Need to Know: March 7, 2023


You might have heard: In 21 states, local newspapers lack a dedicated D.C. reporter covering Congress (Pew Research Center) 

But did you know: The last New Jersey reporter on Capitol Hill just got laid off (The Washington Post) 

Jonathan Salant of the Newark Star-Ledger was the only journalist from New Jersey covering Congress — until last week, when he was laid off by the Star-Ledger’s owner, NJ Advance Media. In response, 13 members of the state’s congressional delegation sent a letter of protest to the publishing company, calling it “a disservice to our state” that there is no one covering the Capitol. In an email to staff, the publisher wrote that the paper would focus more on local news. 

+ Noted: Writer on ‘Shitty Media Men’ list settles defamation suit with catalog creator (The New York Post) 


Funding news: How Gen Z and Millennials pay for or donate to news (Media Insight Project)

A majority of of 16- to 40-year-olds, regardless of race and ethnicity, pay for or donate to news in some way, including 51% of Gen Z, 63% of young Millennials, and 67% of older Millennials, according to a new study from the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between API and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

With this 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. 


How will journalists use ChatGPT? Clues from a newsroom that’s been using AI for years (Nieman Lab)

Jeff Israely is the co-founder of Worldcrunch, a Paris-based news outlet that publishes English translations of foreign news stories. He says that this team has found ample uses for artificial intelligence that improve their translation without replacing the need for multilingual humans. He thinks that AI will become another tool in journalists’ workflows, just as Google entered the everyday life of reporters 20 years ago. “Factor in that human oversight will always be necessary,” he writes. “Speed matters. Quality matters more. Accuracy matters most.” 

+ Related: A fake news frenzy: why ChatGPT could be disastrous for truth in journalism (The Guardian); Fred Ritchin on AI and the threat to photojournalism no one is talking about (Columbia Journalism Review); Meet the companies trying to keep up with ChatGPT (The Verge) 


With stories of her oppressed community, an Indian journalist takes aim at the walls of caste (The New York Times) 

Injustice against Dalits, one considered the “untouchable” caste in India, has continued even as the country has put in constitutional protections to prohibit discrimination. Meena Kotwal is a Dalit and the founder of The Mooknayak, an online news outlet that focuses on telling the overlooked stories of abuses on caste members. Dalit journalists are still poorly represented in Indian media, which is largely populated by dominant Hindu castes; Kotwal says she was bullied for caste while working at the BBC’s Hindi-language service in New Delhi. 


Apple News too corporate for you? Try this app (Nieman Lab)

Last year, Alex Kotch and Walker Bragman launched OptOut News, a news aggregation app that features exclusively stories from independent news publishers. The app, which is still in beta, currently features 180 national and local news outlets; some say the app has decidedly left-leaning bent. In order to be featured, news publications must meet certain requirements related to funding; publications that receive money from corporations or industries that they cover are not eligible. “Americans’ trust in the media is at an all-time low,” said Kotch. “We can’t risk having people not trust the news that we’re pushing out. And frankly, we don’t have faith in news that has financial conflicts of interest.”  


Fox News stands in legal peril. It says defamation loss would harm all media (NPR)

Recent filings in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News have shown that anchors, producers and executives at the cable channel knew that the election fraud claims they were pushing on air were false. But Fox News’ legal strategy maintains that the network was only repeating claims made by others; in an interview, Fox’s attorney said that the channel doesn’t “suppress the speech that we don’t think is right.” She also argued that a win for Dominion could have a detrimental effect on all journalism, a claim that splits media scholars. 

+ Related: What is Fox News hiding in the Dominion lawsuit? (the Washington Post); Conservative media pay little attention to revelations about Fox News (The New York Times); Fox News bosses scolded reporters who challenged false election claims (The Washington Post);  ‘Non-person’ Donald Trump faces ‘soft ban’ at Fox (Semafor)