Need to Know: May 16, 2022


You might have heard: How Tucker Carlson stoked white fear to conquer cable (The New York Times)

But did you know: Conservative media is familiar with Buffalo suspect’s alleged ‘theory’ (The Washington Post)

The “great replacement theory” cited in a manifesto allegedly written by the suspect in Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo is a “once-fringe” racist idea that has become popular among right-wing media figures, writes Paul Farhi. The theory used to be confined to far-right white extremists but has more recently become a talking point of conservative broadcast personalities, Farhi writes; Fox’s Tucker Carlson has been “an especially avid” promoter of the theme, but other Fox hosts have picked it up too. Last year, Carlson said immigrants from the “Third World” will “replace the current electorate” and “dilute the political power of the people who live there” — language, Farhi writes, that “essentially distills the replacement thesis. A Fox News spokesperson pointed Farhi to examples of Carlson speaking against violence, but did not comment further.

+ Related: Why NPR isn’t using the word ‘manifesto’ (NPR)

+ Noted: Jelani Cobb appointed Dean of Columbia Journalism School (Columbia University); Dark week for journalism as four reporters killed around the world (The Guardian); Digital news subscriptions top 30 million across largest publishers (Press-Gazette)


How surveys and metrics can help you better understand and serve your community

The Arizona Daily Star’s mission is to inform and reflect its diverse Tucson community with deep, impactful journalism. But its subscriber base isn’t reflective of Tucson’s community, which is more than 40 percent Hispanic. To better understand the interests of the local Hispanic community and its news consumption habits, The Star launched a community survey in both English and Spanish, partnering with local groups to help distribute the survey as widely as possible. Combined with data from API’s analytics tool, Metrics for News, the responses will help inform all news beats, as well as product development. “In sharing the overall findings from the surveys, we are working to instill in the newsroom that the effort to serve our Latino community isn’t limited to our Spanish-language publication, or to a beat reporter assigned to amplify the diverse voices of our community, but something that can be done on all beats,” said Alexis Huicochea, The Star’s business, metro and features team leader. 

+ Are you curious about the Product Strategy team at the American Press Institute? Join our “Ask me Anything” discussion on Zoom Friday, May 20. 


New public service newsroom will train and employ young journalists of color (Minnesota Public Radio)

St. Paul journalist Georgia Fort is heading up an independent news organization called BLCK Press, which will train young journalists of color to cover local news and produce radio and video content. Fort told MPR reporter Jon Collins that the newsroom will cover the news in a way that’s respectful of communities of color. The aim, Fort said, is to teach journalists critical thinking “that’s going to advance our industry, add value to our community and hopefully become a pipeline for other mainstream media outlets.” Work by BLCK Press journalists will be edited by former MPR News reporter Marianne Combs and will initially air on Twin Cities public access channels and three local radio stations.


Olga Rudenko and the Kyiv Independent are giving the world a window into a devastating war (Time)

The transformation of the Kyiv Independent since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 has been extraordinary, writes Lisa Abend. Just 14 weeks before the invasion, the English-language publication was launched by a team of journalists who had left their previous employer, the Kyiv Post, in a conflict with the owner over coverage. The Independent started in November as a newsletter, then added a podcast and finally became a news website after getting business partners and grant funding. The team under editor Olga Rudenko had to figure out funding and workflow even as the Russian threat grew. “We are starting this ambitious project that is based on values we really, really believe in, which is independent journalism,” she said. “And we are doing it at the same time as our country is fighting this war for survival.”

+ Related: Daryna Shevchenko of the Kyiv Independent: ‘Why I have mixed feelings about our Pulitzer Prize award’ (The Fix)


Headline writers are not OK (Slate)

“How’s everyone doing out there?!” writes Dan Kois of Slate, before answering his own question by citing an abundance of recent headlines that use the phrase “Not OK” atop stories about people and things that are not, well, OK. “The kids are not OK” appears three times. There are several about parents. In the end, there is one headline on a story he says is good news: “It’s OK to not be OK.”


Far-right Republicans in Pennsylvania ban media from campaign stops (HuffPost)

Reporters were denied entry to a campaign event held by Republican candidates in Pennsylvania on Saturday, blocked by a man in a colonial costume who said he was “just following orders.” The refusal to allow media coverage of the rally for Doug Mastriano, who’s running in the state’s primary for governor, and Kathy Barnette, a Senate candidate, “turned a normal campaign stop at an office-park event space into a protracted confrontation,” writes Liz Skalka.  

+ Related: Doug Mastriano’s assaults on the press are a slide into ‘authoritarianism 101 (The Philadelphia Inquirer); Philadelphia Inquirer declines to endorse in Pennsylvania GOP primaries (The Hill)


Alt-newspaper Baltimore Beat set for summer return (Baltimore Magazine)

The Baltimore Beat, which stopped publishing online in 2020 is relaunching this summer as a bi-monthly, Black-led print newspaper and website that will report on the city’s culture, politics, policing, education and other local issues. Lisa Snowden-McCray, the Beat’s original editor, will lead the paper, whose relaunch is being funded with a $1 million gift from the Baltimore-based Lillian Holofcener Charitable Foundation. The print component is important, Snowden-McCray told Ron Cassie, because many parts of the city do not have broadband internet. The website will not have a paywall. Another goal, she said, will be to mentor young Black journalists. “It’s as important to create a lane for young Black journalists as it is to do the work,” she said.