Need to Know: January 27, 2023


It was another week of layoffs and cutbacks in the news industry. Both Dotdash Meredith and Vox Media reportedly laid off 7% of their staffs, while The Washington Post laid off 20 employees. Meanwhile, ABC News is reportedly thinking of offloading FiveThirtyEight. And in Pennsylvania, journalists at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have been on strike for more than 100 days. (Axios, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Daily Beast, Nieman Lab) 


These are the stories that captured the most interest from Need to Know subscribers this week. 

The billionaire era in news is fizzling. Despite big promises, billionaire ownership of news media has not led to a revolutionized business model. (Semafor)  

CNET’s AI journalist appears to have committed extensive plagiarism. Alongside major errors in the artificially-generated work, AI-written pieces often bore striking similarities to other published work. (Futurism)  

Elon Musk caves to pressure from India to remove BBC doc critical of Modi. The documentary, which explores the prime minister’s role in a 2002 massacre, has been blocked on Twitter and YouTube in India. (The Intercept)  


Engaging readers in an era of social platform flux

2022 was a whirlwind year for journalism and social media platforms. How can newsrooms and journalists stay connected to readers and communities — and each other? How can we re-examine what social strategies are working and prioritize amidst constant uncertainty? How are we allocating our limited time and staff resources? On Feb. 17, API is hosting a virtual participatory event to dive into these questions. This event, hosted by the API Product Strategy team, will be led by Amara Aguilar, a professor of journalism at USC. Register here. 


+ How rising temperatures are becoming a labor story (Nieman Reports) 

+ Lessons from Southern Oregon’s local news collapse (Seattle Times) 

+ The state of antisemitism reporting: How America’s major newspapers have stumbled in covering a serious phenomenon (Jewish Currents)

+ The last days of Hollywood’s most reviled reporter: Was Nikki Finke a genius or a monster? (The New York Times)