Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Need to Know: June 28, 2016

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


You might have heard: Research from API shows that trust and reliability in news can be broken down into specific factors that publishers can put into action and consumers can recognize, such as accuracy and having the latest details

But did you know: Brands remain essential to readers’ perceptions of credibility, a new report from Columbia Journalism Review finds (Columbia Journalism Review)
A new report from Columbia Journalism Review and the George T. Delacorte Center for Magazine Journalism asks, “If readers are finding stories in every corner of the Web, and may not even remember where they first read them, how can publishers build a loyal audience? Do brands even matter anymore?” It turns out the answer is yes: CJR’s research found readers are less likely to trust a longform story that appears to have run on BuzzFeed than the same article on The New Yorker’s website. But it also suggests that for a magazine’s regular readers, its brand and reputation can convince its readers of its credibility, while less frequent readers will need more convincing.

+ Noted: With financial backing from an NBC executive, Mississippi Today is promising to be the Texas Tribune for the state of Mississippi, trying to “bring more muscle to the coverage of government and politics in the state” (Nieman Lab); Nearly 400 publishers have applied to participate in the beta version of Medium’s revenue program, which promises advertising and revenue opportunities for publishers that either put their entire site on Medium or publish a Medium edition of its publication (Advertising Age); What to expect from, according to its chief technology officer: “You’ll see a lot more sources, you’ll see a lot more video. And you’ll see, also, the algorithmic recommendations for video and understanding your news preferences” (Poynter)


How The Huffington Post is getting readers from its website to follow its Snapchat account (Digiday)
The Huffington Post has a new, creative way to get readers from its website to follow its Snapchat account. Nearly every social network has a “follow us” widget that can be embedded on publishers’ websites, but Snapchat does not, making it difficult to get followers from other platforms to follow you on Snapchat. So, HuffPo made its own: When users click on HuffPo’s Snapchat widget, they’re shown a “snapcode” to scan with their phones to follow HuffPo’s Snapchat account.


A privacy advocate argues that publishers’ dependence on third-party advertisers is causing the rise of ad blockers (Nieman Lab)
Privacy advocate Alexander Hanff believes that publishers’ efforts to get users to disable their ad blockers are illegal. Predictably, Hanff’s campaign hasn’t won over many publishers, but Hanff says he’s sympathetic to publishers’ struggles. And, Hanff, who is the CEO of London-based consulting firm Think Privacy, says the root cause of the ad blocking problem is publishers’ dependence on third-party advertisers and the ad ecosystem: “The problem is ad blocking is being seen as a disease, when in reality it’s the symptom of one: the advertising on their pages.”


Britain voted to leave the EU, but how will that affect the global advertising industry? (Ad Exchanger)
In light of last week’s vote for Britain to leave the European Union, Sarah Sluis talked to ad executives about how Britain’s exit will affect the global advertising landscape. The EU has strict data protection laws, and once it’s no larger part of the EU, it’s possible that the U.K. could drastically loosen its data laws to make it more competitive, Adform CEO Anthony Rhind predicts. Phunware’s general manager of advertising Jon Hook predicts that Britain’s exit could lead to more transparency in the industry, as companies examine their ad budgets to determine the effect of Britain’s exit.


Our values as a society have evolved, so why haven’t our news values? (Poynter)
At a recent summit on diversity and community hosted by API at Temple University, participants talked about how a new set of news values could bring in stories from people with different perspectives. Meredith Clark talked to people from several different organizations about what kinds of news values organizations could adopt, with responses such as authenticity in reporting (“keep it 100”), inclusion, and accessibility, via technology, language and communities.


Publishers want to use metrics to show their ability to reach audiences, but it’s difficult to compare when publishers use different metrics (Digiday)
Publishers are increasingly relying on metrics to show their ability to reach audiences. But it’s getting harder to determine what “engagement” really means, because analytics firms used by publishers vary widely in their approaches. Plus, publishers aren’t always transparent about where their numbers come from, such as how much of their social traffic is paid. But Lucia Moses writes that it’s possible that engagement metrics will take care of itself in time: “Agencies have their eye on other metrics as they see evidence that engagement on publishers’ links on Facebook is declining, perhaps as Facebook gives priority to video and natively uploaded content in users’ feeds.”

+ The New York Times is testing state-specific newsletters with the launch of California Today, a new morning newsletter with news close to California residents (Nieman Lab)


Need to Know newsletter

The smart way to start your day

Each morning we scour the web for fresh useful insights in our Need to Know newsletter. Sign up below.

The American Press Institute

Our mission

We help transform news organizations for an audience-centered future.

Our programs for publishers focus on four things:

  • 1. Understand your audience
  • 2. Get your audience to pay
  • 3. Transform your culture
  • 4. Do your best journalism
  • Find out more about API »

API solutions for publishers

What we can do for you

API offers a suite of original tools and services for solving the biggest challenges in news:

  • Decide what beats to cover and how
  • Identify and develop the skills you need
  • Assess and improve your culture
  • Drive more reader revenue
  • Drive loyalty through accountability journalism
  • Make analytics work for you
  • Contact us to find out how »