Need to Know: July 21, 2020


You might have heard: Dark side of sports journalism as fans harass female reporters online (Committee to Protect Journalists)

But did you know: After accusations of sexual harassment in DC went public, women in sports media say toxic masculinity is commonplace (The Washington Post)

Last week, a report in The Washington Post detailed allegations of harassment by 15 women, including two journalists, against Washington D.C.’s NFL team. Many female journalists immediately recognized their own experiences covering major league sports, where women often warned young reporters about specific men who were considered dangerous. One baseball reporter said players used to show her pornography on their phones in the clubhouse specifically to make her uncomfortable. Some say these actions forced them to change their reporting style, asking for emails rather than phone numbers to signify that they were only interested in business conversations.

+ Noted: Employees of the The Dallas Morning News are joining the NewsGuild (Twitter, @DallasNewsGuild); Reporters Committee, NPPA, CPJ to host training series for journalists covering 2020 political conventions (Reporters Committee); Newsrooms suffer worst year-to-date layoffs since 2003 (Challenger, Gray, & Christmas); Report for America named a finalist in the MacArthur Foundation’s $100 million dollar grant to tackle critical social challenges (MacArthur Foundation)


Journalists can change the way they build stories to create organic news fluency

Journalists should consider it their job to build stories in a way that shows people the difference between good reporting, bad reporting and outright fakery. Here are templates for nine story types, to help journalists construct them in a way that proactively resolves doubts and questions audiences may have.


Participatory journalism playbook: A field guide to listening and reporting with communities (InterNews)

In a new guide, jesikah maria ross lays out how a busy newsroom can make space for new perspectives by developing stories in participation with underrepresented members of the community. The guide focuses on the key principles of participatory journalism — inclusion, co-creation, face-to-face events, public service, and civic infrastructure — through the lens of “Making Meadowview”, a podcast and digital reporting project from CapRadio in Central California. The series focused on foregrounding community perspectives in Meadowview, a South Sacramento neighborhood that is portrayed negatively in most news coverage.

+ Race and the newsroom: 7 studies to know (Journalist’s Resource)


As Polish public radio becomes politicized, presenters are creating independent crowdfunded alternatives (Notes from Poland)

Polish public radio has seen a great deal of upheaval in 2020. In January, Polish Radio Three, or Trójka, declined to renew the contract of long-time host Dariusz Rosiak, which many believe was a political move. His departure was followed by lay-offs and resignations from other well known journalists. Several took to crowdfunding — a novel phenomenon for media funding in Poland — to raise money to continue their shows online, including launching a new online radio station, Nowy Świat or New World. Nowy Świat currently has a monthly budget of 694,000 zloty ($179,000 USD), nearly three times what they say they need to survive, but they are exploring alternative models in case their crowdfunding income declines.


Fact-check of viral climate misinformation quietly removed from Facebook (Popular Information)

An investigation by the newsletters Popular Information and HEATED found that Facebook removed a fact-check on an article containing misinformation about climate change. The article was published by The Daily Wire and argued that concern about climate change is overblown. Science Feedback, one of Facebook’s fact-checking partners, determined the article was “partly false,” thus reducing its prominence on the platform and prompting a warning before the article was shared. At some point, that fact-check was removed after interventions from Republicans and under pressure from conservative media. A Facebook spokesperson recently told The New York Times that, unlike misinformation surrounding coronavirus, misinformation around climate change is not an “immediate threat to human health and safety.”


Buying your local newspaper out from a chain: attractive in theory, tougher in practice (Poynter)

Local news ownership, particularly in the form of nonprofit newspapers, is increasingly lifted up as a way to rescue local news from the hedge-fund takeovers that have decimated the industry in recent years. But Rick Edmonds at Poynter says that this is often easier said than done. Newspapers chains are loathe to cede ownership of any paper, and buyers who do succeed must create from scratch certain elements (like operational expenses and technological systems) that were previously subsidized by the chain. New owners may also face challenges in winning back former readers who left under previous ownership, and are no longer willing to pay for the paper.


 ‘Why we will lowercase white’ (Associated Press)

Following last month’s decision to capitalize Black when referring to race and ethnicity, the AP’s Vice President for Standards John Daniszewski explained that they will continue to lowercase white in the same contexts. Daniszewski writes that there was a strong desire to capitalize Black by people from around the world, while white people have less of a shared history and culture. The AP also worries that capitalizing white, as is commonly done by white supremacists, risks legitimizing those beliefs. The AP will also continue to lowercase brown when used in such contexts.