Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Need to Know: Aug. 10, 2017

Fresh useful insights for people advancing quality, innovative and sustainable journalism


You might have heard: In 2015, Ken Doctor predicted that the newspaper industry was headed for more consolidation (Nieman Lab), while New Media Investment Group said in 2015 it would spend $1 billion on acquisitions, a number it’s now close to reaching (Poynter)

But did you know: GateHouse acquired Morris Publishing’s 11 daily newspapers and 30 weeklies for $120 million (Poynter)
New Media Investment Group has acquired Morris Publishing and its 11 daily newspapers, which will become part of New Media’s GateHouse chain. New Media will pay $120 million for Morris’ 11 daily newspapers, 30 weeklies and various online properties, Rick Edmonds reports. The deal represents further consolidation in the industry, Edmonds writes: “GateHouse, with more than 120 dailies, offers scale with a centralized editing and production center in Austin and a group of system-wide advertising and marketing products,” while New Media has been on a “run of acquisitions” over the last couple years, adding newspapers such as the Columbus Dispatch and Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer to its portfolio.

+ Noted: One month after the Knight First Amendment Institute filed a lawsuit against President Trump for blocking people on Twitter, the ACLU is suing Maine governor Paul LePage for deleting comments from its Facebook page that disagreed with his viewpoint (The Verge); Mozilla announces the Mozilla Information Trust Initiative, its effort to combat misinformation online (Poynter); Facebook adds a “Watch” tab, its new home for original video content produced by its video partners (TechCrunch); Cheddar is looking to local news markets as it tries to build an audience, airing segments on local news stations (Digiday)


Here’s how NYT is getting more creative with push notifications (Digiday)
If you get push notifications from The New York Times app, you might have noticed that they’ve been a bit more playful lately: In June, NYT used a total of seven emojis in a push notification promoting the magazine’s all-comics issue on city life. “We’ve been trying to let our hair down a little — to be more internet-y,” says Eric Bishop, who oversees push notifications at NYT. That means making push notifications more conversational and include more context, while acknowledging the personal nature of people’s lock screens.


With an election coming up in September, BuzzFeed Germany is trying to boost its news coverage, pushing into covering more politics (Digiday)
Following in the steps of its U.S. and U.K. counterparts, BuzzFeed Germany is trying to expand its news and politics coverage ahead of Germany’s federal election on Sept. 24. Lucinda Southern explains that its listicles and entertainment coverage in Germany hasn’t brought in audience numbers like it has elsewhere: According to comScore data, BuzzFeed Germany had 3.5 million monthly unique visitors in June, while Germany’s population is about 57 million. Going forward, BuzzFeed Germany will be competing with more established digital publishers, such as Gruner + Jahr and Heftig. “BuzzFeed understands the internet,” explains BuzzFeed Germany editor-in-chief Daniel Drepper, who co-founded Correctiv. “I want to combine serious news reporting and the lessons BuzzFeed has learned in the last few years.”

+ Emily Goligoski and Jay Rosen talk to De Correspondent members about why they support the organization: Members emphasized the importance of transparency, something they believe traditional media organizations are unwilling to practice (Membership Puzzle Project)


Twitter is partnering with Nielsen and Foursquare to give advertisers data on how ads translate into offline sales (Axios)
Facebook, Google and Snapchat have all recently started giving advertisers data around how their ads lead to offline sales. Now, Twitter is doing the same, working with Nielsen and Foursquare to do so. “The expectation has been set with marketers that if you are a platform that can reach an audience at scale, you should be able to track how mass marketing drives actual sales in stores, as well as sales from the platform directly,” Sara Fischer writes.


Are fact-checks of Trump falling on deaf ears? Far from it, a poll from CNN suggests (CNN Media)
“Widespread distrust of the White House, as shown in a new CNN poll, is not just a sign of President Trump’s weakness. It’s also a sign of the national news media’s strength,” writes Brian Stelter. That poll found that just 24 percent of Americans trust “all or most of what they hear from the White House,” findings that Stelter argues show that “fact-checking [is] being factored into people’s’ judgments.” Stelter writes: “Even if readers approach fact-checks with intense scrutiny, the information seems to be getting through — which is not something anyone should take for granted.”


Google is warning publishers to stop serving ‘annoying’ ads (Ad Age)
Google is warning more than a thousand online publishers that they’re showing their users “highly annoying, misleading or harmful” ads — which are a violation of the Coalition for Better Ads’ Better Ads Standard. Some of the publishers being warned are outside of the news industry, such as Betty Crocker, but many are news publishers. News organizations that will receive a warning from Google today include Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Forbes and Orlando Sun-Sentinel.

+ Google’s warning carries particular weight because it plans to block “annoying” ads in its Chrome browser in 2018 (Variety); Google has reviewed ads on 10,000 sites, identifying 700 as “warranting corrective action” and roughly half of those 700 sites received a “failing” rating (Digiday)

Need to Know newsletter

The smart way to start your day

Each morning we scour the web for fresh useful insights in our Need to Know newsletter. Sign up below.

The American Press Institute

Our mission

We help transform news organizations for an audience-centered future.

Our programs for publishers focus on four things:

  • 1. Understand your audience
  • 2. Get your audience to pay
  • 3. Transform your culture
  • 4. Do your best journalism
  • Find out more about API »

API solutions for publishers

What we can do for you

API offers a suite of original tools and services for solving the biggest challenges in news:

  • Decide what beats to cover and how
  • Identify and develop the skills you need
  • Assess and improve your culture
  • Drive more reader revenue
  • Drive loyalty through accountability journalism
  • Make analytics work for you
  • Contact us to find out how »