Need to Know: March 17, 2023


Earlier this week, lawmakers in Florida advanced a bill that would make it easier to sue journalists and media organizations for libel by lowering “the threshold to bring defamation cases and limit who is considered a public figure.” Experts say the bill is likely to pass in Florida but be litigated to the Supreme Court, where Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch have called for a reconsideration of New York Times v. Sullivan. Meanwhile, Fox News is expected to face another defamation suit for promoting election fraud lies from election technology company Smartmatic. (WFLA, The New York Times, The Guardian)


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

‘Hyper-partisan’ politicians get four times the news coverage of bipartisan colleagues. The nonprofit group Starts With Us is calling on news outlets to focus more on bipartisan politicians. (The Hill) 

Two out of three journalists have been impacted by economic uncertainty. Still, more than half of journalists say they’re optimistic about the industry. (Muck Rack)  

How DW nails TikTok explaining German culture to its 350k Berlin Fresh’s followers. The videos are aimed at showing the cosmopolitan nature of Berlin to a global audience while also explaining serious issues to Gen Z viewers. (Substack, Mapping Journalism)  


API offers free Google Analytics 4 training for newsrooms today 

API’s Product Strategy team is here to ensure that your transition from Google Universal Analytics (GUA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is successful and that you’re capturing the data that is most useful to your newsroom. The first workshop today at 1 p.m. Eastern will focus on using Google Tag Manager, and the second workshop on March 24 will explain how to set up key events to focus on tracking subscribers, members and general visitors who make up your audiences. Sign up here.

Americans seek stories of solutions and inspiration from the media (Substack, More in Common) 

More in Common, in collaboration with the American Press Institute, sought to find out what Americans want to read or watch in the media. Findings suggest Americans want a balance of positive and negative stories and have a desire to see more solutions-oriented reporting. Americans also view national media as more helpful for understanding others who are different from them and see local media as more helpful for learning about issues that impact people’s everyday lives.

API is hiring a web applications engineer

The Web Applications Engineer is a member of the Product Strategy team, which works at the intersection of journalism and product to help news organizations navigate the needs of being effective, successful digital organizations. Candidates should have two to four years of experience in a developer role. We will consider remote candidates anywhere in the continental United States, as well as those who prefer to work in and/or want to relocate to our office. 

SPECIAL EDITION: An inclusive guide to online safety

Each Monday, Need to Know shares a special edition series focusing on top issues impacting today’s newsrooms. 

Understanding online violence against women and nonbinary journalists

As part of API’s partnership with IWMF, IWMF Executive Director Elisa Lees Muñoz outlines the challenges journalists face when it comes to online harassment. In today’s digital world, newsrooms must face the harsh reality that many women journalists endure near constant harassment, abuse and threats online: nearly two thirds of journalists said they’d been threatened or harassed online at least once in their career. In order to cultivate diverse news organizations where marginalized groups feel supported and safe, it’s imperative that newsroom leaders proactively protect those most affected by online harassment. 

+ The Coalition Against Online Violence offers an online violence response hub that offers immediate support for a variety of scenarios including doxxing, problems with online accounts and receiving online abuse, as well as ways to prepare for online attacks.

+ IWMF offers multilingual training for journalists, including courses on knowing your trolls and online privacy.

+ The IWMF’s News Safety Cohort is a new opportunity to help international newsrooms create policies for protecting journalists online. 


+ The news business is in crisis — but not The New York Times Co. (The Information) 

+ A storied Texas Panhandle newspaper halts publication after 130 years (The Texas Tribune) 

+ Let’s talk Barbara Walters: Seventeen leading broadcasters on her legacy and making their way in the world she made (The Cut) 

+ You’re better off not knowing: The problem with dwelling on news about things you can’t control (The Atlantic)