Need to Know: June 12, 2020


You might have heard: The coronavirus could change American sportswriting forever (The Ringer)

But did you know: The NBA might lock reporters inside its Disney ‘bubble’ for 3.5 months (The Daily Beast)

The NBA is slowly moving forward with a plan to restart its 2019-20 season this summer, with all employees living in quarantine in Walt Disney World in Orlando for the duration of the season. But if current plans are put into motion, reporters who want to cover the games will be required to self-isolate alongside the NBA employees, at their own expense. In a memo leaked to the press, one group of journalists — from outlets that can afford to pay for an reporter to spend months living at the league’s complex — will be tested daily and have full access to players and coaches. If they leave the quarantine, they will not be allowed to re-enter. Other media would be allowed to attend games, but not interact face-to-face with anyone from the league. This could mean a significant drop in coverage for America’s second-favorite sport.

+ Noted: Weather Company lays off dozens, shutters popular Weather Underground ‘Category 6’ blog (The Washington Post); Condé Nast executive Matt Duckor is out after bigoted tweets and allegations of suppressing diversity by Bon Appétit staffers (Business Insider); WNYC names Audrey Cooper editor in chief (New York Public Radio); Internet Archive ends “emergency library” early to appease publishers (Ars Technica)


API is hiring part-time community managers

API is hiring community managers with some web development knowledge as independent contractors to support news organizations using API’s Metrics for News analytics platform. Today is the last day to apply.

+ Factually newsletter: A review of the evidence, the EU’s fight about disinformation from China, and a look at scientific papers being rushed into publication. 


What to know when choosing your membership tech stack (The Membership Puzzle Project)

For small newsrooms without in-house tech advisors, building the right tech stack (a combination of technology services that work together) for your membership program can be daunting and complicated. Emma Carew Grovum from the Membership Puzzle Project lays out the key steps for building a membership tech stack, from thinking about all of your software and data will interact to considering the value of your staff’s time to setting clear parameters for the role of engineers and developers in the process.

+ Layoffs are a reality. Here’s how to be more compassionate. (Poynter)


Countries locking up journalists may have a new slogan: “It happens in America, too” (Nieman Reports)

Vladimir Radomirovic, a Serbian journalist who stood up to government attacks on the press in the 1990s and 2000s, says that the treatment of American journalists during the latest protests is alarming to reporters around the world. “I went to practically every anti-government protest in Serbia from 1990 to 2000, whether as a protester or a reporter, and I don’t recall the police ever targeting journalists the way they did in the U.S.,” he writes. He says that dictators and authoritarians around the world will use America’s treatment of the press as an excuse for their own aggression towards the media.


BLM activists devised a brilliant way to raise money from YouTube’s AdSense (OneZero)

Black Lives Matter activists are taking advantage of YouTube’s ad platform to raise money for their cause. Creators upload videos to YouTube, then divert the ad money raised to support the Black Lives Matter movement. The content of the videos range from highlighting art from black artists to sharing personal stories about police brutality to makeup tutorials, because the content is not the point. Supporters ensure that the videos rack up hits by leaving comments that boost the video in YouTube’s algorithm and ensuring that ads are watched the entire way through.

+ Snapchat redesigns its app based on a curation of news stories (TechCrunch)

+ OpenAI offers its first commercial product, which can write news stories (Bloomberg)


Press passes: The NYPD giveth and the NYPD taketh away (CJR)

For journalists covering the recent protests in New York City, an NYPD press pass has been one way to avoid (or at least lessen) police harassment. Press passes issued by the NYPD require proof that a reporter has covered events concerning the NYPD — a catch-22 if police deny coverage to those without a press pass. Acquiring a press pass is particularly difficult for freelancers and small publications, and all journalists can have their passes revoked at the whims of the department. Politicians have called for press pass accreditation to be the responsibility of the mayor’s office instead.

+ Politico debates the proper way to cover Trump (The Washington Post)


Heath Freeman is the hedge fund guy who says he wants to save local news. Somehow, no one’s buying it. (The Washington Post)

Heath Freeman and his hedge fund, Alden Global Capital, began buying up newspapers in 2009 as the recession pushed newspaper chains into bankruptcy. Now, Alden is one of the largest newspaper operators in the country, and its name has become synonymous with the dismantling of local media. But Freeman claims that cuts are necessary to keep newspapers afloat. “I would love our team to be remembered as the team that saved the newspaper business,” he told the Washington Post. He also emphasizes that the local news industry was in freefall before Alden became a player; part of the reason the firm was able to buy so many papers is that no one else was interested. But critics point out that other news outlets may have gone bankrupt, but they emerged from the recession far less decimated than Alden’s papers.


+ “Capitalism needs a reset”: The first female editor of the Financial Times is a level-headed radical (Vogue)

+ Her Campus Media, the rapidly growing college media empire, adjusts to the pandemic with a focus on inclusivity (CNN)

+ The uncertain future of Jewish news media (CJR)