Need to Know: March 3, 2023


In court documents unsealed this week, Fox chair Rupert Murdoch acknowledged that some Fox News hosts endorsed election fraud claims in 2020 that were untrue. The documents also showed that Murdoch shared confidential information with former President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, related to President Biden’s campaign. The documents are part of Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News; experts say that this testimony shows Dominion has a strong argument. Fox is arguing that it merely covered the election fraud accusations, although some its defense strategy appears to be arguing that some related conspiracy theories have merit. Fox News’ own media critic, Howard Kurtz, says he has not been allowed to cover the lawsuit on-air. Meanwhile, Fox News’ website has been redesigned to focus less on politics, in order to make it more friendly to advertisers. (The New York Times, The Washington Post, Poynter, Digiday)


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

Journalists must understand the power of community engagement to earn trust. Newsrooms must listen, be present in their community, offer transparency to their audience and reflect on their own work. (Poynter)  

Where did Facebook’s funding for journalism really go? Only $30 million of the Meta Journalism Project’s $300 million commitment to local news could be accounted for in public statements. (Columbia Journalism Review)  

Local publishers, Deloitte to create business content for diverse audiences. The partnership will allow local publishers to use Deloitte’s research to tailor content to different audiences. (Local Media Consortium)  


Join us to reimagine local opinion journalism

API is continuing to help news organizations reimagine local opinion journalism to promote healthier civic discourse and to better understand its role in news business sustainability. To gather and advance solutions, we will hold an API Local News Summit on Opinion, Civic Discourse and Sustainability on April 12-13 in Austin, Texas. If you have ideas about or experience in how local opinion sections can build new products for diverse audiences, use community engagement to support civic discourse and expand its revenue opportunities, we’d like to hear from you. 

How the Border Belt Independent provides deep-dives for North Carolina newsrooms (Better News)

Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: As a digital news start-up, the Border Belt Independent partners with local newspapers to provide them with long-form stories at no cost. It helps grow their audience and provides them with in-depth reporting their readers expect. 

Trust Tip: Use these resources to make careful language decisions (then tell your audience) (Trusting News) 

As journalists, our words matter a lot. Ideally, they convey information in ways that feel clear, accessible and inclusive. But sometimes they unintentionally send signals to people about the meaning and value behind our coverage. There are so many phrases, words and framings we might not be aware of that are causing our work to come off with a specific tone or may unintentionally convey a viewpoint or exclude parts of our audience. By being more cautious with language choices, journalists can avoid this and instead, can help ensure their coverage feels accessible, inclusive and empathetic. 


+ Meet the first-ever artificial intelligence editor at the Financial Times (Nieman Lab) 

+ ‘Mobile journalism is the fastest way to change how Africa’s story is told’ (Reuters Institute) 

+ Inside New York City’s nastiest (and smallest) newspaper war (The New York Times)