Need to Know: July 2, 2018
Fresh useful insights for people advancing quality, innovative and sustainable journalism
You might have heard: Five employees of Annapolis’s Capital Gazette were killed Thursday in a targeted attack on the newspaper (The Baltimore Sun)
Against all odds, the paper still came out on Friday, hours after a man gunned down five employees in Annapolis. The coming days are likely to be even more difficult, several staff members told CNN. Some of the adrenaline has worn off. But the grieving process has just begun, and the deadlines just keep coming. The staff has had to find a new workspace, arrange counseling and support services, and figure out how to keep moving forward.
+ Noted: California passes sweeping law to protect online privacy (The New York Times); Forty-four Gizmodo Media Group staffers take buyouts (WWD); Quartz, Atlantic Media’s business-news startup, to be bought by Japan’s Uzabase for up to $110 million (The Wall Street Journal); BBC apologizes to news presenter Carrie Gracie for underpaying her, back pay will be donated to women’s charities (BBC)
The Durango Herald created a twice-monthly speaker series to connect with new audiences, existing readers and subscribers. The events focus on a wide variety of topics, and offer a new way to engage with diverse communities. We talked with Claudia Laws and Shane Benjamin about how a small newsroom of 14 people took on the project, what worked and what didn’t, and what advice they have for others to follow.
+ Related: See all the earlier resources we’ve curated on how to do live events (Better News)
In an era of tribal politics and hateful discourse, against a backdrop of the president’s relentless vilification of the press as “enemies of the people,” and with polls showing few Republicans trust the news media, there is more vitriol being spewed and magnified on social media than most of us can remember in our lifetimes, writes Indira Lakshmanan. Setting aside extreme cases of critics who are armed or deranged, can journalists counteract poisonous rhetoric and regain the respect of those who don’t understand our work? It starts with explaining our values and what we do. For people who tell stories for a living, we don’t always tell our own story very well.
+ Earlier: Our in-depth study shows what Americans and the news media do — and don’t — understand about each other; How journalists can change the way they build stories to create organic news fluency
+ How a local data reporter covered America’s deadly opioid epidemic (Global Investigative Journalism Network)
In a recent survey of 3,500 U.K.-based media and advertising professionals, 26 percent of respondents said they have been harassed while working in the media and marketing industries, and just over 80 percent of those who said they have been harassed experienced it from people at a more senior level than them. The findings show that while the issue of workplace sexual harassment has gained attention in the U.K., the problem persists at an institutional level. “In some old-school agencies, there’s a belief that it [sexual harassment] is part of doing business,” said Mary Keane-Dawson, co-founder and CEO of the agency Truth. “[There have been] no high-profile sackings, so no Harvey Weinstein effect,” she added.
Goodbye structure; hello accountability (MIT Sloan Management Review)
As business leaders recognize the limitations of business silos and hierarchies, they invariably attempt to add new structures, like matrices or networks, to make their structures more agile. But adding structures is likely to make a company more complex rather than more agile, writes Jeanne Ross. Restructuring is a bad use of management’s time (and everyone else’s), she argues, as more structure tends to disempower employees, limit experimentation and leaves all decision making to the people at the top. “Instead of restructuring, companies can initiate change by assigning accountabilities for specific business outcomes to small teams or individual problem owners.”
As politicians have become more polarized, journalists have increasingly allowed themselves to be used by demagogues on both sides of the aisle, amplifying their insults instead of exposing their motivations, writes Amanda Ripley. “Again and again, we have escalated the conflict and snuffed the complexity out of the conversation.” Ripley spent several months interviewing conflict resolution experts, and learning how to adapt their methods for resolving “intractable conflict” to the field of journalism.
+ Sex, press freedom, and the complicated case of a New York Times reporter (Vanity Fair); News organizations are looking to Spotify and Netflix as models. Is that really a good idea? (The Membership Puzzle Project)
The war against the press comes to the local newsroom (Columbia Journalism Review)
Last week’s shooting at the Capital Gazette — where a man who had been fighting with the newspaper for years over a story he didn’t like, ending in the shooting death of five Gazette journalists — should force us to rethink the threat to journalism in Trump’s America: While the president rails against CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others, it is reporters at the local level, across America, who may well sit on the front lines of the new war against the press in this country, writes Kyle Pope. “It is heartbreaking, but necessary, to recognize that the openness that defines local news likely carries too high a risk; local newsrooms, at least for now, may have no choice but to fortify themselves.”
+ Survey reveals Americans consider fake news more objectionable than hate speech on social media (Freedom Forum Institute); Why LinkedIn wants to make original journalism (The Drum)