Need to Know: May 17, 2022

OFF THE TOP

You might have heard: As newspapers employ fewer statehouse reporters, nonprofits are filling much of the void (Pew Research Center) 

But did you know: Statewide News Collective is a new community for news organizations serving statewide audiences (The Lenfest Institute)

The RevLab at The Texas Tribune, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and Spotlight PA have launched the Statewide News collective to support statewide publishers across the country. The group “seeks to address the unique challenges facing news organizations that serve an entire state,” particularly coverage of the role of state governments in critical policy issues. The collective, which is open to both for-profit and nonprofit news outlets, will launch with 24 partner organizations who will share best practices and information with each other, while also receiving mentoring from the group.  

+ Noted: The Believer is once again owned by McSweeney’s (The New York Times); The International Women’s Media Foundation has launched an “Art By Journalists” Instagram campaign (Instagram, @artbyjournalists) 

API UPDATE 

API is hosting Ask Me Anything: Product Strategy at API 

Are you curious about the Product Strategy team at the American Press Institute? We are currently hiring for a Web Applications Engineer and also are interested in expanding our network of people who work at the intersection of journalism and technology. Whether you’re interested in our open position or just want to learn how product strategy is evolving at API to better support the journalism industry, we’d love to connect with you. In the session, you will meet the Product Strategy team at API, learn how our news products have evolved and what we’re working on now and hear from our Senior Applications Engineer about the ways we are using and building technology to support journalism. You’ll also be able to ask us any questions about our open position or what it’s like to work on this team. Join us by RSVPing to this session here. 

TRY THIS AT HOME

How community listening led Indiana public media news teams to respond to housing issues for renters (Medium, Robin Tate Rockel) 

When Indiana Public Broadcasting News covered the state’s housing crisis during the pandemic, the network was inundated with questions from audience members about eviction moratoriums and rental assistance programs. The outlet then hosted a series of free, open conversations aimed at people in need of housing assistance, renters facing eviction and people who work on housing issues such as social workers and community advocates. When registering attendees for the events, organizers asked them what they hoped to learn from the event and gave that information to presenters to incorporate into their presentations. 

OFFSHORE

‘Fun in the sun’ photos in European media are a dangerous distraction from the reality of climate breakdown (The Guardian) 

Articles about extreme heat are often accompanied by pictures of happy beachgoers, writes Saffron O’Neill of the University of Exeter. In research of news coverage of heatwaves from France, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K., her team found that even articles that specifically mention climate change often included “fun in the sun” pictures. O’Neill writes that these articles downplay the risk that extreme heat can pose for more vulnerable members of the community and make the prospect of massive global warming seem comparable to an enjoyably warm summer day. She highlights smart work from Dutch outlet Algemeen Dagblad, which showed the effect of extreme heat in India with photos of people seeking shade, and demonstrated successful solutions like cooling centers for seniors. 

+ Earlier: Build trust with your photos and videos (Trusting News) 

OFFBEAT

After Buffalo shooting video spreads, social platforms face questions (The New York Times) 

The gunman of the recent mass shooting in Buffalo live-streamed the massacre on Twitch, one of several examples of gunmen from around the world broadcasting their crimes live online. Twitch removed the video within two minutes of the start of the violence, but it had already been captured, and was ultimately shared millions of times. Kellen Browning and Ryan Mac write that the fact that Twitch reacted so quickly but was still unable to prevent the video from spreading raises questions about whether livestreaming should be so easily accessible. Twitch allows anyone to livestream, while YouTube requires users to verify their account and have at least 50 subscribers to stream from a mobile device. 

+ Related: Support for more regulation of tech companies has declined in U.S., especially among Republicans (Pew Research Center)

UP FOR DEBATE

How western media parrots Israeli propaganda (Middle East Eye) 

Last week, Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while covering a raid in the West Bank. Israel immediately pinned responsibility on Palestinians, a claim that Western media outlets uncritically parroted, writes Abir Kopty. The fact that other journalists who were there pinned the fire on Israeli forces was only noted afterwards, and the reasons why the Palestinian Authority decided not to cooperate with Israel on an investigation was not covered at all. “While being sure to air all of Israel’s talking points, however, western media failed to give the same consideration to the Palestinian side,” Kopty writes, noting that Western outlets don’t hesitate to blame Russia for attacks in Ukraine. 

SHAREABLE

Pollsters prepare for major changes after presidential election misses (Politico) 

After the last two presidential elections, when national pollsters underestimated Donald Trump’s support, the polling industry is developing new methods of surveying voters. Some pollsters are reaching out via text message, then combining those results with polls from landlines and cell phones. Other polls are sending mail solicitations which ask people to respond either online or via phone. Polling companies are also working to adjust weighting parameters to account for certain types of voters — notably, Trump supporters — who decline to participate in surveys.