Need to Know: April 19, 2018

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


You might have heard: Tampa Bay Times chairman and CEO warned last month that tariffs on newsprint from Canada could increase the newspaper’s expenses by $3 million, and force the company to cut jobs (Tampa Bay Times)

But did you know: The Tampa Bay Times is cutting 50 jobs, and a spokesperson says the cuts are directly related to newsprint tariffs (Tampa Bay Business Journal)
The Tampa Bay Times announced on Wednesday that it’s cutting approximately 50 jobs, and a spokesperson confirmed to the Tampa Bay Business Journal that the cuts are directly related to rising newsprint tariffs. The spokesperson wouldn’t say how many cuts would be in the newsroom but said “cuts are taking place throughout the organization.” “These tariffs will also hurt our employees, because payroll is the only expense that is bigger than newsprint,” Tash wrote last month. “To help offset the extra expense of paper, publishers will eliminate jobs. Make no mistake: These tariffs will cause layoffs across American newspapers, including this one.”

+ Noted: Harper’s editor James Marcus says he was fired after objecting to Katie Roiphe’s essay on “Twitter feminism” and the “Shitty Media Men” list (New York Times); Dow Jones is partnering with ad-blocking browser Brave to offer users free access to or a premium newsletter, testing blockchain-based tech as a way to pay publishers (TechCrunch); Wikipedia is prototyping how its page previews can be used by news organizations to add more context by embedding them in stories (Wikimedia Foundation); HelloGiggles, which was bought by Time Inc. in 2015 and now a part of Meredith, publishes its first print edition, which will be sent to 500,000 People subscribers between the ages of 18 and 39 (Adweek)


How the Bay Area News Group built content guides and checklists to train staff and reach new audiences (Better News)
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Bay Area News Group had moved to a digital first publishing platform but quickly realized some writers and editors were finding an audience for their content better than others. They realized they needed to get everyone on the same page — with a suite of digital content guides. Our case study explores how they did that and what lessons they learned in the process.

+ See the rest of our resources about reaching new audiences, staffing and workflow, and skill development on Better News


A field guide to security training in newsrooms (OpenNews)
“We want to see a whole lot more people prepared to answer those questions [about security and protecting data] and help newsrooms do a better job of communicating (and storing data) securely.” BuzzFeed Open Lab and OpenNews worked together to create a series of training modules and resource guides to help newsrooms step up their “security literacy.” The resources include ideas on how to be a better trainer and how to frame the conversation in your newsroom, lesson plans on password security and two-factor authentication, and a trove of resources from the community that will continue to be added to.


Poland’s leading newspaper was going to give up on monetizing local content. Now, local content is central to growing its digital subscriptions (Nieman Lab)
Two years ago, 50 percent of Polish newspaper’s Gazeta Wyborcza pageviews were coming from its local content, but only 2 percent of its subscriptions were coming from local content; today, 20 percent of its subscriptions come from local content. Thanks to a strategy spearheaded by Danuta Breguła, Gazeta Wyborcza has turned its focus to “evangelizing” its newsroom and found benchmark data from newsrooms worldwide to base its goals on.


How local food bloggers compete with Yelp reviews (Marketing & Growth Hacking)
“The Yelper is not paid to do anything,” says Nancy Rahman, who founded The Chicago Chic. “They have some free time and write their opinion. They don’t spend X amount of hours a week to get their passion across. They’re not very detailed in the way they describe the food.” Simon Owens examines how food bloggers contend with Yelp, where anyone can write a review of a restaurant. One way, Owen reports, is in the selection of restaurants local food bloggers review: “We were pretty much only reviewing upscale restaurants,” Rob Balon, who writes Dining Out with Rob Balon, says. “The local sandwich shop, the local taqueria  —  we didn’t have anything against them, we just didn’t write about them. We wrote about the top 30 restaurants, the French places, the higher end spots. And one thing we realized is that we really needed to broaden our base of coverage.”


What comes after today’s social media empires? (BuzzFeed News)
“It’s a really different world post-2016. The election may have helped fragment us more than we were fragmented,” Ethan Zuckerman tells BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith. “Maybe we’ve reached the point where it’s not even possible to have Facebook in common.” Smith writes that there are some signs that the social media oligopoly may be coming to an end — but the question is, what comes after that? Rather than forecasting the rise of any new social platform, Smith writes: “It is possible that scale and centralization are just yesterday’s and today’s problems in this landscape of media and politics. Tomorrow’s may involve the birth of a fragmented new ecosystem with no Silicon Valley headquarters and no executives to grill.”


How GDPR will change Facebook’s ad targeting (Digiday)
When the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect on May 25, Facebook may have to drastically change how it targets ads, Jessica Davies writes. “Facebook will no longer be able to process news feed posts for ad-targeting purposes, unless those posts are marked ‘public’ or ‘friends of friends’ because they tend to include what the GDPR defines as ‘special categories of data,’” Davies reports. Plus, “[Facebook] is in the challenging position of being classified as a data controller and a data processor under GDPR law. So for certain tools like Facebook’s Lead Ads, which allow advertisers to collect information from users directly from mobile ads on Facebook, both Facebook and the businesses that use that tool are data controllers, meaning both parties are responsible for ensuring compliance.”

+ Facebook said on Wednesday that it’s introducing enhanced privacy controls for all users with an initial launch in the EU, giving users more choice about ads, face recognition and information in their profile (Facebook Newsroom); Facebook also said that it is updating its terms of service in May for users outside the EU, putting those users outside of GDPR control (Reuters)