Need to Know: July 24, 2020

You might have heard: U.S. police attacked journalists dozens of times during George Floyd protests (Nieman Lab)

But did you know: Oregon judge temporarily bars federal officers from using force, threats, against journalists (The Oregonian)

A federal judge in Oregon has issued a 14-day temporary order barring federal officers in Portland from using “force, threats and dispersal orders” against journalists. The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon had argued that journalists and photojournalists (as well as legal observers) had been shot many times by federal officers with impact munitions (such as rubber bullets). Under this new order, federal officers will be held responsible for any “willful” violation of the order, but not for accidental incidents. The judge, Michael Simon, said that without journalists and legal observers in incidents of protesting and rioting, “there is only the government’s side of the story.”

+ Noted: Wall Street Journal editorial board responds to staffers’ letter, says they won’t “wilt under cancel-culture pressure” (The Wall Street Journal); Serial and the New York Times to launch “Nice White Parents” podcast about public schools (The New York Times); TikTok is launching a $200 million fund to pay creators for their videos (The Verge); Google News Initiative has provided $39.5 million in funding to more than 5,600 publishers in 115 countries (Google); Canada’s Global News lays off unspecified number of staff in “significant” restructuring (CityNews); BuzzFeed lays off 50 after pandemic hurts lucrative ad deals (Bloomberg);


In this week’s edition of ‘Factually’

About those Facebook labels, Twitter takes on QAnon, and Russian interference in British politics. Factually is a weekly newsletter produced by API and the Poynter Institute that covers fact-checking and misinformation.


Beyond the statement: How journalism funders can act in solidarity with marginalized communities (Medium, The Engaged Journalism Lab)

In the wake of the latest wave of Black Lives Matter protests, many organizations declared their solidarity with the movement and its goals. But, Anita Varma writes, without actions taken to further social justice, these statements do not qualify as true solidarity. News funders who are really committed to furthering social justice should be assessing the news organizations that they fund, to see whether they include voices from marginalized communities in their reporting. Funders must also realize that journalists who critically cover injustices are not advocates, but simply serving the public interest. In order to expand this coverage, journalists need time, training and encouragement to build relationships and expand sourcing networks.

+ Earlier: How grantmaking is changing as funders look to address structural inequality — and how news organizations can adapt their grantseeking to these new areas of focus

+ New York’s The City is asking residents to report their past interactions with police (The City)


Information inequality in the UK coronavirus communications crisis (Reuters Institute)

The coronavirus pandemic is a communications crisis as well as a public health emergency. A new study from the Reuters Institute finds that news inequalities in COVID-19 news have grown in the U.K., with younger adults and women less likely to access news about the pandemic than older adults and men. But there is some evidence that social media could be reducing news inequalities. Overall, news use is still higher than it was before the pandemic, but has dropped significantly since mid-April.

+ Editor-in-chief fired at Hungary’s leading independent news site, after he publicly raised alarm over political interference in the outlet’s operations (The Guardian)


Twitter says it’s looking at subscription options as ad revenue drops sharply (CNN)

Twitter, which has suffered a steep decline in advertising revenue, is considering a subscription model, CEO Jack Dorsey said on an investor call. Rumors flew earlier in the month when the company posted a job description for someone to build a subscription platform, causing stock prices to surge. Dorsey said a subscription model would “complement” the platform’s current advertising business, and that tests for alternative revenue models would likely roll out this year.


The case for journalism as a gen-ed course (Poynter)

In the era of social media and cell phone videos, breaking news is just as often documented and captured by citizens as by journalists. As a result, Michael Bugeja argues that all citizens should learn about journalism and the free press as part of their education. Courses ranging from media history, news literacy, and media law and ethics could inform potential on-the-scene citizens about their rights, as well as good practices for capturing news. With the journalism industry on shaky ground, it might be crucial for all citizens to understand how and why journalism works.


Breitbart has continued to collect ad dollars through a shady ad revenue-sharing ring of propaganda sites (Branded)

The right-wing site Breitbart News has been banned from major ad exchanges and blocked from advertising many brands, but continues to survive. A new report reveals that the site continues to siphon advertising dollars from unsuspecting companies by entering into shared ad pools that don’t reveal themselves as shared. Brands may purchase ads thinking they are buying direct ads from another site, but they are actually sharing that revenue with Breitbart. The report also unveils financial links between various right-wing sites, including RT, Drudge Report, and the UK’s Daily Mirror. 


+ NPR may be “public” radio, but it’s feeling the economic pain of the pandemic. More trouble lies ahead. (The Washington Post)

+ A Pulitzer winner uses her skills as a fashion critic to deliver social and political commentary (Nieman Storyboard)

+ “You don’t want to be the domino”: Reporters inside the NBA’s COVID-free bubble are hoping it doesn’t burst (Vanity Fair)