Need to Know: June 4, 2015

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


You might have heard: Some mid-sized publishers are looking for advertising partnerships as a way to compete against publishers with large audiences

But did you know: Tribune Publishing partners with dozens of newspapers to create a ‘publisher consortium’ (Capital New York)
Advertisers will soon be able to buy a single campaign in the top 30 media markets. Partners for Tribune Publishing’s “publisher consortium” include Tribune’s Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, as well as The Washington Post, Dallas Morning News and Philadelphia Inquirer. The advertising campaigns can be both print and digital and will allow advertisers to target local audiences on a national scale.

+ Noted: Columbus Dispatch sold to New Media Investment Group (New Media); Yahoo will allow advertisers to fact-check its viewability and fraud numbers with third-party ad-tech firms (Advertising Age); As part of its effort to ramp up its original content, Snapchat hires former president of NowThis and The Onion Sean Mills as head of original content (Business Insider); Rivet Radio raises $3.6 million from investors including AP and Belo to expand audio news on devices and in-car platforms (Chicago Tribune); Twitter suspends access to its API for Politiwhoops, a Sunlight Foundation-funded website that tracks tweets deleted by politicians (Gawker)


What Vox learned when reporters, developers and designers worked together in the newsroom (Poynter)
By putting journalists, platform engineers, and designers together during a “hack week,” support manager Elite Truong says Vox learned important lessons about how to get everyone working together more often and more efficiently. While Truong says they learned that the jobs on both teams are complicated, she says they also learned that the workflows aren’t that different, though the tools may vary. Most importantly, Truong says that everyone is on the same team and working toward the same goal, despite their varying roles: “If your intention is to tell stories that inform the public and you do that by improving storytelling tools or designing user interactions, you are a journalist.”

+ How the NYT uses Reddit to gain insight into its audience: A bot scans Reddit and sends an alert to a Slack channel every time a NYT story is discussed, allowing the newsroom to listen to and sometimes participate in conversations happening around their stories (


More than half of The Daily Mirror and Independent audiences are mobile-only (
According to new figures from the U.K.’s National Readership Survey, more than half of the readers of the Independent and Daily Mirror access the websites from their phones only. At the Independent, 55.5 percent of readers read exclusively from their phones between April 2014 and March 2015, while 52.8 percent of Daily Mirror readers were mobile-only.


How to develop employees who create their own ideas, not just follow directions (Harvard Business Review)
The best employees are often the ones who create solutions to problems on their own, instead of doing the minimum of what’s asked of them. To develop employees who think for themselves, Francesca Gino and Bradley Staats recommend managers separate the process from the outcome by specifying what a good end product will look like without dictating what needs to be done to get there.


Paul Farhi: Journalists should practice what they preach in terms of access (Washington Post)
As journalists gripe about lack of access to sources, Paul Farhi says: “Journalists aren’t exactly an open book, either.” As a media reporter at The Washington Post, Farhi says journalists are just as closed off when being interviewed and access to journalists through public relations teams often involves a negotiation of terms. Farhi says: “When they’re in the news, news organizations can go into lockdown mode just as quickly as any other embattled company or politician. Facts become scarce, as are knowledgeable and on-the-record sources.”

+ Politico’s co-founder Jim VandeHei on the trend toward scale: “The danger with scale is, the easiest way to get scale is to cheapen the quality of your content. When you do that, it’s a deal with the devil” (Digiday)


After Tablet started charging for the comment section, conversation moved to Facebook (Nieman Lab)
When Tablet started charging users $180 per year for access to the comment section, the Jewish news and culture magazine wanted to heighten the quality of comments on its website. Editor Alana Newhouse says the quality of comments has increased while Tablet’s traffic hasn’t decreased, with readers and commenters heading to social networks to discuss stories. While comments on Facebook sometimes still devolve into “flaming awfulness,” Newhouse says the difference now is that they’re not being hosted by Tablet’s website.

+ In the era of “at a glance journalism,” what we can learn from newspapers from another era: They were also using short bites to entice readers and inform them quickly (Garcia Media)