Need to Know: August 13, 2021


The New York Times is launching several new, subscriber-only newsletters, and making several existing newsletters available only to paying subscribers. Overall about one-third of its newsletters will be subscriber-only. These include new opinion newsletters from Kara Swisher, Tressie McMillan Cottom and Jay Caspian Kang, as well as existing emails from Jamelle Bouie, Paul Krugman and Frank Bruni. (Axios, Nieman Lab) 


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

Gannett shows robust digital subscription growth but circulation revenues are slipping. At Gannett, digital subscriptions grew by 145,000 during the second quarter, bringing the total number of digital subscribers to 1.4 million across the entire newspaper company. At the same time, digital revenue isn’t making up for losses in revenue from print circulation, which fell 12% from last year. Gannett also aims to diversify its revenue in other ways, such as a partnership to incorporate sports betting and iGaming services. (Poynter) 

Newsrooms are failing to protect women journalists. Survivors hope Felicia Sonmez’s lawsuit will change that. Ever since Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez announced that she was suing the paper for discriminating against her as a sexual assault survivor, female journalists are hoping that this lawsuit could radically change how women are supported and treated in newsrooms. On Twitter this week, Sonmez thanked her colleagues and the union at the Post for their support, writing, “You’re all amazing and have given me more strength than you know.” (The 19th, Twitter, @feliciasonmez) 

How newsrooms can use drone footage and satellite images in their reporting. Drones were introduced as the next big thing in journalism a decade ago, and they’ve been mostly used since for capturing aerial photographs of large areas or big crowds. But there are other ways that drones can be helpful in journalism, particularly in the use of drone data from law enforcement and private companies in data journalism. (


The homepage is not dead in Seattle and yours shouldn’t be either (Better News)

When a person visits your homepage, they are looking to you to tell them what they should be interested in. Here’s how the Seattle Times brought its homepage back to life. This story is part of a series on Better News that showcases innovative and experimental ideas that emerge from Table Stakes, the newsroom training program; and shares replicable tactics that benefit the news industry as a whole. 

+ How to stop doing work that underperforms: Advice from 4 newsrooms


+ The Black reporter who exposed a lie about the atom bomb (The New York Times) 

+ With a tight focus on inequality and a new CEO, the Center for Public Integrity plots a path forward (Nieman Lab) 

+ The world’s northernmost alt-weekly moves south: The publisher of IcePeople, which covers a remote Norwegian archipelago, is moving to Alaska (Columbia Journalism Review)