Need to Know: August 2, 2018
Fresh useful insights for people advancing quality, innovative and sustainable journalism
You might have heard: NYT publisher urges Trump to tone down his anti-press rhetoric, says it has gone “from divisive to increasingly dangerous” (The New York Times)
But did you know: Encouraged by the president, anti-media aggression at Trump rallies intensifies (The Washington Post)
Hostility toward the media at Trump rallies is nothing new, writes Margaret Sullivan. But the crowds at a rally in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday night displayed a level of aggression that was especially alarming. Video showed a sea of worked-up Trump supporters screaming curses at reporters and aggressively gesturing with their middle fingers. Among the crowd were attendees representing the cult-like group QAnon, which was born on Internet message boards such as Reddit and 8Chan and believes in a “deep state” conspiracy to unseat President Trump. Even more unsettling is this group’s love for armed conflict and quasi-military associations, writes Sullivan. “Trump ought to be doing everything in his power to calm the waters at his rallies before real violence — perhaps deadly violence — takes over.”
+ Noted: Local News Lab announces $500k in grants to 10 North Carolina projects that advance local news (Local News Lab); Google plans to launch censored search engine in China, leaked documents reveal (The Intercept); Yahoo Finance will launch live video streaming network this year (Axios); Fund for Investigative Reporting launches fellowship program that aims to increase diversity in watchdog reporting (Fund for Investigative Reporting)
Kristen Hare highlights four ideas from local newsrooms on reaching new audiences. Oklahoma’s Journal Record partners with local public radio stations, which bring its reporters on air for weekly slots that go into greater depth on popular stories. The Columbus Dispatch created a Facebook Group that surfaces archival content and ties it to current events. The Dallas Morning News just launched “Curious Texas Texts,” which allows readers to text in questions and tips to reporters. And veteran Chicago journalist Charlie Meyerson, who writes the popular newsletter Chicago Public Square, says nothing drives new engagement like cross-promotion between media outlets.
+ A primer, planner and solid tactics for reaching new audiences (Better News)
National newspapers in the U.K. are experiencing the best year in almost a decade, thanks in part to an advertiser backlash against Facebook and Google, reports Mark Sweney. “Print display advertising in the national newspaper market rose 1 percent in the first quarter of 2018, the first time there has been an increase since the last quarter of 2010. To put this in context … since the 2010 rise, more than half of national papers have seen double-digit declines in advertising spend of up to 22 percent.” Many newspapers have been capitalizing on advertisers’ growing discontent with social media, which stems from brand and trust issues (like ads running around controversial content), by partnering to offer advertisers more scale and better analytics.
Backpage.com, once the largest publisher of online sex ads in the world, was shut down this year, and the Department of Justice filed a massive indictment against seven of the company’s executives. Altogether, they face 93 federal charges of facilitating prostitution, money laundering and participating in a criminal conspiracy. But the two journalists at the center of the operation have portrayed themselves as First Amendment martyrs, fighting to preserve free speech on the internet.
What Chance the Rapper’s purchase of Chicagoist means (The New York Times)
Chicagoan Chancelor Bennett, known to the world as Chance the Rapper, recently made a surprise announcement that he had purchased the Chicagoist, a local news site that was shut down in 2017 (along with several similar outlets across the country) by its billionaire owner. “Chance’s extraordinary purchase of Chicagoist and the promise to make it an independent media outlet focused on amplifying diverse voices and stories was widely hailed as an extension of his hometown hero persona,” writes Kim Bellware. “For a significant crop of observers, however, the excitement over the artist’s investment was tempered by questions about his own touchy relationship with the media.” Many questions also remain over how Chance plans to keep Chicagoist sustainable, if not profitable. “Nobody should be expecting him, or some billionaire elsewhere, to be a superhero,” writes Bellware.
A reader became my stalker. Is this the new normal for journalists? (Columbia Journalism Review)
For many journalists, threats and harassment are the new normal, writes Steven Petrow. Shortly after the Capital Gazette shooting, Audrey Cooper, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, posted on Twitter: “Every newsroom I know of, regardless of size or geographical area, has at least a handful of people who regularly harass its journalists. Every one.” Journalists generally say the number of threats they receive has increased in recent years, particularly for women journalists, journalists of color, and Jewish, Muslim and LGBT journalists. “Like many of my colleagues, I’m trying hard not to let it change how I work,” writes Petrow, who was stalked and threatened by an angry reader for months. “But I do think twice before meeting a potential source and deciding how much to disclose in my first-person columns.”
+ Aiming for TV dollars, digital publishers adopt Nielsen’s digital content ratings (Digiday); Sassy, self-aware, snarky: How chyrons took on a life of their own (The Washington Post); Shells of history: Photographing New York’s newspaper boxes (Columbia Journalism Review)