Need to Know: November 25, 2020


You might have heard: A lot of the work to find diverse sources has already been done (Reynolds Journalism Institute)

But did you know: Spotlight PA launches database of experts of color in Pennsylvania (Twitter, @SpolightPA)

Spotlight PA, a Pennsylvania collaborative newsroom that focuses on investigative journalism, has launched a diverse source database. The database includes self-reported contact information from experts of color around the state, in subject areas including agriculture, history and sociology. In a Twitter thread, the newsroom said the goal was to “push against the industry’s preferential treatment toward white experts.” Currently, the database includes nearly 100 sources, and the newsroom plans to expand it with help from journalists statewide.

+ Earlier: Help Spotlight PA build a diverse source database to improve representation in Pa. journalism (Spotlight PA)

+ Noted: The Atlantic and WNYC Studios announce new podcast, The Experiment: stories from an unfinished country (The Atlantic); NYT and WaPo digital subscriptions have tripled since 2016 (Axios); Twitter to relaunch account verification, news organizations must have “professional standards” to qualify (TechCrunch); The New Yorker has debuted a merch store (Twitter, @NiemanLab)


Trust tip: Personalize and humanize COVID-19 fatigue (Trusting News)

COVID-19 cases are rising around the country, but interest in news about the virus is waning. One way to connect with your audience about the pandemic, writes Lynn Walsh, is to share your own experiences and disappointments about “the new normal.” Sign up for weekly Trust Tips here, and learn more about the Trusting News project — including how your newsroom can get free coaching — here.


How local journalists are covering a Thanksgiving drastically impacted by COVID-19 (Poynter)

Like so much else about this holiday season, local news coverage of Thanksgiving is likely to look very different this year. Coverage of Thanksgiving-themed stories, from turkey farms to charity drives, is being done remotely. The Miami Herald’s food section will include a roundup of local restaurants that are delivering holiday meals this year. For many local outlets, stories about the pandemic itself, such as government restrictions, will dominate the news this week.


The NewsRun, a daily newsletter about Pakistan, cuts through the noise of a cluttered media market (Nieman Lab)

Anam Khan has lived half of her life in Pakistan and half in the U.S., and while living in Pakistan, began to find the English-language coverage of the country lacking. She began writing The NewsRun, a daily newsletter that focuses on major stories coming out of Pakistan, with links to other reporting in both English and Urdu. Khan also creates Instagram slides for all of her posts, and has hosted virtual roundtables for Pakistani and Pakistani American students. She set out to write the newsletter for expatriates, but found that most of her readers are young people living in Pakistan, who appreciate her clear and concise approach to the news.

+ Following its acquisition by Buzzfeed, HuffPost shuts down its Brazil and India editions (TechCrunch)


How to become a leader with humility (Quartz)

Leadership has often been associated with command and control, but in her new book, Marilyn Gist writes that humility is crucial. In a work setting, her definition of humility — the tendency to feel and regard others’ dignity — means prioritizing true inclusiveness by listening and prioritizing the well-being of employees. She writes that this type of humility can be learned and fostered, and may come more easily to those who have struggled or come from “outsider” groups.


Saving democracy is a slogan, not a strategy (Reynolds Journalism Institute)

Over the past few years, many have focused on the importance of local news in supporting a healthy democracy. But, Yvonne Leow writes, this slogan is often used by journalists to avoid serious reflection on the industry. Instead of clinging to the idea that journalism is necessary for “saving democracy,” journalists and media organizations need to identify and create value for consumers. News outlets should develop and prioritize meaningful metrics that can track success, such as audience development, financial health and cultural competency. 


How local news around the world is weathering the coronavirus storm (Reuters Institute)

The coronavirus pandemic has more people than ever turning to local news to make sense of national and international developments. Despite economic difficulties, news organizations around the world have seen small bursts of hope. One British newspaper saw an uptick in print subscriptions among elderly neighbors, while several French publications developed platforms that allowed readers to offer free services to each other. Radio stations have also evolved their reporting, asking readers to send in voice memos to substitute for missing “man on the street” interviews.