Need to Know: June 27, 2019

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


You might have heard: Local TV news is Americans’ most trusted form of news (Poynter)

But did you know: TV is still the most common way for Americans to get local news, but fewer people are watching (Nieman Lab)

A new Pew Research Center study found that viewership for local TV news has continued to decline, even as another study from Hofstra University and RTDNA found that local TV news programming has increased slightly over the last year. Morning viewership for local TV news declined by 10% in 2018, while audiences for the late night and evening news time slots both went down by 14%. Cable news audiences, meanwhile, have been growing — prime time viewership has increased by 8% and daytime viewership has gone up 5%. Network TV audiences have remained largely stable.

+ Noted: Sens. Warren, Sanders, Booker urge review of Sinclair $10.6 billion acquisition of regional sports networks (The Hill); NRA shuts down production of NRATV, and its no. 2 official resigns (New York Times); Washington Post expands Spanish language content with podcast and opinion columns (CNN)


How the Miami Herald created a sports-only subscription plan to lure out-of-market readers 

Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Miami Herald in August 2018 created Sports Pass, a sports-only digital subscription plan, allowing sports diehards both in and out of market to subscribe at a lower rate than a full digital subscription. “It was important to solve the problem because these habitual readers were literally telling us on social media that they were willing to pay us, but only for sports content,” wrote Rick Hirsch and Adrian Ruhi. This story is part of a series on Better News that showcases innovative and experimental ideas that emerge from the Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative; and shares replicable tactics that benefit the news industry as a whole.

+ API and the Solution Set from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism teamed up to take a deeper look at the Miami Herald’s sports-only subscription. This week’s Solution Set looks at how the Herald’s sports staff launched the product in only two weeks, motivated by the arrival in Miami of The Athletic — which has been poaching sports reporters from local papers around the country (Lenfest Institute) 


Creating local communities of women in media (Poynter)

The irony of most networking events is that, while you’re milling around people in your industry who may have answers to your career struggles, it doesn’t always feel like the right time or place to bring them up. That’s why having a close-knit community of like-minded peers can be a better way to network. In the latest edition of The Cohort, Poynter’s newsletter for women in media, journalist Laura Bertocci explained how she started her own peer group — which has been meeting on the second Thursday of every month for four years. “When starting your own peer mentoring group, think about those you know whom you feel comfortable speaking to candidly about your career and work issues, and vice versa,” she writes. “Make a list of who’s in the same boat as you, and when you reach out, let them know this is about helping each other reach goals. Encourage them to bring a friend.”


Australian media companies scramble after judge rules they are liable for Facebook comments (The Guardian) 

Media companies are scrambling to come to grips with a landmark ruling by an Australian judge that found publishers are legally responsible for pre-moderating comments on their Facebook pages — even though Facebook offers no mechanism that allows news organizations to prevent comments from being published before they can be reviewed. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Rothman said it would be feasible for media companies to create filters to capture most comments before they are published. Publishers have been swift to protest the decision, saying it places too much of a burden on them. “It is ridiculous that the media company is held responsible while Facebook, which gives us no ability to turn off comments on its platform, bears no responsibility at all,” wrote News Corp Australia in a statement following the ruling. It also said the decision “defies belief” and “shows how far out of step Australia’s defamation laws are with other English-speaking democracies.”

+ Earlier: Australia is the only liberal democracy lacking a Charter of Human Rights or other foundational document that protects media freedom. (Nieman Lab)


‘Consent Management Platforms’ are popping up to help publishers grapple with new data privacy laws (StreetFight Mag)

The European Union’s crackdown on data privacy, which has implications for companies worldwide, has yielded a new crop of tech platforms that promise to help publishers obtain user consent for data processing and even monetize those users, regardless of whether they’ve opted in to sharing their data. For brands and publishers that work with multiple ad tech partners, the process of obtaining user consent for data processing is overwhelming, and CMPs could help simplify that workflow, writes Stephanie Miles.


Good editors must be thoughtful when showing readers hard truths, like photos of dead bodies (Poynter)

The Associated Press faced a difficult decision this week in choosing to publish a photo of the bodies of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria, Salvadoran migrants who were drowned attempting to cross the Rio Grande. While such photos have the power to galvanize the public, there is always an element of exploitation to them, writes Kelly McBride. Newsrooms must balance whether the value of the image to the public outweighs the harm of showing it — and if so, how to minimize that harm. The AP used the photo to tell the family’s story, and was careful to consider how the image would appear in social media feeds. However, it was criticized by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists for its tweet about the story, which NAHJ says deprived Twitter users of the ability to choose whether they saw the photo. McBride disagrees with NAHJ’s assessment — ”Don’t exploit horrific photos without a journalistic purpose,” she wrote. “But don’t hide them or place too many barriers in front of them, lest you duck your most important job.”


‘It’s just become daily news’: Six Florida newsrooms are teaming up to cover climate change (Nieman Lab)

For Florida’s 21 million residents, the effects of climate change — higher temperatures, stronger and more frequent hurricanes, flooding, toxic algae, and a $76 billion price tag (which the state expects to have to pay by 2040) — are already a daily reality. Now six Florida news organizations — The Miami Herald, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times, Palm Beach Post, Orlando Sentinel, and WLRN — are forming a partnership to cover climate change stories together. For now they’re sharing content across their newsrooms via a dedicated Slack channel and regular conference calls, but over time they hope to collaborate on reporting as well. “A decade ago, a partnership like this would have seemed improbable,” wrote Mark Katches, executive editor of the Tampa Bay Times. “Newsrooms saw each other as rivals. But a new pragmatism has taken hold in newsrooms across the country. We simply can’t cover the same ground that we once could. And truth be told, we’re not vying for the same readers.”