Need to Know: July 27, 2022


You might have heard: “Where there is disruption, there is opportunity”: What does the future hold for nonprofit newsrooms? (Columbia Journalism Review) 

But did you know: The nonprofit news sector largely weathered the pandemic (INN) 

The Institute for Nonprofit News has released its 2022 Index Report, which shows that nonprofit news has continued to grow over the last two years despite the pandemic. The number of smaller nonprofit news outlets is growing; INN projects that local outlets will make up the majority of nonprofit news organizations by 2024. But gains in philanthropic support have been mostly concentrated among larger, national organizations. Increasing philanthropic donations for smaller organizations remains one of the biggest challenges in the industry, alongside attracting and retaining diverse staffs. 

+ Noted: Sheila Rayam named executive editor of The Buffalo News; first Black journalist to lead the newsroom (The Buffalo News); Slain Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s family demands U.S. action (Politico) 


API selects four news organizations for inaugural Beyond Print cohort 

Four news organizations will participate in the American Press Institute’s new Beyond Print program, which will help guide publishers away from print-centric revenue models toward a sustainable digital future. The new cohort — La Voz at The Arizona Republic, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Seattle Times — will also develop strategies to increase print readers’ use of digital products, and adjust their print operations to align with their print revenues. They will also receive coaching on the principles of diversity, equity and belonging from the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

How journalism students are using audio boxes to explain their reporting process (Medium, Trusting News) 

One of Trusting News’ key strategies is helping newsrooms explain their reporting process to their communities. Leigh Wright, an associate professor of journalism at Murray State University, worked with students to explain their reporting process by recording short audio clips and embedding them at the top of their stories. The students were able to provide transparency by answering important questions about where the information came from, why they talked to the sources included in their story and why they chose to report on the story in the first place. The students also provided information about themselves and their connections to the story, humanizing themselves in the process.


The Economist moves decisively digital while staying true to its values (INMA) 

Though the Economist still considers its weekly print publication its “benchmark” product, deputy editor Tom Standage says the move to digital publishing and audio products has been successful because they have been guided by the values of the brand. “We have this unusual relationship with our readers that they are paying us to decide what’s important for them. They’re paying us for the curation,” Standage told Peter Bale. Standage says that the key elements for newsrooms to move into digital are a great engineering team and an understanding of the business side of journalism. 


Forced to flee Mexico due to death threats, journalists call on Biden to intervene (Arizona Republic) 

Mexican journalists Juan de Dios García Davish and María de Jesús Peters were forced to flee their country and resettle in Phoenix, Arizona after being threatened by powerful Mexican drug gangs. The couple, who moved to the U.S. along with their daughter, said that promised protection from the Mexican government never arrived. Now they’re calling on President Biden to ensure that aid given to Mexico to protect journalists is actually being used that way. “We want to continue being that voice for other colleagues that nobody pays attention to,” ​​said García Davish. 


Sunset of the social network (Axios)

As Facebook changes its app to be more like TikTok, Scott Rosenberg writes that we might be at “the end of the social networking era.” Instead of showing Facebook users posts from friends, users will now see algorithmically-sorted videos from around the world. In doing so, Facebook is “transforming itself into a kind of digital mass media,” albeit one driven by machine learning instead of network executives. Facebook sees this path forward as privacy rules and government interventions disrupt the company’s ad-targeting model. Community discussions may move to newer platforms like Discord. 

+ Related: Instagram admits it’s ‘not good’ after Kardashians beg it to stop copying TikTok (Vice); As Meta’s growth slows, Mark Zuckerberg is pushing even harder. Will his employees melt under the pressure? (The Verge) 


Once Substack figures out bundling, there will be no reason to have op-ed pages at mainstream media publications anymore (Twitter, @noahpinion) 

Amid ongoing debates about the benefits and drawbacks of newspaper opinion pages, Noah Smith (of the Noahpinion newsletter on Substack) argues that newsletters can replace op-ed pages at mainstream outlets. In a Twitter thread, Smith said that it’s confusing and detrimental for newspapers that produce good reporting to “blur the distinction” between news and opinion. He also makes the case that opinion writing should be distinct from traditional reporting in style and form, and that op-eds “should stand on the strength of their writer, not of a large organization.” The only benefit of publishing an opinion piece in a newspaper is its distribution, but he’s optimistic that Substack bundling will offer the same perks. 


Roland Martin believes in Black-owned media, and he’s using his own money to prove it (Los Angeles Times) 

As mainstream media has sought to diversify its ranks, Roland Martin, a journalist and owner of Black Star Network, says that having news sources dedicated specifically to Black audiences is still important. He says Black-owned media has earned the trust of its audiences — ”They see us as family,” he told Stephen Battaglio. After a stint as a CNN commentator and host of a daily newscast on TV One, Martin took $400,000 of his own money to create “#RolandMartinUnfiltered, a two-hour daily show distributed online. In 2022, he’s on track to make more than $3.5 million in revenue.