Need to Know: July 15, 2020


You might have heard: Readers have come through with financial support, but newspapers must still confront big consumer revenue questions around COVID-19 (Local Media Association)

But did you know: Local Media Association will launch a center to help outlets raise money through philanthropy (Local Media Association)

Many local news organizations, particularly those founded or serving people of color, struggle to gain footing in the world of philanthropically funded journalism. With financial support from the Google News Initiative, the Local Media Association is launching the Center for Journalism Funding, a six-month lab where 15 publishers will learn about fundraising programs and how to work with philanthropic organizations. The cohort will include a mix of newspapers, broadcaster and digital-only sites, with the goal of driving at least $2.25 million in funding for journalism projects as well as creating an industry playbook on funding journalism through philanthropy.

+ Noted: Bari Weiss resigns from The New York Times and Andrew Sullivan resigns from New York Magazine (Bari Weiss; Twitter, @sullydish); First Draft welcomes new US board of directors (First Draft News); Vox Media preparing round of layoffs (CNBC); Journalists, activists in Iowa push for prosecutors to drop charges against arrested reporter (Des Moines Register); Guardian announces plans to cut 180 jobs (The Guardian)


Apply to improve your 2020 elections coverage with API’s Metrics for News

API has opened a new round of applications for free access to new elections-focused dashboards in Metrics for News. The analytics tool, along with coaching from API staff, will be available at no cost for up to to 60 newsrooms from now through November. Metrics for News aims to help publishers track and improve their 2020 elections coverage based on audience needs and engagement. Interested newsrooms, who aren’t already Metrics for News partners, can apply here by Aug. 3.

+ Trust tip: Explain election basics (Trusting News)


Helpful tips from Outside magazine and Down East magazine’s collaboration about New England tourism (Poynter)

In the summer of 2019, before COVID-19 forced the world indoors, Outside magazine and Down East magazine began working on a shared project — “The Complete Guide to a Perfect New England Summer.” The collaboration allowed Outside to take advantage of Down East’s local knowledge, while giving Down East national exposure. Both publications appointed a project manager to serve as a point person for both teams, and each took on half of the work and costs. The package was scheduled for late spring, but the pandemic forced them to delay and alter the content to align with current health regulations. Once the project has run, the two organizations will share analytics to determine the path forward for future collaborations.

+ How to become a “five-tool” storyteller (Nieman Storyboard)


British journalism has a class problem (Foreign Policy)

With race disparity becoming a focus of newsrooms in the U.S. and abroad, Harriet Williamson at Foreign Policy looks at the problem through a class lens in the U.K. British newspapers and magazines are often filled with people who could afford to work for free in their youth at internships they acquired through social connections or because they attended elite schools. The opportunity for working-class journalists to start at a local paper and move up has largely disappeared as the media has become increasingly London-centric.

+ Earlier: An attempt to increase class diversity in U.K. journalism hits a PR bump as it expands and professionalizes (Nieman Lab)

+ Journalists in Mexico hit a COVID-19 data wall (CJR)


The New York Times doubles down on TV and film ambitions (Axios)

While The New York Times has thrived during the pandemic, the paper is still widening its ambitions. Axios reports that the Times has 10 scripted television projects in development, as well as three feature documentaries. They include a documentary about a military family during the Afghanistan War, a series for Amazon about a mysterious family of secluded aristocrats in India, and a variety of projects based on The 1619 Project. The Times says that telling stories off-platform is a way to boost subscriber numbers.


Trump, Fauci, and the conditions of anonymity (CJR)

Over the weekend, the Trump administration circulated a statement from “unnamed” White House officials attacking the credibility of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the leading public experts in the fight against COVID-19. Several news outlets ran this statement, leading many to criticize, yet again, the willingness of news outlets to allow anonymous opinions to drive news cycles. While anonymity has its legitimate uses, like whistleblowing within the military, Jon Allsop argues that by using it, journalists are vouching for the credibility of the source — a big ask when the source is part of the Trump administration.


Embedding Trump’s tweets into news stories could boost his voter support, study finds (Journalist’s Resource)

A new study from the U.K. found that the way that President Trump’s tweets are included in news stories has an effect on how both Democrats and Republicans perceive his statements. Republicans were more likely to feel more positively towards Trump when his tweets had been embedded, rather than paraphrased, in a news article. Democrats, meanwhile, viewed a news story as lower quality if it included an embedded tweet or direct quote, rather than a paraphrase. Researchers theorized that Republicans might be influenced by user engagement on his tweets, like the number of retweets and likes, while Democrats may view the inclusion of tweets as perpetuating offensive statements.

+ “We have to save journalism in whatever form that is,” says Margaret Sullivan in a Q+A covering the release of her new book “Ghosting the News” (Local News Initiative)