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Need to Know: Oct. 11, 2017

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


You might have heard:Women dominate journalism schools, but newsrooms are still a different story” (Poynter)

But did you know: Since 2001, the share of women in newsrooms has increased by just 1 percentage point, ASNE data shows (Nieman Lab)
In ASNE’s latest newsroom diversity survey, women make up 39.1 of all newsroom employees in 2017, up slightly from 38.7 percent in 2016. But in 2001, that number was 37.4 percent, with just over 1 percentage point of growth in the last 16 years. ASNE surveyed 661 news organizations, 598 of which were newspapers and 63 of which were online-only news outlets. “The data isn’t surprising to those who’ve been following the issue. But progress is slow,” Laura Hazard Owen writes. Earlier this year, ASNE executive director Teri Hayt explained why ASNE was choosing to focus its survey on diversity instead of jobs lost: “Why aren’t we seeing the number of people of color employed in newsrooms move … when we’ve been doing this and talking about diversity for, what, more than 20 years, maybe more than 30 years?

+ ASNE’s data shows that the share of people of color working in newsrooms fell slightly in 2017: People of color made up 16.55 percent of those surveyed, down from 16.94 percent in 2016 (Poynter)

+ With a $300,000 grant from the Democracy Fund, ASNE will overhaul its annual diversity survey, creating a “more comprehensive and data-driven survey that catalogues newsroom diversity numbers for U.S. print and online publications” (ASNE)

+ Noted: Medium opens up its partner program, allowing anyone to publish content behind its paywall (TechCrunch) and “Medium wouldn’t tell me how many paying members it has, though a spokeswoman said ‘early signs indicate that content is converting readers’”(Nieman Lab); Time Inc. is cutting the circulation of Time magazine, and making Sports Illustrated and Fortune’s print editions less frequent (Wall Street Journal); NYT names “Feminist Fight Club” author Jessica Bennett as its first gender editor (Poynter); ProPublica Illinois started publishing Tuesday (ProPublica Illinois); Quartz is launching a new edition as a “a guide to being a better manager, building your career, and navigating the modern workplace” (Quartz at Work); Flipboard announces a self-service program for publishers “with the intention of leveraging mobile standards and a program that rewards reader-friendly content on the platform” (The Drum)


Small newsroom? Here’s 5 tips for scaling down big projects (Poynter)
“It’s not hard to find inspiring, interesting, boundary-pushing journalism at both the national and local level,” Poynter’s Kristen Hare and Iowa Falls Times Citizen editor Sara Baranowski write. But it can be challenging in small newsrooms or newsrooms without a lot of resources to feel like you have the time or bandwidth to take on such ambitious projects. Hare and Baranowski offer five tips on how to scale big projects down, based on a session at the Online News Association Conference last week. Some of their advice: Start by finding a project that inspires you, and then boil it down to what the project is at its essence. “First, I consume it as a member of the audience, then I go back to it as a researcher,” Baranowski says on this process.

+ “Publishers, you need ‘what should happen next?’ analytics” (Baekdal Plus)


WSJ reporter Ayla Albayrak is sentenced to 2 years in prison by a Turkish court that declared her guilty of terrorist propaganda (Wall Street Journal)
A Turkish court sentenced Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak to two years and one month in prison on Tuesday, declaring Albayrak guilty of “engaging in terrorist propaganda in support of a banned Kurdish separatist organization through one of her Journal articles.” Albayrak is currently in New York, and plans to appeal to decision. Condemning the Turkish court’s decision, the Committee to Protect Journalists highlighted how the decision reflects an increased targeting of journalists in Turkey: “The conviction of Ayla in Turkey is a very worrying sign and an escalation of the crackdown on the press. We call on the Turkish authorities to overturn this decision immediately,” said Nina Ognianova, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator.


The key to being a good leader at work is learning to delegate well (Harvard Business Review)
“As your responsibilities become more complex, the difference between an effective leader and a super-sized individual contributor with a leader’s title is painfully evident,” Jesse Sostrin writes. “While it may seem difficult, elevating your impact requires you to embrace an unavoidable leadership paradox: You need to be more essential and less involved. When you justify your hold on work, you’re confusing being involved with being essential. But the two are not the same — just as being busy and being productive are not necessarily equal. … To know if you’re guilty of holding on to too much, answer this simple question: If you had to take an unexpected week off work, would your initiatives and priorities advance in your absence?”


‘The media needs to look in the mirror after Harvey Weinstein’ (Observer)
“The media loves to call for soul searching in other industries. Rarely does it heed its own calls. What has happened with Harvey Weinstein … should be one of those moments, because the press has badly botched their coverage of this controversial man going on thirty years,” Observer editor-at-large Ryan Holiday argues. “It is deeply hypocritical for the media to demand calls for investigations into other industries, the way they hold other public facing individuals accountable for doing nothing, yet when faced with the shortcomings of their own industry, they write about everything but their own moral failings. The New York Times headline was ‘Harvey Weinstein’s Media Enablers’ but they neglected to mention their own gutting of a Weinstein story in 2004. … If there had been this kind of cowardice and complicity in any other industry, one can only imagine the outrage and condemnation that these same editors and reporters would be piling up.”

+ Huffington Post reports that NBC passed on Ronan Farrow’s Weinstein story due to sourcing concerns, then clearing the NBC contributor to take it to the New Yorker (Huffington Post)


An NYT analysis finds that much of the content on Russia-linked Facebook pages during the election was recorded, posted or written by Americans (New York Times)
Analyzing hundreds of posts on Facebook pages found to be linked to Russia, The New York Times finds that much of the content Russia was using to influence the 2016 presidential election was originally created and posted by Americans, harnessing “the anger, passion and misinformation that real Americans were broadcasting across social media platforms.” Jonathan Albright, research director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, says: “This is cultural hacking. They are using systems that were already set up by these platforms to increase engagement. They’re feeding outrage — and it’s easy to do, because outrage and emotion is how people share.”

+ Tim O’Reilly on ways to put the brakes on “fake news” and rebuild trust on the internet (Nieman Reports)

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