Need to Know: June 24, 2021


You might have heard: 90% of Republicans don’t trust the news (Gallup)

But did you know: The United States ranks last among 46 countries for trust in news (Reuters Institute)

Trust in news worldwide grew slightly in the wake of the pandemic, according to the Reuters Institute’s annual Digital News Report. But not in the United States — it was one of the few countries that did not see an increase in trust from 2020 to 2021, and the percentage of Americans who trust news overall — 29% — was the lowest among the 46 markets surveyed. The long-predicted end of the “Trump Bump” showed up clearly in the research, with Americans’ interest in news declining by 11%. National news outlets like The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN and MSNBC have all seen significant dips in their audience numbers.

+ Earlier: How journalists can start regaining conservatives’ trust (Trusting News)

+ Noted: OpenNews is offering professional development scholarships for journalists who work in data, code or social justice (OpenNews); Diversity in local TV and radio news reaches records, but representation gap shrinks slowly (RTDNA); Jury selection begins in trial of gunman involved in Capital Gazette shooting (WAMU)


Cutting Print: Making it work when publishing days must go

Cutting print publishing days should be part of a carefully planned transition to digital — not a means of cutting costs to ensure immediate financial survival. Our strategy study explores how newspapers can chart a sustainable path forward by reducing expenses related to print publishing and delivery and building a digital presence better suited for modern reader habits.


Tips for journalists on covering critical race theory (Journalist’s Resource)

The news coverage of the recent controversy around critical race theory tends to focus on emotional arguments from people on both sides of the issue, but it hasn’t included much clarification or context around the term, writes Denise-Marie Ordway. For example, not all lessons focusing on race and racism in U.S. history constitute critical race theory — in fact, it’s uncommon for CRT to be taught in public elementary, middle and high schools. Journalists need to understand exactly what constitutes critical race theory so they can know if the term is being misused by people they’re covering. They should also ask questions to better understand the motivations of those both opposed to and in favor of teaching CRT in schools.


The Globe and Mail has built a paywall that knows when to give up (Nieman Lab)

Canada’s largest newspaper built a dynamic paywall that uses artificial intelligence to know when — and when not — to block readers with a paywall. Some readers may never see a paywall; those who primarily read car reviews, for example, which is a strong source of ad revenue. Others may confront a paywall early on in their time on the Globe and Mail’s website — those who read business articles, for example. Those who flit around general news stories on the site will eventually hit the paywall, but if they repeatedly choose not to subscribe, they may be asked instead for their email address to register to read for free. In short, the tool uses analytics to make decisions that balance the potential for ad revenue versus the potential for subscriber revenue.


In-flight magazines are being grounded as airlines focus more on digital entertainment (The Wall Street Journal)

Delta, American, Southwest and other airlines are retiring their print magazines, citing the encroachment of onboard Wi-Fi, which opens up a whole world of online media to travelers. American has switched instead to expanding its digital entertainment offerings beyond movies and television shows to include meditation exercises, basic language learning classes, live concerts and online creativity courses focusing on skills like travel photography and sketching. It will also start offering content from the publishing house Condé Nast. And the abandonment of print has a significant advantage for all airlines: It makes the planes lighter to fly, reducing their carbon emissions.


Consolidating newspapers helped this local publisher reinvest in its editorial content (Columbia Journalism Review)

The Hudson Valley-based Ulster Publishing recently consolidated four of its hyperlocal weekly papers into one, a move typical of publishers under financial duress. But the move freed up resources for the publisher to invest in its one product — it’s hiring a reporter and editor, and plans to introduce more arts and entertainment coverage. Publisher Geddy Sveikauskas said Ulster could serve as a case study for other local publishers considering consolidation. “If you live in a place with a parched area, like a news desert,” he said, “you don’t plant the petunia where it may not rain for several weeks. You focus your energy on the central place where all creatures come for water.”


The right way to ‘reach diverse audiences’ with job postings (Twitter, @emmacarew)

Many hiring managers, when told to try to reach diverse candidates, will tag membership associations like NABJ, AAJA and NAHJ in tweets about their job openings, hoping to be retweeted. But that amounts to asking for free exposure to their audiences, says Emma Carew Grovum; these organizations have paid memberships and paid job boards. A better alternative — even better than using those paid job boards — is to actually join those organizations, so you have access to their Slack groups, Facebook groups and email lists — “where the real magic inside these groups happens,” writes Carew Grovum.

+ Study Hall, a media newsletter for freelancers, has started organizing its pitch calls by rate, so users can see which publications are paying the highest — and lowest (Twitter, @sashavono)