Need to Know: October 8, 2021


Ozy. After the digital media company was exposed for inflating its audience size and other nefarious practices, it announced last Friday that it was shutting down. Then, on Monday, CEO Carlos Watson said the company wasn’t shutting down. That same day a fund management company filed a lawsuit against Ozy for “fraudulent conduct.” Then news broke Thursday that Ozy might have another “fraud situation that has nothing to do with its infamous conference call.” And now former employees are saying that the $5.7 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans that Ozy took out did not show up in their paychecks. (New York Times, Nieman Lab, Axios, CNBC)

In solutions-oriented news this week, the News Revenue Hub and the Google News Initiative announced a new product to help newsrooms raise money through donations. The product, called the News Revenue Engine, will launch early next year. Here’s more about how it will work. (Poynter)


These are the stories that captured the most interest from Need to Know subscribers this week.

Tips for journalists on interpreting data. There are several common mistakes journalists make when using data for stories, which can cause us to draw the wrong conclusions and mislead our audiences. For example, be wary of reporting on averages — they can be misleading if there are large gaps between the high and low values. (Global Investigative Journalism Network.)

A look at how 40 U.S. news collaboratives are currently funded. The Center for Cooperative Media pulled together a list of permanent news collaboratives in the U.S. and their funders. The list shows several examples of funders pooling their money and of more efforts to raise individual donations and contributions. (Medium, Center for Cooperative Media)

Why Black media matters now. CUNY’s Center for Community Media released a report this week that analyzed coverage from Black media outlets and compared it to that of mainstream media. It found that Black media publish up to six times as much coverage on issues important to Black communities, like racism, health disparities and voting access. (CUNY)


How the Long Beach Post’s community editorial board provides more than opinion

Stephanie Rivera, community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post, writes about her newsroom’s experience launching and running a community editorial board made up of local residents. The board members wrote editorials and op-eds, identified potential story ideas, and also served as sources for reporters. “The road was bumpy, but overall the experiment with the inaugural board proved to be a success,” Rivera writes. One of the takeaways was the importance of having a “comprehensive onboarding and training process early on,” she says, “especially if the goal is to bring on those who face barriers to these kinds of opportunities.” 


+ What we lost when Gannett came to town (Atlantic)

+ Americans’ trust in media dips to second lowest on record (Gallup

+ Life at local newspapers in a turbulent era: Findings from a survey of more than 300 newsroom employees in the United States (Columbia Journalism Review)