Need to Know: June 16, 2022


You might have heard: Last year, Americans’ trust in media dipped to the second lowest on record (Gallup)

But did you know: The United States still ranks at bottom for trust in news (Reuters Institute)

In its annual worldwide Digital News Report, the Reuters Institute said the overall picture this year for the news industry was “slightly less optimistic” than in 2021. Interest in news has declined in many countries and trust has fallen almost everywhere, according to the report. In the United States, trust in news has dropped to 26%, from 29% last year, putting its trust level at the bottom of all countries surveyed, along with Slovakia. The authors of the U.S. section of the report, Joy Jenkins and Lucas Graves, noted that the decline in trust coincides with a shrinking confidence in highly regarded institutions such as medicine and the military. Local television news remained the most trusted source while other sources, especially cable TV, have a more polarized reputation, they wrote.

+ Noted: Washington Post, Imagine Entertainment create partnership (Deadline); Vox and Capital B announce partnership for a new editorial initiative examining Juneteenth (Vox); New CNN boss Chris Licht wants staff to stop calling Trump’s election claims ‘The Big Lie’ (Mediaite) 


How a Southern California Public Radio task force drove systemic change in DEI (Better News)

Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Southern California Public Radio leveraged the tools behind performance-driven change to better incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion into its organization. The process involved creating a task force to assess where SCPR was in terms of DEI, figuring out opportunities for change and making recommendations to leadership for moving forward. A priority was to make recommendations with identifiable goals that were more likely to be adopted by the executive team and board, writes Ashley Alvarado, who lays out the tools the organization used to ensure success. This story is part of a series on Better News that showcases innovative and experimental ideas that emerge from Table Stakes, the newsroom training program, and shares replicable tactics that benefit the news industry as a whole.


There are 2 ways the media covers mass shootings. Here’s why the difference matters (NPR) 

After a mass shooting, news stories that focus on individuals will prompt audiences to look for solutions at the individual as opposed to societal level, according to University of Delaware professor Dannagal Young. More thematic coverage can activate thought about broader solutions, such as legislation. She calls this difference episodic vs. thematic framing. A story told at the individual level might cause people to think, “Well, this awful thing wouldn’t happen to me, because look it happened over there to those people in this place,” Young told NPR’s Sacha Pfeiffer. But in such cases, journalists should ask themselves what will help Americans understand “not just this day, but this broader issue?” she said. “What is going to help them figure out what action they might be able to take?”


Local papers lose out to Facebook as U.K. towns become ‘news deserts’ (The Guardian) 

Local Facebook groups have become the default source of news for people in many British towns, according to new research. A report from the Charitable Journalism Project said that although these groups are sometimes seen as toxic, people end up relying on them to find out what’s going on, reports ​​Jim Waterson. In Trowbridge in Wiltshire, 30,000 of the town’s 44,000 residents are in a single Facebook group. The researcher, Steven Barclay of City, University of London, told Waterson that a common complaint was that news outlets no longer based reporters in the towns they covered. “What I found in my research is people wanted a trusted source of local news and information that’s both professional and authentically local,” Barclay said.


When should a creator throw in the towel? (Substack, Simon Owens’s Media Newsletter)

The vast majority of people who enter the “creator economy,” such as those who make YouTube channels, podcasts or newsletters, give up after they don’t experience immediate success, writes Simon Owens. So how can creators know whether their project is going to be a success? Creators need to understand that their work is not like a normal job, Owens says, and that startup costs are structured differently in the creator world. “Most traditional jobs start paying you a full-time salary right away, and that kind of rapid success is rarely possible in the creator world,” he writes. He lays out a basic framework for creators to measure their success. 


Media deal rankles Latino Republicans (Axios)

Conservative Cuban American lawmakers have asked the Federal Communications Commission to “thoroughly scrutinize” the purchase of 18 Hispanic radio stations by a group with progressive ties. Latina activists and entrepreneurs Jess Morales Rocketto and Stephanie Valencia recently raised $80 million to launch the Latino Media Network. Their purchase includes Miami’s right-wing Radio Mambí, popular among Cuban exiles. The letter, signed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and three other Cuban American lawmakers, among others, said they were concerned that the group would silence certain political viewpoints. The network responded that Cuba’s freedom was part of the Miami stations’ mission and that they intend to “remain true to that spirit of liberty.” 


On some PBS stations, Jan. 6 hearings are preempted by Curious George (The Washington Post)

Some local public television stations are not airing the Jan. 6 oversight hearings, instead relegating them to secondary digital channels, writes Paul Farhi. On Monday morning, for example, the statewide public broadcaster WyomingPBS showed Curious George and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood while the hearings appeared on a channel called Create, which features cooking, sewing and home maintenance shows. The station’s general manager said it has a “commitment to the parents in Wyoming to provide a ‘safe harbor’ on our main channel for their children during the day.” One North Carolina PBS station that had not shown the first hearing at all reversed itself after getting complaints, and put the hearings on a secondary channel.