Need to Know: July 20, 2020

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

OFF THE TOP

You might have heard: Local news organizations have struggled during the pandemic due to ad revenue losses (USA Today)

But did you know: Local broadcasters ask Congress to provide relief amid COVID-19 (The Hollywood Reporter)

Broadcaster associations representing every state and the District of Columbia called for local outlets to receive federal support for advertising, writing in a letter to Congressional leaders that ad revenue for some broadcasters has dropped by 50% to 90%. The letter also requested Congress enable small broadcasters to apply for additional funding under their existing loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, which was part of the CARES Act relief package.

+ Noted: The Los Angeles Times placed columnist Arash Markazi on leave amid a plagiarism investigation (Vice); Survey finds 70% of journalists around the world are experiencing psychological distress (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism)

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TRY THIS AT HOME

Why BoiseDev built a ‘time wall’ instead of a paywall (Medium, Don Day)

Since launching two years ago, local news site BoiseDev has found ways to tweak existing business models to better serve readers. One of BoiseDev’s signatures is what it calls a time wall – curated, members-only stories that typically become available to everyone else a few hours after publication. “This gives a tangible benefit to members without locking everyone else out. … We don’t do this on every – or even most – stories, but it adds value,” Publisher Don Day writes. The site’s advertising approach has been to limit the number of ads that run on story pages and focus on building relationships with local advertisers. 

OFFSHORE

How this interactive TV show entertained and informed Danish teens during lockdown (European Journalism Centre)

Danish news media startup Koncentrat is focused on helping 13 to 17 year olds learn about civics and media literacy, and its No. 1 revenue source is school subscription packages that include weekly articles, a newsletter and a teaching guide. During the pandemic, Koncentrat created Sofa News, a TV show that was also broadcast live on YouTube and had complementary articles and COVID-19 updates. The media outlet attributes a traffic boost to heightened demand for online teaching materials, as well as the show’s presence on TV, which allowed Koncentrat to reach a new audience.

+ Canada lost 30 papers that were taken over by Chatham Asset Management, which is set to own McClatchy (The New York Times)

OFFBEAT

As authorities probe Twitter hack, ex-FBI official warns: ‘Get ready for copycats’ (NPR)

Last week, Twitter was hacked as part of a Bitcoin fraud scheme. Now the FBI is investigating the hack, which involved a takeover of high-profile accounts, including those of former President Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Congress and the New York Department of Financial Services are also delving into what happened. In a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the Senate Commerce Committee asked for a briefing on the incident and expressed concerns about hackers using the accounts of world leaders to “sow discord” and spread disinformation.

+ U.S. Army esports team may have violated the First Amendment on Twitch (Vice)

UP FOR DEBATE

USA Today: Anti-Fauci column didn’t meet standards (Associated Press)

It’s a situation that harkens back to last month, when a New York Times column led to a reorganization of the paper’s opinions section. Last week, USA Today ran a piece from White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who wrote critically of Dr. Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert and prominent member of the president’s coronavirus task force. The publication later pinned a note to the column, explaining that USA Today asked Navarro to write the piece, but that it was misleading and didn’t meet the paper’s fact-checking standards. USA Today also published an article fact-checking and adding context to Navarro’s claims.

SHAREABLE

Salt Lake Tribune is finding success as a non-profit (World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers)

Since becoming the first for-profit paper in the country to receive nonprofit status last year, the Salt Lake Tribune has received more than 3,000 donations and has reached 60% of its $20 million fundraising goal for its foundation. The paper combined its strategies surrounding donations and digital subscriptions, which have increased by about 3,000 since March. Supporters have different tiered options for giving, from a subscription that costs less than $8 a month to $1,000 annual memberships that include extras, like newsletters.