Need to Know: August 1, 2022


You might have heard: A Green Bay Packers-style approach to rescue Colorado newspaper (Seattle Times)

But did you know: Can the Green Bay Packers inspire a new model for local journalism? (Green Bay Press Gazette)

Last week, Dave Perry, editor of The Sentinel in Aurora, Colorado, and Laura Frank, executive director of Colorado News Collaborative, attended an annual meeting of the Green Bay Packers. They wanted to see how the Packers shareholder model worked, thinking that perhaps The Sentinel could adopt the same approach. “The idea is to use community ownership and a loyal and engaged fan base to help turn the tide of an industry whose business model is struggling to support local journalism that is essential for democracy,” writes Richard Ryman. The question is whether such a model would work for the newspaper, which Frank said may need a combination of funding sources.

+ Noted: In widening crackdown, renowned journalist arrested in Guatemala (The New York Times); Antenna Group emerges as bidder for Vice Media (The New York Times); Megan Griffith-Greene named The Washington Post’s service journalism editor (The Washington Post)


Pittsburgh Foundation awards grant to API for newsroom training in covering communities of color 

The Pittsburgh Foundation has awarded the American Press Institute $50,000 to support training for local newsrooms to more accurately cover communities of color. The funding will help underwrite API’s previously announced diversity initiative in the Pittsburgh area, which is also supported by the Henry L. Hillman Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. In partnership with the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, API will provide its new Inclusion Index service to a cohort consisting of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh City Paper, PublicSource and Pitt News.


It takes hard work from all sides to build coalitions across identities and communities (Source)

Creating coalitions across identities and communities is hard work, but it’s especially important now, writes Francisco Vara-Orta, the director of diversity and inclusion for Investigative Reporters & Editors. Vara-Orta has built a list of nine tips for coalition building across differences, drawing insights from his work to help others form trust and create allyship. His first one: “Listen first, always. Even if it’s hard.” Sincerely, Leaders of Color, hosted at Source from OpenNews, is written for those who care about creating a more supportive environment for journalists of color to do their best work. This series regularly includes guest writers, the budget of which is sponsored by API.


Jordan’s 7iber: From citizen’s blog to watchdog journalism (Global Investigative Journalism Network) 

The Jordanian magazine 7iber (which translates as “ink” and is pronounced as heh-ber) has evolved from its founding as a blog in 2007 to its present form as an online investigative magazine covering issues often overlooked by mainstream media, writes Ahmad Haj Hamdo. He cites, as an example of 7iber’s work, a story of how generations of marginalized Pakistanis have lived in Jordan for decades, residing in huts and having little access to education or citizenship. But 7iber faces challenges. While Jordan ranks higher than most of its peers in the Middle East and North African region in terms of press freedom, there are still “significant problems” in accessing information, said Lina Ejeilat, 7iber’s editor. 


Twitter storm erupts over Ukrainian president’s Vogue photoshoot with Annie Leibovitz (The Art Newspaper)

A Vogue photo spread with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and First Lady Olena Zelenska has sparked a clamor on social media, highlighting “the power and pitfalls of wartime images,” writes Sophia Kishkovsky. The photoshoot by Annie Liebovitz, which accompanied a wide-ranging Vogue interview with Zelenska, brought out critics including the political analyst Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group, who tweeted that while Zelenskyy has done a good job in the information war against the Russians, the photo shoot was a “bad idea.” Others praised the spread as a way to promote Ukraine’s cause.

+ Related: The Zelenskys are in Vogue. That makes them smart, not silly. (The Washington Post) 


The Murdochs and Trump aligned for mutual benefit. That may be changing. (The Washington Post)

Associates of Rupert Murdoch say he seems to have lost his enthusiasm for Donald Trump, write Sarah Ellison and Jeremy Barr. Support from Murdoch’s Fox News and other right-wing outlets has been key to the former president’s political career, but the Jan. 6 committee hearings and other investigations have helped convince Murdoch that Trump is “losing his political expediency.” One former Fox News commentator told The Post that “appearing loyal to Trump made them money, and the minute it stops making them money, they will stop doing it.”  


I shuttered my own news startup. Here’s what journalism should learn from my experience (UNC Center for Innovation & Sustainability in Local Media)

In 2019 Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen founded her own news site, the Raleigh Convergence, but ended up having to shut it down this year when it became unsustainable amid the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges. Still, she experimented with a new formula and learned a number of valuable lessons about the future of journalism, including the need to rethink the digital news story as journalism’s “primary unit.” She also details the steps of how she closed down her site, informing supporters and subscribers along the way. 

+ Postscript: Owen Wiskirchen is starting today as senior editor for audience and operations at USA Today. (Twitter, @SarahDayOwen)