Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Need to Know: Oct. 5, 2017

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


You might have heard: Last month, Pivotal Research claimed that Facebook is inflating the potential reach it offers to advertisers (Reuters)

But did you know: Facebook is accused of inflating its reach among young people — but Facebook says its reach is just an estimate (Poynter)
Just weeks after questions about Facebook’s reach were raised in September, the Video Advertising Bureau, a trade group for cable and broadcast networks and their websites, says Facebook is over-counting how many 18- to 34-year-olds it can reach in the United States. VAB argues that Facebook’s claimed reach exceeds census estimates by as much as one-third in the 18-24 demographic and as much as 80 percent in the 25-34 demographics. Facebook says that those numbers are just an estimate, may not correspond to census data and “are based on a number of factors.” Rick Edmonds writes: “The worse case for Facebook is that hits to its credibility will slow the astronomic rates of ad revenue growth that have kept the company a darling among investors even as it has grown from big to huge.”

+ Noted: Newsroom employees as the Los Angeles Times are trying to unionize, “setting up a potential clash with the newspaper’s parent company, Tronc” (New York Times); After a number of false reports about the Las Vegas shooter, Newsweek retracts a story making a number of claims about Stephen Paddock’s girlfriend (Mic); Facebook’s CrowdTangle is partnering with the Local Media Consortium to give its members access to CrowdTangle (Adweek); The Shorenstein Center receives $683,000 from the Knight Foundation to research best practices for single-subject news products (Shorenstein Center); BuzzFeed says its morning news show AM to DM is bringing in 1 million viewers daily (TechCrunch); Vox Media is launching two livestreaming shows on Twitter: The Verge will launch Circuit Breaker, while Polygon will launch The Polygon Show (Adweek); NewsMatch 2017 opens with $3 million available in matching support for nonprofit newsrooms from the Knight Foundation and MacArthur Foundation (NewsMatch)


‘How to use Tweetdeck and advanced search to make Twitter useful again’ (Poynter)
“Depending on whom you ask, Twitter is either a cavernous vault of useful information or a wretched hive of scum and villainy,” Ren LaForme writes — and it can be both. There’s some simple ways to make Twitter more useful for your purposes as a journalist: Combining features from Twitter’s own advanced search and Tweetdeck, journalists can quickly comb through millions of tweets. LaForme outlines some tips for using advanced search and Tweetdeck to filter tweets for what you’re looking for.


France’s Liberation says half of its mobile ad revenue is now coming from Facebook Instant Articles (Digiday)
Some publishers have found it challenging to effectively monetize Instant Articles, but French publisher Liberation is finding success. Liberation says it’s now making more money through ads on Instant Articles than it is through mobile ads on its own website. Liberations head of digital Xavier Grangier says that Instant Articles accounts for 55 percent of the publisher’s mobile revenue — but Instant Articles pageviews account for just 10 percent of its total mobile pageviews. “For us [Instant Articles is] a good thing,” Grangier says. “The problem is we don’t drive subscriptions, but revenue and visibility are important at the moment. This could change in time to focus more on subscriptions.”


Tech companies have a bigger problem with racial representation in leadership than with gender representation (Wired)
According to a new study from Ascend Leadership, tech companies have a bigger problem with racial diversity than gender diversity in leadership ranks. The study found that representation of white women in leadership roles increased by 17 percent between 2007 and 2015 — but for all other minority groups, it fell. “White women are continuing to benefit from the system of racism, even when they are also experiencing discrimination because of their gender,” Open Mic associate director Hannah Lucal says. Lucal recommends that businesses look at issues of sexism and racism as problems that operate in tandem, “rather than interpret studies like this as a hierarchy of discrimination.”


If Google bundles news subscriptions like cable TV, ‘the price of paid news may not stay high’ (Financial Times)
“The fact that internet giants and consumers now concede that there is a price to pay for quality information does not mean that the price will be high: instead, publishers will face a renewed challenge,” John Gapper writes. “ So far, there have in effect been two prices for news — free or expensive. … As platforms such as Google start to mediate paid news, it is easy to imagine them becoming bundlers. It is also easy to imagine consumers wanting such a service. … It is possible to imagine bundling helping everyone, but premium news publishers shudder when they mention it. Some of them — perhaps Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post — may accept less to reach more readers. Others fear that it would not cover the costs of deeply researched news.”

+ “When Facebook and Google are ‘weaponized,’ the victim is reality,” Margaret Sullivan argues: “Elevating the judgment of experienced, intelligent news experts — editors, by any other name — must be a central part of the answer. The tech giants need to fully grasp what’s happening here, and devote their attention and plentiful resources to addressing it” (Washington Post)


Americans are becoming increasingly confident in the media and less confident in the Trump administration, a Reuters/Ipsos poll finds (Reuters)
According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, Americans’ trust in news organizations is growing, while their trust in the Trump administration is falling. The poll found that the percentage of people who have a “great deal” or “some” confidence in the press rose to 48 percent in September from 39 percent in November 2016. Meanwhile, the percentage of people who have a “great deal” or “some” in Trump’s executive branch fell to 48 percent in September from 51 percent in May and 52 percent in January.

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 »