Need to Know: Sept. 19, 2019

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


You might have heard: Journalism-focused philanthropy has nearly quadrupled since 2009 (Media Impact Funders) 

But did you know: Nonprofit news outlets aren’t relying as heavily on foundations (Nieman Lab) 

The surge in nonprofit news over the last decade continues, but with less dependence on foundation funding, according to a new report from the Institute for Nonprofit News. The report found that in 2018, individuals and families donated nearly 40% of all the revenue going to surveyed news nonprofits, and for the first time in studies of the field, foundation funding of news nonprofit fell below 50%. While some of that individual giving comes from small donations via membership programs, two-thirds of all donor revenue was driven by donations of $5,000 or more. Also, both INN and Media Impact Funders point to NewsMatch as a powerful generator of new donors; its end-of-year initiative brought in 50,000 first-time journalism donors in 2018 alone.

+ Noted: “If you have data and a story idea, we can connect you with a peer coach to double check your math or help figure out your next move”: OpenNews launches peer-review program for journalists working on data projects (Twitter, OpenNews); Now you can find key moments in YouTube videos via search (Variety); Meet the fall cohort of Poynter’s 2019 Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media (Poynter); Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund announces $5.25 million in new support for Philadelphia journalism (Lenfest Institute)


Reaching the most elusive audience of them all — teenagers (Poynter)

Producing content for a teen audience means working backwards — first thinking about how it will be shared, then how it will be presented. MediaWise, Poynter’s teen fact-checking program, publishes almost exclusively on social media, and when editors Heaven Taylor-Wynn and Alexa Volland work with student reporters on stories, they craft them for maximal shareability. “We repeatedly ask our teen fact-checkers, ‘How would you text this to your friends?’ From there, we encourage them to craft their articles around features built within the Instagram app.” (MediaWise is also on Snapchat, Twitter and TikTok.) “Effects, filters, boomerangs and GIFS are all fair game when it comes to our style of storytelling.”


ITV News launches Instagram news service for ‘switched-on teens’ (Press Gazette)

British network ITV News has launched its first social media news series “The Rundown,” which is aimed at teens and designed for mobile viewing on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook Stories. The episodes will be released at 3:45 p.m., to coincide with the end of the school day, and will explain the biggest international, U.K. and regional stories of the day. During its market research, teens told ITV News that they wanted to have important issues explained to them without being trivialized. “It is our hope that this new Instagram service will begin to answer their needs, become an essential part of the daily routine and the next step in ITV News reaching new audiences,” said ITV News head of digital Stephen Hull. 

+ Earlier: Quibi teams with BBC on daily mobile news show for Millennials (Deadline)


Why Facebook’s ‘values’ update matters (Lawfare)

Last week Facebook quietly updated its values statement, which informs its Community Standards — the rules for what is allowed to be posted on the platform. The update may have been lost among the bigger news that Facebook is appointing an independent Oversight Board, which will be able to review and overrule Facebook’s content moderation decisions. But the values update, which prioritizes “voice” (read: free expression) as the overarching value, could have a significant impact on how the Oversight Board will enforce the Community Standards, writes Evelyn Douek. Facebook’s paramount commitment to voice “reflects a certain degree of risk tolerance on Facebook’s part — which will no doubt be praised by those committed to a robust marketplace of ideas.”


For many reporters covering climate, population remains the elephant in the room (Columbia Journalism Review)

Climate experts have suggested that having fewer children is an important action an individual can take to reducing carbon emissions. But the press tends to focus on other actions, like not flying or living car-free. Talking about not having children is morally and ethically fraught, leading many journalists to avoid it altogether, writes Wudan Yan. But now that climate change is firmly lodged in the public consciousness, some writers are  beginning to approach the subject of overpopulation with caution. “I think it’s the one tool we have that we’re not talking about enough,” said journalist Ash Sanders. “I think there are ways to have this conversation ethically that will lead to freedom and choice.”

+ “I reported on a mass shooting. Was I helping or hurting?” (Houston Chronicle)


Why NY and NJ ethnic media still embrace print in the digital age (Medium, Engaged Journalism Lab)

For hundreds of ethnic media outlets in New York and New Jersey, and particularly for newspapers, the print edition continues to be the flagship product. Readers, many of them recently arrived immigrants, and local advertisers seem to prefer it to digital, writes Anthony Advincula. “In order for us to stay in this business, it is not just all about increasing the number of readers from across the U.S. and around the world, but rather it is about going back to the basics: provide local content that our readers actually need,” said Kaushik Shah, publisher of Gujarat Darpan, a monthly magazine in Gujarati based in central New Jersey. Kleibeel Marcano, publisher and editor of Reporte Hispano, a Spanish-language weekly in New Jersey, added that distrust of information on the internet keeps many readers reaching for the print edition. “Because our readers know that we are part of our community and we know our community, they will continue to grab our newspaper from the newsstand.”

+ Earlier: Our report looks at how mainstream and ethnic media can collaborate