Need to Know: April 3, 2020


You might have heard: Just 14% of American adults pay for news, and the majority (71%) said they believe local media is doing well financially (Pew Research Center)

But did you know: Young people are twice as likely to pay for news in the U.S., U.K., and Germany than those over 55 (Nieman Lab)

A new report from the World Economic Forum on media consumption habits in China, Germany, India, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States found that, across the board, 16% of survey respondents pay for news and 44% pay for entertainment media, despite a vast majority reporting they read, watch, or listen to news (80%) and entertainment (around 90%) for almost 24 hours a week.  Looking across all countries, the younger generation(s) were still more likely to pay than their elders, with 17% shelling out for news content and 61% for entertainment. Almost half — 45% — of Americans said they are willing to pay for news and an even higher number (61%) for entertainment in the future.

+ Earlier: Our study found that younger subscribers are more likely in urban areas and large metro papers

+ Noted: Google puts up $6.5 million to help fight coronavirus misinformation (The Keyword); Today at 1 p.m. ET, LION Publishers will host a free webinar on “How to manage your local news business in the face of a pandemic” (AirTable); CQ RollCall, now Fiscal Note, laid off 30 staffers Thursday (AdWeek); The Tow Center for Digital Journalism is maintaining a COVID-19 newsroom cutbacks tracker (Google Forms)


Free content, tools and funding to help your newsroom cover the coronavirus

As newsrooms work flat-out to cover the biggest story of our time, API is highlighting some of the free tools and grant funding that are being developed to supplement newsrooms’ existing resources around coronavirus coverage. Among the resources: expert quotes and embeddable graphics from SciLine, solutions journalism that can be republished for free, and new sources of relief funding for journalists impacted by the pandemic. 


What to know about the April jobs report that comes out today (Journalist’s Resource)

Today the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly national employment summary, which will get massive media attention because the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the U.S. economy in March. But the May report will present a much clearer picture of how the pandemic has affected unemployment, said former BLS Commissioner Erica Groshen. In today’s summary, reporters should look for subtle indicators of how the labor market is faring, like whether people were laid off permanently or temporarily (furloughs indicate more hope for the future than layoffs) and if employers are starting to cut hours and temporary workers. Temporary jobs are often the first to go in difficult times, Groshen said. Those jobs can be a bellwether for both economic calm and economic storms.

+ For journalism educators: a resource packet that walks your students through coronavirus reporting projects (PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs)


In Australia, top 10 news websites surge by 54% but drop in advertising puts pressure on media industry (The Guardian)

Media companies across Australia are cutting costs where they can before letting permanent staff go. Nine Entertainment, publishers of the Herald, the Age and the Financial Review, has followed News Corp Australia’s call to staff to take accrued leave. Regional newspapers have been hit hard. Several closed shop last week, and publishers are calling on the federal government to release funds from the $40 million  small and regional publishers innovation package. Sources said journalists at Australian Community Media newspapers, which have seen a 37% growth in audience, are being taken aside individually and asked to take leave.


How a Boston Globe website started connecting those in need with those who can help (Nieman Lab)

Boston Helps gives helpers five ways to support a community member struggling during the coronavirus pandemic: paying for someone’s groceries; paying for someone’s essential toiletries; paying for meal delivery to someone’s home; paying for a rideshare service locally; or by giving money to help a Bostonian. On the flip side, people who need these services can select which one they need the most. Matt Karolian, the general manager of, said the idea for the project came out of seeing the immediate needs that readers and others in the community were voicing. “We knew at some point in time, other organizations would come online, that government services would catch up. But just given what was happening … we thought we could just move quickly, within 48 hours, to get a resource together.”

+ Earlier: If you like this idea but your newsroom doesn’t have the resources to launch a whole new website, try embedding this free “I need help/I can help” widget into your coronavirus articles (Dallas Morning News)


When it comes to Trump, media shouldn’t keep its distance (Politico)

First the Trump administration’s White House press briefings were too much like state propaganda. Then journalists complained that there weren’t enough of those briefings. Then some news outlets stopped airing the briefings because the president spouted too many lies and misleading statements. Now, a handful of leading news outlets are staying away from Trump’s now-daily press briefings because there’s “not enough news to risk their health.” But journalists should never pass up the opportunity to cover the administration’s public response to the pandemic, argues Jack Shafer. “For the Washington Post and New York Times to put the backs of their hands to their foreheads and say they can’t bear reporting from these White House briefings because they don’t contain enough news — or because the virus makes them too dangerous to attend — are abrogating their duties. The deal they made with their readers was to pursue the news even if it poses a peril to their correspondents.”

+ “Hard for me to keep up with which of us should and should not be attending or writing about briefings that we are not supposed to be covering.” (Twitter, @joshgerstein)


Looking for good news in your community? ‘Just drive around’ (Poynter)

In a neighborhood outside of Annapolis, Md., a local mom set up a folding table loaded with bag lunches for any hungry person happening to pass by. It’s one of many small ways people across the country are stepping up to help their neighbors through the pandemic. Reporting on these efforts can help multiply their effects — and reduce coronavirus-induced news fatigue in readers. “If people feel safe, I would encourage them to just drive around the neighborhoods and look for things like that,” said Capital Gazette reporter Selene San Felice, who wrote a short article on the Annapolis mom. “And also scour the neighborhood Facebook groups. People really want to share good news right now, so they’ll be extra willing to help.


+ Public government meetings are being cancelled, postponed or moved online — here’s what reporters need to know (City Bureau)

+ How coronavirus is testing the power of unionized newsrooms (CNN)