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Need to Know: Nov. 13, 2017

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


You might have heard:The Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump, is the same Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore. Now is that a coincidence? That’s what I mean when I say opposition party, right? It’s purely part of the apparatus of the Democratic Party,” Steve Bannon said on Thursday night after The Washington Post published its story on Roy Moore (Washington Post)

But did you know: Breitbart sent two of its reporters to Alabama, seeking to discredit Roy Moore’s accusers (Axios)
Breitbart has set out to discredit Roy Moore’s accusers, sending two of its top “reporters” to Alabama. Breitbart published its first counterstory on Sunday, claiming that there’s a hole in the story of one of Moore’s accusers. “Many Alabama voters hold the mainstream media in such low regard that they’ve dismissed the Washington Post’s reporting entirely,” Axios’ Jonathan Swan writes on why Breitbart’s attempt to discredit the Post’s reporting matters. “This story is about to get even uglier, if that’s imaginable. I expect more counter-attacks will play out in Breitbart News and other outlets over the coming days.”

+ An ABC affiliate station in Alabama did a man-on-the-street story about the allegations against Moore: “Out of all the voters we spoke with Friday in Columbiana, we didn’t find one voter who believed the Washington Post report about Moore,” reporter Lauren Walsh said (WHAM)

+ Advertisers are cutting ties with Sean Hannity after his coverage of the allegations against Moore (CNBC)

+ Noted: After only Fox News and the White House photographer were allowed in events with world leaders on Friday and Saturday, The White House “pledges to push for more media access” (Politico); A senior editor at The Guardian is under investigation after female staff members reported harassment allegations to newsroom management (BuzzFeed News); The Poynter Institute reports a surplus for 2016: Thanks to a “particularly strong year in revenue from grants” and continued reduction in expenses, Poynter had a surplus of $627,000 in 2016 (Poynter)


The Economist is charging the same amount for a digital subscription as a print subscription ‘on the grounds that you are paying for the content and not the format’ (FIPP)
“We now charge the same for a digital subscription as for a print subscription on the grounds that you are paying for the content and not the format,” The Economist’s chief marketing officer Michael Brunt explained at FIPP’s World Congress in London. With that thinking in mind, The Economist was confident that it could raise subscription prices without losing too many subscribers. That theory ended up being true: The Economist now has about 100,000 more subscribers than it did in 2014.


Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung has emerged as an important outlet for an investigative journalism because its editor sees investigative stories as connected to its business model (New Yorker)
“Süddeutsche Zeitung has, in recent years, pulled even with, or perhaps surpassed, the Frankfurter Allgemeine as the daily newspaper of record in Germany,” Elisabeth Zerofsky writes for The New Yorker on how Süddeutsche Zeitung has become the go-to outlet in Germany for leaks like the Paradise Papers. “After publishing the Panama Papers, in 2016, [editor in chief Wolfgang] Krach declared Der Spiegel’s monopoly on investigative journalism in Germany over. Part of this push, he said, arose from the need to secure the future of the paper.” Krach explains how investigative journalism is connected to the paper’s business model: “The only strategy to survive in the long run in this very complicated and economically difficult environment is that we have to differentiate ourselves from others, so that people can find in our newspaper something they cannot find anywhere else.”

+ Trying to keep “fake news” out of its election, Somaliland is planning to restrict access to social media during its presidential election: The election commission has asked phone companies to block more than dozen social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and LinkedIn (Quartz)


How the ‘Shalane Flanagan effect’ works: ‘You serve as a rocket booster for the careers of the women who work alongside you, while catapulting forward yourself’ (New York Times)
When Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon last week, her achievement was more than just athletic, Lindsay Crouse writes. “Perhaps Flanagan’s bigger accomplishment lies in nurturing and promoting the rising talent around her, a rare quality in the cutthroat world of elite sports,” Crouse explains. Here’s how that works: “You serve as a rocket booster for the careers of the women who work alongside you, while catapulting forward yourself. … She is extraordinarily competitive, but not petty; team-oriented, but not deferential. Elevating other women is actually an act of self-interest: It’s not so lonely at the top if you bring others along.”


‘If Facebook actually wants to be transparent, it should talk to journalists’ (Motherboard)
Facebook executive Alex Stamos has been complaining about online about the company’s negative press coverage, particularly around the company’s plan to combat the spread of revenge porn — but Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai argues that if Facebook actually wants to be transparent, it needs to talk to the journalists that cover it. Franceschi-Bicchierai writes: “Facebook is better than many huge tech companies in that it does a pretty good job of actually responding to journalist inquiries. But too many of these conversations are off-the-record, on background, or are run through spokespeople rather than the people who actually work on the projects themselves. … It is crucially important that the public understands how the company works. If Stamos and other Facebook executives would like to foster transparency and ensure that the intentions of its projects aren’t misunderstood, they should start by letting the people who work on those projects speak to journalists, on the record.”

+ “Facebook can no longer deny its moral responsibility to try to understand how cyberspace, law, and politics collide in each of the countries where it operates, nor its responsibility to do something about it” (Foreign Policy)


The Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri on satire in the age of Trump: Comedy can remind people ‘what normal used to look like’ (Shorenstein Center)
“Some people think well, it’s gotta be easier … given that he has all of these traits, how could it not be easy to write satire and jokes about such a human being? But I actually think it’s more difficult … all you have to do is look around and describe what’s going on and people accuse you of having written surreal horror,” The Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri said in a conversation with the Shorenstein Center’s Nicco Mele on writing comedy in the age of Trump. “None of this is normal, and I think the function of comedy in a time like this is not to be like, oh here are some fun characters, let’s play with them … My hope in using humor in a time like this is to remind people what normal used to look like, and make a joke that angles back towards that in some way.”

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