Need to Know: Oct. 7, 2019

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


You might have heard: Starbucks is no longer selling print newspapers; it’s offering customers free digital access instead (Chicago Tribune)

But did you know: Supermarkets are ditching their newspaper and magazine racks (and publishers aren’t happy) (Nieman Lab)

U.S. and European supermarkets are increasingly getting rid of their magazine and newspaper sections to make space for more profitable wares. Kroger, America’s largest supermarket chain in terms of revenue, will no longer carry free newspapers and magazines as of Oct. 15, citing consumers’ shift to digital. It joins global supermarket chain Aldi, which stopped selling print publications on Sept. 30. “Independent newsstands once common in any significant city have dropped like flies,” adds Christine Schmidt, citing the plunge in single-copy newspaper sales in cities ranging from Cambridge and Des Moines to Washington, D.C.

+ Noted: An analysis of how social media companies have applied advertising transparency policies globally (Privacy International); U.S. Customs officer harasses Defense One journalist at Dulles airport (Defense One) 


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How the Wall Street Journal is using its event business to plug the print gap (The Drum) 

After shuttering its print editions in the Asia Pacific and Europe, The Wall Street Journal is turning to the events business to plug the revenue gap and maintain a physical connection with its readers in those markets. Its event series “Journal House” was launched at Davos during the World Economic Forum, and features WSJ reporters interviewing newsmakers on timely topics in front of a live audience. “Events like this and bringing journalism to life in a physical space creates tangibility for the brand,” says Josh Stinchcomb, global chief revenue officer. “It brings resonance to the brand.”

+ Related: Our curated collection of resources has everything you need to launch your own event series (Better News) 

+ How to start taking digital security more seriously (OpenNews)


Fever Pit’ch: a football newsletter powered by reader-first approach and strong community (

Germany-based football newsletter Fever Pit’ch started out as a Facebook Group and evolved into a daily email with more than 11,000 paid subscribers and a 30% to 50% open rate. Much of its success has to do with the familiar, knowledgeable voice of publisher Pit Gottschalk. Looking at audience data, Gottschalk figures his readers are opening their emails in the privacy of their living rooms after a long day. Sending a newsletter is akin to be invited into someone’s living room, he says. Once there, he offers them entertaining football news and occasional ways to engage, like testing their football knowledge against his in a quiz. Publishers “often have the mindset of ‘What can we sell to readers?’”he says. The question they should be asking instead is “How do readers want to be approached?”

+ Italian news site OnData experiments with removing its Facebook and Instagram likes (OnData); Falsehoods outperform facts in Brazilian WhatsApp groups, study shows (Poynter)


The Washington Post’s most valuable asset is now its software, thanks to Jeff Bezos (New York Observer)

The Post recently struck a deal to license its content management platform, Arc, to its first non-media client — oil giant BP. There will likely be more non-media clients to come, writes Sissi Cao. Owner Jeff Bezos has set his sights on attracting corporate customers with communications teams that are essentially publishers in terms of the size of audience they serve. Bloomberg previously reported that the Post expects Arc to generate an annual revenue of $100 million within the next three years and become the newspaper’s third largest revenue stream after advertising and subscription.


Watch your language: How English is skewing the global news narrative (Global Investigative Journalism Network)

We know English is taking over the planet. But how does that influence the global news narrative? There are multiple, cyclical effects, writes Tanya Pampalone. First, it allows English publications in countries where English is not the primary language to dominate the narrative about that country. They shape how the rest of the world sees that country — and how consumers in that country view the rest of the world. A dearth of English speakers can mean that it’s easier for a country’s government to control its own narrative. It can also mean that a story isn’t a story until it appears in the English media — and that journalism awards often fail to lift up non-English reporting. 

+ Mass layoffs, chaos at “Sports Illustrated” spark journalists’ rebellion (NPR); Either Sports Illustrated deserved better or none of us do (Deadspin)


More U.S. journalists are being named as collaboration managers; here’s a peek at their job descriptions (Medium, Center for Cooperative Media)

As collaborative journalism projects increase — taking on statewide, regional and nationwide issues like the rape kit backlog, hospital closures, and climate change — the Center for Cooperative Media estimates that there are likely close to 30 people around the U.S. who have jobs that are centered on managing journalism collaboratives, either in a part-time or full-time capacity. The Center is collecting job descriptions for those positions to showcase the work being done and to provide a roadmap for other organizations thinking about creating such a job.