Need to Know: July 9, 2021


Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones announced Tuesday that she has declined the offer of a tenured professorship at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and instead accepted a tenured position at Howard University, where the Knight Foundation has established an endowed professorship in Race and Journalism for her (The Washington Post). Along with award-winning journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, Hannah-Jones will establish a new Center for Democracy and Journalism at Howard. The announcement comes after months of public controversy and behind-the-scenes political struggles at UNC, where pressure from conservative donors resulted in the school temporarily rescinding its offer of tenure to Hannah-Jones. (NC Policy Watch)


These are the stories that captured the most interest from Need to Know subscribers this week.

The New York Times is using Instagram slides and Twitter cards to make stories more digestible. The New York Times’ audience team has been experimenting with adapting stories into simple text cards for social media, and finding that people do take the time to read and share them. “It all came from wanting to be more visual,” said deputy off-platform editor Jake Grovum. “We made it part of our daily routine to have these visual presences for whatever news or whatever story we’re trying to share.” (Nieman Lab)

Community foundations have given $1.1 billion in media grants since 2009, report finds. Community foundations play a significant role in funding media within their own communities and on the national level. A new report from Media Impact Funders, done in partnership with the Knight Foundation, shows top community foundation funders — and recipients — by region and specific media type. (Media Impact Funders)

USA Today will make readers pay for its website, joining other top news outlets. On Wednesday USA Today became the final major national daily to require readers to pay to read news online. USA Today’s shift to a digital subscription comes after the rest of Gannett’s roughly 250 daily newspapers have already implemented paywalls. (The New York Times)


How to start a community advisory board for your newsroom (American Press Institute)

Community advisory boards are one way to start more of your journalism from a place of listening. Made up of people from your community, community advisory boards can offer valuable perspectives on your reporting and guide you to stories that really matter to audiences. They can also help you build better relationships with groups that have felt alienated, misrepresented or frustrated by your coverage. With advice from several newsrooms, we put together this guide on how to start one in your own newsroom.


+ New initiative aims to drive more advertiser investment in multicultural media (Variety)

+ Naomi Osaka: “The press-conference format itself is out of date and in great need of a refresh” (Time)

+ Global democracies need to align to fight disinformation (Wired)