Need to Know: April 28, 2021


You might have heard: Unions push for pay equity as a path forward (Nieman Foundation) 

But did you know: Gannett is under fire for paying some women nearly $30,000 less than male peers (CNN)

A new study published by the NewsGuild has found that women and journalists of color in Gannett newsrooms were underpaid compared to their peers. The study, which looked at 466 employees across 14 unionized newsrooms, found that the median salary for women was nearly $10,000 less than the median salary for men. The gap between non-white women and white men was more than $15,000. The pay disparity grew with experience; women with 30 years of experience made $27,000 less than men with the same tenure. Of the newsrooms surveyed, the gap was greatest at The Arizona Republic, one of Gannett’s largest newsrooms. 

+ Noted: Report for America expands into 200-plus newsrooms with 300 journalists, 45% are journalists of color (Report for America); Washington Post Magazine seeks pitches for underreported stories in communities across the country (The Washington Post); CNN Business launches internal investigation into treatment of women, workplace culture (Mediaite); Registrations are open for the 2021 Collaborative Journalism Summit, which will be held May 19-21 (Montclair State University); The Texas Tribune’s RevLab is hosting Events Bootcamp, a free, in-depth training program designed to help newsrooms create their own events strategy (RevLab)


Trust Tip: Use major news events to build trust (Trusting News)

Big news events are often how new readers, viewers or listeners find your organization, and they can be a great opportunity to build trust with the community. When planning for a big event like a high-profile trial or a major sports game, make a point of sharing your big plans with your audience. Create a landing page that has all of the basic information, links to all coverage, an explanation of how you’re gathering new information, and your goals and priorities for this coverage. Sign up for weekly Trust Tips here, and learn more about the Trusting News project — including how your newsroom can get free coaching — here. 


Carolina Public Press launches speakers’ bureau (Carolina Public Press) 

The Carolina Public Press, an investigative nonprofit in North Carolina, has launched its own speakers’ bureau, currently made up of contributors and staff. Members of the bureau will be available for in-person and virtual speaking engagements on both topics of subject matter expertise and journalism industry-related issues. Angie Newsome, founder and executive director of the outlet, said in a statement that the bureau “adds another layer to fulfilling our mission to bring critical information to the people of North Carolina.” A group looking to book a speaker will be asked if they can “provide an honorarium, travel stipend or paid underwriting,” but the organization says that is not a requirement for booking a speaker. 

+ Related: AAJA Studio, a speakers’ bureau run by the Asian American Journalists Association, brings the perspectives and expertise of Asian American and Pacific Islander voices to the forefront of newsrooms, storytelling and representation (AAJA Studio) 


Journalism students are aiming to write an obituary for every Canadian who has died of COVID-19 (JSource) 

More than 22,000 people in Canada have died of COVID-19, and Alison Uncles, editor-in-chief of the newsmagazine Maclean’s, wanted to publish an obituary for each of the victims, as well as all Canadians abroad who have died from it. She teamed up with Carleton University’s Future of Journalism Initiative, which recruited journalism students from across the country to write the obituaries. One journalist-in-residence has built a database of COVID-19 casualties and helps the students with writing and publishing. So far, 800 obits have been produced for the Maclean series entitled “They Were Loved.” 


The podcast paywall wars have arrived — NPR plans to launch podcast subscription service (Axios)

NPR has confirmed that it will launch a public radio podcast subscription service, which will allow listeners to directly support specific podcasts. The service will also allow listeners to receive sponsorship-free versions of podcasts for a fee. Revenue from the podcasts will be shared with local member stations. NPR will partner with Apple and Spotify, who have both recently announced paid subscription offerings. Spotify will allow creators to produce podcasts exclusively for paid subscribers — both those on Spotify and those not. For the first two years, all of that revenue will go to the podcast creators. Apple announced that it will begin allowing producers to start offering premium subscriptions through Apple Podcasts, and will take a 30% cut of the revenue. 


Why Time sees opportunity in Bitcoin for advertisers and consumers as an ‘additive business line’ (Digiday) 

Time Magazine will begin accepting Bitcoin and 31 other cryptocurrencies, and has begun allowing sponsors to pay for ad campaigns in Bitcoin. The brand is hoping that, with this option, “native crypto users” will be introduced to the brand, while the “crypto-curious” will see a real-world use for the asset. Some have argued that Bitcoin’s volatility — including a recent dive of more $10,000 per coin in less than a week — make it a precarious bet, but Time’s president Keith Grossman says it’s a risk worth taking. “It’s an additive business line for us that doesn’t come at the expense of anything else,” Grossman said, adding that he views crypto as more of a “store of value” than a currency. 


The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is taking on agribusiness in the heartland (Global Investigative Journalism Network) 

When the pandemic struck, Sky Chadde at the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting realized that COVID-19 was hitting the meatpacking workforce particularly hard, but there was no central database of cases and deaths in the industry. By extracting numbers from individual news stories as well as state and federal records, Chadde built a dashboard that has so far tracked nearly 50,000 coronavirus cases at meat and poultry processing facilities. But the center knew that data alone wasn’t the full story, so in partnership with USA Today, Chadde and two other reporters began a five-month investigation into the spread of COVID-19 at a plant in Missouri, where sick workers were told to keep working while they awaited test results. The investigation was part of the Midwest Center’s comprehensive coverage of agribusiness in the region.