Need to Know: June 24, 2022


As the House committee hearings on the Jan. 6 riots continue, Margaret Sullivan urges all journalists — and all Americans — to read Protect Democracy’s The Authoritarian Playbook: A Media Guide. “Together, the hearings and the report make for the startlingly loud wake-up call that we all need,” Sullivan writes. The Associated Press has hired a democracy editor to focus on threats to democracy and voting at the national and local level. And Chicago Tribune political editor Mark Jacob said in an interview with media critic Jay Rosen that “the old-fashioned mainstream journalism approach of letting Republicans and Democrats ‘have their say’ was failing our democracy.” (The Washington Post, Protect Democracy, CNN, PressThink) 


These are the stories that captured the most interest from Need to Know subscribers this week. 

Save the Free Press: A Green Bay Packers-style approach to rescue a Colorado newspaper. The Sentinel in Aurora, Colorado, is pursuing a model of community ownership by selling shares to locals and supporters.​​ (The Seattle Times) 

The Washington Post wants to give you a good deal on a digital subscription — from now until 2072. The paper offered a $50 per year subscription for the next 50 years. (Nieman Lab)  

Semafor readies entry into tricky digital news market. The outlet has raised $25 million, and will launch this fall with a staff of 30. In an effort to boost trust, articles “will be broken into sections distinguishing facts from opinion.” (The New York Times)  


What local news organizations are learning by guiding audiences to practical information

API will host an open Zoom discussion on Monday, June 27, at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) to discuss what local news organizations are learning about modern service journalism, or stories aimed at conveying practical information on topics like voting in a pandemic, hurricane preparedness and how people can access housing and health services. Much of this work is rooted in deep listening to community needs through engagement on various venues or platforms — for example, in-person or via messaging apps or text — and experiments that can build momentum for greater work. We’ll hear from four organizations that participated in API’s Local News Ideas to Action Fund (2021) or Trusted Elections Network Fund (2020). Participants are encouraged to share questions ahead of time. 


+ New LMA report: What we’ve learned from running nine industry collaboratives (Local Media Association) 

+ What to do about Twitter in newsrooms: On criticizing colleagues, and unplugging altogether (Substack, Second Rough Draft) 

+ Why the Supreme Court news site SCOTUSblog says it has a “public service” role (CNN) 

+ “I feel proud, and I feel mad as hell”: Gloria Steinem on Ms. Magazine (The New York Times)