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Need to Know: Jan. 29, 2018

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


You might have heard: Last week, a profile of Los Angeles Times editor Lewis D’Vorkin showed that his former colleagues and people in the newsroom were skeptical of his vague digital plans for the paper (CJR)

But did you know: Former Chicago Sun-Times publisher Jim Kirk will step in as Los Angeles Times editor, while Lewis D’Vorkin will become chief content officer at Tronc (New York Times)
“In an attempt to calm rising newsroom tensions at The Los Angeles Times,” Sydney Ember reports that Tronc is expected to name former Chicago Sun-Times publisher Jim Kirk as the next editor of the Los Angeles Times. Lewis D’Vorkin, who has held the post since October, will move to chief content officer at Tronc, Ember reports. “My message to the newsroom will be that we will be working together as one team starting tomorrow to do the best work we can,” Kirk told NYT.

+ “Tronc’s appointment of Kirk — given credit by a number of people in the Times newsroom for being approachable and conversational, in contrast to the aloof D’Vorkin — tells us two things,” Ken Doctor writes. “The first is that Tronc chairman Michael Ferro, who had employed Kirk at the Sun-Times when his ownership group controlled that paper, has great confidence in him. Second, Tronc’s woefully thin bench of talent — in both news leadership and business leadership, from L.A. to New York — complicates Tronc’s ability to innovate.” (Nieman Lab)

+ HuffPost reported on Friday that the L.A. Times newsroom feared Tronc was building a “shadow newsroom,” creating a national newsroom outside of the L.A. Times’ newly formed union (HuffPost)

+ Noted: Berkeleyside has raised $830,000 from 240 investors after launching its direct public offering in 2016 (Poynter); Bloomberg’s 24/7 Twitter news network TicToc is bringing in an average of 750,000 viewers each day (Digiday); Facebook announces The Facebook Journalism Project Scholarship: Facebook is funding scholarships through NAHJ, AAJA, NAJA and NLGJA, giving each organization $250,000 to award over five years to students “pursuing a degree in digital media/journalism/communications with a commitment to storytelling” (Facebook Newsroom)


’Protect your magic’: A survival guide for journalists of color (Poynter)
“There’s an awakening among journalists of color in public media,” Brenda Salinas writes. “The racist and sexist incidents that many of us have privately endured aren’t anomalies. They’re systemic.” Preparing to be a mentor to female journalists of color as stories of abuse and harassment in public media broke, Salinas prepared a “survival guide” for journalists of color. The guide covers everything from what “paying your dues” does and does not mean to what research you should do before taking a job to how to prioritize your mental health at work.


4 male BBC hosts agree to take a pay cut after China editor Carrie Gracie left over the organization’s pay gap (NPR)
Earlier this month, BBC China editor Carrie Gracie left the organization, citing the BBC’s gender pay gap and its “secretive and illegal pay structure.” At that time, the BBC responded by saying there is “no systemic discrimination against women.” But on Friday, the BBC announced that four of its male hosts have agreed to take pay cuts. “We’ve already set out a range of action we’re taking on fair pay, and we’ll have more to say on the issue next week,” the BBC said in a statement on the pay cuts. An independent audit into equal pay at the BBC is expected to be published this week.

+ Data journalism is growing in Brazil after the country passed a local version of FOIA in 2012: Nieman Lab profiles Volt Data Lab, which has grown from a blog for coding experiments into a “full-fledged data storytelling agency” in that time (Nieman Lab)


There’s a ‘crisis of confidence in advertising,’ from both businesses and the public (The Essential Daily Briefing)
The theme of last week’s U.K. Advertising Association’s LEAD conference last week was declining trust in advertising, Danny Rogers writes. Nick Manning, former chief strategy officer at marketing firm Ebiquity, told attendees that there’s a “crisis of confidence in advertising, both from the public and business, too.” Trust in advertising took a hit in 2017, Rogers explains, by reports of ads being served to online bots and ads appearing next to controversial or fake content.

+ Amazon’s advertising business could be a major threat to Google and Facebook: Amazon has its own data about what people purchase, something Google and Facebook doesn’t have (Wall Street Journal)


Jonah Peretti: Facebook’s media partners are helping the company make money, but it’s not sharing revenue (CJR)
“My main criticism of Facebook is it has done lot of experiments, but it’s making gobs and gobs of money on News Feed, and its partners are providing a large chunk of that content, but that’s the one place where it’s not sharing revenue,” BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti says in a Q&A with Mathew Ingram. Peretti goes on to argue in favor of Facebook paying publishers: “If you want to get rid of fake news or sensationalistic content or whatever it is, the best way to influence the content that’s there and shape it in a positive way would be to say I am going to reward content with traffic — which it already does — but I’m also going to reward it with revenue. … You don’t have much control over news companies if you’re not paying them anything.”


In local news deserts, libraries are moving in to fill the void (The Atlantic)
In communities where local newspapers have folded or shrunk, libraries are emerging as one of the best places to get information in breaking news situations, David Beard writes. “It makes sense that librarians would get it right,” he explains. “Librarians understand the value of accuracy. They are familiar with databases. Americans by and large trust librarians, actually much more than they trust journalists. And in a nation where traditional local-news outlets are cutting back, their advertising coffers drained by Google and Facebook, their ownership increasingly by hedge funds or other out-of-town enterprises, where else can a citizen go? In some communities, the questions are basic: Who will sift through and list the best events so residents could decide whether to participate? Who would understand what makes an area distinctive and would get its history right?”

+ City magazines are also stepping up, taking on more investigative reporting and government coverage (Folio)

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