Need to Know: March 9, 2016

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


You might have heard: Newspaper publishers in the United States have moved rapidly in recent years to create subscriptions for digital access to their news, and 78 percent of newspapers with circulations over 50,000 are using a digital subscription model

But did you know: 41 percent of Americans say they might be willing to buy a digital subscription to a newspaper if they’re given a persuasive argument, new survey finds (MediaPost)
According to a new survey by Meclabs, 41 percent of Americans might be willing to purchase a digital subscription to a newspaper, if they’re given a persuasive argument as to why they should. The survey, which examined Americans’ attitudes about online news, found that respondents said they would be more willing to pay for exclusive content that they couldn’t get from any other news organization, including local news.

+ Noted: News Deeply’s latest single-subject news site Refugee Deeply launches March 15 and will have an increased focus on original content (USA Today); Mic acquires mobile video app Hyper, which aggregates video content from around the Internet into a magazine-style format (Wall Street Journal); Guardian Media Group’s David Pemsel says membership will make up a third of the Guardian’s revenue within three years (TheMediaBriefing)


Diving into Data Journalism: Strategies for getting started or going deeper
Technology enables journalists to use numbers less anecdotally, more authoritatively, and to uncover otherwise invisible stories. In this Strategy Study, Samantha Sunne explains how data journalism is different from what we’ve always done, how to get started in data reporting, and how to establish data journalism throughout the newsroom.


How Vox takes a product-focused approach to news: It has a broad definition of what ‘product’ is (Digiday)
The most common definition of “product” is the final thing that a user sees, whether that’s an article or an app. But Vox is extending that definition to include features that are core to its operations, even if a user may not see it. For example, Vox includes its server performance because it affects how fast its website loads and its data science and analytics capabilities because it gives the team better editorial insights.

+ Earlier: API’s best practices for product management in news organizations

+ First Draft News is holding a series of free online workshops in verification and social newsgathering: Topics include real-time verification and geolocation (First Draft News)


Mashable is launching a French-language site in partnership with France 24 (Guardian)
Mashable and international news TV channel France 24 will launch a French-language edition of Mashable. The new site, which will be called Mashable avec France 24, will also receive support from Google’s innovation fund as part of its Digital News Initiative in Europe. Mashable avec France 24’s editorial team will be made up of staff from both Mashable and France 24 who will both create original stories for the site, as well as translating and adapting Mashable stories for this French audience.

+ Earlier: Mashable launched a local edition in India in November, its fourth international launch in 18 months


The scientific reason why your first idea is rarely your best one (Business Insider)
Neurologist David Eagleman says there’s a scientific reason why your first idea isn’t usually your best one: Our brains are lazy, and the first idea we have is usually the handiest idea, rather than the best idea. To get your brain to your best idea, Eagleman says: “The key to innovation is to distrust the first answer and to send it back. Send the answer back so you’re getting something else out of that rich network that’s already in there.”


Should news organizations make money off user-generated content and compensate sources? (Columbia Journalism Review)
News organizations often make money off user-generated content, but the source of the user-generated content is often not compensated, Damaris Colhoun writes. Tow Center research director Claire Wardle, who is also involved with Eyewitness Media Hub, says: “I’ve really struggled with this idea of should we be paying eyewitnesses, because I think it creates a dangerous precedent. When you create a marketplace for breaking news content, as soon as you put a monetary value on eyewitness media, there is real evidence that people have crossed police lines, they put themselves in danger, they show graphic imagery when they have no training to do that.”


Inside The Washington Post’s live streaming strategy for tonight’s Democratic debate (Digiday)
During tonight’s Democratic debate hosted by The Washington Post and Univision News, the Post expects its reporters will live stream on Facebook at least a dozen times. While the debate itself will be streamed on the Post’s website and broadcast on Univision, CNN and Fusion, the Post will use Facebook live streaming for a behind-the-scenes look, including analysis from debate moderators before and after the event and observations from Post reporters throughout the debate.