Need to Know: January 19, 2023


You might have heard: TikTok access from government devices now restricted in more than half of US states (CNN)

But did you know: TikTok rolls out its ‘state-controlled media’ label to 40 more countries (TechCrunch)

TikTok users in 40 countries will now see a label on content that is published by entities whose “editorial output or decision-making process” could be influenced by a government. Other social media platforms including YouTube, Meta and Twitter have labeled state-run media accounts for years, and TikTok launched a pilot program last year in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The label is applied following an assessment of the account’s editorial independence, governance and decisions, and can be appealed.

+ Noted: Publishers lament the removal of Twitter Moments as referral traffic dips (Digiday); Robinhood launching new media arm led by Joshua Topolsky (Axios); Q&A: Margaret Sullivan on the coverage of Biden’s documents (Columbia Journalism Review); Medium embraces Mastodon (Medium blog); Registration for The Global Investigative Journalism Conference is open (GIJC)


How to start a community advisory board for your newsroom 

Community advisory boards are one way to start more of your journalism from a place of listening. Made up of people from your community, community advisory boards can offer valuable perspectives on your reporting and guide you to stories that really matter to audiences. They can also help you build better relationships with groups that have felt alienated, misrepresented or frustrated by your coverage. With advice from several newsrooms, we put together this guide on how to start one in your own newsroom.


News product goes from trend to standard (Nieman Lab)

News product management is expected to become an essential function for news organizations this year, write Felicitas Carrique and Becca Aaronson. Combining editorial strategy with technology, revenue and audience strategy requires a dedicated role or team that has buy-in from the rest of the newsroom. Formalizing news product management can help the organization fulfill its mission while bolstering revenue.

As the success of product-focused news organizations becomes evident, we expect to see more newsrooms attempting to formalize their product practices, transitioning existing bridge roles into actual product management work, and investing in the creation of their interdisciplinary product teams.

-Felicitas Carrique and Becca Aaronson, Nieman Lab


The Audience Impact Tracking Guide articulates impact from solutions journalism stories (Solutions Journalism Network)

The Solution Journalism Network’s new Impact Tracking Guide provides actionable and tactical advice for formulating impact hypotheses and recommendations for measuring the potential impact of your journalism. The guide can be used to shape editorial priorities, strategize to better engage communities and build relationships with stakeholders. It offers step-by-step guidance for assessing impact, metrics and measurement tools, ways to craft trackable impact hypotheses and examples of how other newsrooms use impact tracking.


Trust in media up in the UK but remains among lowest in the world (Press Gazette)

Although trust in the media has grown slightly among U.K. audiences since 2021, they are among the least likely to have faith in the media, a new Edelman Trust Barometer survey shows. Of the 27 countries surveyed, people were only less trusting of the journalism industry in Japan and South Korea. Trust in the media saw the highest decline in South Korea, Australia, Argentina and Malaysia. The survey also noted that those who believe their countries are polarized are less likely to trust media.


Should ChatGPT be used to write Wikipedia articles? (Slate)

In December, a longtime Wikipedia contributor used AI-driven ChatGPT to write a new Wikipedia entry on artwork titles. The article — which included a note that it was AI-generated — was lightly edited by the submitter and was factually and grammatically correct. Wikipedia power users believe AI-generated text can help with a general outline, but concerns have been raised about the tool being used to mass-produce pages or write unsourced and unverified entries. Currently, there are no formal rules that address the use of ChatGPT, but other bots that are used to detect vandalism within entries are widely accepted. 


Media start-up Semafor plans to buy out Sam Bankman-Fried’s investment (The New York Times)

Disgraced cryptocurrency investor Sam Bankman-Fried contributed funds to several media companies before he declared bankruptcy and was charged with fraud in December. Some funding recipients, including ProPublica and Vox Media, returned Bankman-Fried’s contributions after the scandal broke. Media startup Semafor plans to buy out Bankman-Fried’s $10 million investment by raising new money — the contribution was Semafor’s biggest outside investment ahead of its October launch. The company anticipates generating at least $15 million this year.