Need to Know: June 26, 2020


You might have heard: Headline-making missteps put focus on newsroom diversity (ABC News)

But did you know: A solid majority of Americans say it is important for the news media to reflect the diversity of the U.S. (Knight Foundation)

While Americans say that diversity is important in newsrooms, and that diversity should play a role in hiring decisions, diversity means different things to people depending on their race and political identification. In a poll conducted by Gallup and the Knight Foundation last winter — before COVID-19 was widespread in the U.S. and before protests erupted over the killing of George Floyd — 69% of respondents said that diversity in newsrooms is important. But while people of color said that they want to see more of an increase in racial and ethnic diversity in newsrooms, Republicans were more likely to say they wanted to see an increase in diversity of political opinion.

+ Noted: Jennifer Brandel steps down as CEO of Hearken as company merges with Switchboard (Medium, We are Hearken); Vice Media expands global news footprint with Vice World News, coverage of social justice issues (Deadline); LeBron James gets $100 million investment to build media empire (Bloomberg); Tribune newsrooms worry that cost-slashing hedge fund Alden Global Capital could gain majority control next week (New York Post)


In this week’s edition of ‘Factually’

Global Fact 7 Update, faked screenshots and COVID misinformation in Africa. Factually is a weekly newsletter produced by API and the Poynter Institute that covers fact-checking and misinformation.


How puzzles play an essential role in reader engagement (Twipe)

As the pandemic has more people looking for home-based activities, puzzles have become a great option for news outlets to bring in new audiences. The Wall Street Journal, for example, has started steering new subscribers towards puzzles, as puzzlers are much more likely to remain subscribers. Publications are expanding beyond the classic crossword into online jigsaw puzzles and other interactive games. Outlets that focus on improving the user experience for their puzzles have the option of developing an independent offering, like the New York Times did with its standalone crossword subscription.

+ Five problems with how the media covers protests, and five recommendations for how to write fair protest narratives (Poynter)


How The Economist built a successful global reader acquisition channel by bringing its content to life (Press Gazette)

The Economist, the global current affairs magazine based in London, has thrived by continuously innovating in its acquisition strategies. By partnering with a brand experience company, The Economist launched in-person experiences in high-traffic locations, offering unique tie-ins with the magazine’s content. An article that explored why humans should consider eating insects was turned into free food — ice cream in the summer, crepes in the winter — with insects as the key ingredient. A meditation on food waste was reimagined as an event that offered smoothies made entirely from discarded produce. Since 2014, the in-person offerings have brought in 150,000 new subscriptions across eight countries.

+ Independent website editor Nora Younis arrested in Cairo (Reporters Without Borders)


Facebook will show users a pop-up warning before they share an outdated story (TechCrunch)

In an attempt to curb the spread of misinformation, Facebook is adding a pop-up warning for users who are sharing a story that is more than 90 days old. The pop-up will allow users to keep going with sharing the old story, or go back. The company said that news publishers, in particular, were concerned that old stories being shared as breaking news were a source of misinformation on the platform. Pop-ups are part of Facebook’s broader strategy to elevate discussion; last year, Instagram activated pop-ups to discourage abusive and offensive comments.

+ Earlier: The Guardian’s nifty old-article trick is a reminder of how news organizations can use metadata to limit misinformation (Nieman Lab)

+ Reducing the silencing role of harassment in online feminism discussions (Citizens and Tech)


New research explores how conservative media misinformation may have intensified the severity of the pandemic (The Washington Post)

Three recent studies have investigated the role of conservative media in fostering confusion around coronavirus, which may have contributed to the current wave of COVID-19 infections across the U.S. One study found that infection and mortality rates from the virus are now higher in places where Sean Hannity’s viewership is largest. People who got their news primarily from places like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories and unfounded rumors about coronavirus. Another study found a direct correlation between ZIP codes with high Fox News viewership and lower rates of following stay-at-home orders.

+ “Google paying publishers” is more about PR than the needs of the news industry (Nieman Lab)


Dallas Morning News to launch Education Lab, expanding education coverage (Dallas Morning News)

In the fall, The Dallas Morning News will expand its education coverage with Education Lab, adding two staff members and a fellow to focus on education in North Texas. The Lab will be funded by seven Dallas-area foundations for two years, with a budget of $210,000 per year. It’s the paper’s largest foray into community-funded journalism; the paper currently has funding support of its classical music coverage and several reporting and photography fellows.

+ Earlier: How a partnership with Solutions Journalism Network helped The Seattle Times rethink its education coverage 


+ “Honestly, everything is not burning”: An interview about media portrayals of social movements with Dr. Danielle Kilgo (CJR)

+ The silencing of female expertise: how journalists allow male voices to dominate the pandemic narrative (Undark)

+ “He broke me’”: inside the toxic workplace at groundbreaking Latinx culture site Remezcla (Jezebel)