Need to Know: July 10, 2020


You might have heard: Nearly one in 10 Americans age 18 to 29 have moved as a result of COVID-19 (Pew Research)

But did you know: Young adults think that we’re not making a big enough deal about COVID-19 (Pew Research Center)

Nearly one-third (32%) of Americans aged 18 to 29 think that the coronavirus outbreak has been “made a smaller deal than it really is,” according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. That number drops for older Americans, with only 15% of people over the age of 65 feeling the same way. But that group is less likely to say they’ve been closely following pandemic news, with only 24% of 18- to 29-year-olds saying they’ve been following it closely, compared to 54% for those 65+. What young people have been paying attention to is the protests following George Floyd’s death; 83% say they’ve been following that news “very” or “fairly” closely.

+ Noted: U.S. broadcasting agency will not extend visas for its foreign journalists (NPR); MSNBC’s Joy Reid to host new evening newscast “The ReidOut” (CNN); Introducing an SMS course to prepare for US election misinformation (First Draft); Stephen Gan, of V magazine and Elle, is the latest magazine editor under fire (The New York Times)


In this week’s edition of ‘Factually’ 

Fact-checking a moving target, antifa hoaxes and “beach shaming.” Factually is a weekly newsletter produced by API and the Poynter Institute that covers fact-checking and misinformation.


Digital editions are helping to create reader habits (Twipe)

With digital editions of newspapers having a moment during the coronavirus pandemic, Twipe’s Mary-Katharine Phillips answers questions about how to create reader habits around digital editions. Habits can be formed in two months with about three interactions per week, she writes, with games and puzzles being a great way to draw in regular readers. Digital editions respect the concept of a bundled product with a beginning and an end, an appealing concept for many readers. Newspaper editions are perfect for habit-forming because they offer predictability — like daily sections and regular columns — while always containing surprises in the content itself.

+ Earlier: E-replica editions, the ugly ducklings of digital news, have suddenly become strategic (Poynter)

+ How local newsrooms are using data to help us understand a pandemic (Poynter)


The BBC’s decision to end free TV licenses for the elderly has sparked a fight with the government (The Guardian)

The BBC has decided to end free TV licenses — which are required of all TV-owners in the U.K. — for all Brits over the age of 75. The £157.50 ($199) annual fee will now be assessed for all elderly people who are not receiving other welfare benefits. While the government has criticized the move, the BBC says it’s a result of the government no longer covering the cost of these free licenses, and that the decision to end the free licenses is the only way to avoid cutting programming. The BBC had agreed to take over the cost of the free licenses in 2015 in a charter agreement with the government.

+ #HoldTheLine campaign launched in support of Maria Ressa and independent media in the Philippines (Committee to Protect Journalists)


Giving thanks isn’t just for Turkey Day: It’s also a way to retain your users (NiemanLab)

A new study from Cornell looked at how a tool in Wikipedia that allowed people to say “thank you” to people who had provided positive edits to articles boosted the retention of new editors, a key metric in maintaining the viability of the openly-sourced site. It also led those editors who were thanked to thank other users 43% more. The addition of the “thanks” option, instead of just neutral acceptance or negative critiques, could be applied to news comments sections when users leave constructive comments, suggests Joshua Benton. Most interactions in comments sections consist of warnings and removals.

+ Chicago Police Department’s shutdown of an arrest API is its own kind of “cover up” (The Chicago Reporter)


White House press briefings have become too much about the reporters (CJR)

Televised White House press conferences began during the Kennedy administration as a way to provide more direct communication to the people, but these days, they’ve become more about showboating by the press corps, writes Bill Grueskin at CJR. At a recent press conference, Politico reporter Ryan Lizza asked press secretary Kayleigh McEnany if President Trump thought “it was a good thing that the South lost the Civil War,” which Grueskin refers to as a piece of “performance art” rather than journalism. Grueskin proposes that White House briefings return to their 1961-style — with the reporters off-camera.


How upstart Protocol, eager to get inside the crowded tech beat, struggled and cut to survive (Digiday) 

Protocol, a tech-focused publication launched by the owner of Politico, wanted to do for tech what Politico did for politics — covering the ins and outs of Washington minutia for a news junkie audience. But despite a rich owner and a roster of journalists from top publications, Protocol laid off half of its newsroom only a few months into its existence. The tech journalism space is crowded, and Protocol’s goal — to find a lane that was neither adversarial towards nor fawning over Silicon Valley — meant there was little incentive for the tech industry to give access to reporters.


+ Slate Star Codex and Silicon Valley’s war against the media (The New Yorker)

+ “What the loss of my brother during COVID-19 taught me about our personal relationships with local news” (Medium, @ToTheVictor)

+ This journalist helped eradicate hospital debt for thousands in Memphis (Medium, Zora)

+ Why Skift is putting reader revenue in the pilot’s seat (Digital Content Next)