Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Need to Know: Dec. 18, 2017

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


You might have heard: In November, Meredith agreed to purchase Time Inc. in a nearly $3 billion deal backed by the Koch brothers (New York Times)

But did you know: Time Inc.’s new owner may get rid of its iconic name (New York Post)
Meredith plans to retire Time Inc.’s name, removing the name from “buildings, business cards and everywhere else.” The Time name will remain on Time magazine, Keith J. Kelly reports. “The name Time Inc. comes off the building on Day 1,” Meredith’s president and COO Thomas Harty said at an “integration meeting” with the company.

+ Noted: MSNBC confirms that it investigated and reprimanded Chris Matthews for “inappropriate jokes and comments” in 1999, and paid an employee who made the complaint a “separation-related payment” (Politico); The FCC plans to fine Sinclair Broadcasting $13.3 million after it failed to disclose that it aired programming that was sponsored by a cancer institute (Reuters); An Iowa Supreme Court justice blocks the Des Moines Register from reporting on and publishing court records legally obtained by investigative reporter Clark Kauffman (Associated Press); Facebook is demoting posts that ask for likes or shares, calling the posts “engagement bait” (Facebook Newsroom); Pope Francis warns journalists against the “very serious sin” of sensationalizing news and providing one-sided reports (Axios)


How to cover local refugee communities: Strategies for newsrooms and reporters
The word “refugee” evokes a certain image: people fleeing persecution or war-torn areas, living under harsh refugee camp conditions, starting a new life in a foreign country. For journalists, refugees represent an important and powerful subject. When shared in your local community, these stories can foster understanding, bridge divides and bring nuance to conversations about émigré issues. Our latest Strategy Study by our 2017 summer fellow Emily Case explores how newsrooms can approach refugee coverage through relationship building, newsgathering and storytelling processes.

+ Applications for our 2018 summer fellowship are due Jan. 7: Fellows complete a self-proposed project, creating a tool, resource, or guide that can help news organizations make decisions in critical areas of their work


Apple turns on its podcast analytics feature, opening up what we know about podcast consumption (Recode)
Podcasters are about to have a lot more info about how their listeners consume their podcasts. Apple has turned on its long-promised analytics feature, giving podcast creators access to aggregated and anonymized data about people’s listening through the Apple Podcasts app. Some analytics now offered: When listeners stop listening to an episode, what parts of an episode listeners skip, total listen time, and time per device.

+ Audio trends to pay attention to: Short daily catch-ups, distributing audio via closed chat apps, interactive audio through smart speakers, moving audio away from platforms, and telling data stories with audio (Global Editors Network)

+ “Personal essays are alive and well today, just in a different form. The most exciting personal essays today, arguably, are being delivered via microphone and recorder,” Meg Dalton writes on why podcasts are the new personal essay. “Podcasts are a natural home for these stories. Even journalistic storytelling, like what you might hear on This American Life or Radiolab, is usually rooted in a host’s anecdote from their own lives. With audio, you are not simply reading a person’s story, but hearing them tell it in their own voice, which adds a layer of intimacy and humanity that escapes the traditional personal essay” (CJR)


London’s Telegraph plans to hire 39 more journalists in 2018 as it tries to reach 10 million more readers (PressGazette)
In 2018, The Telegraph in London is trying to expand its audience by 10 million people — and it’s hiring 39 journalists to do so. Chief executive Nick Hugh laid out his plans in a letter to staff: “Our strategy, with quality journalism at the heart, is registrations-first. We must build greater and deeper connections with our customers at scale. … The insights and data we gather on our customers will help us continue to refine and develop the journalism that we offer them.” In November 2016, The Telegraph moved to a premium paywall model, getting rid of its metered model in favor of a model that requires a subscription for “members-only” content.


Facebook is letting you snooze notifications from friends, pages or groups for 30 days (Facebook Newsroom)
Facebook has a new tool that lets users mute a friend, page or group for 30 days. The “snooze” feature is similar to using the unfollow/hide feature, which lets users remove a person or page from their news feed without unfriending or unfollowing them. “The Snooze feature is one way Facebook hopes to make its social media experience less frustrating, and it certainly seems to be a move in the right direction. It’s as immediate as hiding a post, but puts no onus on you to remember to re-follow someone in the future — which should eliminate that twinge of guilt about removing him from your feed. The biggest potential negative is that the feature will be used to block differing viewpoints and reinforce personal biases,” Christina Bonnington writes on the update.

+ Facebook asks, is spending time on social media bad for us? “It really comes down to how you use the technology. For example, on social media, you can passively scroll through posts, much like watching TV, or actively interact with friends — messaging and commenting on each other’s posts. Just like in person, interacting with people you care about can be beneficial, while simply watching others from the sidelines may make you feel worse” (Facebook Newsroom)


Fixing public radio’s sexual harassment problem: ‘Hire women and people of color and put them in places of power in the newsroom’ (Village Voice)
At its closed board of trustees meeting late last week, dozens of WNYC listeners tried to confront the public radio station’s leadership about recent sexual harassment reports and “the controversial manner in which those allegations were handled.” Former WNYC intern and current temp Julia Furlan says she hopes this reckoning will help the station address some of its deeply rooted problems: “If they want to fix this, I really think they need to make it a mission to hire women and people of color and put them in places of power in the newsroom. … If you turn on public radio, it’s always some dude droning on and on. That’s been true for a really long time.”


‘15 terms that summed up 2017 in news and news coverage’ (Nieman Lab)
If Tronc was the iconic word of the year for journalists in 2016, this year’s terms defining our industry include duopoly, consumer revenue, and trust, Ken Doctor writes. Some other words we’ve been hearing over and over again this year: Listen, fake, truth, roll-up, and cross-ownership.

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