Need to Know: July 17, 2018

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


You might have heard: On April 25, the social media campaign #SaveStudentNewsrooms highlighted challenges facing student-run publications (Medium, Frank LoMonte)

But did you know: As local newsrooms shrink, college journalists fill in the gaps (Poynter)

In Chapel Hill, N.C., the Daily Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina now dedicates student reporters to covering complex city topics, including affordable housing, the school system and public safety. After McClatchy shut down the Chapel Hill News in May 2017, the Daily Tar Heel is the main source of news for the community, says incoming editor-in-chief Rachel Jones. The student-run newspaper is part of a rising trend across the country of college publications stepping in to provide local coverage in towns where local media outlets have shuttered or are struggling with dwindling resources. This creates potential for partnerships between student newsrooms and local outlets, writes Taylor Blatchford, such as reporting projects or agreements to publish each other’s photos or stories with credit, in areas where resources are thin.

+ Noted: Finnish daily newspaper puts up 300 billboard posters along Trump and Putin route to Helsinki summit to remind them of the “importance of free press” (Press Gazette); Journalist for The Nation forcibly removed from Trump-Putin conference (Splinter); The Washington Post to launch a channel on Amazon-owned Twitch (Digiday); FCC Chairman Ajit Pai raises concerns about Sinclair-Tribune deal (Reuters)


API is hiring a Director of Accountability Journalism to help newsrooms report on people and institutions in power

The Director of Accountability Journalism at API leads our nationwide program on accountability journalism, which identifies how newsrooms can innovate and improve their reporting on people and institutions in power. Some of the primary areas of focus are fact-checking, trust, transparency, and investigative reporting. This person provides guidance, training and education to news organizations, writes on current issues, and identifies best practices and new innovations. Get in touch today if you are interested or want to learn more.


Ten effective ways to personalize news platforms (Medium, Titus Plattner)

“The average online reader opens only five out of 1,000 stories published every day by larger news organizations,” writes Titus Plattner. “To better serve each user’s needs and eventually increase this poor ratio, I am convinced that personalization is key.” He covers some of the strategies news organizations have used to personalize content for their audiences, including “recommended for you” sections, customizable homepages, targeted newsletters, and comment sections that show social media engagement from people in readers’ networks. “At a time when more and more news outlets are shifting from an advertising-based revenue model to a subscription-based model, personalization is the best way to reinforce the relation to the real client: the reader. The best journalism deserves that.”

+ Media startup Hostwriter offers resources and opportunities for journalists interested in cross-border collaborations (International Journalists’ Network)


U.K. group pairs 100 new women journalists with mentors (Press Gazette)

Female journalism outfit The Second Source set up in the wake of the #MeToo movement to tackle harassment in the news media has matched more than 100 young women with more experienced mentors. The scheme aims to support women in the early stages of their journalism careers by providing help and advice. It focuses especially on helping women who have experienced harassment, who are considering dropping out of the industry, or who feel they need more direction. Second Source co-founder and BBC journalist Kirstie Brewer says the goal is to “keep promising, brilliant young women from becoming disillusioned with what can be a tough industry.”

+ HuffPost experiments with “listening circles” in Birmingham to go beyond the London bubble (


What not to do when you’re trying to motivate your team (Harvard Business Review)

When leaders look like they are applying a motivational technique they read about, people usually see right through the superficial, obligatory effort, writes Ron Carucci. To motivate your team without looking like you’re checking off the “I motivated someone today” box, avoid these types of empty encouragement: drive-by praise (which often comes off as impersonal), insincere praise, and “guilt gratitude.” Instead, try saying, “That was amazing. Tell me how you did it.” Connect their achievements to the larger business goals, and acknowledge the personal costs the time or personal obligations they sacrificed, or the emotional toll or risks associated with the work.


Trump-Putin news conference a ‘moment of truth’ for American journalists (The Washington Post)

After the press conference following the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki on Tuesday, during which President Trump appeared to accept Putin’s denial that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections, the media finds itself in “the uncomfortable position of calling a spade a spade, with none of the usual recourse to false equivalence or ‘both sides with equal weight’ coverage,” writes Margaret Sullivan. Sullivan argues that the press should stop using the “pallid assessments” that are commonly delivered in such scenarios, such as “this is outside the norm,” or “there’s little precedent for what we’re hearing.” “For the reality-based press, the job will require clarity and moral force, in ways we’re not always all that comfortable with.”


You can predict someone’s views on immigration by knowing which TV news they watch (NPR)

A new NPR-Ipsos poll asked more than 1,000 people about their opinions on Trump’s immigration policies, and found that where they get their TV news is a better predictor of their feelings than their political leanings. People who get their TV news primarily from Fox News or CNN are even further apart than Republicans and Democrats, with viewers of the other big TV networks somewhere in between, writes Joel Rose. The poll also looked at whether viewers lived in rural or urban communities, and whether they had personal ties to immigrants, or were immigrants themselves. “There is definitely a little bit of difference between people who are immigrants, or have an immigrant in their family, and people who don’t know anyone from outside the U.S.,” said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson. “But it really pales when you at look at Republican and Democrat. And really compared to Fox and CNN.”

+ Meet the next misinformation format: Fake audio messages (Poynter)