Need to Know: October 27, 2020

You might have heard: At The Salt Lake Tribune, an editor resigns, and Huntsman family ownership faces fresh challenges (Poynter)

But did you know: Salt Lake Tribune splits with Deseret News, will move to a weekly print edition in 2021 (Salt Lake Tribune)

The Salt Lake Tribune has ended its decades-long partnership with regional paper Deseret News, and as result, will move to only printing one newspaper per week. The two had worked together to share costs of printing, delivering and advertising for 68 years. The Tribune says that its newsroom will not face cuts, though some employees will be “redeployed.” The weekly paper will be a showcase for the paper’s best work, as well as wire stories and other Sunday features. The Deseret News said it had let 18 employees go, including six journalists.

+ Noted: BuzzFeed expects to break even this year, thanks to heavy cost cuts (Wall Street Journal)


Making final preparations for Election Day

With only one week left until Election Day, we’ve rounded up resources from our Trusted Elections Network to help your newsroom with last-minute preparations. Plus, here are tips for putting problems with voting into helpful context for audiences and understanding how various election scenarios could evolve.

+ Earlier: Easy-to-implement ideas for defending your coverage against accusations of bias, explaining story selection and how you handle wire news, and clearly separating opinion coverage from news (Trusting News)


The Washington Post compiles list of ‘outstanding’ politics reporters to follow in every state (The Washington Post)

As Americans go to the polls for elections at all levels of government, the Washington Post’s politics section The Fix has compiled a list of political journalists to follow in all 50 states. With so much uncertainty surrounding voting and the election, it is local reporters who are able to cover the nuances of each state’s voting policies and related legal matters. The list, which is organized by state and includes each reporter’s outlet, allows politics junkies who may turn to the Post for national political reporting to follow strong local and regional journalists as well. The list will be updated with recommendations from readers, and all of the suggestions have been compiled into one Twitter list.

+ 38+ tools and resources to improve Zoom, follow the election and to make your autumn a bit easier (Poynter)


‘Scale with great context’: The Independent eyes global expansion (Digiday)

While news outlets around the world were struggling during the coronavirus, British newspaper The Independent has begun growing internationally after a successful fiscal year. The news outlet, which dropped its print paper in 2016, is hiring journalists in the U.S. and India, and considering moving into China. Unlike many competitors, the organization was able to offset the pandemic losses of advertising pauses and keyword blocking with a “diverse range of advertising lines” and sponsorships.


Reporting recipe: How is your audience targeted by political ads? (Medium, The Online Political Transparency Project)

In an effort to unearth how Facebook users are targeted by political ads, the NYU Online Political Transparency Project has created Ad Observatory, which crowdsources which political ads people are seeing when they log onto Facebook. In an article, Jeremy Merrill walks reporters through how they can use the tool to see what ads are targeting their audiences, information that Facebook does not provide. The tool also shows reporters which data sources the candidates or parties are using, including whether or not a campaign added its own data or used another party’s.

+ Related: Facebook seeks shutdown of NYU Ad Observatory (Wall Street Journal)


The media has overcorrected on foreign influence (Lawfare)

Four years ago, many journalists were skeptical about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, writes Claire Wardle. But now, she says, those same journalists are too focused on foreign influence, when the threats from domestic actors are even more significant. Some of these people are elected officials and others in government who now spread disinformation “because of the absence of any social or reputational penalty for lying.” Others are troublemakers and trolls, looking to further erode trust in the news media through chaos. The third group are organized misinformers, like those peddling anti-vaccine and QAnon theories. In total, they pose a far greater risk than any foreign actors ever could, says Wardle.


How California newsrooms teamed up to gather pandemic data (OpenNews)

Eight newsrooms in California have teamed up to gather and publish COVID-19 data from 61 agencies around the state. It began in the spring, when The Los Angeles Times noticed that state-level data was often days behind the numbers that local agencies were reporting. After the paper began gathering this information manually from county- and city-level agencies, it open-sourced the data on GitHub and realized that newsrooms in other parts of the state were experiencing the same lag. The Times and the San Francisco Chronicle then began working together to publish state-level data, which is also used, via an informal agreement, by the San Diego Union-Tribune, KQED, KPCC, CapRadio, CalMatters, and Stanford’s Big Local News.