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Need to Know: Feb. 5, 2016

Fresh useful insights for people advancing quality, innovative and sustainable journalism


You might have heard: In its fourth quarter results, The New York Times reported a 5 percent growth in digital subscriptions while daily print circulation declined by 6.9 percent (New York Times)

But did you know: The New York Times will conduct a comprehensive review of newsroom strategies (Huffington Post)
As print circulation continues to decline and the digital transformation continues, Dean Baquet said to staff in a memo, “It is time to catch our breath and come up with a shared vision for what our report, and ultimately the New York Times newsroom, should look like in the coming years.” To that end, The New York Times will conduct a review of its newsroom strategies, including NYT’s desk system and its “slower-growing enterprises.” The review, which will be led by David Leonhardt, could likely include some staff cuts, Michael Calderone writes.

+ Noted: A new editor is expected to be announced for the Las Vegas Review-Journal as early as today, and Ken Doctor reports that stories involving Sheldon Adelson are being reviewed, changed or killed entirely on a daily basis (Politico Media) and GateHouse CEO Mike Reed defends the controversial investigation of judges (Politico Media); Chicago Sun-Times owner Michael Ferro buys a stake in Tribune Publishing, becoming the largest shareholder in the company and doubling the amount of cash Tribune has to potentially buy the Orange County Register (Los Angeles Times); News Corp reports Q2 revenue of $2.16 billion, a 4 percent year-over-year decline, and says it will focus on streamlining its newspapers in the U.K. and Australia (CNBC); Public radio staffers are creating new guidelines for how to measure podcast audiences (Nieman Lab)


The week in fact-checking
As part of our fact-checking journalism project, Jane Elizabeth highlights stories worth noting related to truth in politics and on the Internet. This week’s round-up includes what data is behind surveys ranking the best places to live, how “The People v. O.J. Simpson” was fact-checked, and looking forward to a new version of the fact-checking newsletter.


5 Google Analytics reports you may not be using (MediaShift)
Google Analytics is the source of lots of useful insights about how your audience is using your website, but Webcredible’s Mark Cunnah says there are some reports in Google Analytics you may not be using. Cunnah explains how to use Segments to break down your audience into useful groupings and how to use Events to track transactions on your site, such as signing up for a newsletter or downloading a PDF.


After launching mobile-optimized websites and apps for 4 of its brands, Johnston Press had record-breaking traffic in January (What’s New in Publishing)
Johnston Press is planning to launch new mobile-optimized websites and apps for 11 brands in March and April after seeing success with mobile-friendly redesigns for 4 other brands. Johnston Press says it saw a 20 percent increase in unique visitors in January 2016 over January 2015, and traffic for the redesigned websites in particular saw increased traffic. The redesigns launching later this spring will include responsive, mobile-friendly designs with better integration of display and native ads, along with native apps for iOS and Android.

+ Dutch publisher Voetbal International isn’t seeing a lot of success from its first anti-ad blocking campaign: Only 1 percent of users have whitelisted the site after seeing a message about how advertising funds journalism and asking users to turn their blocker off, and Voetbal plans to use the results from this experiment to inform its subscription strategy (Digiday)


Snapchat is worth paying attention to because people are using it like they did Facebook in 2005 (Edelman)
If you find yourself wondering if you should really know anything about Snapchat, Edelman’s Joe Scannell writes that there’s a simple reason that you should: “People are using Snapchat in 2016 like they were using Facebook in 2005.” Scannell says that alone is an opportunity, even if Snapchat doesn’t prove to be right for all people and all companies. Among Scannell’s reasons why you should pay attention to the platform: Snapchat is easy to learn how to use, and it’s still the “Wild West,” meaning marketers and news organizations are still learning the best ways to use the platform and “the only limit is your own creativity.”


The industry isn’t any closer to defining ‘viewability,’ and it’s made more complicated by the fact that publishers and advertisers have different priorities (What’s New in Publishing)
The current ad landscape can’t continue to exist if ads aren’t being seen, Lisa Menaldo writes, making it essential for the industry to nail down a definition of what “viewability” really is. But defining the idea of viewability is made more complicated by the fact that publishers and advertisers have different priorities, Menaldo writes: “It certainly doesn’t help that publishers and brands have different perceptions of what is considered an acceptable level of viewability. For brands, the priority is securing maximum viewability to ensure the highest return. Some publishers, however, value quantity over quality and sell large volumes of low-cost inventory with little guarantee of viewability.”

+ Research from IPG Media Lab found that viewability may not matter as much as the time spent viewing the ad: As an ad’s viewability increased, so did people’s attention to and recall of the ad, but for ads to have a 25 percent chance of being recalled, the research found they need to be on-screen for four seconds, regardless of how much of the ad is visible (Wall Street Journal)


Pew: 24 percent of Americans say cable news is the most helpful source for election news (Pew Research Center)
According to new research from the Pew Research Center, 91 percent of Americans say they’ve gotten election news in the past week from 11 sources asked about. But, Americans are divided on what source of election news is the most helpful. Cable news ranked first at 24 percent, with social media following at 14 percent. 13 percent said a news website or app, and 3 percent said a local newspaper in print was most helpful.

+ Earlier: API’s Personal News Cycle research shows which types of news sources Democrats, Republicans and Independents turn to and trust


+ Wesley Lowery on why newsroom diversity is essential: “As journalists, it’s our job to be skeptical. It’s our job to ask hard questions. The problem is, if all of the journalists on a particular story have the same backgrounds, the same upbringings, or the same amount of pigment in their skin, what we know for a fact is that they’re not going to be best equipped to ask the depth and the detail of questions that are needed.” (Nieman Reports)

+ TheMediaBriefing has a 3-part series on the viability of niche publications as the future of print: The Internet enables niche communities to form and creating an opportunity for publishers, but to get a niche publication going, a long-term strategy is needed, and how to create a long-lasting niche publication (TheMediaBriefing)

+ Applying for jobs or internships? Poynter has 10 tips for things you shouldn’t do on your resume (Poynter)

+ How Condé Nast is adapting to a new reality in magazine publishing: “Those who want things always to stay the same are not living in the real world” (New York Times)

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