Need to Know: May 23, 2023


You might have heard: Gannett is experiencing a mass exodus among top execs. Here’s who has left. (Poynter)

But did you know: 

Longtime Tennessean editor to lead new nationwide effort to reinvigorate hundreds of local newspapers (The Tennessean)

Gannett’s new chief content officer, Kristin Roberts, has launched a local news strategy, called “Project Breakthrough,” that is aimed at transforming the growth of hundreds of the chain’s local newspapers. The effort, writes Sandy Mazza, will focus on key growth areas to increase nationwide audience, “including opinion columns, newsletters, service journalism, breaking news and audience engagement.” Roberts has named Michael A. Anastasi, vice president of The Tennessean and USA Today South Region editor, to lead the effort. The Tennessean under Anastasi has had a 150% increase in digital subscriptions in the last five years, Mazza writes. 

+ Noted: Meta fined $1.3 billion for violating E.U. data privacy rules (The New York Times); Lawmakers convene hearing on AM radio phaseout (The Washington Post)


Event TODAY: Online abuse and protecting personal data

The online world is often a hostile place. Journalists, now more than ever, are harassed online for simply doing their job. Attackers frequently use a journalist’s personal data as a way to intimidate and threaten them. This may include publishing their home address, their phone numbers or photos of their family. But there are steps that you can take to secure your information. This event, available to Tables Stakes alumni and those who work for an alumni organization, will be led by International Women’s Media Foundation digital security adviser Ela Stapley, and provide practical guidance on how to search for and remove personal data from the internet so you’re safer online. Sign up here to join us today from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern time. 


API’s Stephen Jefferson to talk about newsroom preparations for AI

Stephen Jefferson, senior applications engineer at API, will join the Partnership on AI Thursday for a Zoom presentation on newsroom AI readiness and preparation. Stephen will talk about the risks and challenges involved as journalism leaders confront decisions surrounding AI technologies. The presentation, which will include a broad overview of the issues and prompt questions for further discussion, will take place Thursday, May 25, at 2 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Pacific time) Please RSVP here to join. 


How one journalist uses Instagram to pull back the curtain on her reporting process (Nieman Lab)

Most reporters use social media as a reporting tool and as a way to connect with their communities. But on a platform like Instagram, with photos of friends and family, there is the question of whether to let people follow you back. The Washington Post’s Emily Davies, who covers D.C. crime and criminal justice, approaches this dilemma with a public Instagram account — separate from her personal account — that offers a window into her life as a reporter. This strategy, writes Sophie Culpepper, shows how a reporter can “reciprocate some of the vulnerability she asks of her sources while maintaining a professional boundary.” One recent post, for example, explained all the steps that went into writing a story, even though it was just a short one.

+ Helping both the police & journalists with First Amendment issues (Editor & Publisher)


Australian journalist cites ‘poison’ of the media as he steps away from ABC show (The Guardian)

Stan Grant, the presenter of the Australian Broadcasting Company’s Q+A, cited “poison” of the media Monday in explaining his decision to step away from the show. Grant had announced his decision on Friday, citing “grotesque racist abuse” that escalated after he appeared on the network to discuss the impact of colonialism on Indigenous Australians during a discussion of the king’s coronation. “We in the media must ask if we are truly honoring a world worth living in. Too often, we are the poison in the bloodstream of our society. I fear the media does not have the love or the language to speak to the gentle spirits of our land,” he said.


Imagine if the press covered the Supreme Court like Congress (Slate)

In a critique of Supreme Court coverage, Dahlia Lithwick argues that because most reporters on the beat focus on the “law,” political stories involving the justices — how they are chosen or their ethical lapses, for example — are pushed off to the political press. She lays out five “modest suggestions” for how court reporters might approach their beat. One of them involves questioning the court’s conventions, like why its press office can’t answer questions on the record. “Our job in the press is to constantly remind the nine Justices that we do not in fact work for them,” she writes.


One phone call, one question: The founding of URL Media (Oprah Daily)

URL Media co-founders S. Mitra Kalita and Sara M. Lomax met in 2018 at the Harvard Media Transformation Challenge program. Then in the spring of 2020 with the spread of the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd, they got on the phone and asked one another: “What could we do?” Rather than starting a new magazine, they decided to launch a network for high-performing Black and brown media organizations to “amplify each other’s content and share revenues as a way to build greater sustainability for BIPOC media,” Lomax said. The network of 20 media partners now has a collective audience of nearly 12 million, she said.