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Need to Know: Jan. 3, 2018

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


You might have heard: Employees at the Los Angeles Times will vote on unionizing this week (Los Angeles Times Guild)

But did you know: Ahead of the union vote, new concerns are being raised about new editor Lewis D’vorkin (NPR)
On Thursday, employees at the Los Angeles Times will vote on whether to form a union for the first time in the paper’s history. But ahead of that vote, NPR’s David Folkenflik reports that concerns are being raised about the paper’s new editor in chief, Lewis D’vorkin. After the LA Times reported on big financial breaks Disney received from the city of Anaheim, Disney banned the paper’s movie critics and reporters from its advance screenings — and in talking about the disagreement with Disney, D’vorkin suggested that one of his colleagues was “morally bankrupt.” Folkenflik says no reporters from the LA Times would speak with him on the record about D’vorkin, saying they feared for their jobs as they have no union protections.

+ Noted: Two Vice Media executives are placed on leave after a NYT investigation into sexual harassment at the company (New York Times); Hoda Kotb is named permanent co-host of the Today show, replacing Matt Lauer (CNN Media); Revolution Capital Group made a bid to purchase the Boston Herald for $5.75 million, the second offer since it filed for bankruptcy in December (Boston Herald); As of this week, the New York Daily News does not have an editor or a publisher: Editor Arthur Browne retired Dec. 31, but the paper’s new owner Tronc has not hired a replacement (CNN Media); Tracy Grant is named managing editor for staff development and standards at The Washington Post (Washington Post); In its annual letter, Hearst reports flat revenue in 2017 of $10.8 billion, saying 2017 was a “tough” year for consumer media (Hearst); The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and Solutions Journalism Network are launching a newsletter on lessons and best practices for journalism (Solution Set)


The new terms for trust in journalism: Tell readers what you do and do not know, and explain what your priorities are (PressThink)
“Transparency is not a new idea in journalism,” Jay Rosen writes. “But we’re finally starting to see what it means to build a value proposition around it.” Transparency for news organizations starts with showing your work, and Rosen suggests 11 ways to do that. Those ideas include explaining what you do and do not know, showing how you reported a story, explaining where you’re coming from, and telling readers what your priorities are in terms of coverage.

+ Earlier: Our Strategy Study on the best ways for publishers to build credibility through transparency


A trade dispute with Canada could make the cost of printing newspapers in the US go up (Bloomberg)
This month, the Trump administration is expected to impose duties on paper imported from Canada — a trade dispute that would increase the cost of printing newspapers in the United States. Paper from Canada accounts for three-quarters of the paper newspapers in the U.S. are printed on, Bloomberg’s Jen Skerritt reports. “The biggest impact may be at the hundreds of smaller papers with fewer financial resources,” Skerritt explains. “If duties are imposed, Canadian newsprint exporters will have to boost prices, causing immediate hardship for smaller U.S. publications that operate on thin margins.”


‘If you really want a diverse workplace, you have to build safe spaces’ (Quartz at Work)
Last summer, Deloitte announced that it would end its groups for women, minorities, and LGBT employees, replacing those groups with “inclusion councils” with people across a range of demographics. “Although the decision and others like it have been communicated as ways to increase inclusion, it’s hard to imagine they will be successful,” Prudential Foundation’s Mekaelia Davis writes. “At their core, diversity and inclusion efforts should acknowledge and support employee identity in the workplace. It doesn’t seem likely that the elimination of spaces that allow employees to feel safe and supported in their identities will do anything to increase inclusion. The way to recruit, retain, and develop diverse staff is not to get rid of resource/affinity groups …  but to reimagine business resource groups to allow for intersectionality.”

+ Find more news diversity strategies and resources at Better News

+ After YouTube star Logan Paul posted a video of a dead body in a forest in Japan, YouTube is facing a “crucial turning point” around content and how it will apply its own community guidelines (BuzzFeed News); Analysis from Business Insider of SocialBlade data suggests that YouTube’s biggest personalities are seeing a “massive slowdown” in terms of subscriber growth and video views (Business Insider)


The biggest unknowns in media in 2018: Will the industry make meaningful progress in diversity, and will user-supported media be successful? (Poynter)
The new year brought a number of predictions from people in media about what 2018 will hold — but what about the things we don’t know? Poynter’s James Warren talks to smart people in the industry about what they’re unsure of heading into 2018. Some highlights: Writers Guild of America, East executive director Lowell Peterson questions whether sexual harassment scandals will push “the issue of diversity toward something that will actually make a difference,” namely diverse hiring and storytelling; Clay Shirky says, “2018 is a perfect test-case for user-supported media. By the end of the year, we’ll know if we passed or failed that test.”


‘I helped popularize the term “fake news,” and now I cringe every time I hear it’ (BuzzFeed News)
In 2014, Craig Silverman came across a false story that was quickly getting a lot of attention on Facebook — and on Twitter, he called the site publishing the story a “fake news site.” Three years after that tweet, Silverman says, “I cringe when I hear anyone say ‘fake news.’ Yet thanks to my work on the subject, I’m inextricably linked to the term.” He argues: “The paradox at the core of ‘fake news’ getting famous is that what I think of as actual fake news … has become a sidebar in the discussion. … Not being able to focus on actual fake news is a symptom of the ongoing collapse of a shared sense of reality and the related public conversation. Online misinformation, and the exploitation and manipulation of our information environment, are real, complex problems affecting global societies. By making the term ‘fake news’ ubiquitous and muddled, we lost a battle in the actual war against completely false information.”

+ A new study suggests that while “fake news” reached many Americans during the 2016 election, it was still a small part of voters’ overall news diets (New York Times)

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