Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Need to Know: Aug. 9, 2017

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


You might have heard: In January, the Dallas Morning News outsourced its design and print layout work to GateHouse Media, eliminating about 20 jobs (Dallas Morning News)

But did you know: Belo, parent of the Dallas Morning News, is outsourcing much of its ad creation and production work to Gannett, eliminating about 45 jobs (Dallas Morning News)
A.H. Belo, parent company of the Dallas Morning News, is contracting with Gannett to outsource most of its ad creation and production work. About 45 jobs will be eliminated as a result. Belo’s executive vice president Grant Moise explains that the contract comes after five months of studying ad production across the country, trying to find a more cost-effective solution for both DMN’s print edition and website. “The majority of positions that we are eliminating is because we are outsourcing the majority of the creation of our advertising and advertising operations to Gannett,” Moise said. “It’s about reducing costs and maintaining quality. We are confident that we can maintain the quality of the product through a lower cost model.”

+ Noted: Bloomberg is launching a management consulting unit, harnessing data from its terminals, research arms and analysts to advise businesses and is expected to charge between $150,000 and $200,000/month for the service (Adweek); Trump continues tweeting criticisms of The Washington Post and New York Times in an attempt to delegitimize outside information (Washington Post) and after criticizing anonymous sources and leaked government information, Trump tweeted a Fox News story that cited “US officials with knowledge of the latest intelligence” and an “official who requested anonymity” (Guardian); Breitbart criticizes NYT for seeking out government employees as sources, which David Uberti writes is “the basic definition of political reporting” (Splinter); Shannon Wink is named editor of Billy Penn, and founding editor Chris Krewson is named vice president of strategy and reach for Spirited Media (Billy Penn); Amy Webb’s Future Today Institute is surveying people working in professional news organizations about how they think about the future (Future Today Institute)


‘Want readers to start trusting you again? Stop stalking them across the internet’ (Poynter)
Research from Princeton University analyzed the top 1 million sites on the Internet and found that news organizations tend to have more third-party trackers on their sites than any other kind of website. Those trackers have a host of implications for news publishers, the researchers wrote: They impede HTTPS adoption, and they make more data available to third-parties to build profiles on users — plus, they can also cause your readers to trust you less. Melody Kramer talks to Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, a senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, about this trust problem and what news organizations can do to rectify it.

+ What’s the goal of a news site homepage in 2017? “A good homepage promotes interaction and information. Our past studies on site design suggest that a homepage to that end is sensitive to the user. We’ve found that the amount of scrolling required and a contemporary homepage design matters to how much the user interacts with the site,” Engaging News Project’s Emily Van Duyn explains on their new homepage research (MediaShift)


After the Seth Rich controversy, the Murdochs’ acquisition of Sky in the UK is getting more scrutiny (The Telegraph)
U.K. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has asked the country’s media regulator Ofcom to look at 21st Century Fox’s record as a broadcaster, putting a new obstacle in the Murdoch family’s potential acquisition of Sky in the wake of a retracted Fox News story on the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich. The Murdoch family previously tried to acquire Sky in 2011, but the deal fell through as the phone hacking scandal unfolded in their U.K. newspapers. And earlier this year, a group of politicians including Ed Miliband and Ken Clarke have started a campaign for the acquisition to be blocked over allegations of sexual harassment at Fox News in the U.S.


How are Facebook’s imitations affecting Snapchat? (Fast Company)
Since its IPO in March, it’s been a rocky road for Snapchat: “In five short months, the lukewarm response to Snap’s much-hyped IPO has turned the company into something of a cautionary tale for startups eager to go public,” Pavithra Mohan writes. So, how will Facebook’s imitations of Snapchat’s features affect Snapchat’s second quarter earnings report? “Last quarter, Snap gained 8 million daily active users, bringing its total count to 166 million daily active users. But Instagram Stories — a knockoff of Snapchat’s Story feature—had clocked 250 million daily active users as of June. That makes sense: Instagram had a built-in user base of more than 500 million users when it launched Stories a year ago. For brands and influencers with loyal audiences on Instagram, it’s a no-brainer,” Mohan writes.

+ Snapchat considers Facebook enough of a threat to its business that it’s considered taking the issue to antitrust regulators, The Information reports (The Information)


Sinclair’s proposed acquisition of Tribune Media is drawing opposition from conservative media outlets (New York Times)
Sinclair Broadcasting’s proposed acquisition of Tribune Media was expected to receive some criticism from left-leaning advocacy groups, Sydney Ember writes: Those groups tend to be against news media consolidation and also disagree with the right-leaning commentary that Sinclair pushes out to its local news stations. Less expected is the criticism the potential deal is getting from conservative news outlets, which say the deal will limit competition and eliminate independent voices. This week, Newsmax filed a petition asking the FCC to deny the acquisition, arguing that “a free and diverse press, a bedrock principle of American democracy, will be crippled by this proposed merger.” One America News Network and The Blaze have also “pressed for a careful assessment of the merger,” Ember reports.


‘Inside The Partisan Fight For Your News Feed’: A new analysis from BuzzFeed news of partisan news sites and their Facebook pages (BuzzFeed News)
A new analysis from BuzzFeed News of partisan news websites and associated Facebook pages shows “just how deeply outrage and the revenue it generates are tied to divisive online discussions.” Of the 667 websites, 452 associated Facebook pages and total of 4 million posts analyzed, 490 were conservative and 177 were liberal. At least 77 of those websites and 51 of the Facebook pages were run from Macedonia as of early this year — and there’s at least five people or companies who operate both liberal and conservative partisan news sites, working “both sides of the aisle in order to capture as much revenue as possible, and to hedge against one side or the other dropping off in terms of growth.”

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 »