Up for Debate

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

The Panama Papers show a shift in mainstream journalism, moving more toward WikiLeaks

The Panama Papers show the “WikiLeaks-ization” of mainstream journalism, Jim Rutenberg writes. That shift is significant, and it’s one that’s changing the course of history, Rutenberg writes, as well as “changing the rules for mainstream journalists in the fierce business of unearthing secrets, and for the government and corporate officials in the fiercer business of […]

Why video isn’t going to be an easy way for digital publishers to bring in big revenue

Video is often looked to as a potential savior for digital publishers, but Sahil Patel writes that it’s not quite that simple. Video is expensive to produce, and though social platforms like Facebook offer publishers scale, monetizing video content remains a challenge. And, just because publishers are publishing video on these platforms doesn’t mean that […]

News organizations should think of comments as a way to uncover new stories

At the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, The Coral Project’s Greg Barber said news organizations should foster online communities. At a time when many news organizations are cutting the comment section, Barber says there’s a strong reason why they should encourage these communities: “Online communities are important to not only augment what has already been […]

Jim VandeHei: A race for eyeballs is pushing media outlets into ‘the crap trap’

At The Information’s New York Subscriber Summit, the outgoing CEO and co-founder of Politico Jim VandeHei said as the media landscape has turned into a battleground for clicks, news organizations are ignoring the needs of smart readers who want new information. Those news organizations are falling into “the crap trap” of producing journalism simply designed […]

Audience data shouldn’t make editors feel like they need to ignore important, but less popular stories

Audience data shows that many readers just aren’t interested in reading stories such as the terrorist attack in Lahore. But Guardian audience editor Chris Moran writes that’s not a valid reason for newsrooms to choose to cover those stories less: “Does the greater ‘success’ of one piece of journalism inherently sully the success of another […]

When tragedies in other countries are ignored, they’re often covered by news organizations and ignored by the readers

Complaints on social media that tragedies in faraway countries (such as the attack in Pakistan) are ignored sometimes have a valid point, Charles J. Johnson writes. People in Western countries don’t care much about those stories, but Johnson says that’s not the media’s fault. Johnson writes: “If the reader response to the Pakistan story had […]

In a given week, Trump’s name appeared in homepage headlines 1,341 times, while Clinton appeared 361 times

Does the media bear some responsibility for Donald Trump’s rise? USC Annenberg’s Ev Boyle says based on the sheer amount of coverage the media has given Trump, it does. A team at USC Annenberg spent a week tracking mentions of the presidential candidates on 14 news websites and found that Trump received significantly more homepage […]

Jeff Jarvis: Publishers need to stop being jealous of platforms and start working with the platforms to solve problems

When publishers think about how to deal with platforms such as Facebook, it’s not the platforms itself they’re dealing with, Jeff Jarvis says. Instead, it’s the people on the platforms, because publishers need to go to where the readers are. Though publishers and platforms will disagree, Jarvis says publishers should look past these differences and […]

Three alternatives to ‘clickbait’: A paid-for model, nonprofit journalism, and separating ‘clickbait’ from the rest of the newsroom

Publishers’ obsession with “clickbait” and getting as many pageviews as possible is devouring journalism, Frédéric Filloux writes. Filloux says publishers have at least three viable alternatives to get out of the “clickbait” business: A paid model (such as a paywall or membership), nonprofit, philanthropy-supported journalism (such as ProPublica or the Center for Public Integrity), and […]

How did the media get it wrong on Trump? It may be that news organizations need to focus more on the voters, instead of the politicians

On Sunday’s edition of CNN’s Reliable Sources, Brian Stelter tried to answer the question of how exactly the media got Donald Trump wrong. Stelter included guests from print media, cable news and online media, talking to them about how they covered Trump and whether unfavorable coverage of Trump constitutes “snobbery” on the part of the […]