Need to Know: May 29, 2020


You might have heard: Trump signs executive order targeting protections for social media platforms (Axios)

But did you know: Trump’s social media executive order poses threat to online review sites (Skift)

While President Trump’s recent executive order is largely seen as a way to punish social media companies after Twitter “fact-checked” one of his tweets, the implications of this new interpretation of the Communications Decency Act could have farther ranging implications. Currently, sites that connect users to each other, like AirBnb, or host reviews, like Yelp, are absolved from liability related to content posted by users, but that could change under this new executive order.

+ Related: Twitter placed a warning on one of Trump’s tweets early Friday morning, saying it violated a site rule about “glorifying violence” in discussing protesters in Minneapolis (New York Times)

+ Noted: CBS hit by newest round of ViacomCBS layoffs (Hollywood Reporter); The Center for Public Integrity names Matt DeRienzo as editor in chief (The Center for Public Integrity); Google News Initiative to provide emergency funding for 5,300 local news organizations (Google); The Wirecutter moves to the domain (Wirecutter); The Billings Gazette newsroom announces formation of the Montana News Guild (Twitter, @mtnewsguild); Playboy lays off 25 staffers, plans to reorganize business model (The Wrap)


API is hiring part-time community managers

The American Press Institute is hiring community managers with some web development knowledge as independent contractors to support dozens of news organizations who will use API’s Metrics for News application to guide their elections coverage from now through November. Applications are due by June 12.

+ Why Twitter’s “get the facts” label matters, cyberattacks targeting homebound individuals are on the rise, and journalists challenge “fake news” laws in Puerto Rico (Factually)


How KPCC embraced its role as LA’s help desk—and what they’ve learned along the way (Medium, Engagement at KPCC)

Since the coronavirus hit Los Angeles in early March, KPCC has received thousands of pandemic-related questions — and personally answered more than 2,900. To achieve this, the newsroom’s seven-person engagement team has been staggering shifts to cover nights and weekends, coordinating to make sure the homepage is always up to date and maintaining a master database of questions. The questions have fed into reporting and vice versa, spotlighting issues from wedding licenses to unemployment. It’s all led to a rise in traffic, an increase in newsletter subscriptions and higher open rates.


A new Canadian organization is helping entrepreneurial journalists launch their own businesses (J-Source) 

Journalists in Canada may now find it easier to start their own digital news outlet. Indiegraf, a new network of independent journalist-entrepreneurs and community-owned publishers, will share resources to help small news outlets grow and find sustainable models for local news. The idea is to offer the perks of a big newspaper chain, like infrastructure support and access to capital, without the high overhead and editorial squeezes of a corporate owner. So far, six news outlets across Canada have launched with Indiegraf since mid-March.

+ Music magazines fight for survival in the U.K. (The Guardian)


The next media business: Talent, reputation, and lessons from record labels (Medium, Jarrod Dicker)

With media companies struggling to monetize content online, Jarrod Dicker says that the modern media outlet should look to the record industry for ideas. Media companies, Dicker argues, are clinging to an old-fashioned notion of being the exclusive platform for content. But with news outlets having their “Napster moment” — i.e. losing control of the means of distribution — media organizations should embrace their place in the talent business. By nurturing top talent and encouraging them to build their personal brand, media outlets can benefit from their successes in ways they currently can’t.

+ Earlier: The new model media star is famous only to you (The New York Times)


Washington Post public editor: The Post’s union shows the best of journalism (CJR)

As layoffs and pay cuts abound throughout the media industry, the Washington Post Guild recently signed a contract extension that delays its next round of negotiations with the company for another year. That may not sound like monumental news, but Hamilton Nolan argues, it’s a sign that this guild will live to fight another day in a tough marketplace. The union, he says, “protects one of America’s best newsrooms from being torn apart by some powerful egos.” The Washington Post guild was founded in 1934 and, after decades of turmoil and divisiveness, it has found a new generation of journalists willing to pay dues and fight for better working conditions.


If reading a newspaper is a ritual, Sunday’s New York Times front page was a journalistic ritual of mourning (Poynter)

Last Sunday, the New York Times devoted its cover, and several interior pages, to the names of 1,000 people who have died of COVID-19. In an essay for Poynter, Roy Peter Clark called the tribute “a kind of public ritual of mourning designed to express shared values and move the community to a shared purpose.” The piece, which was run to mark the approach of 100,000 deaths from coronavirus in the U.S., repeated that number often as a reminder of the vastness and poignancy of the country’s loss.


+ Reuters Tomorrow’s News 2020 survey reveals accuracy and impartiality as the “defining” factors of trusted content (Reuters Communications)

+ Left-wing podcasters are charting a future without Bernie Sanders (Bloomberg)

+ How the free press worldwide is under threat (The Guardian)

+ The Drudge Report has been linking to this Armenian guy’s site instead of The New York Times (Buzzfeed)