Need to Know: January 11, 2023

OFF THE TOP

You might have heard: News engagement stabilized in 2022 (Axios) 

But did you know: Amid soaring inflation and mass layoffs, news leaders head into 2023 with diminished confidence (Poynter) 

According to a new report from the Reuters Institute for Journalism, editors around the world are feeling uneasy about the state of the industry. A survey of more than 300 editors at the end of 2022 found that only 44% were confident about their company’s prospects this year, and even optimistic editors predicted layoffs and cost-cutting measures. And nearly three-quarters (72%) of publishers said that they are worried that news audiences are avoiding depressing or stressful news. 

+ Noted: A Wall Street Journal reporter was handcuffed by police while standing outside a Chase Bank. The newspaper is demanding answers (CNN); Joel Simon to head new initiative to combat growing threats to journalism at Newmark J-School (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism); Fort Worth journalists win only newspaper union contract in Texas (The Texas Observer)  

API UPDATE 

Better News podcast: This pitch to switch to digital even includes softball

The Oklahoman built a reputation as the state’s newspaper of record by covering the Oklahoma City community for more than a 100 years. However, with several changes in ownership in recent years leading to staff cuts and a decline in print readership, the paper’s fortunes have reversed. 

Better News recently published a report written by The Oklahoman’s business editor David Dishman on how the legacy newspaper has transformed itself from within and successfully shifted its focus away from print and toward growing its digital audience. 

Dishman talks to Better News podcast host Michael O’Connell about some of the strategies the paper employed to help a staff steeped in print traditions adopt a digital-first approach. One strategy even included playing softball and kickball to bring reporters together as a team.

+ Register here to join Joy Mayer of Trusting News and Eve Pearlman of Spaceship Media as they discuss their Dimensions of Difference Newsroom Guide. News Leaders Association members can apply by Friday for a free five-session workshop on Dimensions of Difference.

TRY THIS AT HOME

Using academic research to do investigative journalism (The Journalist’s Resource)

Academic studies can be helpful in investigative journalism, but for journalists dipping their toes into a new subject, it’s crucial that they reach out to experts to help them understand what they’re reading. No matter the subject, there are almost certainly people who have studied it for years, and they are a great first resource for understanding the history and nuances of the topic. When possible, it can be useful to share a data analysis with a researcher to confirm that the information has been correctly interpreted. 

OFFSHORE

London’s City AM to end Friday print edition as commuters stay home (Press Gazette) 

London-based weekday tabloid City AM will stop printing its Friday edition as more people decide to work from home on that day. The publisher says that it will create more digital products for the Friday online edition. Editors say that readership has also dropped on Mondays, but that it is still financially viable to print the paper four days per week. The Thursday paper will be reworked to act as a pre-weekend edition, with more lifestyle and sports content. 

OFFBEAT

There are TikTok bans in nearly two dozen states (The Washington Post) 

Almost two dozen states have imposed government restrictions on the use of TikTok by government officials. What started as a Republican trend is also being picked up by Democrats like Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly. Last month, the federal government banned federal employees from having the app on government devices. Politicians are worried that data collected by the Chinese-owned app could be shared with the Chinese government. 

SHAREABLE

Can Ron DeSantis avoid meeting the press? (The New York Times) 

Florida governor Ron DeSantis did not grant any exclusive interviews to nonpartisan news organizations during his 2022 run for re-election. Now, with DeSantis discussed as a top contender in the 2024 presidential race, journalists are wondering if he’ll continue speaking only with partisan news outlets. Observers have argued that the lackluster showing of Republicans in the 2022 midterms proves that they were focused too much on talking to their base via partisan media, but some conservative strategists believe if they are framing the press as biased against the GOP, there is no option but to shut them out entirely.