Need to Know: February 2, 2023


You might have heard: Publishers report Q1 ad revenue is pacing 10-25% behind forecasts (Digiday)

But did you know: Gawker is shutting down (again) (Variety)

As BDG continues to search for a buyer, it announced the layoff of 8% of its staff and the shuttering of Gawker due to a need to prioritize “better-monetizing sites.” The media and celebrity coverage website was revived in 2018 after being shut down following a lawsuit in 2016. It’s unclear how many BDG employees will be losing their jobs due to the latest cuts. 

+ Noted: Detroit Documenters lands WXYZ as its first TV partner (Outlier Media); Liquor store robbery video misrepresented amid Memphis protests (AFP Fact Check); Medill adds director of Midwest Solutions Journalism Hub (Northwestern)


API Inclusion Index’s Pittsburgh cohort shares findings, DEIB goals

Since June, API has been leading a cohort of five newsrooms in Pittsburgh as part of the API Inclusion Index initiative created by API director of inclusion and audience growth Letrell Crittenden. Last week, the organizations gathered to discuss the work they’ve been doing to improve DEIB within their newsrooms and in their coverage. Crittenden shared his overall assessment of the Pittsburgh media ecosystem, and the participating newsrooms detailed what they learned during the program and how they plan to sustainably build DEIB moving forward. For updates on the Inclusion Index, including the release of the full report, fill out this form.


‘Cautious optimism is peeking through’: Many publishers not looking at using discounts despite recession fears (What’s New In Publishing)

A new Digiday survey shows that almost two-thirds of publishers make at least some of their revenue from subscriptions, and almost a third of publishers that rely on subscriptions never offer discounts. The survey also reveals that, for publishers that do offer discounts, the majority discount subscriptions throughout the year, not just around the holidays. And amidst concerns about an economic recession, only 17% of publishers said they’d discount subscription prices more aggressively to ride out a downturn. Similarly, 44% of publishers said they would not discount ad prices more aggressively in the months ahead.


Newsday finds an audience for its TV studio through push alerts, newsletters (INMA)

Newsday invested in a news studio to easily produce video packages for a variety of platforms, but found that despite the increase in videos it put out, its audience wasn’t growing. Editors turned to the video metrics and realized that building an audience for breaking news video wasn’t working. They also noted that produced video packages performed better than natsound or press conference-type videos. By prioritizing quality over quantity — and alerting subscribers to new video via push notifications and a video-specific newsletter — Newsday grew its video views by 121% in a year.


Singapore can now order social media sites to block access, as ‘online safety’ law kicks in (ZDNet)

Starting in February, Singapore can now force social media platforms to block local access to content it deems “egregious” — and if the platforms don’t comply, the government can cut access to them. The Online Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act enables the removal of content advocating physical violence and terrorism and content that pose public health risks in Singapore. Although the law specifically applies to social media sites, the government can subject any online communication services with “significant reach or impact” to the law.


Why Ralph Nader is launching a print newspaper (Poynter)

Ralph Nader, the 88-year-old former Green Party presidential candidate, is launching the Winsted Citizen this week to address the “news desert” in his Connecticut hometown. The nonprofit newspaper will have a digital presence in name only, focusing on its monthly printed product that will be delivered to subscribers and sold at local advertisers’ storefronts. Nader put forth $15,000 to publish the first edition and is counting on the community to support the publication moving forward. While Nader’s foray into local news is applauded by others in the industry, there’s one problem with his approach — Winsted is not considered a news desert.


When Americans lost faith in the news (New Yorker)

In 1976, following Watergate and the Vietnam war, 72% of Americans said they trusted the news. Today, that number is 34% — and drops to 14% among Republicans. Louis Menard explores how, despite the industry’s best efforts, objectivity, trust and business don’t mix in journalism. In the 1960s, the press was more cautious — defending democracy was part of their responsibilities — and the CIA and reporters often worked together to gather information. The growing tensions between access and concerns about spreading propaganda eventually boiled over during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and shaped how Americans view the media today. 

We have a free press in order to protect democracy. When democracy is threatened, reporters and editors and publishers should have an agenda. They should be pro-democracy. 

-Louis Menard, the New Yorker