Need to Know: January 10, 2023


You might have heard: Journalists give industry mixed reviews on newsroom diversity (Pew Research Center) 

But did you know: Media businesses are slowly getting less white and male-dominated (Digiday) 

New data shows that since 2020, media businesses have become less white and male. According to Digiday’s tracking of self-reported media diversity statistics, most media companies it tracked have lowered their share of white employees, including in their leadership teams. The share of Black employees at most of the tracked companies has risen, but is more sporadic for other employees of color. Experts say that the current wave of layoffs and hiring freezes means that increases in diversity may slow in the next year. 

+ Noted: Axios will launch a new centralized news hub bridging the newsroom’s national and local coverage (Axios); The Intercept spinning off as an independent nonprofit (Axios) 


Transparency during transition: A German newspaper’s plan to communicate with staff and readers as it moves away from print (Lenfest Institute)

When the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung, commonly known as taz, made the decision in 2018 to work toward eliminating its daily print edition, it knew it would face a range of difficult challenges. The initial challenge was getting staff on board with the transformation and showing them that despite recent news industry trends, the organization still had a bright future. 

CEO Aline Lüllmann shared insights into their journey toward a digital future with the Beyond Print program, which is led by the American Press Institute and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and aims to guide four participating news organizations through their shift toward digital.  

Why newsrooms should talk about their staff’s values, experiences and biases (Trusting News) 

Journalists bring our own worldviews, biases and assumptions to our work. But we can’t and don’t fully reflect the communities we aim to serve. As we work with colleagues toward more accurate, reflective and relevant coverage, how can we acknowledge our knowledge gaps so we can account for them? And how can we have deeper, more nuanced dialogue in the newsroom around polarizing and complex issues?

Join Joy Mayer of Trusting News and Eve Pearlman of Spaceship Media as they share the concepts in their Dimensions of Difference Newsroom Guide. Come for a 30-minute presentation, and stay another 30 minutes if you can for conversation on Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. ET. Register here. 


How journalists can best engage audiences on climate change (International Journalists’ Network) 

Climate change news is becoming a bigger part of the news cycle, and new research from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism shows that there are better ways to engage readers. One key way is to focus on information from scientists — rather than politicians — when discussing climate related issues. While the political affiliation of the viewers affected how much they trusted politicians, scientists were overall the most trusted sources of information in all eight countries surveyed. The research also suggests that journalists should focus more on policy initiatives that are aimed at curbing climate change. 


How Babel is building an upscale national news publisher in Ukraine during the war (The Fix) 

Ukrainian news outlet Babel has positioned itself as an “upscale” publication aimed at an educated audience. After Russia invaded the country, the team made the decision to cut its Russian-language edition on principle — part of a larger effort to promote the Ukrainian language. This meant losing 40% of its traffic and completely upending its business model. The outlet launched an English-language publication, aimed at European readers, and it has pivoted to relying primarily on grants from international organizations. 


Twitter cuts more staff overseeing global content moderation (Bloomberg) 

Twitter has continued to gut its moderation teams, cutting staffers from its trust and safety team handling global content moderation and from a unit related to hate speech and harassment. Davey Alba and Kurt Wagner report that workers “handling the social network’s misinformation policy, global appeals and state media” were also let go. About 5,000 of Twitter’s 7,500 employees have left since Elon Musk took over the company in October. 


NYT exposed the ills of forced arbitration. It’s now a company policy. (The Washington Post) 

The New York Times has written extensively about the increase in forced arbitration policies, and now Erik Wemple writes that the paper has added one to its subscriber policy. An update to the paper’s terms of service in December states that subscribers have given up the right to file a lawsuit, and that all claims will be heard instead by a neutral arbitrator. “This language is presented by the Times to its subscribers, who know from reading the Times what a crock it is,” writes Wemple, who notes that arbitrators often feel “beholden” to the companies who hire them. The Times said the decision is in line with industry practices.