Need to Know: November 11, 2021


You might have heard: Journalists venture beyond their newsrooms to try to cash in (Wall Street Journal)

But did you know: New platform launches for business journalists (Axios)

A new company called Workweek, which launched Wednesday, offers writers of business-to-business content (such as trade journals and white papers) full-time support to work independently. That means a salary and benefits, and writers will also be able to receive cuts of their revenue from Workweek across several business lines, including newsletter subscriptions to start, and eventually things like events and e-commerce. “Content teams have historically been one of the lowest-budgeted departments” despite driving KPIs like brand awareness, user growth and revenue, said Workweek co-founder Adam Ryan. “This mismatch in value, paired with the wave of new tools and services for independent creators, has driven the creator economy boom — and, in turn, has created a retention problem for media companies. It’s harder than ever before to keep successful creators on staff.”

+ Noted: Newsroom tech platform Lede will become a separate company focused on supporting niche local news outlets (Alley)


API is hiring an editorial associate

We’re looking for an editorial associate to oversee and contribute to API’s editorial content, including this newsletter. The ideal candidate already closely follows the news industry or digital media — trends, innovations, experiments, emerging business models and more. Candidates will benefit from a working knowledge of those things and a bottomless hunger for learning and spreading new ideas. Applications should be submitted no later than Dec. 6.


Takeaways from the Lenfest News Philanthropy Summit (Local Media Association)

The summit, which took place Nov. 3-5, was designed to help local newsrooms navigate fundraising efforts. Some of the takeaways from the conversations are useful particularly for smaller newsrooms new to fundraising — realize that the process of raising money takes time, for example, and build 18-24 months into your timeline. Make sure editorial and fundraising teams are aligned early on, so that the latter has a better chance of connecting with funders. And focus on local funders first. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of local funding,” said Terry Quinn, chief development officer at the Texas Tribune. “Everyone wants the ‘silver bullet’ — that big national funder. At the (Texas) Tribune, the core of how we’ve sustained our work is local funders.”

+ Earlier: How the Post and Courier raised more than $1 million for a South Carolina-wide investigative fund and Education Lab (Better News)

+ How The Verge explains its “on background” policy, including a new update that makes “on the record” the default when a source is a PR professional (Twitter, @katie_robertson)


How an environmental reporting fellowship centers journalists from the Global South (Columbia Journalism Review)

The Earth Journalism Network, founded in 2004 to support environmental journalism in developing countries, sponsored more than 20 reporters from four continents to cover the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. Their reporting has focused on loss and damage caused by the climate crisis, a critical — and often marginalized — issue for many poorer nations. Being at the conference also allowed the reporters to hold power to account. “Sometimes, when you go to communities, they will ask you, what is the international community doing about our issues?” said Nigerian journalist Elfredah Kevin-Alerechi. At COP, she said, she can put their questions directly to international power brokers.

+ Related: The unequal representation of global media at COP26 (Columbia Journalism Review)


Why empathy works: We love bosses who care, but why do so many of us doubt their sincerity? (Digiday)

A recent survey by accounting firm EY found that while the vast majority of employees believe empathetic leadership leads to greater job satisfaction, less turnover and higher productivity, nearly half (46%) felt their company’s efforts to be empathetic toward workers were dishonest. Similarly, 42% of employees said their companies don’t follow through on their promises. “When there is a ‘say-do gap,’ employees will rightfully recognize it and call you out for it,” said Sarah Engel, chief people officer of the advertising agency January Digital. Even much-touted benefits like mental health days are often viewed by employees as surface-level solutions that don’t address the core issues, like unsustainable workloads or lack of flexibility.


Public access television channels are an untapped resource for building local journalism (Nieman Lab)

Public access stations represent an underutilized platform for producing local journalism at a time when other sources are rapidly disappearing, write Antoine Haywood and Victor Pickard. While the number of local access channels has diminished over the years, many of these smaller operations still serve as reliable community information sources, especially in news deserts. “Instead of letting PEG channels wither due to commercial market fluctuations, we should publicly fund and expand the precious communication infrastructure that access media offers,” they write. “A national fund that distributes local journalism grants, based on demonstrated community need, could benefit public access media centers interested in building collaborative, solutions-oriented types of journalism programs.”


Fact checks actually work, even on Facebook. But not enough people see them. (The Washington Post)

Facebook could do more to ensure its fact checks — conducted by independent third parties — get in front of users who saw the original misinformation, write Ethan Porter and Thomas J. Wood. Fact checks now only exist adjacent to the original post, meaning that if users don’t seek out that post again, they won’t see the fact check. Increasing the visibility of fact checks is not a straightforward or inexpensive effort — but if Facebook “truly cares about the cause of a well-informed public,” write Porter and Wood, “it should bear the cost of bringing fact checks in front of the people who would benefit most from seeing them — the people who have been exposed to misinformation.”

+ Earlier: Arizona State University’s News Co/Lab is experimenting with ways to spread journalistic corrections on digital platforms (News Co/Lab)