Need to Know: March 24, 2023
TOP NEWS THIS WEEK
Publishers are having mixed feelings about the use of artificial intelligence. On one hand, some publishers — including BuzzFeed, Dotdash Meredith, Gannett and The Arena Group — are looking at generative AI as a way to cut costs. At the same time, media organizations are looking at how AI tools like ChatGPT have been trained on their content and wondering if and how they could be compensated for providing such material. Meanwhile, Google’s Bard chatbot and Microsoft’s Bing chatbot are citing each other. (Digiday, The Wall Street Journal, The Verge)
After three years, The New York Times will cease gathering its own Covid information, and instead report the federal government’s numbers. (The New York Times)
MOST POPULAR STORIES THIS WEEK
These are the stories that captured the most interest from Need to Know subscribers this week.
Negative words in news headlines generate more clicks — but sad words are more effective than angry or scary ones. This study, which drew on data from Upworthy’s hyperbolic headlines, is unusually quantifiable. (Nieman Lab)
Charting revenue: How The New York Times makes money. In 2022, digital subscriptions accounted for 42% of revenue, while print subscriptions brought in 25% of revenue and advertising made up 23%. (Visual Capitalist)
The FBI And DOJ are investigating ByteDance’s use of TikTok to spy on journalists. ByteDance claims that the actions were taken by individuals who are no longer employed at the company. (Forbes)
NEW FROM API
How the Montgomery Advertiser is building trust and growing audiences in Alabama’s rural communities (Better News)
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Build trusted relationships with people who have lived without local news sources for years by showing up for these communities, listening to them and delivering the content they most want. Make sure the coverage is for these communities, not simply about them. The Montgomery Advertiser built out its coverage of a nearby rural news desert by serving the audience and sustaining reporting efforts with ongoing grant funding while building trust with the community they were reporting on.
Trust Tip: Invite people to contact you about story updates or removals (Trusting News)
As journalists, we cover a lot of stories where people are experiencing some of the worst days of their lives. As time goes on, people change, the facts could change and the circumstances could change. Yet, the stories remain online and searchable, for all to see, unless we intervene. So, the question is: what’s your policy for updating or removing a story? More importantly, would a member of your community know they CAN request a story update or removal? Getting something in writing, even if it’s internal, is a good first step. This can help your newsroom be consistent about how and when it updates or removes stories. From a public trust perspective, the next best thing you can do is share that process and how you make those decisions publicly.
+ API’s Letrell Crittenden is speaking at a Gather Lightning chat on models for accountability infrastructure in newsrooms next Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. Register here.
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.
Five tips for protecting yourself online
The arrival of social media led to opportunities for women journalists to share their work widely and to connect with new audiences, but it also made them more vulnerable to online abuse. While there is an important role for media outlets to play in protecting staff, journalists can also take steps to secure their information online. Ela Stapley, Digital Security Advisor at the International Women’s Media Foundation, shares her top five tips for better protecting yourself online.
+ Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security for accounts. It is best to turn 2FA on for all accounts where possible. An app or security key are more secure options than SMS.
+ Review the content you have online by looking up your name on all search engines and checking what can be publicly seen on your social media accounts. Take note of all information that makes you vulnerable to an attack.
+ Best practices for digital security change every day. Attackers are always finding new ways to harass, and we find new ways to respond. Sign up for newsletters about digital safety, technology and other related news, such as IWMF’s Online Violence Response Hub newsletter, The Recode by Vox, and a variety of relevant newsletters from Wired.
FOR THE WEEKEND
+ The future of funding journalism: Publishers report revenue diversification, philanthropy and public funding key to sustainability (Editor and Publisher)
+ Gannett’s CEO is getting rich by gutting a newspaper near you (Boston Globe)
+ Jake Tapper knows there’s no such thing as purely objective news (Esquire)
+ The FBI raided a notable journalist’s home. Rolling Stone didn’t tell readers why (NPR)
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