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Need to Know: May 11, 2018

Fresh useful insights for people advancing quality, innovative and sustainable journalism


You might have heard: The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism was among the first publishers to sell subscriptions on Medium about two years ago

But did you know: Medium is abruptly cancelling the membership programs of its 21 remaining subscription publisher partners (Nieman Lab)

Medium has informed publishers using its platform to offer paid memberships that it’s ending the feature. An email at the end of last month from Medium’s head of partnerships Basil Enan told publishers that the company was planning to discontinue memberships in May. “We were among the first to sell memberships on Medium, among the few local organizations working with them,” Chris Faraone, founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, told Shan Wang. “We’ve had an arrangement with them for two years. I’m not saying they don’t have a right to break it. We’ve been scaling back, trying to get people to other platforms anyway. But it’d be nice to have more of a heads up.”

+ Noted: Apply to attend the News Media Alliance’s first trustXchange event in June, to meet some of the key innovators working on trust in news (News Media Alliance); BuzzFeed News is launching a weekly news podcast called The News (BuzzFeed); The rate of decline in pay TV subscriptions slowed in Q1 with cable operators losing 323,000 subscriptions and satellite losing 418,000 (Broadcasting & Cable); Facebook Watch is proposing annual budgets from $5 to $10 million for daily news programming and $1 to $2 million for weekly shows (Digiday)

API Update

The week in fact-checking

As part of our fact-checking journalism project, Jane Elizabeth and Poynter’s Alexios Mantzarlis and Daniel Funke highlight stories worth noting related to truth in politics and on the Internet. This week’s round-up includes the real researchers behind fake news, how attention to detail and fact-checking helped a newsroom get a Pulitzer, and a French journalist has visited 81 schools armed with a video designed to teach kids about the dangers of conspiracy theories.


Wirecutter is now seeking to distribute its commerce content through other publishers (Digiday)

As more publishers dip their toes into commerce content, Wirecutter is distributing versions of its product guides through publishers including Forbes, Engadget and Greatist, and is pitching others. Wirecutter is offering publishers the chance to distribute Wirecutter content on their own sites in exchange for a cut of the sales commission generated by the content, reports Max Willens. The participating publishers produce commerce content on their own and supplement it with versions of Wirecutter’s guides. The commissions depend on the product.


Independent Nicaraguan press calls for end to repression of journalists in context of mass protests (Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas)

A statement from independent Nicaraguan journalists condemning lethal violence against protesters and attacks on the press, and urging respect for press freedom from the government, has garnered signatures from 35 media outlets, four civil society organizations, 87 journalists and counting. The statement includes 10 points concerning “acts of repression” in the country that began in April that “have left more than 46 dead, dozens injured and disappeared.” The signatories condemn the killings and urge investigation from an independent commission.


These are the reasons why your whole team is burning out (Fast Company)

Much of the conversation around burnout focuses on what individuals can do to avoid or recover from it. People trade ideas on productivity and time management, handling stress, and setting good boundaries. This approach implicitly frames work-related burnout as a personal failure. While personal responsibility plays a role, it’s not the only factor, or even the biggest one, writes Suzan Bond. In truth, every organization has an obligation to protect their teams from burning out on the job.


With a systemwide coverage review, public radio can reveal and address its racial inequities (Current)

When National Geographic editors decided to publish “The Race Issue” in April, they knew they first had to acknowledge the publication’s racist history. The issue included an article headlined “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.” National Geographic’s effort prompted radio journalist Deepa Fernandes to wonder in a tweet “if our #publicradio leaders can initiate such a delve into past — (and present) — racist coverage, and own it, and plan to change things.” Jennifer Dargan writes, “I say we can. I challenge my public radio colleagues to conduct a comprehensive analysis of racial inequities in our content, past and present. I’m proud of our reporting … But I recognize that we don’t always get things right.”

+ Why can’t Facebook tell the truth? (The Atlantic); You don’t need a paywall if you have cool ads, The Outline CEO Josh Topolsky says (Recode)


Why Wall Street keeps giving Tronc a little love (Poynter)

“Tronc can probably lay claim to being the second most ridiculed and reviled U.S newspaper management company, at least among journalists,” says Rick Edmonds. “But despite the sweet payouts to top executives, stop-and-start efforts at digital transformation and some disastrous leadership bungling at the Los Angeles Times, Tronc is the rare newspaper stock that has held its value and actually increased share price — for the year to date and also reaching back a full year.”

+ Goodbye, Klout (Lithium Community); Now you can see all the Russian Facebook ads used to try to influence the 2016 election (Recode); The Onion’s Clickhole launches Resistancehole to parody the Trump “resistance” (Ad Age)

For the Weekend

+ The end of ESPN’s public editor position completes a disappointing decline in relevancy that could have been avoided: ESPN says the position outlived its usefulness, so how did we get to that point? (Awful Announcing)

+ New York City Council member wants to prioritize Freedom of Information requests from professional media, but one expert says the plan could hurt journalists (The New York Times)

+ What John Edwards should teach the media about covering Trump (Vanity Fair)

+ Google’s news chief Richard Gingras: “We need to rethink journalism at every dimension” (Nieman Lab)

+ Ronan Farrow to Loyola Marymount’s Class of 2018: ‘Trust that inner voice’ (Medium, Ladders)

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