Need to Know: June 1, 2021


You might have heard: In 2021 Report for America expanded into more than 200 local newsrooms across the U.S. (Report for America)

But did you know: Report for America’s sister program aims to help newsrooms worldwide boost coverage (VOA News)

In February, the GroundTruth Project launched Report for the World, an initiative that aims to encourage more sustainable and impactful local reporting around the globe. The initiative is a sister program to Report for America, which supports reporters in local newsrooms across the U.S. Currently, Report for the World is supporting six reporters in two newsrooms with a track record of public service journalism — in India and TheCable in Nigeria. India and Nigeria are both countries that have historically been regional beacons of a free press, but both have seen press freedoms under attack in recent years. Report for the World pays half of each journalist’s salary for one year and provides resources for the news outlet to raise the other half.

+ Noted: Reuters postpones website paywall amid contract dispute (Reuters); Emails show that UNC-Chapel Hill’s largest journalism-school donor warned against Nikole Hannah-Jones’ hiring (The Assembly); Naomi Osaka quits the French Open after news conference dispute (The New York Times)


Local news sustainability: API advisers highlight three paths forward                    

Thanks to a 2017-19 grant from the Knight Foundation, API sent advisers into 23 U.S.-based newsrooms to support their efforts to reach or maintain long-term sustainability. We’ve highlighted three outlets — a large metro daily, a hyperlocal community newspaper and a digital startup — whose challenges are typical of many media organizations, and shown the steps they’ve taken toward sustainability; including creating a newsletter aimed at driving digital subscriptions, reaching new audiences through social media, and introducing key listening and engagement strategies into their work.


Tips on addressing the stress and trauma of reporting the news (The Journalist’s Resource)

Over the past decades, dozens of studies have been done on the mental health effects of working in journalism. With guidance from the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma at Columbia Journalism School, The Journalist’s Resource presents three tips on how newsrooms can address the needs of their journalists. One is to offer trauma training for journalists, both in journalism schools and in newsrooms. Journalists’ exposure to trauma should be considered similar to professions like police officers, firefighters, and paramedics, all of whom regularly receive training on dealing with stressful situations. Other tips include providing resources like peer support and employee assistance programs, and training newsroom managers to talk about trauma.


CBC Manitoba is launching its first-ever community advisory board (CBC)

The CBC in Manitoba, Canada has put out a call for audience members to join its  15-person community advisory board. The board will offer input on how the public broadcaster covers the province, including how well it reflects the community it serves. Board positions will be held for two years, and the board will have no editorial control over which stories are published. The pilot is part of a CBC series of projects “aimed at deepening relationships between Canadians and their public broadcaster.” Board members will be paid a $75 honorarium for each bimonthly meeting, and the board itself will be selected “to reflect the ethnocultural, socio-economic, geographic and political diversity of the province.”

+ Earlier: How to form a community advisory board for your newsroom (American Press Institute)


How a community organization is using social media to inform and engage San Jose residents about vaccines (The Knight Foundation)

In San Jose, Calif., more than half the city’s residents speak a language other than English. This has proven to be a hurdle in vaccine rollout. The Knight Foundation has partnered with a community organization, XOMAD, which has developed public health campaigns on social media in diverse communities in New Jersey and South Carolina. XOMAD, Knight and the City of San Jose launched a pilot program in May, which recruited and paid trusted community members with local online followings to communicate information about the vaccine safety and availability of vaccination sites.


Why ‘monthly access payments’ could work better than paying per article (Medialyte)

In March, Mark Stenberg wrote in his newsletter Medialyte that one answer to the problem of paywalls could be “monthly access payments.” Expanding on the idea, Stenberg writes that paywalls have forced readers into a binary choice — pay indefinitely for a news subscription, or don’t read at all. Monthly access payments would work more like buying a single edition at a newsstand, allowing a single month of access to a news site without any further obligation. He argues that the reasons that pay-per-click has failed — the economics of micropayments and the psychological hesitation to pay for a single article — would be less of a concern with monthly access payments. And if a reader develops a habit of reading a site and paying monthly, it would be in their best interest to purchase an annual subscription.


In California’s wine country, a newspaper’s failure to purse a story leads to questions (The Los Angeles Times)

When accusations of sexual abuse and assault came out against Dominic Foppoli, mayor of Windsor, Calif., they were printed not in the local Santa Rosa Press Democrat, but in the San Francisco Chronicle. That’s because when reporter Alexandria Bordas took the accusations to her editors at the Press Democrat in 2019, they failed to pursue the claims; Bordas left the paper and took the story to the Chronicle. Since the stories went public in April, one editor at the Press Democrat has resigned and another was demoted. Readers accused the paper, which is owned by “a group of influential political and business figures,” of shielding the well-connected Foppoli from scrutiny.