Need to Know: January 6, 2022


You might have heard: How news organizations navigate trade-offs around building trust in news (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism) 

But did you know: There are countless efforts to increase trust in news, but few have reached beyond existing readers (Poynter)

Despite a growing awareness of the need to rebuild trust in the media, most efforts have failed to reach those who are truly skeptical of the press, writes Rick Edmonds. With so much focus on retaining subscribers and appealing to likely — and paying — audiences, most organizations don’t have “clear incentives for investing in building trust with indifferent, skeptical, or outright hostile parts of the public,” according to Rasmus Kleis Nielsen of the Reuters Institute. In order to broaden the appeal, Nielsen suggest that outlets think like politicians — using one type of outreach aimed at “the base” and another at undecideds. 

+ Related: Restoring trust in journalism requires numerous actions, large and small, from both journalists and organizations (Edelman) 

+ Noted: Longform will no longer recommend nonfiction articles around the web (NiemanLab); Better Government Association, Chicago Reporter and Illinois Latino News join the Solving for Chicago news collaborative (Local Media Association) 


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Source Matters allows newsrooms to easily track source demographics to see which groups may be underrepresented in their news coverage. A growing number of newsrooms have begun tracking their source diversity, but many are still doing it by hand. Automating parts of this process not only speeds it up, it leads to more accurate data and actionable insights. For more information or a demo of Source Matters, get in touch with us.


Investing in journalists is a short-term strain for a long-term gain (Poynter) 

As more people are leaving their jobs, executives at news outlets are finding themselves scrounging for candidates for jobs that would have had many applicants a few years ago. Many news outlets can’t afford to give raises to incentivize employees to stay, writes Al Tompkins, but they can invest in helping them learn and grow. Many employees, especially younger workers, value the opportunity to learn on the job, and one poll found that 94% of workers would stay at a job longer if the company invested in professional development. Tompkins also suggests conducting “stay interviews” with employees to avoid having to conduct “exit interviews” with them in the future. 


Norway’s Dagbladet builds engaging, responsive design into products (International News Media Association) 

Dagbladet, an Oslo-based tabloid, was the first Norwegian newspaper to develop a digital edition back in 1995, and editor-in-chief Alexandra Beverfjord says the paper continues to innovate with an audience-first mindset. The paper’s mobile front page prioritizes contrasting colors, asymmetry and moving text, rather than staid, static sites that mimic print. “At Dagbladet, we are not concerned that things look nice or fancy,” writes Beverfjord. ”We are committed to creating a design that works for our readers.” Having a dynamic homepage allows the outlet to deliver breaking news with speed, depth and breadth. 


Election falsehoods surged on podcasts before Capitol riots, researchers find (The New York Times) 

A new study from the Brookings Institute found that about half of the 20 most popular political podcasts released between the 2020 presidential election and the January 6 attack on the Capitol contained election misinformation. The misinformation included claims of software glitches, fake ballots and rigged voting machines, theories which eventually gained credibility in some Republicans circles and led to election audits in several states. The podcasts that contained the most misinformation were Steve Bannon’s War Room, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show and The Glenn Beck Program. “People just have no sense of how bad this problem is on podcasts,” said Valerie Wirtschafter, one of the report’s authors. 

+ Related: Podcasters are letting software pick their ads — it’s already going awry (The Verge) 


NPR is losing some of its Black and Latino hosts. Colleagues see a larger crisis. (The Washington Post) 

NPR has made a concerted effort to recruit broadcasters of color in the past few years, but many of them have since left their positions at the network. Hosts Ari Shapiro and Sam Sanders both publicly spoke out about the problem, with Shapiro saying NPR is “hemorrhaging hosts from marginalized backgrounds.” A spokesperson for NPR said the network was losing talent to well-financed competitors like Audible and The New York Times, but others argue that journalists of color, particularly women, struggle to be taken seriously and given creative freedom at the network. 

+ Related: The long road to diversifying PBS (Columbia Journalism Review)  


Whetstone, the largest Black-owned food magazine in the U.S., aims to change things in food reporting (NiemanLab) 

Whetstone Magazine, the country’s largest Black-owned food magazine, struggled to get off the ground when it launched in 2017. The magazine struggled to find an audience and raise money from crowdfunding, says founder Stephen Satterfield. But slowly, the magazine found an audience, and has continued to grow to include its own audio studio. Satterfield says that while mainstream outlets “clumsily try to find enlightenment around equity,” audiences are seeking out quality talent from diverse backgrounds in more niche publications like Whetstone.