Need to Know: May 18, 2018

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


You might have heard: Fox News names Suzanne Scott as its new CEO (The Wrap)

But did you know: Fox News’ first female CEO was named in sexual harassment complaints (The Huffington Post)

Fox News, dogged by years of sexual harassment claims, has named Suzanne Scott its first female CEO despite accusations she contributed to a toxic workplace for women at the cable network. Scott, a 22-year Fox News veteran who had been president of programming, will lead Fox News and Fox Business Network. She’s been accused of helping enforce Ailes’ miniskirt dress code for women ― a claim that she denied to HuffPost last year. She also was named in at least two sexual harassment complaints. A lawsuit filed by Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky accuses Scott of encouraging others to gang up on former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson in retaliation for Carson’s complaint of sexual harassment and retaliation against Ailes.

+ Noted: CBS board of directors votes to issue dividend that would dilute Redstone family’s interest from about 80% to 20% (The Wrap); Gizmodo Media Group launches The Inventory, a commerce site with product guides, travel deals, and more (Digiday); Facebook announces partnership with US-based think tank Atlantic Council aimed at helping deter manipulation of the platform during elections around the world (Axios); Report for America announces its full 2018 class of 13 journalists (The GroundTruth Project)

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 criminalization of misinformation, a small fraction of Twitter users bother to check information tweeted during a natural disaster before they share it, and a D.C. cybersecurity think tank created dozens of fake Twitter accounts to promote the work of one of its co-founders.


Four things the Harvard Business Review has learned by experimenting with audience engagement (Digital Content Next)

Defining audience engagement can feel daunting at times, writes Maureen Hoch, editor of HBR looks at engagement through several different lenses: What is most valuable to current subscribers or potential subscribers or social audiences? And what formats hold the most growth potential across social, text, audio, video, bots, and so on. They’ve learned to rely on their fans, text-based chats can be tricky, always test your assumptions, and be clear with your audience.

+ Rover is David Arkin’s mobile-first, enjoyable approach to local news (Street Fight); Storyful uses tool to monitor what reporters watch (The Guardian)


Kenya passes broadly worded cybercrime law that criminalizes online bullying and ‘fake news’ (Voice of America)

Kenya has approved a controversial new cybercrimes law that threatens heavy penalties for people who abuse others via social media — and some critics contend could be used to stifle freedom of expression. The computer and cybercrimes legislation makes it a crime to publish so-called false information. The law does not define false information, saying only that it’s a criminal offense to intentionally publish false, misleading or fictitious data, or to intentionally misinform. Violators could face fines of up to almost $50,000 or two years in prison, or both.

+ Reuters study finds major news sites in seven European countries averaged 81 third-party cookies per page, compared to 12 per page on other popular sites (Nieman Lab); Is there a big enough global audience interested in China to sustain the South China Morning Post’s ambitious new sites? (Nieman Lab)


Why we need older women in the workforce (The Cut)

“A good workplace is one in which you can look around and see versions of yourself five years from now, or ten,” writes Lisa Miller. “But for women, this exercise in mirroring gets harder and harder as they push toward 40, and 50, and beyond — for the simple reason that older women with ambition don’t stick around. They dial back, drop out, start their own thing. They want more control, flexibility. … If we want the next generation of women to be strong, assertive, and demanding in this environment, we have to give them models that show them how.”

+ Older Pandora listeners are as likely to pay to avoid ads as they are to stop listening altogether (Digital Content Next)


Julian Assange’s lawyer: Assange is suffering needlessly. Why not report that? (The Guardian)

Melinda Taylor, a lawyer representing Julian Assange, says the media’s coverage of his arbitrary detention has been shocking. Assange has won numerous awards for publishing information that has exposed egregious violations of human rights and abuses of state power. She says he has also won the more dubious prize of being placed in the crosshairs of US government attempts to silence free speech by silencing the publications and publishers that dare to speak freely. “I am grateful for the Guardian for giving me this opportunity to present these views to the diverse readership that respects and supports the Guardian’s stated aim of independent reporting in the liberal tradition,” writes Taylor. “And I hope journalists reporting on this predicament will bear in mind that comment is free, but Julian Assange is not.”


Royal Wedding: For Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day, media orgs flood social media (Variety)

The British royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — the first American princess in generations — is a global-zeitgeist event made-to-order for social media, writes Todd Spangler. For the first time, social media will play an enormous role in how people consume (and react to) every last detail of Harry and Meghan’s historic knot-tying festivities. The U.K.’s last royal wedding — between Prince William and Kate Middleton — was seven years ago. Back then, Snapchat didn’t even exist, while Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter had yet to fully blossom. “It’s a completely different world from 2011,” said Rashida Jones, senior VP of specials for NBC News. “We didn’t have a social-media team the last time we did this.”

+ Magazine publishers with video ambitions see YouTube as safer bet than Facebook (Digiday)


For the Weekend

+ Vox Media chairman and CEO Jim Bankoff on the future of digital media and his Hollywood ambitions (The Hollywood Reporter)

+ The rapid, devastating decline of the Denver Post: “If we’re continuing on this trajectory, there’s no way in hell we’re going to survive” (City Lab)

+ The New York Times acknowledges it buried the lead in pre-election Russia-Trump story (The Washington Post)

+ The Lexicon of Tom Wolfe: Remembering the writer’s contributions to the English language, which went far beyond the most obvious catchphrases that he popularized (The Atlantic)