Need to Know: July 26, 2021

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


You might have heard: This year, a union study found gender and racial pay inequities in Gannett newsrooms (Columbia Journalism Review)

But did you know: Salary survey finds age and gender gaps in public media (Current)

A Current survey of about 1,900 public media salaries found that data journalists, reporters and photo journalists were among the lowest paid in public media newsrooms. The survey pointed to a gender pay gap, with men earning about 10% more than women when comparing median salaries. For executive positions, men earned 16% more than women. Older employees tended to earn more than younger workers in their 20s and 30s, who earned median salaries in the $50,000 range, compared to six-figure median salaries for workers 70 and older.

+ Noted: CBS ousted two senior managers at Los Angeles and Chicago television stations after an L.A. Times investigation into misconduct at CBS-owned stations (Los Angeles Times); WNYC host Tanzina Vega announced she will leave “The Takeaway” following reports that she berated staff (The Daily Beast)


We curate the best journalism advice on the web and put it all in one place

Better News is a free resource for news innovators, offering hand-picked journalism wisdom from around the internet and organizing it into “big picture,” “strategic” and “tactical” categories, depending on how ready you are to implement the advice. It also features lessons learned by newsrooms that participated in the Table Stakes training program managed by API. 


What to avoid when making a pitch for philanthropic funding (Local Media Association)

After launching last year, the Local Media Association’s Lab for Journalism Funding provided 16 publishers with fundraising coaching that allowed the news outlets to raise a total of $4.5 million in support. In a new report on the project, the Local Media Association recommends funding pitches avoid focusing on the need to “save” newsroom jobs or why journalism is important, which funders may find self-serving. The report says that funders want newsrooms to share clear plans for audience engagement and reflecting the diversity of the communities they serve.

+ Related: The Local Media Association’s Lab for Journalism Funding is accepting applications for its next cohort (Local Media Association)

+ For journalists who cover the economy, this explainer breaks down wonky concepts like how poverty is measured and the difference between income and wealth (Pew Research Center)


Why ‘slow journalism’ thrived during the pandemic (

Slow journalism sites like Tortoise put the brakes on journalism’s relentless news cycle by giving readers in-depth stories at a slower, more deliberate pace. Since launching in 2019, Tortoise has gained more than 110,000 members, who can attend “Think In” sessions that allow them to share opinions with the outlet’s “open newsroom” and make coverage suggestions. Amid isolation felt during the pandemic, the sessions became a way to find community, as well. “It’s a really iterative process,” said Tessa Murray, Tortoise’s communications director. “The Think Ins are how we gather crucial information that shapes what we do.”


A new bill would make Facebook liable for misinformation (The Verge)

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday would make it possible to sue social media platforms like Facebook for hosting certain health misinformation as determined by the Health and Human Services secretary. Under Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, online platforms are immune from lawsuits connected to illegal content they’ve hosted. The bill would only apply to misinformation that is both boosted by a platform’s algorithm and about a public health emergency like the pandemic.

+ There isn’t a system to measure the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous communities, creating an “informational black hole” (Poynter)


Burner phones, fake sources and ‘evil twin’ attacks: journalism in the surveillance age (The Guardian)

Former Wall Street Journal reporter Bradley Hope writes about the precautions he’s taken to protect his personal data while reporting and how hacking services have made journalists’ projects and sources vulnerable, no matter their beat. After reporting on the United Arab Emirates, Hope appeared on a leaked list of journalists who were targeted for surveillance by Israeli security firm NSO Group’s government clients. NSO had previously claimed their clients couldn’t use their spyware, called Pegasus, against journalists and other people who aren’t involved in terrorism or other serious crimes.

+ Heated, a newsletter on climate change, is moving from daily to weekly publishing so that author Emily Atkin can cope with burnout (Heated)


The Local Live(s) project humanizes reporters by putting them on stage (Columbia Journalism Review)

Local Live(s) worked with six newsrooms last year to host online events where journalists tell stories about their work to engage with their audiences, explain their reporting process and build trust with the public. Local Live(s) helps journalists craft first-person stories that include “parts of the story that don’t make it to print: things that get taken out in the editing process, details that can be really evocative, that can make them feel a lot more relatable and a lot more human,” co-founder McArdle Hankin said. Audience members get a behind-the-scenes account of reporting, from the role of ethics in journalism to how newsrooms choose angles for stories.