Need to Know: November 22, 2022


You might have heard: The threats facing student journalism (Columbia Journalism Review) 

But did you know: Online mobs are now coming for student journalists (The Washington Post) 

After Olivia Krupp, a student at the University of Arizona, wrote a profile for the school newspaper that was critical of the TikTok videos of a fellow student, she received an onslaught of online harassment from his fans. The TikToker, Lukas Pakter, had posted her phone number in a video, leading to hundreds of phone calls and texts containing threats and abuse. As local newspapers have shuttered across the country, student journalists have often stepped up to cover local issues — and come under fire for their work. “Bad actors use online harassment to generate the perception of controversy around certain young journalists,” writes Taylor Lorenz. “That stigma of being a ‘controversial’ reporter then cuts the young journalists off from meaningful career opportunities.” 

+ Noted: Military Veterans in Journalism has launched its Military & Veteran Affairs Reporting Guide, which provides a range of resources for reporters covering military and veteran issues (Military Veterans in Journalism) 


What’s next for social media? 

With major changes afoot for Twitter, the Product Strategy Team at the American Press Institute would like to know if these changes will impact your reliance on the platform and if you’re thinking differently about news distribution on Twitter and social media platforms in general. Will your readers stick with Twitter? Will you?

How to engage readers without giving away content and losing access to valuable audience and reader information to other platforms is a never-ending conundrum. Every algorithmic, ownership, or design change only exacerbates our situation as an industry. What to do? 

API is interested in hosting a strategy session on what newsrooms can, or want, to do in the face of ongoing transformation in social media and news distribution made by Big Tech. We’re looking for input on your future plans for social media. Fill out our one-minute social media survey here. 


How four publishers are serving Indigenous communities (Local Media Association) 

November is Native American Heritage Month, and publishers around the country are working to serve Indigenous communities. At Native News Online, founder and publisher Levi Rickert says they added forms to the bottom of their stories to allow readers to suggest topics or ask questions, which has helped them understand what their readers are thinking. He also says that the key to staying connected to readers is showing up at events in person as much as possible. 

PQ: “Unfortunately, the media still speaks about Native Americans in the past tense. We are still here.” – Levi Rickert, Native News Online 


This German news outlet is teaching people about local politics with an in-person game (Nieman Lab) 

Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel created an in-person game to help residents understand how their local government works, with the goal of encouraging people to get involved. BVV-Planspiel, which translates to “experimental game,” is funded and hosted by the city’s public libraries, and is set to officially launch in the spring. In the game, 10 people are assigned a fictitious political party — loosely based on a real one — and given 90 minutes to come to a decision about a local issue, such as bike lanes or lighting in parks. 


11 (and counting) things journalism loses if Elon Musk destroys Twitter (Nieman Lab) 

As many wonder if Twitter will stick around for long, Laura Hazard Owen is updating a list of things that will be lost for journalists if the platform is destroyed. They include real-time criticism of work, especially from journalists of color; readers holding news outlets accountable; the ability to share short clips of paywalled articles; a way to find sources and experts; and real-time coverage of press conferences. She also notes that the ability to embed Tweets (as she does in this story) has become a simple way to feature many voices in a news article. 

+ Related: ‘I was the head of trust and safety at Twitter. This is what could become of it.’ (The New York Times) 


Haikus and Instagram comments: New vision of Washington Post Opinion raises eyebrows (Semafor) 

Some writers at The Washington Post’s opinions section are pushing back against suggestions from their new boss, David Shipley, to write less, reports Max Tani. He writes that at a recent meeting, Shipley suggested that “the paper could publish editorials in the form of Instagram comments or haikus.” Employees say that Shipley’s “mandate” is “to blow the place up.” A spokesperson for the Post said that Shipley is “relentless about exploring fun and important ideas” and that the opinion section of the Post will continue to evolve.