Need to Know: September 2, 2021


You might have heard: With acquisitions like Revue and Scroll, Twitter is investing in paid subscriptions (TechCrunch)

But did you know: Twitter launches ‘Super Follows’ on iOS (The Verge)

Twitter is rolling out a new feature that lets users charge for subscriber-only content. Users can set their tweets to go to their “Super Followers” only, who will pay $2.99, $4.99, or $9.99 a month, with payments processed through Stripe. Twitter says users can keep up to 97% of the subscription revenue earned, until they reach a lifetime earnings limit of $50,000 across all Twitter monetization products, after which they can keep up to 80%. The feature right now is only available to a small group of users who applied to test it out; those interested can apply to get on a waiting list to join the test group — if they have certain minimum qualifications including at least 10,000 followers.

+ Noted: The Associated Press names Julie Pace, its Washington bureau chief, as its new top editor (New York Times); USA Today releases its annual survey on staff diversity, the newsroom is now 51.7% female (USA Today); Gannett says it has increased representation of BIPOC journalists across its newsrooms (USA Today); Nielsen’s national ratings accreditation is suspended by media rating council (Variety)


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Why the Arizona Daily Star is launching a solutions journalism beat (Arizona Daily Star)

In the last few years the Star has explored solutions to Arizona’s foster care crisis, efforts to stop sexual misconduct at universities, and local programs that seek to address recidivism. One solutions-focused story led to another, writes reporter Caitlin Schmidt, until “It became impossible to ignore, so I asked my editor: If solutions are happening all around us, why not make them a regular part of our coverage here at the Star?” Schmidt is now the Star’s “solutions reporter,” and in a column introducing her beat, she explains that solutions journalism “helps increase accountability by reporting on where and how people are trying to do better. It removes excuses and sets a bar for what community members should expect from agencies and governments.”


How mission-driven news sites are betting on reader revenue in Latin America (Global Investigative News Network)

Newsrooms like La Silla Vacía in Colombia and Agência Pública in Brazil have been running crowdfunding campaigns for several years and are now investing in membership programs. Reader-supported news outlets are common in Latin America, writes Laura Oliver, especially for news outlets that can demonstrate their independence and freedom from government influence. “Philanthropy is not that strong in Brazil, but it’s becoming stronger as people see how important it is to donate and keep this kind of journalism alive,” said Giulia Afiune, audience editor at Agência Pública. “People realise that it’s also up to them. It’s not just about having journalists who are willing to investigate. It’s about paying the bills to make this happen.”


Milwaukee journalists are texting readers about where they can find resources for housing, food and jobs (Reynolds Journalism Institute)

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and News414, a service journalism collaborative consisting of three local newsrooms, have partnered on a project that connects readers with journalists via text. Using the platform Public Input, journalists can text readers links to stories about, for example, where they can find free food in the Milwaukee area. Readers can “Text 1” to get story details via text, “Text 2” to find food pantries close to them, and “Text 3” to connect directly with a reporter. The platform allows people to get the information that is most relevant to them, said Jim Malewitz, Wisconsin Watch editor who helps lead News414.


Four McClatchy papers invest in expanded Sunday print editions (Poynter)

The new Sunday print editions will look more magazine-like, with in-depth reporting and stories that aren’t all pegged to the daily news cycle. One of these papers, the Kansas City Star, has also announced that it’s “dramatically” expanding coverage and newsroom staff and launching a digital evening edition. The Star plans to cover more local history and service journalism, as well as health, tech and travel. The “reimagined” Sunday print edition seeks to reverse the Star’s dwindling print subscriber base, which is half of what it was in 2017, writes media analyst Rick Edmonds.


Personal finance tips for student journalists (Poynter)

It’s not a pleasant reality to face: Entry-level journalism jobs typically don’t pay well, and overall wages in the industry haven’t kept up with the cost of living. Student journalists need to make smart financial decisions as they enter the workforce. Julia Carpenter, personal finance reporter at the Wall Street Journal, explains how young reporters can figure out what they should be earning in a job and how to negotiate for that salary. “The No. 1 thing I tell people to do is talk to their peers and ask what they make,” Carpenter says. “It can be uncomfortable, but people won’t be shocked if you reach out and tell them you’re interviewing for a job at their publication; can they gut check you on the salary offer or what you’re asking for?” She also covers red flags in a job offer and what to look for in a company’s benefits and career advancement opportunities.