Need to Know: November 30, 2020

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


You might have heard: A 2018 survey found that two out of three female journalists have been threatened or harassed online at least once, and 40% said they avoided reporting certain stories as a result (IWMF)

But did you know: What can be done to address online violence against women journalists? (International Center for Journalists)

Women journalists are at greater risk than men during the course of their work, and in a new survey, 73% of female media workers said they had experienced online abuse, harassment or threats. 1 in 5 of those surveyed said that they had been targets of real-life abuse and attacks that they believed were connected with previous online threats. Online threats also have been connected to journalists’ deaths, according to a 2017 study from the Committee to Protect Journalists, which found that in murder cases involving journalists, 40% were preceded with in-person and online threats.

+ Earlier: Free app launches to empower female journalists to fight against harassment and assault (Reynolds Journalism Institute)

+ Noted: Biden transition team announced women to lead communications department (The 19th); Through the rest of the school year, The New York Times is giving free digital subscriptions to high school students and teachers (The Hill)


Why the Philadelphia Inquirer is investing in service journalism

We spoke with Megan Griffith-Greene, service features editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer, about why the Inquirer is expanding its service desk and how the desk has shaped reporting from across the newsroom. The two main goals for the desk, Griffith-Greene says, are creating stories that are both actionable and accessible. Actionable stories enable readers to take specific actions based on the information they’re given; accessibility refers to making stories easy to read, understand and remember.


How to cover climate change in 2021 and beyond (International Journalists’ Network)

As journalists grapple with how to cover climate change in a way that shows the daily impacts of the crisis, one solution is to incorporate the topic into other beats. This approach can improve the public’s understanding of the issue today, as climate change coverage has historically posed the topic as a future crisis, rather than something that is already affecting people around the world. To fold this topic into more of their coverage, journalists can start by choosing one specific topic to drill into and bolster their existing knowledge with research on scientific concepts, data and tools like artificial intelligence.

+ Earlier: This year, The Post and Courier launched a series examining sea rise and flooding in Charleston, S.C. to show readers the concrete impacts of an incremental crisis (The Post and Courier)


New UK tech regulator to limit power of Google and Facebook (The Guardian)

Last year, the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority began an investigation into Google and Facebook’s control of the digital advertising industry. Now the watchdog says it plans to create a unit that will set new rules addressing how digital companies operate. Although major details are yet to come, the guidelines could place limits on targeted advertising and empower publishers to monetize content that appears on platforms like Google.

+ Earlier: During the summer, the Australian government created rules that would require Google and Facebook to pay publishers in exchange for using their content (CNBC)


How hiring practices have changed during the pandemic (The New York Times)

Hiring is increasingly taking place online in both blue and white-collar jobs, with recruiters using technology to save time. Instead of spending a half hour on the phone or video chat, some companies are asking applicants to respond to questions by email or video, which recruiters say allows them to review more job candidates. Some recruiting companies also have said this approach removes the element of unconscious bias that happens during face-to-face interviews.


Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster merger draws criticism (The New Republic)

ViacomCBS will sell Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House in a $2.2 billion deal expected to be finalized next year. The arrangement, which brings up antitrust issues, amounts to the No. 1 publisher in the United States purchasing the third-largest. This development follows years of consolidation in the publishing industry and has been subject to criticism that big publishers have an even larger sway over what gets published and how authors are compensated. Alex Shephard predicts that the merger will result in job cuts and lower advances for authors.

+ Earlier: Under the umbrella of German media company Bertelsmann, Penguin and Random House merged in 2013, creating a company that controls 25% of the book market (The New York Times)


‘All arts organizations are media companies now’: How the pandemic is transforming theater (Variety)

The pandemic has forced theater companies to pursue hybrid, digital projects that use video, podcasting and other technology to reach a virtual audience. Some plays are written to be performed over Zoom, like the play “This Is Who I Am,” which depicts two actors cooking live. With lower ticket costs and sliding scale options, these digital offerings increase access to productions for people who would be unable to afford to attend at an in-person price point.