Need to Know: July 12, 2021

Fresh useful insights for people advancing quality, innovative and sustainable journalism 

OFF THE TOP

You might have heard: In 1967, a report from the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders said that the press had failed to represent Black Americans and contributed to a racial divide (Nieman Lab)

But did you know: How the white press wrote off Black America (The New York Times)

Since the early 2000s and especially in recent years, historically white newspapers have apologized for racist coverage that dehumanized and incited violence against Black Americans. Brent Staples writes that this “apology movement” demonstrates how white news outlets alienated Black audiences, who often still harbor negative views toward historically white media. The movement also points to an overdue recognition that struggling news organizations need diverse readership to survive, but Staples adds: “The challenge is that the gap news providers are eager to close is vast and was generations in the making.”

+ Noted: A government watchdog found the former leader of Voice of America had likely retaliated against whistleblowers when dismissing six employees (The Hill); Media company Recurrent Ventures is acquiring MEL Magazine (Axios); Saudi Arabia is funding a news platform that will have a Washington, D.C. studio (CNBC)

API UPDATE

API is leading a free training for newsrooms on Google Analytics 4

On Thursday, July 15, 1-2 p.m. ET, API’s Metrics for News team will host a virtual informational session on the next generation of Google Analytics. This Intro to GA4 session is designed for anyone who wants to learn more about the changes in the latest version of Google Analytics, as well as those who don’t know how to set it up. Learn more and register here.

TRY THIS AT HOME

When transitioning to a nonprofit model, lay the groundwork for fundraising immediately (Institute for Nonprofit News)

In its guide on converting a for-profit news outlet to a nonprofit model, the Institute for Nonprofit News suggests organizations quickly take steps to prepare for fundraising. News organizations that make this transition require staff to oversee fundraising efforts, and they may need capital to buy the for-profit’s assets. INN recommends outlets converting to a nonprofit model involve their communities early by obtaining market research and reader input. These conversations can encourage readers and potential supporters to think of the news outlet as a vital community resource that deserves local support.

OFFSHORE

Half of women journalists in Africa surveyed have been sexually harassed at work (Nieman Lab)

A report from Women in News found that women working in African media were twice as likely as men to experience sexual harassment, and about 40% of the women surveyed reported physical sexual harassment. According to the survey, a manager or co-worker was the most common cause of harassment, but 17% of respondents said a source had harassed them. When women filed formal complaints, 41% of perpetrators received warnings. Women in News recommends African media companies create complaint procedures that allow for anonymous complaints.

+ In Spain, El País put content behind a “registration wall” a year before setting up a paywall, and 80% of its subscribers were registered users first (World Association of News Publishers)

OFFBEAT

Why you’re so anxious about going back to the office (Harvard Business Review)

Alice Boyes writes that as workers consider returning to the office, some are feeling uncertainty or anxiety about the adjustment. From home, workers may have made tweaks to improve their productivity, communication or work behaviors. To bring those new habits to the office, Boyes recommends workers consciously build them into their new office routines. Habits, like eating healthy lunches or taking walks, rely on cues that likely will change during the move from home to office, making it important to view them as habits that are being created “from square one.”

UP FOR DEBATE

How the LA TImes’ past coverage failed the transgender community (Los Angeles Times)

During Pride month, Los Angeles Times reporter Justin Ray wanted to write about Gwen Araujo, a transgender teenager who was murdered in 2002. While researching her death, Ray found that the Times had used Araujo’s birth name from before her transition, “leaned heavily” on offensive comments from witnesses and didn’t include LGBTQ advocates as sources. Ray writes: “We perpetuated harmful stereotypes. We didn’t take the time to understand the people we were writing about. We allowed this blindness to guide our words. It didn’t serve our readers or our society.”

SHAREABLE

The U.S. Postal Service plans to raise mailing rates (The Associated Press)

According to filings from the agency, mailing rates for periodicals could rise by more than 8% by late August, a change that will likely have the strongest impact on small, weekly and rural newspapers that rely on the Postal Service for delivery. The rate hikes are part of a 10-year plan to revamp the agency, which includes lowering delivery standards for first-class mail, increasing the first-class stamp price to 58 cents and consolidating post offices.

+ TV news crews are increasingly threatened with violence on the job (The Washington Post)