Need to Know: May 11, 2023


You might have heard: As 2024 elections near, US media grapples with how to cover Trump (The Guardian)

But did you know: CNN’s town hall with Donald Trump takes on added stakes after verdict in Carroll case (NPR)

Earlier this week, Donald Trump was found liable for battery and defamation in E. Jean Carroll’s suit against him, and last night he appeared at a live town hall hosted by CNN — a move questioned by the former president’s supporters and detractors alike. The town hall is the result of Trump’s effort to distance himself from Fox News, as well as new CNN CEO Chris Licht’s attempt to rein in the network’s criticism of Trump, writes David Folkenflik. Media critics have also raised concerns about putting Trump live on the air and risking the same challenges that journalists faced when covering him in 2016 — the inability to keep up with his lies and bombastic statements. 

+ Noted: Inside Tucker Carlson’s new media plan (Semafor); The White House proposes suspending access for reporters who are not “professional”, after complaints about interruptions by Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba (The Washington Post); Atlanta to pay journalist $105,000 to settle lawsuit over 2020 protest arrest (WABE)


Beyond stress: What journalists should know about burnout

The latest survey from the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media found 70% of local journalists experienced work-related burnout. Burnout is an “occupational phenomenon,” but most of us don’t have the power to change the organizations we work for. In this self-reflective session — led by Sam Ragland, API’s vice president of journalism programs — journalists will contribute anonymously to a series of prompts to learn actionable insights for reassessing and repairing their relationships with work. The free session will be held on Thursday, May 18 from  1 – 2pm EDT. 


The Times added 190,000 subscribers last quarter (The New York Times)

Thanks in part to a bundle of products including The Athletic sport site, the New York Times reported an additional 190,000 digital subscribers during the first three months of 2023. However, due to increased operating costs and lower advertising revenue, The Times’ adjusted operating profit still dropped 11% from last year. Its print subscribers also dropped about 10% from the same period last year, and ad revenue decreased about 8.6%. 


Newsletter start-up The Know’s formula for fighting news avoidance (Press Gazette)

U.K.-based newsletter The Know has 50,000 subscribers, mainly women, with a 46% open rate and an audience that is growing 10% each month. Chief executive Lynn Anderson Clark says her goal with the daily newsletter is to combat news avoidance. Each email starts with a positive news story, followed by coverage of top stories written in a way that won’t leave readers despondent. For example, when covering the February earthquake in Syria and Turkey, the newsletter focused on how the world rallied around to help instead of death tolls. The Know also has a referral rewards program that awards increasingly generous gifts the more a reader invites friends. 


UK is a hostile environment for LGBTQ+ journalists, study suggests (Press Gazette)

New research from the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity found that many LGBTQ+ journalists saw their roles as dangerous and felt they lack support from senior colleagues. These journalists were particularly targeted when covering trans issues, the study noted. Of the 40 respondents, 88% said they had received harassment on Twitter, 33% through Facebook and 24% on Instagram. Researchers noted this environment could have a chilling effect on coverage of — and by — LGBTQ+ people. Training to manage online abuse, and more support from executives, would help address the hostile environment noted in the study.


‘The world’s largest Black group chat’: Behind the mission to preserve Black Twitter (The 19th)

Long before Elon Musk bought Twitter and threw the future of the platform into question, Meredith D. Clark was building a plan to archive Black Twitter, a collection of networks of Black people on the platform and around the world. Clark wants to capture the communication and community built online and off the internet — from viral stories to the start of movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter to how marginalized groups connected and organized. 

PQ: Preserving Black Twitter is an investment in the future; it allows for a more accurate and rich and complex version of Internet history. – Meredith D. Clark, Northeastern University


Trust the media? Don’t believe the latest poll (Politico)

A new poll from research and analytics company YouGov ranks the trustworthiness of 56 media outlets — but you shouldn’t trust the results, writes Jack Shafer. Almost nobody is familiar enough with all 56 news organizations listed in the poll to offer a fair assessment of their trustworthiness in relation to the others. For instance, The Weather Channel, PBS and BBC rank as the most trustworthy outlets, but that could be due to name recognition, notes Shafer. Similarly, legacy outlets are ranked higher than newer news organizations, raising the same question of trustworthiness versus notoriety.