Need to Know: March 9, 2023


You might have heard: McCarthy defends releasing Jan. 6 footage to Tucker Carlson (Axios)

But did you know: Mitch McConnell agrees that Tucker Carlson’s Jan. 6 episode was offensive and misleading (Semafor)

Earlier this week, Tucker Carlson aired edited footage of the Jan. 6 insurrection — which was pulled from 40,000 hours of internal security footage given to Fox by Kevin McCarthy — and asserted that it was peaceful chaos, not an insurrection. The next day, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said that it was a mistake for Fox to depict the footage as a peaceful protest. McConnell signed on to a letter calling the segment “offensive and misleading.”

+ Related: A judge unseals hundreds of pages of testimony, text messages, and emails from top Fox News hosts, journalists, and executives in the Dominion lawsuit (NBC News); Tucker Carlson said he hates Trump ‘passionately’: legal filings (The Hill)

+ Noted: FTC Twitter investigation sought Elon Musk’s internal communications, journalist names (The Wall Street Journal); Wired tells readers what it will use generative AI for — and what’s off-limits (Nieman Lab); Research and reporting tips to guide your coverage of corporal punishment in schools (The Journalist’s Resource)


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. Takeaways also touch on the role social media plays in the news habits of Black Gen Z and Millennials, and what this group wants out of journalism.

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, serves Eastern North Carolina’s rural counties and highlights the work of local Black artists, businesses and leaders. Substantial has been able to build partnerships based on their understanding of their audience.


The Washington Post offers bundle subscription with Headspace app (Digiday)

The Washington Post 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. The Post announced a new subscription model that includes a partnership with the Headspace meditation app, as well as featured content from Washington Post reporters on Headspace’s platforms and daily podcast. Subscribers will also be able to meditate through exercises on various Washington Post platforms. 

For so long, we’ve essentially had one on-ramp – one price, one dimension of coverage being politics or opinion. We want to have more of these on-ramps for people to come on. We think non-hard news is a great one of those.

– Michael Ribero, The Washington Post


Newsday transforms COVID text alerts to general breaking news alerts (INMA)

In March 2020, Newsday launched a daily COVID update via SMS. A year later, once the vaccines started rolling out, Newsday saw a big jump in the number of SMS subscribers — as well as a lot more outreach from subscribers, who texted back asking for help finding vaccine appointments. Newsday responded to all messages and wrote a step-by-step guide based on the most common questions they got from subscribers. A few months later, Newsday announced to its SMS subscribers that it would start sharing general breaking news — a transition which was largely successful and resulted in digital subscribers, too. 


Anup Kaphle on Rest of World, three years in (Columbia Journalism Review)

Nonprofit news startup Rest of World launched in 2020 with an aim to cover how technology advancements affect countries other than the United States. Three years later, the outlet has 22 full-time editorial staffers and growing funding. Anup Kaphle, Rest of World’s editor-in-chief, says that over the past three years, the publication has honed in on what it’s trying to achieve, including prioritizing reporting from local journalists and accurately representing the diversity of cultures and views held by those they cover.

+ The Guardian returns to Apple News in UK as commission terms improve (Press Gazette); Google to launch fund to support Taiwan’s media outlets (Reuters)


Political definitions for ‘woke’ are all over the place (Poynter)

Woke — it’s something conservative politicians have used as a rallying cry and something they accuse President Biden of being. It’s something used to describe activists and protesters across the country. It’s something to be embraced, derided or feared, depending on who you ask. But what is it? It’s one of the most searched-for terms on Merriam-Webster’s site, which defines “woke” as “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” But the use of the term, which originated from Black vernacular, tends to vary by speaker — and that can skew poll results and discourse about wokeness.


In Sacramento, local outlets join forces to report on solutions to the city’s tricky problems (Nieman Lab)

Last June, two local publishers started Solving Sacramento, a collaborative of seven Sacramento news organizations with the goal of conducting solutions-oriented reporting on the city’s biggest problems. Each of the members of the collective report on topics, like housing, that affect their readers, but the goal of Solving Sacramento is to work together instead of racing to compete. Since its inception, the collaborative has published more than 80 stories on housing. One member of the collaborative reports on an agreed-upon story with outside funding, which is then shared on the Solving Sacramento site and can be republished by other members of the collaborative. The next reporting focus is on reviving the city’s arts scene.