Up for Debate

This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers points of debate and discussion about what’s happening in journalism.

Should news organizations make money off user-generated content and compensate sources?

News organizations often make money off user-generated content, but the source of the user-generated content is often not compensated, Damaris Colhoun writes. Tow Center research director Claire Wardle, who is also involved with Eyewitness Media Hub, says: “I’ve really struggled with this idea of should we be paying eyewitnesses, because I think it creates a […]

With a lack of female foreign correspondents, the world is being portrayed through a predominantly male lens

A predominantly male field of foreign correspondents has an impact on the stories reported, The Fuller Project for International Reporting’s Christina Asquith writes. Even as more women break into the field, male correspondents are recognized for their work two and a half times more often than their female colleagues, Asquith says. She writes: “How journalists […]

Despite concerns about ad fraud and transparency, marketers are still flocking to programmatic ads

According to a new survey from the Association of National Advertisers, marketers’ desire for better targeting outweighs their concerns about programmatic ad buying. The survey found that 79 percent of advertisers have made programmatic ad buys over the last year, a significant jump from 35 percent in 2014. However, the survey also found that advertisers […]

Ad blockers make money off ads and user tracking, too

While ad blockers market themselves as a way to speed up web browsing and avoid data trackers, Julia Greenberg writes that ad blockers are also making money off advertisements. AdBlock Plus, for example, runs an “acceptable ads” program where some ads that meet certain criteria will be shown if the publisher displaying the ad is […]

Alan Rusbridger: The idea of scale being necessary for success in journalism needs to be reevaluated

“These notions of scale have got to be reevaluated,” former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger says of the idea that scale is now necessary for success in journalism. Speaking about his time at the Guardian, Rusbridger says: “You knew that you couldn’t be small and you had to be big. The Guardian was big in our […]

How a reader’s council could help publishers avoid problematic stories

Writing about SB Nation’s retraction of its Daniel Holtzclaw story, Paul Ford asks, how can publishers avoid retractions? Ford proposes creating a reader’s council of around 200 people who read your stories for a small fee, giving that council access to drafts and notes and the ability to anonymously flag potential problems in stories. Ford […]

Facing threats from big platforms, more competing publishers are partnering with each other

Google and Facebook are expected to control 51 percent of online ad revenue in the U.S. this year, a number no single publisher can hope to compete with. To stay competitive against these platforms, more publishers are partnering, Digiday’s Ricardo Bilton writes. Publishers such as The Huffington Post and Mental Floss have created link-sharing agreements […]

AdBlock Plus explains how its ‘acceptable ads’ work: Publishers pay a fee to let their ads through

AdBlock Plus is revealing some key details about how its “acceptable ads,” which let some advertisements through its software, work. Publishers pay a fee, which is calculated based on the revenue an advertiser earns after whitelisting. To be whitelisted, advertisements also have been be deemed “acceptable,” as determined by a set of guidelines about placement […]

Bill Simmons’ partnership with Medium highlights its focus on becoming a platform for publishers

Medium CEO Ev Williams has said that he envisions Medium becoming more of a social network than a publishing tool for an “impassioned, engaged, and influential audience.” But as it has brought on publications such as Bill Simmons’ latest venture The Ringer and The Awl’s Billfold, Digiday’s Lucia Moses writes that some staff say the […]

Podcasting faces a chicken-or-the-egg problem: Are there not enough advertisers for podcasts, or not enough podcasts worth advertising on?

Advertising remains a major challenge for podcasting, and many brands are still unwilling to spend money on podcasts. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that advertisers are expected to spend $35.1 million on podcast advertising this year, but the lack of audience measurement tools remains a big problem. Nicholas Quah says these current challenges […]