Need to Know: July 1, 2022


This week, the Medill Local News Initiative at Northwestern University released its State of Local News 2022 report, which documents a “growing divide between communities that have local news and those without.” More than 360 newspapers have closed since early 2020; in Texas, one-third of its newspapers have closed since 2005. “Seventy million Americans now live in areas without enough local news to sustain grass-roots democracy,” Margaret Sullivan wrote in her coverage of the report. (Medill Local News Initiative, The New York Times, The Texas Tribune, The Washington Post) 


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

Laws targeting free speech about abortion would put journalists in the line of fire. Anti-abortion groups seek to outlaw any content that “encourages or facilitates efforts to obtain an illegal abortion,” which could potentially include articles that discuss the accessibility or practice of abortion anywhere. (Prism) 

Four headline mistakes newsrooms need to abolish when reporting about the criminal justice system. Journalists should hold police accountable and avoid using misleading headlines to draw attention. (Scalawag) 

Twitter is the go-to social media site for U.S. journalists, but not for the public. 69% of journalists say it’s one of their top two social platforms for work, but only 13% of Americans say they regularly get news on Twitter. (Pew Research Center)


API launches diversity initiative in Pittsburgh to improve how news organizations serve communities of color

The American Press Institute has launched a new initiative, the Inclusion Index, focused on creating better relationships with readers and fostering belonging in newsrooms. To kick off this program, API partnered with the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation to provide its Index service to a cohort of five newsrooms, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh City Paper, Public Source and Pitt News. The Pittsburgh initiative is funded by the Henry L. Hillman Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. 

How The Buffalo News used social videos on the Buffalo Bills to increase engagement (Better News) 

Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: With the end of a partnership in which its reporters appeared on local TV segments, The Buffalo News saw an opportunity to create new content that would generate advertising, grow its audience and use a signature beat of intense interest to its community — the Buffalo Bills — to increase engagement. The resulting PlayAction project successfully uses video to showcase the X’s and O’s play analysis that longtime News sports reporter Mark Gaughan excels at. This story is part of a series on Better News that showcases innovative and experimental ideas that emerge from Table Stakes, the newsroom training program, and shares replicable tactics that benefit the news industry as a whole.

API welcomes Kamila Jambulatova as senior communications manager

API is excited to announce that Kamila Jambulatova has joined our team as Senior Communications Manager. In her role, she will work across the organization to develop and execute marketing and communication strategies to help drive awareness, reach and engagement of API’s programs and services. Before joining API, Jambulatova was a creative strategist at Fortune, and before that she led marketing efforts for Hearken’s Election SOS program to promote an audience-first model for journalists around the country. She has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


+ Fact-checking movement grapples with a world awash in false claims (The Washington Post) 

+ How The Lenfest Institute is measuring impact in the Philadelphia Media Ecosystem (The Lenfest Institute) 

+ Four years later, Annapolis remembers Capital Gazette shooting victims (The Washington Post) 

+ The accidental media critics of YouTube: One of the most popular genres of videos online is to comment on other videos online. Are they comedians or media critics? (The New York Times) 

Need to Know will return Tuesday next week after the 4th of July holiday. Enjoy the long weekend!