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Need to Know: June 14, 2017

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


You might have heard: Last year, Dow Jones conducted an internal review of its pay gap, concluding that there was little difference in pay based on gender and the disparities that did exist could be explained by men and women working different jobs (Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees)

But did you know: Full-time female employees at Dow Jones earn less than 85 percent of what their male counterparts earn (Poynter)
The Wall Street Journal’s latest union report shows a persistent pay gap between men and women employed by Dow Jones & Company. The report, which was released by the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, found that full-time female employees at Dow Jones earn less than 85 percent of what their male counterparts earn on average. In New York, women make $10,000 less than their male counterparts; in Washington, D.C., they make $13,000 less. And women make less than men at nearly every age, with the biggest disparities occurring among older employees.

+ Noted: Reporters covering U.S. Senate were unexpectedly told Tuesday they can no longer record interviews with senators in the hallways outside their offices, “an abrupt break with precedent that has set off alarm bells for journalists and media watchdogs” (CNN Media) and the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee suspended the decision while the committee reviews the matter (Washington Examiner); Verizon officially closes the Yahoo deal: Yahoo’s brands will now become part of Verizon’s Oath unit, which includes AOL properties HuffPost and TechCrunch and is led by Tim Armstrong (Bloomberg); Layoffs are expected to hit HuffPost this week, likely part of larger cuts at Verizon related to its acquisition of Yahoo (BuzzFeed News); Time Inc. is expected to cut 4 percent of its workforce, or about 300 jobs, through layoffs and buyouts (Reuters); Nine months after launching, Condé Nast is closing, its first major experiment in online fashion retail (New York Times); Magazine publishing companies are looking to brand licensing as a way to diversify their revenue: Time Inc., for example, is selling a line of Coastal Living home products at Bed Bath & Beyond (Digiday); Chicago Sun-Times and Justice Department agree to extend the deadline for bids until June 19 (Chicago Tribune)


Who ‘owns’ audience development? Both the business and editorial sides have an interest in reaching new audiences (Digiday)
As audience development becomes an increasingly essential part of publishers’ business models, Lucia Moses writes that some publishers are asking, who “owns” audience development? Both the business and editorial sides have an interest in expanding audiences, but their interests also sometimes conflict: The editorial side may be more interested in expanding the reach and impact of their journalism, while the business side may be more interested in growing ad revenue. The answer, Moses writes, is likely lies in bringing the two sides together: For example, National Geographic’s audience development is part of its digital team, but now its audience development team gets involved at the beginning of content, digital strategy and sales processes.


The Guardian Australia asks its members, why does journalism matter in 2017? (The Guardian)
After The Guardian Australia celebrated its 4th birthday, it asked its members, why do you think journalism matters in 2017? “I rely on journalists to tell me what’s going on in the world, to unravel complexity, to report on science, arts and technological developments, to hold politicians, corporations, governments and institutions to account, to get behind slogans and platitudes to real meanings, intentions, implications and consequences, to expose corruption, lies, exploitation and vested interests, to give voice to the most vulnerable and powerless members of society, to foster and facilitate robust debate about important social, environmental, economic and political issues, to encourage reflection about our morals, ethics, rights and responsibilities, and to occasionally step back and look at the bigger, long-term vision about where we are going as a society,” one reader said.

+ English-language newspaper The Japan Times is sold to Tokyo-based PR company News2u for an undisclosed sum: The newspaper was previously owned by Japanese autoparts maker Nifco (Nikkei Asian Review)


‘The Covfefe Act has a silly name — but it addresses a real quandary’ (NPR)
The Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement — or COVFEFE Act — may sound silly, but the bill introduced by Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley addresses a real problem. The bill would amend the Presidential Records Act to include social media as among the materials that are documented, “ensuring additional preservation of presidential communication and statements while promoting government accountability and transparency.” As NPR’s Laurel Wamsley explains, the creators of the Presidential Records Act didn’t anticipate social media when the act was introduced in 1978, and Quigley’s proposal could bring the act up to date. “In order to maintain public trust in government, elected officials must answer for what they do and say; this includes 140-character tweets. … If the President is going to take to social media to make sudden public policy proclamations, we must ensure that these statements are documented and preserved for future reference,” Quigley said in a press release.


‘Fake news’ is simply an indicator of bigger problems around trust and manipulation (Jeff Jarvis, Medium)
“‘Fake news’ is merely a symptom of greater social ills,” Jeff Jarvis argues. Jarvis writes the bigger problem is that the institutions of journalism are not trusted and vulnerable to manipulation by “trolls and ideologues to Russians and terrorists, all operating under varying motives but similar methods.” Jarvis argues that while trust is a bigger problem, we have to address manipulation first — otherwise journalism’s institutions won’t survive to regain audiences’ trust. Some ways Jarvis suggests we can fight manipulation: Learn from manipulators’ methods and co-opting them to bring facts and journalism to people, become more aware of how institutions can be manipulated, and starve manipulators of both money and attention.

+ Ahead of Megyn Kelly’s interview with InfoWars’ Alex Jones (Los Angeles Times), the Society of Professional Journalists examines whether it’s ethical to interview people who cause harm: “Journalism that focuses on controversial topics and figures is not inherently unethical. … At this point, people don’t have enough information to know how Kelly’s interview with Jones ultimately transpired beyond the few seconds published online. For example, people may feel differently about the interview if Kelly aggressively challenges Jones about his words and confronts him with the unnecessary pain and torment he helped unleash upon grieving families.” (Code Words)


In the absence of a public editor, the editor leading NYT’s Reader Center says the initiative will be focused on making NYT more responsive to readers (Poynter)
“The whole idea of the Reader Center is about connections between our journalism and our readers,” explains Hanna Ingber, the NYT editor leading its Reader Center initiative, in a Q&A with Poynter. “At The Times in general, we have done many things to amplify readers’ voices to improve transparency. Hopefully, that will lead to more accountability. The Reader Center is one of many ways that The Times is paying more attention to readers and doing more to put them at the center of what we do. … We are most likely going to be focused on best practices, and how we can make sure that The Times overall is being more responsive. That doesn’t mean that I am going to respond to readers’ complaints. It means that my team, the Reader Center, is going to help figure out how to make all of us be more responsive to readers.”

+ A new report from the Shorenstein Center looks at the advantages and pressures of the BBC model in comparison to common business models in the U.S. (Shorenstein Center): “While the BBC is massively well-funded, and built on impartial coverage, its role in the U.K. media environment exposes it to some unique challenges. The same goes for news organizations in the U.S., whose applications of free market principles to news has become both an asset and liability” (Nieman Lab)

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