Need to Know: August 12, 2022


This week, Axios announced that it was selling itself to Cox Enterprises for $525 million. Cox, the owner of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, had seemed to be exiting the news business, but Axios’ expansion into local markets was likely part of the appeal for Cox. Industry experts say that the price, while high, was deserving, and that a potential recession makes acquisitions more appealing to large companies. (The New York Times, Nieman Lab, Poynter, Digiday)


These are the stories that captured the most interest from Need to Know subscribers this week. 

How a former Florida political operative broke the Mar-a-Lago FBI story. Peter Schorsch, the publisher of, received a tip from a source that the FBI was raiding Mar-a-Lago. He announced his scoop on Twitter, beating the former president’s own statement by 15 minutes. (The Washington Post) 

Republicans have long feuded with the mainstream media. Now many are shutting them out. Candidates are particularly ignoring national news outlets. They are still able to get their message out via other channels, while reducing the amount of scrutiny that they face.  (NPR)

Why does the New York Times prosper while Gannett struggles? The Times has the benefit of a single main newsroom, no debt and a head start on digital subscriptions, while Gannett is juggling hundreds of newsrooms. (Poynter) 



Guiding people to practical information: Key takeaways from experiments in ‘service journalism’

Newsrooms large and small are discovering — and in some cases, rediscovering — that they can find traction in giving consumers practical information, on subjects ranging from voting to student debt to COVID-19, in a confusing world. With midterm elections approaching, economic concerns multiplying and the pandemic grinding onward, the opportunities for news organizations to help their audiences navigate these uncertainties — and build trust with those audiences in the process — are growing.

American Press Institute names Samantha Ragland as Vice President of Journalism Programs

API announced today that Samantha Ragland, an experienced journalist, educator and digital strategist, will join our team as Vice President of Journalism Programs. Ragland is currently a member of the faculty at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, where she also serves as director of the Leadership Academy for Women in Media. In her new role, Ragland will lead API’s efforts to promote cultural transformation and business sustainability in media, helping news organizations serve diverse readers and communities more effectively. Her portfolio will include the Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program and Beyond Print, our newest initiative in partnership with The Lenfest Institute to help guide publishers away from print-centric revenue models.  


+ Meet The Kansas City Defender, a nonprofit news outlet aimed at young Black people across the Midwest (Nieman Lab) 

+ “Call it a self-imposed term limit”: Why media critic Margaret Sullivan is exiting The Washington Post (Vanity Fair) 

+ How Russia took over Ukraine’s internet in occupied territories (The New York Times) 

+ Where does Alex Jones go from here? Watching the Alex Jones trial with an ex-Infowars staffer (The Atlantic, Galaxy Brain)