Up for Debate

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

New report asks whether journalists should be neutral in the face of ISIS

How much information do we need from the darkest places of the world? That’s one of several questions posed in “The Pen and the Sword: Reporting ISIS,” a paper by Paul Wood, a BBC correspondent and 2015 Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Wood details ISIS kidnappings, and his own reporting on conflict in Syria. […]

Major political news outlets are offering for-sale interviews at DNC and RNC conventions

Some political media outlets are offering special interviews and events with editorial staffers at the presidential conventions — for a fee. Lobbyists for the oil industry, for example, are picking up the tab for leading Beltway publications to host energy policy discussions, including The Atlantic and Politico. Some journalism experts say there are “ethical red […]

Publishers should trust Facebook like drivers should trust Uber

Publishers relying on Facebook are starting to look like drivers who keep trusting Uber to make their lives better, writes Sarah Lacy. The aggrieved parties argue that Uber would be nothing without drivers. Many publishers could argue without news and sharing of content that isn’t just your friends’ and family’s baby photos, and Facebook would […]

Social media giants are sabotaging themselves by hurting the “little guy”

Some of the biggest social media platforms — Facebook, SoundCloud and YouTube — are alienating their users by implementing policy changes that generate revenue streams but hurt user experience (for example, YouTube removing content from independent artists), according to John Boitnott. “With so many content creators being left out in the cold as a result […]

CNN’s hiring of Corey Lewandowski didn’t cause a staff revolt 

CNN sustained a public relations black eye from critics and commentators last week by adding Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, to its list of paid pundits. But the criticism doesn’t seem to have found much of a home among one interested party: CNN’s own journalists. “I get the argument that he was a […]

Are Trump’s press bans moving down to local politicians?

In Harrisburg, Pa., the mayor has barred his spokesperson from speaking to PennLive, the largest news outlet in the area, and barred PennLive reporters from attending his weekly press briefings. Harrisburg mayor Eric Papenfuse says he’s taking a stand against an “illegitimate … gossip blog,” while PennLive says its reporting on Papenfuse’s business and civic […]

Poor communication between the editorial and business sides in journalism is holding the industry back from meaningful growth

The divisions between the editorial and business sides is holding news organizations back, Xavier van Leeuwe writes. Van Leeuwe calls on news organizations to “start connecting and appreciating those willing to work together” and for the business side to stop “sighing and complaining to each other in back rooms.” Van Leeuwe writes: “Cooperation works best […]

Is Donald Trump’s goal to create his own media business with an audience made up of his supporters?

Donald Trump is considering launching his own media business, reports Sarah Ellison, with an audience made up of those who have supported his presidential campaign. Trump already has a TV production business, Trump Productions LLC, but Ellison reports that what he’s thinking about is a “mini-media conglomerate” outside of that. Trump’s rationale, Ellison writes, is […]

Trump has been denying press credentials to news organizations for nearly a year

Nearly as long as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has existed, it’s been trying to prevent some news organizations from covering it. CNN Money lists all the news organizations Trump’s campaign has blocked, beginning with Univision last summer after Trump sued the company for canceling its broadcast of Trump’s Miss USA pageant. Trump aides have previously […]

The New York Times reminds staff to refrain from posting opinions on social media in the wake of the Orlando shooting

In the aftermath of the Orlando shooting on Sunday, NYT standards editor Philip Corbett reminded staff to refrain from posting opinions on social media. Corbett writes in the memo to staff, “People following Times newsroom staffers online expect them to be well-informed and thoughtful. But we should leave the opinions to our colleagues on the […]