Need to Know: February 3, 2021


You might have heard: The Tampa Bay Times brought fans together digitally for the World Series (Poynter) 

But did you know: The Kansas City Star and the Tampa Bay Times are teaming up for Super Bowl coverage (Twitter, @savsmithKC)

Super Bowl LV is on Sunday, and the Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. In the run-up to the game, the Kansas City Star and the Tampa Bay Times are collaborating on coverage, sharing stories and cross-posting on each others’ social media channels. On their Instagram feeds, both papers explained the collaboration, asking, “Who better than the local newspaper to let folks know about [the other city’s] team and fans?” On its website, the Times also featured an article from the Star about Buccaneers’ coach Bruce Arians, who worked for the Chiefs in the early nineties.

+ Noted: Insider Inc. to drop Business Insider name amid massive global expansion (Axios); The Philadelphia Inquirer’s printing plant has been sold (Poynter)


Trust Tip: Explain any changes to national political coverage (Trusting News)

At the beginning of a new presidential administration, it’s important to talk about any changes to your political coverage and explain what users can expect from you. Think about the national political coverage your audience will get from you moving forward and whether it will look and feel consistent with the last several years. Explaining this for your users will help them understand your approach and thoughtfulness behind the coverage, instead of making assumptions of bias. Sign up for weekly Trust Tips here, and learn more about the Trusting News project — including how your newsroom can get free coaching — here.


The Washington Post’s new Instagram editor aims to boost its subscription business (Digiday)

This month, the Washington Post has added a full-time Instagram editor to its roster. Travis Lyles will build a team to ramp up production on the platform, with the goal of expanding the Post’s brand outside of its own publication. Instagram users tend to be younger and more diverse than the Post’s subscriber base, and the platform has been the fastest-growing social media channel for the paper over the past couple years. In January, the Post’s Instagram account had more than 12 million engagements. The goal moving forward will be for the paper’s Instagram account to feature both breaking news and context on larger stories, in the hopes of converting Instagram followers to paying subscribers.


Experts warn of China’s growing media influence in Africa (DW)

As part of a larger investment strategy within Africa, China has been gaining influence in African media. Chinese state-owned media outlets have been offering free content to local news outlets in Africa, while the Xinhua News Agency has become the largest network of correspondents on the continent. China has been influencing local media in Africa for 15 years, when Xinhua first convinced journalists in Kenya to begin using their content. Since then, other Chinese-owned news outlets have expanded across the continent, creating jobs and providing training for budding journalists. But the influx of Chinese money may threaten the continent’s tradition of a free press.


Wikipedia launches new global rules to combat site abuses (Reuters)

The Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, is launching its first code of conduct. The policies are intended to make the site more inclusive and to crack down on abusive behavior. More than 1,500 volunteers, writing in 30 languages, participated in the creation of the rules. The new code bans harassment, hate speech, slurs and threats of physical violence. It also bans intentionally adding false or misleading content. The organization is still determining how best to enforce the code, but the Foundation’s executive director said that training will be available for those who are interested.


What’s the best way for editors to support writers with mental health conditions? (The Open Notebook)

Writers experiencing mental health problems often feel that they are unable to share their situation with editors, writes April Reese. Freelance writers in particular may worry that requests for deadline extensions or other accommodations may not be taken seriously or could lead to loss of future assignments. That’s why it is important for editors to receive training about recognizing mental illness, so that they can step in early when warning signs appear. For both writers and editors, acknowledging the problem earlier allows for more flexibility, which can avoid missed deadlines. It’s also important for editors to allow for long-term adjustments that might wax and wane as a writer’s health fluctuates.


Thanks to the Internet Archive, the history of American newspapers is more searchable than ever (Nieman Lab)

The Internet Archive has digitized the back catalog of the media trade magazine Editor & Publisher, making 100 years of newspaper history searchable. The magazine’s new publisher, Mike Blinder, reached out to the Internet Archive, who processed more than a century of microfilm for free, where it can now be indexed by search engines. (Joshua Benton suggests that other newspapers with non-digitized archives reach out to the Archive to do the same.) Highlights include the origins of the Nieman fund at Harvard, reports of the first “television” tests and the founding of Black Perspective, a national journalism organization aimed at improving “the image of the Negro in American life.”