Need to Know: September 10, 2021


Between August of 2020 and January of 2021, misinformation shared by publishers on Facebook got six times as many interactions as factual news. A recent study found that accounts known for spreading misinformation, such as Occupy Democrats, Dan Bongino and Breitbart, were popular on both the far right and far left. Facebook argued that such numbers only reflected engagement with the content, not total views, though the platform declined to share the numbers on impressions publicly. (The Washington Post) 


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

Spanish-language Covid disinformation is aimed at Latinos as delta surges. False claims about COVID-19 are spreading quickly on Spanish-language radio, social media and closed messaging apps. The disinformation, which echoes the talking points spread in English-language media, is being spread by the many of the same actors accused of spreading lies related to the 2020 election. (NBC News) 

News collaborative for Black communities launches. Ten Black newspapers from across the U.S. have launched a collaborative platform, Word In Black, to share stories and build their online presences. The collaboration’s website and newsletter will feature stories from all 10 papers as well as original pieces. (Editor & Publisher) 

What attitudes towards news tell us about building trust. A new study from four countries has found that people with the lowest trust in news are generally disengaged with news cycles and lack knowledge of journalistic methods. Those who are the most vocally angry about news coverage are more likely to have some trust in certain news providers. (Reuters Institute) 


Journalism managers are burned out. Is it time for a work redesign?

Journalism has a long history of inducing stress and burnout in workers. Here are several suggestions for improving newsroom workflows and workloads so that the jobs are more sustainable — and the people in them healthier and happier. “Local journalism can’t be saved on the backs of overworked leaders whose careers are breaking them,” writes Jane Elizabeth. “It’s time to create a change in the bad bones in journalism’s historic work structure.”


+ The “shadow bank” that — with the help of public pension funds — is aiding the destruction of local news (Nieman Lab) 

+ In the digital era, journalism should be considered a public good (Centre for International Governance Innovation) 

+ What is the goal of our digital information environment? Is it simply to inform us, or also to empower us to act? (Center for Human Technology) 

+ STAT’s Helen Branswell on how COVID-19 has changed the health and medicine beat (Nieman Reports)