Need to Know: API Year in Review

Note from the editor: As 2022 comes to a close, API is reflecting on the work we’ve done this year to support newsrooms in connecting with their communities and navigating industry challenges. For the next three Mondays, we’ll be outlining the work we’ve done this year and what makes us hopeful about journalism in 2023.Our communities depend on the essential work of the free press, and API continues to explore new ways that we can support more news organizations in fulfilling their necessary role in our democracy.

In 2022, we launched a new iteration of the Table Stakes News Transformation Program focused on alumni, created a Beyond Print initiative to help publishers gain momentum in moving toward digital, and deployed the API Inclusion Index to help measure and improve diversity and inclusion throughout news and information ecosystems.

We made our analytics and source diversity tools more robust, and we provided critical aid for news organizations wanting to improve their elections coverage, explore new ways of community listening and build more trust with readers. Lastly, we delivered compelling research into the attitudes and behaviors members of Generation Z and Millennials have toward news and information — insights that will continue to serve the sector well into 2023.

  • These news orgs are boosting revenue with locally themed merchandiseToday’s media landscape is a laboratory of experiments aimed at finding new ways to support the reporting and distribution of news. Some publishers are adding another ingredient to this mix: merchandise that helps build brand, engagement and community pride. It’s turned out to be an unexpected source of revenue for some news organizations to help support their journalism.  
  • How to reach younger, more diverse audiencesWe talked with four leading journalists in regional newsrooms across the country about how we all try to reach younger and more diverse audiences with our coverage and the findings of a report from API and the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research on opportunities for newsrooms to do just that.

Two new studies from the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between API and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, explore Gen Z and Millennials’ complex relationship with the news. 

  • The first report looks at the news habits and attitudes of Americans aged 16 to 40, noting that although a third of respondents are willing to pay for news, their trust in the press is low, many are experiencing digital fatigue, and 9 in 10 are worried about misinformation in both traditional and social media.
  • The second study explores how Gen Z and Millennials get information on essential topics, including crime and public safety, information about COVID-19, health and mental health, and information on traffic, transportation and weather. Stay tuned as we’ll release more insights from the survey in early 2023. 

API awarded more than 50 grants to local news organizations. Paired with peer-learning, many of our 2022 grants helped local news organizations experiment with new ways of listening to and serving communities of color. 

For example, as part of our Listening & Sustainability Lab, the Haitian Times learned that Haitian Americans wanted to hear more inspiring stories of Haitians at home and abroad. In response, the outlet developed the #HaitianExcellence newsletter. 

Through the Election Coverage and Community Listening Fund, grantees experimented in election coverage that would deepen relationships for the future. WBUR and VTDigger created voter guides in multiple languages following input from local residents. Others such as Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Alaska Public Media hosted listening sessions in communities of color that shaped wider election coverage. In early 2023, API will facilitate conversations to help grantees continue to build upon their projects.

 In 2022, API staff shared expertise or facilitated conversations at events organized by at least 20 journalism support groups, including the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Online News Association, Solutions Journalism Network, Lenfest Institute, LION, News Revenue Hub, RevLab and more.

At ONA, Elite Truong led a panel session about reaching younger, more diverse audiences. Michael D. Bolden outlined lessons to keep in mind ahead of the midterm elections. And Joy Mayer, Letrell Crittenden, Liz Worthington and Lynn Walsh discussed building a newsroom strategy to connect with communities of color.