Need to Know: November 15, 2021

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


You might have heard: Monitoring misinformation in podcasting is like “searching for a needle in a haystack” due to the nature of the medium (The Brookings Institution)

But did you know: On podcasts and radio, misleading COVID-19 talk goes unchecked (The New York Times)

Spotify, Apple, iHeart Media and other audio companies are giving platforms to shows that have broadcast false or misleading statements about the pandemic and COVID-19 treatments. Industry observers say audio platforms haven’t taken significant action to reduce misinformation from their podcasters at a time when radio and podcasts have a wide reach, with 60% of listeners under 40 getting their news mostly through audio. Younger listeners also trust audio more than print or video media.

+ Noted: The Salt Lake Tribune is adding a print day and hiring more reporters (The Salt Lake Tribune); WTVP in Central Illinois is acquiring Peoria Magazine (Current); The Washington Post corrects, removes parts of two stories regarding the Steele dossier (The Washington Post)


API is seeking an Executive Director

 API is hiring for an Executive Director who will be a passionate and inspirational advocate for API’s work to advance an innovative and sustainable news industry. In partnership with the Board of Trustees, staff, and key external stakeholders, this person will build upon API’s momentum and strong foundation to lead its strategic direction and overall management. They will build API’s capacity to effectively manage and implement its priorities. Learn more and apply.


Program seeks to train future journalists of color (The Business Journal)

The Journalists of Color program, an effort from The kNOw Youth Media, Fresno State and Fresno City College in California, helps teach students of color journalism skills, with the goal to increase newsroom diversity by improving the pipeline of applicants into the industry. The mentorship program is currently working with five students, who learn basics like AP style and have opportunities to network with professional journalists.

+ Subtext now allows users to send location-specific texts (Subtext); Why you should avoid follow-up questions and other tips for audio interviews (NPR Training)


How three reporting teams crowdsourced groundbreaking investigations (Global Investigative Journalism Network)

Crowdsourcing can be an important tool to help journalists find sources and develop underreported stories, while making their reporting more representative of the communities they serve. Netherlands-based news outlet Bellingcat identified rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol by gathering open source material, including social media posted during the incident, and asking readers to share any evidence they found. Journalists created a Google spreadsheet where users could add links or other information, which resulted in 650 responses and two stories.

+ The editor from Vice-owned i-D magazine was suspended over sexual misconduct claims (The Guardian); Five staffers left the BBC because of its coverage of LGBTQ people (Vice); American journalist Danny Fenster released from prison in Myanmar (The Guardian)


Hybrid work expected to be the norm for news organizations (Reuters Institute)

Many news organizations plan to shift to a hybrid work schedule, according to a Reuters Institute survey of industry leaders from 42 countries. While some of those surveyed aim to resume how their company worked before the pandemic, 91% either are already beginning to carry out or developing hybrid working plans. As news organizations make technology upgrades and other changes to shift to hybrid work, many said they remain concerned that the change will degrade creativity, communication and office culture. Managers also worry that workers who come to the office will receive preferential treatment over those who opt to work remotely.


Substack is now a playground for the deplatformed (Wired)

Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter who was banned from Twitter for posting false claims about COVID-19 vaccines, receives an estimated $720,000 per year from his Substack subscribers. Chris Stokel-Walker writes that Berenson and other deplatformed writers finding a place on Substack “shows the company is willing to promote free speech rather than an overly interventionist content moderation policy.” Substack cofounder Chris Best said of hosting Berenson’s content: “Making a version of Substack where we take a stance on what is right or wrong, or what’s the right public health policy, or what’s acceptable public opinion or what’s not, is not the best version of the platform we can make.”


Rural News Network to launch projects centering Indigenous communities and water access (Institute for Nonprofit News)

In 2022, the Institute for Nonprofit News is launching the Rural News Network, a consortium of 60 newsrooms that will cover issues in rural communities through a solutions journalism lens. The network’s first two collaborative projects will examine economic issues in Indigenous communities and access to water in the rural West. “Rural America has been misrepresented as a monolithic land of rural white farmers, and nothing could be further from the truth,” said Jonathan Kealing, INN’s chief network officer, adding that the projects “will shine a lens on equity issues” in rural communities, especially those of color.

+ “Deliberative journalism” takes root in Northern Colorado (Inside the News in Colorado)