Need to Know: June 28, 2018

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


You might have heard Five decades after Kerner Report, representation remains an issue in media (Columbia Journalism Review)

But did you know: While more women are taking on leadership roles in radio and TV, fewer people of color are working in radio and TV is nowhere near representative (Nieman Lab)

Yesterday the Radio and Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) released its annual survey on newsroom diversity, which showed slight progress in 2017 but with some caveats. While women are slowly gaining a wider variety of broadcast newsroom jobs, people of color are still struggling to reach proportional numbers of representation in newsrooms, particularly in radio. “It’s frustrating that newsroom diversity is making little headway year after year,” writes Marlee Baldridge, “though with more women of color taking up leadership roles, there is the chance that more room will be made at the top.”

+ Noted: Sources say ex-Fox News executive Bill Shine to accept role as White House communications director (ABC News); Disney wins antitrust approval to purchase most of Fox (CNN); The Daily Beast launches $100 a year membership program (Digiday); Veteran media executive Fran Wills named CEO of Local Media Consortium (Local Media Consortium)


Five takeaways on connecting business and editorial (Medium)

Hearken’s Anna Nirmala shares work from individuals and organizations who are helping to connect editorial and business needs, as well as themes and insights from the spring conference season that everyone should be paying attention to. Among the ideas she passes on: learn from marketers about how to understand your audience; think beyond page views when it comes to data and focus on the metrics that impact your bottom line, whether that’s membership, subscriptions, or donations; and explore creative revenue models.

+ A journalist’s guide to collaborating with NGOs (Global Investigative Journalism Network)


How data journalism is evolving in Brazil (

Data journalism has been on the rise in Brazil since the Access to Information Act was passed in 2012, guaranteeing public access to data provided by the Brazilian authorities. The law has also given birth to a tight-knit community of data journalists, programmers and hacktivists who connect online, via social media and a dedicated WhatsApp group, and at conferences and events to help each other learn new data journalism methods.


The case for onboarding freelancers (Fast Company)

Providing a complete onboarding and training program to temporary, contract, contingent, gig, or freelance workers may seem impractical, but providing none at all could cause significant damage to a company’s reputation, employer brand, and internal processes, writes Jared Lindzon. While it’s not necessary to dedicate the same time and resources to onboarding freelance talent as full-time staff, there are basic steps organizations should take to set expectations, measure performance and ensure a smooth workflow between freelancers and staff.


Politics pushes Central American voices out of child separation coverage (Columbia Journalism Review)

Much of the national coverage about the child refugee crisis makes it appear as though the crisis is new, argues Roberto Lovato — detached from precursors to Trump’s more formal child separation policy and the recent history of U.S. political and economic involvement in the region that contributes the overwhelming majority of asylum seekers at the heart of the child separation story. Instead, coverage focuses on sometimes-exploitative stories of child victims and their distraught mothers, contains an extraordinary amount of stereotypes, and suffers from a dearth of experts who have dedicated their lives to studying the crisis.

+ Related: Time magazine’s cover isn’t bold or brave. It’s exploitative. (Vox); News outlets join forces to track down children separated from their parents by the U.S. (Poynter)


The great Facebook crash (Slate)

Early 2017 was, in retrospect, the zenith of Facebook’s influence over the news industry, writes Will Oremus. The social media giant was responsible for so much traffic to news sites that newsrooms remolded their editorial strategies to maximize clicks, likes, and shares on Facebook. But fast forward to 2018, and the flood of Facebook traffic to news sites has receded dramatically, leaving publishers scrambling to recapture lost audiences. For Slate, traffic from Facebook plummeted a staggering 87 percent, and sources at several major publications told Oremus they’re now seeing less than half the referral traffic from Facebook that they were receiving in the first half of 2017.

+ Earlier: Apple News shows promise delivering traffic but won’t make up for Facebook shortfalls (Digiday)

+ Progressive media saw the Ocasio-Cortez upset coming in New York primary (CNN); The motivations and vision for one nonprofit news startup (Nonprofit Quarterly)