Need to Know: October 15, 2019

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


You might have heard: How “public pathways” could support the Colorado media landscape (Colorado Media Project) 

But did you know: Former city council candidates launch Denver newspaper (CBS4)

Two former candidates for a Denver city council seat decided to team up and form a hyperlocal newspaper, the Denver North Star, which hits doorsteps for the first time today. Sabrina D’Agosta and David Sabados had been told by voters that it was difficult to differentiate between candidates for local office, which the pair chalked up to a lack of reporting. “Who starts a newspaper in this day and age? But the more we started talking about, the more it actually seemed like it made a lot of sense,” Sabados said. “We have the most comprehensive coverage of the school board elections going on that anyone has covered with full interviews of every candidate.” Local advertisers, which have felt the loss of the Denver Tribune two years ago, have been eager in coming forward, giving the project an early boost. The next issue of the North Star is planned for mid-November.

+ Noted: Journalists of Color Resource Guide launches with seed funding from the News Integrity Initiative (Journalists of Color Resources); ABC News broadcasts fake Syria bombing video that’s actually from a Kentucky military show in 2017 (Gizmodo); Arizona Republic journalists vote in favor of unionizing newsroom (Arizona Republic) 


How to become a deep web super sleuth (Global Investigative Journalism Network)

Most journalists use Google daily, but search engines only show about 4% of the content that is actually available online, according to journalist Albrecht Ude. Speaking at the 11th Global Investigative Journalism Conference, Ude recommended using databases, not Google, to surface information on the deep web. Wikipedia maintains lists of academic and online databases, and university libraries offer access to scientific databases that would normally charge a subscription. Searching for a topic with the terms “database OR directory OR catalogue OR registry” using a search engine can also surface valuable information that otherwise wouldn’t be found via direct search.

+ University of Oregon newspaper faces off with University of Washington paper in fundraising battle (KOMO News); Have a famous sports rivalry coming to your town? Here’s how to replicate the students’ approach in your own newsroom (Better News)


French publishers and Google head into a showdown around E.U. copyright law (Monday Note)

French publishers and Google have two weeks left to settle a dispute about payment for snippets, which is at the core of the new EU’s copyright law. Google has refused to compensate publishers for showing snippets of their content in search results, declaring that it will instead simply show lists of dry headlines that are much less likely to induce people to follow the links to publishers’ websites. As the stalled negotiations approach the deadline, French publishers are bracing themselves for a 30 to 40% drop in pageviews if snippets are removed, says Frederic Filloux.


‘A way for everything to seem less hopeless’: Teens are using humor on TikTok to meme the news (NBC)

TikTok, known primarily for content that revolves around lip-syncs, dance trends and in-jokes, is increasingly being used by teens to share their views on current events. The app’s focus on humor and performance has cultivated a brand of news commentary that exists only on TikTok. Teens “can simply take what they have seen, re-perform it, put a different twist on it, and therefore give it a different message or give it a different voice. I think that’s useful,” said Shane Tilton, assistant professor of multimedia journalism at Ohio Northern University. “It gives them a chance to give their own interpretation of the issue at hand.”


If Trump doesn’t condone violence against journalists, he should stop inspiring it (Washington Post)

After a doctored video that depicted President Trump brutally assaulting critics and members of the press was shown at a pro-Trump conference in Miami, the Trump campaign denied that it made the video and issued a “mild” statement about not condoning violence, writes Margaret Sullivan. But a much stronger response is needed — and the President needs to tone down his deeply anti-press rhetoric before it’s too late, she says. “The president of the United States didn’t create this problem, any more than he created the video. But, in many, many ways, he has unleashed a vile hatred of journalists that is playing out before our eyes. And it couldn’t be more dangerous.”

+ “You are to stand down”: Ronan Farrow’s producer on how NBC killed its Weinstein story (Vanity Fair); NBC News president hits back at Ronan Farrow’s book: “We have no secrets and nothing to hide” (Hollywood Reporter)


Study suggests journalists’ moral reasoning is becoming weaker (Journalism Research News)

The sample size was small: only 170 American journalists who took a Defining Issues Test, which gauges moral reasoning ability. In the study, journalists as a group performed significantly worse than in a 2004 study that used the same test. Compared with other professional groups like physicians and seminarians, journalists performed only slightly better than an average adult. Journalists’ age did not seem to have an effect on their performance, the researchers noted — a reversal of earlier findings. They said it suggests that journalism draws in people with above-average moral reasoning, but the job does not develop that skill further, as before.