Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Need to Know: July 12, 2017

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

OFF THE TOP

You might have heard: In June, a Wall Street Journal union report found that full-time female employees at Dow Jones make on average 85 percent of what their male counterparts earn (Poynter)

But did you know: Dow Jones is trying to increase the number of women in executive roles by 40 percent, creating a mentorship program and adjusting some salaries (Huffington Post)
In recent months, Dow Jones has come under increasing criticism for issues with gender equality, including a pay gap between genders. On Tuesday, Dow Jones acknowledged that problem and outlined a plan to start correcting its course. Dow Jones chief executive William Lewis said in a memo the company will aim to increase the percentage of women in executive roles by 40 percent, as well as implement a mentorship program for 25 women at the company that will “accelerate their careers.” And multiple reports found women at the company were making less than men, Lewis says some salaries will be adjusted for these issues — but Lewis says less than 2 percent of salaries will be adjusted.

+ Noted: Time Inc. is considering a total rebrand of the company, which would include changing its name and positioning itself as a modern media company (Wall Street Journal); Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued Donald Trump on Tuesday for blocking Twitter users from @realDonaldTrump, arguing that the practice violates the First Amendment (Reuters) and the Knight First Amendment Institute says it’s looking to take on similar lawsuits at a local level (Nieman Lab); A new report from the Shorenstein Center examines “the failure of national media outlets to respond to the Flint water crisis in an urgent manner, as well as biases in coverage” (Shorenstein Center); Reuters redesigned its article pages to be faster, include more widgets with content supplemental to a story, and personalized story recommendations for readers (Poynter); WSJ updates its iPhone app to bring features from its shuttered What’s News app into the main news app (Dow Jones)

TRY THIS AT HOME

Here’s how Quartz is using vertical video to make its long-form journalism mobile-first (Poynter)
On Tuesday, Quartz launched a new project in its Machines with Brains “obsession,” covering the development and application of AI, through the integration of vertical video and other storytelling platforms with long-form journalism. “In short, Quartz is bringing its signature mobile-first production strategy to its long-form journalism,” Poynter’s Daniel Funke explains. Here’s what that looks like: The vertical videos don’t fill up a reader’s entire phone screen, and on the project page, readers swipe through story cards for a style of reading that’s more similar to social media.

OFFSHORE

UK news organizations face similar challenges to US news organizations in the duopoly, but UK competition law would prevent them from collectively negotiating with the platforms (PressGazette)
As the News Media Alliance seeks bargaining rights against Facebook and Google in the U.S., Dominic Ponsford writes that he sees similar problems in the U.K. — but the country’s competition law prevents publishers from negotiating with Facebook and Google. “If all the U.K. news publishers were to sit around a conference table and agree on joint commercial terms of engagement with Google and Facebook they would run the risk of falling foul of competition law,” Ponsford writes. “There is a big question mark over whether U.K. news publishers could ever bury their differences for long enough to agree a joint negotiating position with Google and Facebook. Some, like The Independent and BuzzFeed, seem happy with the current system. The tragedy is that for some regional newspapers, time is running out.”

+ “If Congress grants an exception to legacy news publishers to pressure Google and Facebook, it might lead to the kind of concessions publishers have won in Europe. In the U.S., pressure on Facebook and Google has been successful in helping publishers gain traction, but the culture of European publishing and the vigor of its regulatory environment is totally different from the free-market roots of the U.S. news industry,” Emily Bell writes (CJR)

OFFBEAT

What Pinterest learned from trying to increase the number of female software engineers it hires: You can’t just set a goal and expect to reach it without repeated explanations of why it matters (Harvard Business Review)
Women make up about 16 percent of software engineers in the United States — and in 2016, Pinterest set a lofty goal for itself, aiming to hire female software engineers at twice this rate. Pinterest’s head of diversity and inclusion Candice Morgan explains for Harvard Business Review the strategy Pinterest adopted to meet this goal, and what Pinterest learned about diversity in the process. Part of what they learned, Morgan explains, is that simply setting goals isn’t enough: “Rolling out public diversity targets is an important step, but achieving these goals requires intense and regular follow-up throughout the organization. … We learned we can make faster progress if hiring managers understand how diversity advances our goal of building a global, world class product,” and that requires repeated explanations of why diversity matters.

+ Advice for beating procrastination and getting things done: “Begin with forgiving ourselves for screwing up. From there, we can break the things we have to do down into tiny, easily tackled mini-tasks; seek external support for our goals; minimize distractions; and aim for steady, incremental accomplishments instead of huge, goliath-size ones,” which might look like aiming to write the introduction to a presentation rather than writing the entire presentation (New York Times)

UP FOR DEBATE

The Intercept’s parent company, First Look Media, is financially supporting Reality Winner’s defense (Washington Post)
After Reality Leigh Winner was charged under the Espionage Act for leaking classified information in June, The Intercept’s parent company First Look Media says it will be supporting Winner’s defense, paying a law firm through its Press Freedom Defense Fund. Margaret Sullivan writes that given the circumstances, “It’s heartening to see the site and its parent company doing everything in their power to admit and make good on their own mistakes. And it’s important that they’ll help Winner be treated fairly at the hands of an administration that could hardly be more averse to press rights.”

SHAREABLE

How have the industry’s early social media editors moved up the ladder? (MediaShift)
It’s been almost a decade since the first wave of journalists with “social media” in their titles or job descriptions started entering newsrooms, Julia Haslanger writes. MediaShift is publishing a series of profiles of those first social media editors, tracking their career trajectories. In this installment, Haslanger talks to Digital First Media’s Dan Petty, who is serving as the company’s first digital director of audience development. Petty started out as a Dow Jones News Fund intern at The Denver Post in 2009, and soon became the paper’s first social media editor, before becoming the paper’s digital director of sports and then director of audience development. “I feel like most of my career when I was at the Post was being put into areas or places where the need to think digital was high,” Petty explains on his career path. “Like where they might have been doing really good things, but they wanted to accelerate growth, or accelerate thinking digitally. They might have had really good stories or good content, but what sorts of things can we consider to enhance the storytelling from a digital perspective?”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this newsletter mistakenly referred to The Intercept as The Information. We apologize for the error. 

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