Need to Know: June 29, 2018

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


You might have heardFive dead in “targeted attack” at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis (The Baltimore Sun)

But did you know: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow’: Capital Gazette journalists report on shooting in their own newsroom (Capital Gazette)

From the moment gunfire rang out at the Capital Gazette newsroom, journalists there began covering their own tragedy. An intern at the Annapolis paper tweeted at 2:43 p.m. Thursday that there was an active shooter in the building, located at 888 Bestgate Road. “Please help us,” Anthony Messenger wrote. Staff members who were not in the newsroom rushed toward the building, not yet knowing that five of their colleagues had been killed. And once they got the news, they continued to seek information on what led to the deaths of their coworkers and friends.

+ The Capital Gazette ran full front-page coverage of the shooting and an opinion page “intentionally left blank today to commemorate victims” (Twitter, @capgaznews); Terror and heartbreak in the Annapolis Capital newsroom (The Baltimore Sun); The Capital Gazette’s profiles of the five victims: Assistant Editor/News Rob Hiaasen, Editorial Page Editor Gerald Fischman, Staff Writer John McNamara, Sales Assistant Rebecca Smith, and Special Publications Editor Wendi Winters (Capital Gazette)

+ Alleged shooter had history of harassment and sued the paper for defamation (Slate); Fatal shooting of 5 at Capital Gazette is rare attack on U.S. journalists (Capital Gazette); Capital Gazette writers say they need more than “thoughts and prayers” (CNN)

+ Noted: Facebook is testing a tool to sell news subscriptions through its platform (Facebook); Politico to launch in Canada (Financial Times); Twitter launched its Ads Transparency Center, where you can see ads bought by any account (TechCrunch) and Facebook released a new tool that will allow users to see what advertisements a Page is running (VentureBeat)


The week in fact-checking

As part of our fact-checking journalism project, Jane Elizabeth and Poynter’s Alexios Mantzarlis and Daniel Funke highlight stories worth noting related to truth in politics and on the Internet. This week’s round-up includes an op-ed on how distrust in the media has spread to fact-checkers, a 170-year timeline of immigration policy from USA Facts, and a primer on misinformation on WeChat, the Chinese language app.


How to report on social issues through a systems thinking lens (Journalism + Design)

Journalists often focus on individual events and problems, rather than the underlying forces that cause and connect them. In a recent Journalism + Design workshop, journalists from North Carolina’s The Herald-Sun and The News & Observer explored using systems thinking to report more holistically on gentrification in Durham. By creating visual representations of the many forces contributing to gentrification, and identifying stakeholders affected by or contributing to the issue, the journalists were able to brainstorm new ideas for coverage and spot existing gaps in their reporting, as well as identify their own assumptions and biases.

+ Best practices for working with “fixers” and staying safe abroad (The GroundTruth Project)


Behind the scenes of a murder investigation that mobilized 230 journalists all over Brazil (Medium)

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.


In times of anxiety, how to forge better relationships with consumers (AdWeek)

Like journalists, marketers are experiencing higher levels of distrust from consumers, fueled largely by concerns about privacy and data misuse. What marketers can do to regain trust can also be applied in the news industry: reexamine how customer data is managed to ensure it is properly safeguarded, increase investment in qualitative research and insight gathering, and focus on strengthening long-term customer relationships instead of just pushing for conversions.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory points to a media failure that keeps repeating (The Washington Post)

On Tuesday night, many major news organizations were caught flat-footed as 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pulled off one of the biggest political upsets in years, unseating powerhouse Joseph Crowley in the Democratic primary in a New York City congressional district. Margaret Sullivan spoke with The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur, whose progressive political website had predicted her success. “The traditional media pay attention to one metric — money — but there should be other considerations: number of volunteers, social media engagement, small-dollar donations,” Uygur said. Those are critical indications of voter energy and loyalty.


‘Everyone is breaking the law right now’: GDPR compliance efforts are falling short (Digiday)

The arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation a month ago led to a flurry of activity, clogging email inboxes and flooding people with tracking consent notices. But experts say much of that activity was for show because it fails to render companies compliant with GDPR. Part of the issue, experts say, is that the vague regulation has been interpreted in wildly different ways.

+ Women in public-facing journalism jobs are exhausted by harassment (Poynter)


+ The Washington Post’s The Lily is building its Instagram aesthetic and sharing news with millennial women in the process: 162 years ago, The Lily began as the first newspaper published by and for women. 161 years later, the Washington Post reprised the name as a vertical focused on millennial women. Now, 12 months into The Lily 2.0, its content is growing on Instagram, Facebook Watch, email inboxes, Apple News, and yes, even in print. (Nieman Lab)

+ Life after Tronc: Norman Pearlstine’s plans for the Los Angeles Times (Columbia Journalism Review)

+ As a viral phenom crawled up its building, Minnesota Public Radio quickly created #MPRraccoon swag (The Lenfest Institute)