Need to Know: June 14, 2021

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


You might have heard: Pulitzer Prize winners for 2021 include BuzzFeed, with its first, as well as the Tampa Bay Times and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis (The Pulitzer Prizes)

But did you know: Darnella Frazier, the teen who recorded George Floyd’s murder, receives a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation (USA Today)

Frazier won the citation and a cash prize of at least $15,000 for her role in recording “a video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice,” the Pulitzer Prize Board said. In April, former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of Floyd’s murder, and last month Frazier wrote on Facebook that she is still “trying to heal” despite the awards and publicity she’s received. “A lot of people call me a hero even though I don’t see myself as one,” she wrote. “I was just in the right place at the right time.”

+ Noted: American Airlines retires its in-flight magazine (USA Today); Lobbyists for Rupert Murdoch’s media companies are pushing for tech antitrust bills (Axios); States Newsroom expands with The Idaho Capital Sun (Editor & Publisher)


API Executive Director Tom Rosenstiel to join faculty at University of Maryland Journalism School

After leading API for nine years, during which the organization expanded from a staff of one to more than a dozen people, Executive Director Tom Rosenstiel will be joining the faculty at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill School of Journalism as the Eleanor Merrill Visiting Professor on the Future of Journalism. Under Tom’s leadership, API has published groundbreaking research in partnership with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago; developed a news analytics tool that helps news publishers convert their conventional analytics into meaningful journalistic data; and began managing the Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program, which prepares publishers for a digital future.  


How travel journalism is adjusting as the world reopens (Digital Content Next)

During the pandemic, travel publications shifted their coverage to inform their audiences on how COVID-19 was affecting travel and ways to explore nearby destinations. Their focus has moved again, with Thrillist providing service journalism to help readers navigate the current state of travel. Thrillist is also emphasizing domestic travel, especially camping and national and state parks. National Geographic has delved into more storytelling during the pandemic, with plans to focus on sustainable and responsible tourism in the future.

+ How to improve hate crime coverage (National Press Club Journalism Institute)


How to better cover Indigenous trauma (J-Source)

Canadian Indigenous-run media outlet IndigiNews uses trauma-informed reporting to bolster its in-depth coverage and to strengthen its relationships with the communities it covers. After 215 children were found buried on the grounds of a British Columbia school created to assimilate Indigenous youth, IndigiNews reporter Kelsie Kilawna warned journalists against harming survivors while reporting on the school. Kilawna, who plans to create a trauma-informed reporting guide, recommends journalists practice “self-location” to examine their relationship to a story and determine if it is theirs to tell.


For some work, do we really need to be at our desks? (Twitter, @AndrewHaigh)

Andrew Haigh, a senior curation lead for Twitter, questions the norm of working from a desk and says that remote work comes with freedom to work more comfortably and in ways that foster creativity. Haigh writes that he has changed where and how he completes some of his tasks without losing productivity. Haigh reserves mornings for focused, meeting-free work that takes place at a desk, and the rest of the day, he finds ways to take breaks from it. He suggests emails and other communication can take place from anywhere, and one-to-one meetings can be traditional, video-free phone calls made during creativity-boosting walks or from other locations. 

+ For new grads: How to overcome imposter syndrome (International Journalists’ Network)


Sports world needs to prevent, not just respond to, sexual harassment (ESPN)

Sarah Spain argues that in sports media, sexual harassment “is a feature, not a bug” in an opinion piece that details how the sports industry protects men and punishes accusers. After female reporters alleged Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway and Mets general manager Jared Porter had sent them explicit text messages, both men were fired. Spain rejects the idea that those terminations are evidence of a culture shift in sports, as Callaway and Porter “were far more expendable than a big name front office executive, legendary coach or superstar player.”

+ More than 500 journalists have signed a letter calling for Israel-Palestine coverage that “(tells) the full, contextualized truth without fear or favor” (Medium)


Media outlets to obtain law enforcement footage after lawsuit (Carolina Public Press)

Last year in Graham, North Carolina, law enforcement pepper-sprayed and arrested protesters, election observers and a photographer. With law enforcement and the public providing conflicting narratives of the protest, journalists have attempted to determine what happened through cellphone videos taken that day and reports from journalists who were there. After North Carolina news organizations filed a lawsuit seeking videos and photographs taken by law enforcement during the protest, a judge ordered that the material should be released. In North Carolina, videos taken by law enforcement can’t be released without an order from a judge.