Need to Know: June 19, 2018

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


You might have heard: 50 percent of the public say they are only a little familiar with the term “op‑ed,” or don’t know what it is

But did you know: How are Americans doing at distinguishing between factual and opinion statements in the news? (Pew Research Center)

A new Pew survey examines whether members of the public can recognize news as factual or as an opinion that reflects the beliefs and values of whoever expressed it. The findings from the survey reveal that even this basic task presents a challenge. A majority of Americans correctly identified at least three of the five statements as fact or opinion — but this result is only a little better than random guesses. Far fewer Americans got all five correct, and roughly a quarter got most or all wrong. Those with high political awareness, those who are very digitally savvy and those who place high levels of trust in the news media are better able to accurately identify news-related statements as factual or opinion.

+ Noted: Los Angeles Times names Norman Pearlstine as executive editor (LA Times); Katie Couric is joining forces with The Skimm for a video series as its first guest correspondent (Wall Street Journal); Tronc might be returning to its original name, Tribune Publishing (New York Post); Over 400 Washington Post employees have signed an open letter to owner Jeff Bezos requesting fair benefits and wages (Business Insider)

API Update

What journalists can learn from their local TV weather forecast

As API outlined in a report earlier this month, a focus on “show me” rather than “tell me” journalism could be a way to improve news fluency, along with trust and understanding about news media. That’s something weather reporters have understood for years, says API’s Jane Elizabeth: How to successfully engage audiences with a scientific topic while keeping it from being derailed by misinformation.

+ To increase trust in the press, let’s look at the good experiences people have with journalists: API’s Kevin Loker explains some of the ways that the public is happy with the press (Medium, Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy)


Can voice-activated devices and real estate information create a new market and spur some recovery for news companies? (Reynolds Journalism Institute)

More than two decades ago, Craigslist disrupted the news industry’s classified advertisements and now another innovation is here and growing with voice devices. Continual market growth of voice-activated devices signals more disruption for the news industry. In some markets, real estate news and information see some of the highest traffic on digital news platforms. The implications of the growth of these devices are just as important in the real estate industry, as questions loom about the impact this technology will have on Realtor marketing and where advertising and sponsorship dollars should be spent.  

+ Related: Tips to consider for porting real estate info to voice devices (Reynolds Journalism Institute)

+ Understanding the news needs of a community can be hard — but GroundSource is making it easier (Medium, GroundSource); Why The Daily podcast doesn’t cover Donald Trump’s tweets (Recode); The best tools and tech to create a podcast in 2018 (Poynter)


The Indian government does little to protect journalists outside the centers of power and in some cases is itself targeting journalists (Foreign Policy)

“Two days after I’d written in the New York Times about being the target of an online hate campaign, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights warned the Indian government that it had a duty to protect me,” writes Rana Ayyub. “As a journalist, I’m uncomfortable becoming the story, but in this case, after a week of abuse and death threats that had left me traumatized and at fear for my life, I had no choice in the matter. But what happened to me was relatively light compared to the fate of many journalists who live at a distance from the circles of power in Delhi and Mumbai. Indian journalists are increasingly at risk from fanatics, criminals, and online mobs — and the government is doing barely anything to protect them.”

+ An overview of the EU’s proposed new copyright law that will require internet platforms to automatically filter uploaded content (Wired UK); Fears mount over WhatsApp’s role in spreading misinformation (The Guardian); The Daily Mail names former Fox News Digital EIC Noah Kotch editor of and MailOnline (The Guardian)


Companies that harness creativity and data in tandem have growth rates twice as high as companies that don’t (McKinsey Quarterly)

The notion that creativity and data are adversaries is outdated, write Brian Gregg, Jason Heller, Jesko Perrey, and Jenny Tsai. “Combining the power of human ingenuity and the insights gleaned from data analytics is a good start. But the best marketers are going a step further and integrating this power combo into all functions across the marketing value chain — from brand strategy and consumer insights, to customer experience, product, and pricing to content and creative development, media — even measurement. Far from robbing a brand of its soul, this fusion of skills and mind-sets is an essential part of the modernization of marketing to drive growth.”


The Onion is on a crusade against Mark Zuckerberg because it says Facebook is choking its traffic (Business Insider)

Over the last two days, The Onion has published around a dozen articles ridiculing Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and it says there’s more on the way. Why? The Onion’s editor-in-chief Chad Nackers told Business Insider that the comedy onslaught is because Zuckerberg has “repeatedly betrayed the trust of billions of people,” and because Facebook is choking off traffic to The Onion’s website. “We have 6,572,949 followers on Facebook who receive an ever-decreasing amount of the content we publish on the network,” Nackers said, calling Facebook an “unwanted interloper” between the publisher and its audience.

+ Facebook’s local push is becoming a shove with its public relation efforts (Columbia Journalism Review)


Funding the news: Foundations and nonprofit media (Shorenstein Center)

The 2016 election triggered a flurry of activity and debate across the philanthropic world, and talk of increased funding for nonprofit journalism initiatives began almost immediately. Findings suggest that many innovative projects and experiments have and continue to take place, but grantmaking remains far below what is needed. Matthew Nisbet, John Wihbey, Silje Kristiansen, and Aleszu Bajak identify sharp geographic disparities in foundation funding (New York, California and DC), a heavy concentration of resources in a few dozen successful news nonprofits (investigative or public affairs news orgs) and on behalf of coverage of a handful of issues (environment and political accountability), and the granting of money to a disproportionate number of ideologically oriented outlets.

+ Earlier from API: Ethical guidelines for funding of nonprofit journalism