Need to Know: June 22, 2018

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


You might have heard: The interiors of the detention centers where children are being kept from their parents are still largely out of public view because the government has gone to great lengths to keep the media at bay (CNNMoney)

But did you know: NPPA calls for photojournalists’ access to detention facilities (NPPA)

The National Press Photographers Association has called on all politicians who visit the migrant child detention facilities to insist on being accompanied by visual journalists and to insist that Immigration and Customs Enforcement permits unfettered access to those facilities for all journalists. “We also call on news media organizations to decline to publish handout photographs from the government or others when full and meaningful visual access is denied. When important issues face a nation, and the truth must be ascertained, images — taken by journalists who adhere to strict codes of ethics — truly matter. The only photographs the nation has seen from inside those facilities have come from the government. This is unacceptable.”

+ Noted: 8 to receive the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism (University of Missouri); The New York Times adds Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, as a columnist for its opinion pages (The New York Times Co.); owner Automattic buys technology and publishing company Atavist (Wall Street Journal); Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68 (Washington Post)


How journalists in Oregon are collaborating to tackle a mountain of data about high school concussions (Center for Cooperative Media)

John Schrag, the executive editor of a medium-sized group of community newspapers in Oregon, had known for a while about an unexamined pool of data that could shed new light on the issue of concussions in high school sports. The data was an untapped goldmine to Schrag, but he couldn’t easily free up reporters to examine records from each of the area’s 238 high schools. Schrag approached journalism nonprofit groups InvestigateWest, the Solutions Journalism Network, and the Center for Cooperative Media, as well as the University of Oregon and journalism advisors at local high schools to coordinate a collaborative approach to the project. Schrag says that pulling together a team of experts allows him to focus on the journalism, while his partners can focus on aspects of the process that he doesn’t have the manpower to handle, like massive data collection, or that he’s less equipped to handle, like fundraising and engagement.

+ Earlier: Our guide to how commercial and nonprofit newsrooms can work together in these kinds of partnerships


New Panama Papers leak shows firm’s chaotic scramble to save business amid global fallout (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists)

The new leak offers a view inside what happened in the weeks before the Panama Papers investigation broke and during the aftermath, as the firm Mossack Fonseca and people it did business with scrambled to respond. The documents, which include emails, passport copies and criminal case files, are dated from early 2016 through the end of 2017, a few months before the firm collapsed. The information was obtained by the same newspaper that had received the first leak, Süddeutsche Zeitung. The records were shared with ICIJ and its media partners.


How to think strategically about prize hosting (Stanford Social Innovation Review)

News organizations sometimes give out staff prizes to recognize good work, and state press awards and Pulitzer Prizes are sought after. It’s worth thinking about how prizes really affect and motivate people.  Organizations’ motivations for hosting prizes vary but generally cluster into one of two groups: awareness, an aim to raise the profile of an organization or issue area to generate momentum; and disruption, which incentivizes innovation, surfaces new solutions, or fundamentally changes an entrenched system. Matching a goal with the right kind of prize strategy is perhaps the most important, most ignored task that prize hosts face.

+ How Twitter made the tech world’s most unlikely comeback (BuzzFeed)


A devastating flood recently swept through journalist Max Robinson’s town. He captured footage and then, almost immediately after he posted it on Twitter, requests from local and national news orgs came. “I find myself troubled by my position in media coverage of the floods. I know that the folks riding news desks and navigating the latest national tragedy all have bosses to satisfy and bills to pay. But there doesn’t appear to be a guidebook for potential sources confronted with a sudden swell of media requests. Nor do all reporters work with the same understanding of best practices when engaging with a source in crisis, be it from a natural disaster, a shooting, or another horrific event.”

+ Should publishers raise prices on subscribers who use adblockers? (Solution Set)


News is sometimes a casualty when Facebook and Twitter try to clean up their platforms (Nieman Lab)

After Gizmodo Media’s Splinter published a story that included the cell phone number of Trump advisor Stephen Miller, people started tweeting out links to the story. Almost immediately, those accounts started getting suspended. Twitter has a policy against revealing other people’s personal information, but this raised two questions, writes Marlee Baldridge. First, Twitter’s speed dealing with these tweets seemed at odds with the many other times it has seemed slow (or unwilling) to police hate speech and abuse on its platform. And second, it’s one thing to ban tweets that share private information — but banning tweets that merely link to an actual news source seems different. That would seem to position Twitter as policing news content that isn’t even published on its site, says Baldridge.

+ The Weather Channel brought a tornado to life with hyper-realistic graphics in the name of “immersive storytelling” (Fast Design Co.)


+ Testing out a new future for Consumer Reports: In an era of budget cuts, pivots to video, and quick aggregation, Consumer Reports is unusual for its nonprofit subscription business model, massive resources, and dedication to original reporting and research. Yet income at the company is down, subscriptions are falling, and it faces an assortment of online competitors. In this new era, can CR hang on to the top spot in consumer reporting? (Columbia Journalism Review)

+ How Popular Science is shedding its male-geek image (Digiday)

+ One conservative group’s successful infiltration of the media (Columbia Journalism Review)

+ American media keeps falling for Russian trolls (CNN Tech)