Need to Know: January 12, 2023

OFF THE TOP

You might have heard: With the House in chaos, C-SPAN shows footage Americans don’t usually see (Washington Post)

But did you know: C-SPAN asks McCarthy for independent cameras in House chamber (The Hill)

Following C-SPAN’s full access to the House floor last week during elections for the Speaker, the public service channel asked Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to allow its cameras and journalists to continue covering proceedings freely. Typically, C-SPAN must rely on the live feed shot by the House Recording System, a single-shot view aimed at the well and rostrum. In a letter to McCarthy, C-SPAN requested to install additional cameras throughout the chamber. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have voiced support for allowing C-SPAN more access to proceedings. 

+ Noted: How the media is covering allegations that Biden mishandled classified documents (NPR); What we’re watching in 2023 (Columbia Journalism Review); Guardian confirms it was hit by ransomware attack (The Guardian); ICT to partner with Lee Enterprises to increase reporting from Indigenous communities (ICT News); ProPublica to launch investigative reporting hub in the Northwest (ProPublica)

API UPDATE

Introducing API’s 2023 Source Matters cohort 

Thirteen news organizations are starting 2023 as part of an API cohort tracking the diversity of people quoted in their stories through Source Matters, API’s award-winning source diversity tracking and analysis tool. Goals of the cohort include building more accountability into their reporting practices to better reflect the communities they want to serve, expanding audiences with diverse communities, broadening sourcing, ensuring diverse sourcing practices align with diverse hiring practices, finding new voices that reflect their communities and replacing unsuccessful source trackers.

How a reader-oriented ask-the-newsroom effort brought digital subscribers to the Redding Record Searchlight (Better News)

Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Accelerate digital subscription growth by encouraging reader participation and answering reader questions. The Record Searchlight is the leading news source in Shasta County and neighboring rural counties in far Northern California, but was facing the twin challenges of establishing trust with conservative readers and growing digital subscriptions. The publication began a reader-driven section called Ask the Record Searchlight. They engaged the community via live chats, emails, Facebook messages and direct contact — and the community responded by submitting about 700 questions. The Record Searchlight has answered more than 300 of those and published 70 stories that stemmed from the community, and saw a 24% growth in digital subscriptions.

+ We’re hiring: Trusting News is hiring a part-time communications assistant, and API is hiring a program/community manager and a web applications engineer.

REVENUE ROUNDUP

Journalism, media, and technology trends and predictions 2023: Digital subscriptions and bundling offer some hope (Reuters Institute)

For better or for worse, the news industry continues to be unevenly and opaquely intertwined with tech platforms in terms of both reach and revenue, according to a new report from the Reuters Institute. A third (33%) of publishers expect to get significantly more revenue this year from tech platforms for content licensing, but others stand to lose millions as Meta and other social media companies move away from content agreements. Instead, more publishers are investing in subscription and membership in the coming year — the majority of those surveyed (80%) named subscriptions one of their most important revenue priorities, ahead of both display and native advertising.

TRY THIS AT HOME

News and the next generation: Engaging Gen Z (Editor & Publisher)

Publishers are trying a variety of ways to appeal to the newest generation of news consumers. As digital natives, Gen Z turns to social media for news even more than Millennials — a challenge for newsrooms who are hesitant to go all in on platforms that may be fleeting, or worse, where they will have to try too hard to “be cool.” Authenticity appeals to Gen Z, which is drawn to local news, information on causes they care about, authentic storytelling on their favorite platforms and even building lasting relationships with news outlets over time.

OFFSHORE

Does Russian journalism have a future? (The Nation)

Since the start of the Russian war on Ukraine almost a year ago, new regulations have dramatically reshaped the Russian media landscape. About 300 media entities and more than a hundred foreign journalists were banned last year, while more than $1 billion in fines have been issued against outlets spreading “fake news” about the war. And yet remaining news outlets have evolved even after being shut down by authorities, and new media projects have emerged on Telegram and YouTube. Regional journalism carries on a tradition of truthful and perceptive journalism that grew in Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union, writes Nadezhda Azhgikhina.

OFFBEAT

Parler’s parent company has laid off a majority of its staff (The Verge)

Censorship-free social media platform Parler, one of the first conservative alternatives to mainstream social media, has laid off 75 percent of its staff, leaving about 20 employees left. Included in the layoffs are a majority of the company’s executives. Parler was banned from app stores for four months following its role in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and its user growth dwindled as other rival apps emerged. Most recently, Kanye West was slated to buy Parler until his controversial appearance on Infowars in November. The future of the app is unclear.

SHAREABLE

Local journalism: Innovative business approaches and targeted policies may help local news media adapt to digital transformation (Government Accountability Office)

The GAO interviewed experts — including API’s Letrell Crittenden — about the future of local media in a public policy context. Among its findings, the GAO notes that some news organizations are converting from private firms to nonprofits to take advantage of existing tax incentives. The nonprofit model, if supported by federal funding and philanthropy, offers a viable strategy for targeting low-income communities that find paid access to news restrictive. Public policies should aim to preserve the function of journalism rather than specific local news outlets — the main goal of journalism is to have a well-informed society, and policies that aim to support this goal need to be innovation-friendly, forward-looking and inclusive.