Need to Know: January 24, 2023


You might have heard: For local newsrooms, philanthropy isn’t charity — it’s revenue (Inside Philanthropy) 

But did you know: Nonprofit newsrooms, eyeing sustainability, welcome digital advertising (AdWeek) 

Nonprofit newsrooms are moving away from exclusive philanthropic and grant funding, and are increasingly embracing digital advertising. According to data from the Institute for Nonprofit News, 15% of their members generated revenue from digital advertising in 2022, up from 3% in 2018. For local nonprofits, the number was 29%. For brands, these ads are an opportunity to show their support for journalism while accessing “diverse audiences in premium environments,” writes Mark Stenberg. But advertising revenue remains an unstable income source, with marketing budgets often cut at the first sign of economic difficulty. 

+ Noted: Vox Media to cut 7 percent of workers (The New York Times); Vice Media restarts sale process at lower valuation, may fetch less than $1 billion (CNBC) 


How newsrooms can do less work — but have more impact

Most news organizations have a fraction of the staff and resources they once had, and burnout remains a major problem across the industry. So newsrooms need to get smarter about prioritizing the work that really matters — and letting go of the rest. Here’s a simple framework for cutting back on stories and other types of work that aren’t serving audiences or driving revenue.


How to produce more gender-equitable coverage (International Journalists’ Network)

Women’s stories are often undercovered by the media, and a recent report commissioned by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation explores seven structural issues that disproportionately affect women. The report, From Outrage to Opportunity, finds that pay, health, power, confidence, safety, authority and ageism are more likely to affect women than men, but are rarely mentioned in mainstream news coverage. Increasing coverage of those areas, as well as tracking mentions of women in news stories, launching a gender desk or targeting female audiences are all key steps towards gender-equitable coverage. 


Why TikTok is one of the ‘main priorities’ at BBC News for 2023 (Press Gazette)

Only a year ago, BBC News executives said that they didn’t think that TikTok was an appropriate platform for their content. Now, the organization is hiring four TikTok-focused journalists for one-year contracts. Executives said they shifted focus after Russia invaded Ukraine and they saw an opportunity to fight disinformation on the social media network. Despite concerns about Chinese ownership of the app, BBC News’s director of digital and channels, Naja Nielsen, says that the most important thing is “making sure that there is trustworthy information where people are.”


Twitter will soon let news outlets lay visual claim to their staffers’ accounts (Nieman Lab) 

A new feature of Twitter Verification for Organizations will allow companies to attach an icon next to the personal Twitter accounts of employees, linking back to the company’s main account. One early adopter is British tabloid The Daily Mirror, which now shows a Mirror icon next to several employees’ blue checkmarks. The icon will now appear next to every Tweet, including past posts. “[W]hen someone digs up an embarrassing old tweet from a reporter, their current employer will be right there next to it, seemingly giving it a stamp of approval,” writes Joshua Benton. 

+ Related: How LinkedIn became the next best option for journalists and media leaders after Musk took over Twitter (The Fix) 


The billionaire era in news is fizzling (Semafor) 

A decade after Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, Ben Smith argues that billionaire owners of media organizations have largely failed to revolutionize the business models of their news outlets. Instead, the most promising newer models have been either nonprofits covering local government or digital subscriptions for publications that can engage with their readers. Some of the billionaire owners seem to have lost enthusiasm for their journalistic projects.