Need to Know: May 24, 2023


You might have heard: The loss of local news outlets means no more ‘first rough draft of history’ for many communities (The Baltimore Sun)

But did you know: What do people want from local news? (American Journalism Project)

The American Journalism Project asked 5,000 people in eight markets across the country what they want from local journalism. What they found was that different communities, even in the same market, can have varying experiences with local news. However, nine themes stood out that weren’t centered on topics. The first is that people overwhelmingly see value in local news — emphasis on the local. But in most markets, they said, people expressed frustration that their local outlets were running stories “about news in other places,” a phenomenon resulting from the consolidation of media ownership, cost cutting and broad-based advertising models.

+ Related: Ghost papers. Journalists find themselves alone or with just a few left in the newsroom (Editor & Publisher)

+ Noted: Knight Foundation and Georgetown University commit $30 million to new initiative to ensure that the future of information serves the common good (Knight Foundation); Russian judge extends the detention of the American journalist Evan Gershkovich to Aug. 30 (The New York Times)


Welcome API’s new RJI Innovation Fellow, Han Vu

We’re excited to announce that Han Vu has joined API’s Product Strategy team as a Reynolds Journalism Institute Innovation Fellow. Vu will do user research, gather data and turn it into useful insights. Vu has extensive experience with news organizations in Vietnam and the United States, including as a senior political journalist for Thanhnien Newspaper in Hanoi and more recently as a data and graphics intern at CNN. She is also a Fulbright Scholarship recipient and recently received her master’s degree in data journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. 

Trust Tip: Explain your sourcing

People sometimes think journalists choose sources to push a specific angle or support an agenda. But journalists can head off those assumptions by explaining who their sources are and the process used in interviewing them. Trusting News’ Mollie Muchna points to PolitiFact as an example. At the end of every fact-check, PolitiFact includes a list of all the sources it used, including who was interviewed, the format of each interview (if it was over email or not), and details about documents and outside sources of information cited in the story. 

Deadline extended to apply for API’s Mobilizing News sprint

The application deadline for API’s Mobilizing News sprint has been extended to this Friday, May 26 at 5 p.m. EDT. This opportunity is available for all Table Stakes alumni organizations, from any program, at no cost. In the 12-week program, you will learn how to mobilize your journalism into the community and create a foundation for lasting community relationships, partnerships and sources. Teams will also be able to apply for grants of up to $3,000 to support their community listening efforts during and after the program.


SCMP goes inside tiny flats of Hong Kong to uncover cramped living conditions (INMA)

The problem of cramped, expensive housing in Hong Kong has been regularly covered in local and international media, usually through interviews, personal stories and videos. But the South China Morning Post wanted to use data visualization, illustrations and graphics to show how some people live in cramped quarters that are often no larger than 20 square feet. The result, writes Marcelo Duhalde, SCMP’s associate creative director, was a combination of digital and traditional drawing techniques that enriched the user experience and “delivered a more immersive result.”


This Nigerian organization is teaching journalists how to cover civil and human rights (International Journalists’ Network)

In an effort to expose widespread police killings in Nigeria, investigative journalist Abdullah Tijani founded the Liberalist Centre for Education in 2021 to train reporters on how to conduct what he calls “pro-freedom reporting.” Last year, the center launched a fellowship through which notable journalists and social justice advocates provide early-career journalists with training that includes ways to highlight human rights issues in their reporting. The center’s big challenges are sustainability and funding. Another is getting word out about its work.


With help from Succession, New York Magazine tops 1 million email subscribers (Adweek)

Vox Media’s New York Magazine has exceeded 1 million subscribers across its 30 email products by using a strategy that blends traditional newsletters with subscriber-only popups. Mark Stenberg reports that the move is part of a trend in which publishers are emphasizing customer loyalty to reduce turnover. “Amid the backdrop of a depressed advertising climate, recurring revenues have become increasingly critical to media companies,” he writes. One of the pop-ups, the newsletter “Succession Club,” an analysis of episodes of the dark HBO series, reaches 23,000 subscribers and has an open rate of 80%, Vox told Adweek. 


7 news outlets reimagining political journalism in smart ways (The Washington Post)

Political journalism is in crisis, Perry Bacon, Jr. writes, citing cuts to coverage by some big outlets. But he identifies seven news organizations he thinks are doing good work by addressing political journalism’s shortcomings. His choices include Judd Legum’s Popular Information newsletter, which does accountability journalism, and the fast-growing U.S. edition of the U.K.-based Guardian, which takes the perspective of an outsider, according to its editor. Others he cited are Hammer & Hope, States Newsroom, Balls and Strikes, Bolts and the American Prospect.