than […]

How to use design thinking to engage with your community

“The process of design thinking is as follows: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. Ideally, this is how one would go about creating anything, right? But us journalists often skip the first two steps,” CUNY grad student Ghita Benslimane writes. “Empathizing with and defining a community’s problems and goals are crucial parts in any successful […]

Strategies for securing your organization’s digital future: Seek out non-advertising revenue and track metrics based on market share

Morris Publishing Group’s VP of strategy and innovation Steve Gray shares his company’s strategies for working toward a digitally focused future that’s less reliant on print ad revenue. Among those strategies: Track metrics based on market share, seek out non-advertising revenue such as events or marketing your data capabilities to local businesses, and launch new […]

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