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Need to Know: Nov. 8, 2017

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

OFF THE TOP

You might have heard: News organizations including The Washington Post, The A.V. Club and New York Times joined a boycott against Disney’s advance movie screenings in solidarity with the Los Angeles Times after the paper was barred from Disney’s screenings (CNN Media)

But did you know: Disney ends its ban on the Los Angeles Times after a strong backlash and solidarity from other news outlets (New York Times)
After the Los Angeles Times was barred from Disney’s advance movie screenings following an investigation into the company’s business dealings in Anaheim, a number of news organizations said they would boycott Disney’s advance screenings in solidarity. That, coupled with pressure from several high-profile Hollywood figures including Ava DuVernay, led to Disney reversing its decision to bar the L.A. Times from the screenings on Tuesday. “A powerful company punishing a news organization for a story they do not like is meant to have a chilling effect. This is a dangerous precedent and not at all in the public interest,” NYT said in a statement when it joined the boycott before Disney lifted the ban.

+ Noted: NPR CEO Jarl Mohn is taking a month-long medical leave, a week after top editor Michael Oreskes resigned following sexual harassment allegations (CNN Media); The New York Times cuts ties with attorney David Boies after the New Yorker reports that Boies was helping Harvey Weinstein block a negative story about Weinstein in NYT (New York Times); Twitter is rolling out 280 character tweets to users worldwide (The Verge); Mattress company Casper is shutting down its web publication Van Winkle and pivoting to print, creating a print magazine called Wooly (Wall Street Journal)

TRY THIS AT HOME

Advertisers have concerns around fraud — but publishers are using those concerns to their advantage (Digiday)
More marketers are becoming skeptical of programmatic ad buying, driven by concerns about ad misplacement or fraud. But publishers are using those trust concerns as an opportunity to have a conversation with advertisers, sharing their own data and giving advertisers better access to their inventory. And in return, “advertisers are more likely to enable second-party data deals with publishers directly and feel more in control of budget waste,” Jessica Davies writes.

OFFSHORE

The BBC says it’s seeing a spike in claims of sexual harassment and encouraging people to come forward (The Guardian)
In the wake of high-profile sexual harassment scandals, the BBC says it’s seeing more reported claims of sexual harassment as its leadership encourages people to come forward. BBC says it’s had 25 claims this year, whereas it typically fields a “handful” of claims each year. “After the Weinstein material was published we reminded staff again of the procedures,” BBC’s deputy director general Anne Bulford said. “I think we have to deal with cases as they come up and continue to encourage people to speak. Whether they are current or historic in relation to sexual harassment the important thing is people come forward.”

OFFBEAT

Snapchat is addressing concerns that the app is ‘hard to use,’ and saying it needs to attract more users over the age of 34 (Fast Company)
According to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, the app reaches 70 percent of 13- to 34 year-old population in the United States, France, the U.K., and Australia — but Spiegel says Snapchat needs to start reaching more people over the age of 34 if it wants to grow. Part of that, Spiegel says, is acknowledging that the app is “difficult to understand” and “hard to use.” On an earnings call Tuesday, Spiegel said: “We are currently redesigning our application to make it easier to use. There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term, and we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application.”

+ In Q3, Snap added just 5 million users, compared to the 8 million users investors were hoping for (Variety); Spiegel also said Tuesday that the company had “neglected the creator community” and it will start paying top creators, likely in a similar way to how YouTube pays video creators (The Verge)

UP FOR DEBATE

ESPN’s new guidelines try to help staff avoid ‘unwanted controversy,’ but there will be more pressure on people like Jemele Hill to voice their opinions on Trump (Washington Post)
In its new social media guidelines, ESPN seems to be trying to help on-air staff like Jemele Hill avoid “unwanted controversy.” But Washington Post’s Erik Wemple writes that may not be the issue. “Why did such guidelines need a new round of oomph from on high? Look to President Trump. His racism is well established, and it’s hardly shocking that a black woman might wish to denounce it,” Wemple writes. “For Hill and others, the controversy over her tweets about Trump wasn’t ‘unwanted.’ It was urgent.”

+ ESPN public editor Jim Brady on the guidelines: “I think the instincts of those who put them together were right. The clarion call for thinking more broadly about the impact on the company and on colleagues makes sense, and the conclusion that trusting employees is better than a Byzantine web of policies matches the reality of the day-to-day digital world” (ESPN)

SHAREABLE

Facebook experimented with promoting posts containing the word ‘fake’ as a way to combat fake news (BBC)
Trying to prioritize “comments that indicate disbelief,” Facebook conducted a test where it promoted comments containing the word “fake” to the top of its news feed. “It meant feeds from the BBC, the Economist, the New York Times and the Guardian all began with a comment mentioning the word fake,” BBC’s Jane Wakefield writes. “The comments appeared on a wide range of stories, from ones that could be fake to ones that were clearly legitimate. The remarks, which would appear at the top of the comments section, came from a variety of people but the one thing that they had in common was the word fake.” Facebook says it’s ended the test.

+ “What does Mark Zuckerberg really think of the value of news? Not all that much” (Poynter)

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