Need to Know: June 3, 2020


You might have heard: The Washington Post’s Zeus Performance announced a partnership with the Local Media Consortium (The Washington Post)

But did you know:

The Washington Post has signed all 30 of McClatchy’s local news outlets to the product (Axios)

The idea behind WaPo’s Zeus Performance product, software that improves site speed and advertising performance, is that it will create a better ad-viewing experience for readers. With McClatchy’s papers on board, the Post can start to build a local news network, perhaps even offering shared log-ins between outlets in the future. In the long run, this network could create an advertising market that competes with the big tech giants like Google and Facebook.

+ Noted: The Oaklandside, a new non-profit covering community voices in Oakland, launches (Twitter, @Oaklandside); Grist has taken full ownership of Pacific Standard (Axios); Adweek acquired by Shamrock Capital (AdWeek); The Guardian rolls out global tests of its registration wall (What’s New In Publishing); Blockchain-based media startup Civil shuts down (Poynter); Local Media Association announces $10 million in fundingfor investigative journalism (Local Media Association)


Trust Tip: Share your humanity while reporting on protests (Trusting News)

Between the nationwide demonstrations and the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a difficult time for almost everyone in America — including journalists. This week’s edition of Trust Tips looks at how journalists can be honest about their own emotions while also improving their audience’s understanding of issues surrounding race, police brutality, and protests. Sign up for weekly Trust Tips here, and learn more about the Trusting News project — including how your newsroom can get free coaching — here.


Nashville TV station acknowledges, apologizes for biased Facebook posts (Twitter, @NC5)

In its coverage of protests in Nashville over the weekend, local television station NewsChannel 5 posted articles about two men — one white, one black — who were arrested for vandalism during the protests. Both men had felony convictions, but only the Facebook post about the black man included a reference to his criminal past. In a Twitter thread, the channel acknowledged that some had called the posts biased, saying that the network “deserves that criticism” and vowing to do better in the future.

+ When THE CITY reviewed COVID-19 obituaries in NYC, they found they skewed whiter, younger, and wealthier, so they’re asking readers to help them recognize those who went unacknowledged (Twitter, @azirulnick)


This Hungarian news outlet grew its digital readership by 30% by doubling down on the everyday effects of COVID-19 (Poynter) 

Mérce, a Hungarian left-leaning independent media organization in a country whose media is increasingly controlled by the government, has seen a boost in readership during the pandemic. Some of that is due to its COVID-19 coverage, including their daily update with news and government announcements, as well as reporting on food delivery, unemployment, and housing during the pandemic. But the site’s “non-coronavirus section,” which was launched to help people overwhelmed by virus news, has been getting just as many visitors. The organization, which is audience-funded, is still working to convert some of those new readers to paying subscribers.

+ At least 20 journalists in Peru have died from COVID-19 as they covered the pandemic (The Guardian)

+ Australia probes US police assault on its journalists outside White House (Yahoo)


Marketers bring antitrust suit against Google (MediaPost)

Three companies have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, arguing that it is monopolizing the digital ad market. The suit alleges that Google, through acquisitions and conditional access, has driven out other online advertising markets, leading to higher prices for customers and lower return on advertising for online publishers. The lawsuit, in California, comes amid rumors that the Department of Justice and various state attorneys general are likely to file antitrust suits against the company.

+ Mark Zuckerberg defends Facebook’s hands-off approach to Trump posts to employees (The New York Times)

+ Police scanner apps get record downloads in the last week (Axios)


Rubber bullets don’t fire themselves: Passive language can obscure the reality of police violence (Discourse Blog)

As demonstrations have grown around the country, there has been much focus on the violence and destruction perpetrated by both police and protestors. But, as Caitlin Schneider points out in Discourse Blog, often reports of police violence are couched in passive language that removes the police officer responsible for the violence. “State-sanctioned violence is usually passive, and is either attributed to no one or is described in the haziest possible way,” Schneider writes. “Protest violence is usually active, the fault lies with the protestors, and the circumstances are rarely in doubt.”

+ Related: By invoking the word “chaos”, President Trump erased the purpose of demonstrators across the country (The Atlantic)


Saturday’s protests were big news, but some Gannett newspapers pushed them off the front page (The Washington Post)

This past weekend, the front pages of some papers in the Gannett newspaper chain boasted a “Rebuilding America” feature, a collaboration between newsrooms and ad departments meant to boost revenue. But the idea, hatched weeks ago as a feelgood section about the end of the pandemic, felt out of place amidst the destructive protests popping up around the country. Some papers adjusted to cover the demonstrations, but others stayed with the pre-planned — and in some cases, preprinted — covers.