Need to Know: August 17, 2022


You might have heard: Newsrooms are collaborating to take on ambitious reporting projects (Nieman Reports) 

But did you know: Why collaboration is vital in the fight against disinformation (International Center for Journalists) 

Disinformation is a global issue, writes Laura Zommer, but collaboration among fact-checkers can help fight it. Factchequeado, a fact-checking initiative run by Chequeado in Argentina and Maldita in Spain, ran a story about a Spanish woman who was being catfished on Tinder by someone claiming to be an American soldier. After the story ran in Enlace Latino NC, a partner organization in North Carolina, a woman in Venezuela reached out to say that the story had helped her avoid being scammed in similar fashion on a dating app. “Collaboration is not just an alternative approach — it’s a necessity in the fight against disinformation,” writes Zommer. 

+ Noted: Condé Nast expected to exceed its 2021 revenue (Axios); Morning Brew, a media company targeting millennials, launches a creator program (Axios); Center for Cooperative Media sends members of New Jersey’s community and ethnic media to Independent News Sustainability Summit (Medium, Center for Cooperative Media)


Build trust through an election coverage mission statement (Medium, Trusting News) 

Does your audience know about your goals for election coverage? A lot of newsrooms have a strategy for covering an election, but that strategy is often not shared with readers, writes Lynn Walsh. A mission statement for election coverage focuses only on your election or political coverage, and should address how you cover races, politicians, voting and even democracy. Key elements include your why — the reasons you do what you do, like why you are covering (or not covering) a specific race; your who — the reporters covering the election, and how people can get in touch with them; your how — the way you conduct your work and accomplish the goals you laid out; and the what — where people can find your coverage and stay up to date. 


Five manageable ways to introduce solutions journalism to your newsroom (The Fix) 

Solutions journalism is becoming more popular, but many newsrooms struggle to incorporate it into their overstretched, fast-paced operations. Emma Löfgren recommends five approachable steps for newsrooms to incorporate solutions journalism, beginning by making clear what it means practically to any skeptical members of the team. Solutions journalism doesn’t mean “sugar coating” the news; it is about providing a holistic perspective to an issue and exploring positive developments when they occur. Other tips include making a point to prioritize solutions stories, blocking out time for reporters, including one solutions point in every story and following up on past stories with new solutions. 


Australia’s news media bargaining code pries $140 million from Google and Facebook (Poynter) 

More than $200 million Australian dollars ($140 million USD) each year has moved into the media ecosystem in Australia since the government required Facebook and Google to begin paying news outlets for the news they distribute. A new update to the law allows 24 smaller outlets to receive money from Google, meaning that the tech giant “has made deals with essentially all qualifying media companies,” writes Anya Schiffrin. Despite initial concerns that the scheme would primarily benefit big corporate entities, Schiffrin writes that there is now widespread enthusiasm for the code. “Journalism professors say their students are getting hired and that there are too many job vacancies to fill,” she writes. 

+ Related: Google wins defamation battle as Australia’s high court finds tech giant not a publisher (The Guardian) 


Oracle begins auditing TikTok’s algorithms (Axios) 

Software giant Oracle has been vetting TikTok’s algorithms and content moderation to ensure that it is not influenced by the Chinese government, reports Sara Fischer. The U.S. government has been wary of the Chinese Communist Party’s involvement with the popular app, as well as the privacy of the user data. This is part of TikTok’s broader effort, dubbed Project Texas, to reassure American users and government officials that the app is safe and not manipulated by Chinese authorities. Past reporting had uncovered proof that the app censored content to align with Beijing’s foreign policy messaging, and that foreign user data had been accessed in China. 

+ Earlier: On TikTok, election misinformation thrives ahead of midterms (The New York Times); How frustration over TikTok has mounted in Washington (The New York Times) 


The court-authorized search of Mar-a-Lago was ‘unprecedented’ — but that’s not the real story (Neiman Reports) 

The FBI’s search of former President Trump’s home may have been unprecedented, but Issac J. Bailey argues that journalists should be questioning why such an event is so unique. Presidents are often treated with kid gloves by the media, and too often, he writes, law enforcement allows those with the most power to receive the least scrutiny. “If we can’t hold a president to account while he’s in office or when he’s no longer in office and not even on the ballot, when can we?” Bailey asks. “And if we don’t hold presidents to account, is it really true that no American is above the law?” 


Pivot Fund boosts media companies run by people of color (Georgia Public Broadcasting) 

Last month, philanthropic group Pivot Fund announced that it was giving $2 million in grant funding to news organizations in Georgia owned by people of color. Some of that money is going to Wane Hailes, a one-man band who has been publishing The Courier/Eco Latino for 17 years; he will use his $140,000 grant to hire reporters to cover Black and Spanish-speaking communities. The Fund will also provide technical assistance and consulting services. Pivot Fund’s founder, Tracie Powell, says the goal is to elevate voices from marginalized communities and empower journalists of color to fight disinformation.