Need to Know: March 10, 2023


This week, more legal filings in the Dominion Voting Systems defamation case against Fox News revealed a schism between former President Trump’s voter fraud claims and the Fox News hosts that were pushing them. In one text message, Tucker Carlson wrote that he hates the former president “passionately.” The filings also reveal how deeply involved Rupert Murdoch was in the running of the organization. Journalists at the network say that the filings have been “demoralizing, deflating and soul-crushing” for staffers. Lawyers for Fox News have argued that if this suit is successful, other news organizations will suffer.  (The Hill, The New York Times, The Daily Beast, NPR)

Carlson has also attracted some negative attention from Senate Republicans for releasing heavily edited footage of the Jan. 6 riots that portray them as “mostly peaceful.” But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy defended his decision to give Carlson an exclusive on the footage, saying he believes it was an exercise in “transparency.” (Axios) 


These are the stories that captured the most interest from Need to Know subscribers this week. 

How will journalists use ChatGPT? Clues from a newsroom that’s been using AI for years. Jeff Israely of Worldcrunch thinks that AI will become another tool in journalists’ workflows, just as Google entered the everyday life of reporters 20 years ago. (Nieman Lab)  

How does a news organization succeed in 2023? One word: Retention.  News outlets need to focus on the onboarding experience of new subscribers to make sure that their audience can develop a habit and find value in the work that they do. (Poynter)  

The Washington Post offers bundle subscription with Headspace app. The paper is aiming to increase its subscriber base by targeting those who aren’t frequent Post readers or might be more interested in verticals beyond politics and news. (Digiday)  


Key findings for reaching Black Millennials and Gen Z with news

How should news organizations appeal to Millennial and Gen Z news audiences and keep them coming back? API’s Kevin Loker presented data from a survey of nearly 6,000 Americans ages 16-40 on their news habits alongside Ryan Sorrell, founder and publisher of The Kansas City Defender. For example, Black Americans under 40 get news daily on certain topics at higher rates and are more likely to pay for or donate to news than their white peers. 

How Substantial Media of North Carolina amplifies positive voices within the Black community (Better News)

Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Create an online subscription-based platform that produces editorial content focused on amplifying positive stories within the Black community, raising awareness regarding relevant issues that affect the community at the local, state and national level. Substantial Media LLC, a Black owned and operated online subscription-based platform, has been able to build partnerships based on their understanding of their audience.

IWMF and API partner on online violence training and resources for newsrooms 

The International Women’s Media Foundation and API are pleased to announce a new partnership providing holistic training and education on online violence. The partnership will build on the IWMF’s unique model of identity-conscious digital safety support by offering ongoing training to combat violence to news organizations in API programs by addressing online attacks, as well as help implement mental health and trauma response protocols for staff experiencing abuse online. 

Funding news: How Gen Z and Millennials pay for or donate to news

In its latest study, the Media Insight Project explores one of the crucial questions about the future of journalism: how can news media create content that Gen Z and Millennial consumers are willing to pay for or donate to directly? The report highlights how these new generations have turned their attention to formats from independent news creators such as video, audio, podcasts and newsletters as news sources.


+ Journalism needs a new paradigm for its own protection (Columbia Journalism Review)

+ Bernadette Carey Smith, Black reporter in mostly white newsrooms, dies at 83 (The New York Times) 

+ ‘Black Girl Missing’ dramatizes the toll of missing white woman syndrome (Poynter) 

+ ‘Don’t break it!’ The new hosts of ‘Radiolab’ remodel a landmark (The New York Times)