Need to Know: September 24, 2021


Americans who relied most on former President Trump or their personal connections for COVID-19 news are among the least likely to be vaccinated, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Roughly six-in-10 (59%) of those who said they relied on Trump for pandemic news had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 38% had not received the vaccine. The numbers were exactly the same for those who said they relied on personal and community networks, including online forums. Adults who said their primary source for pandemic news was national news outlets and public health officials were the most likely to be vaccinated, at 83% and 82% respectively.


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

Power to the people: What journalists can learn from community organizers. Community organizing shares many of the same goals with journalism — bringing people together around common problems and identifying possible solutions. Jennifer Brandel of Hearken shares how journalists can copy organizers’ techniques for building relationships with stakeholders and including them in the journalistic process.

The Washington Post announces the addition of 41 editing roles, including two masthead positions. It is the first newsroom expansion since the arrival of Executive Editor Sally Buzbee in June. “The expansion will allow us to create a greater number of career paths across the newsroom and increase the number of journalists of color in editing roles,” Buzbee wrote in an email to staff on Monday. (Also this week, The New York Times launched its first Editing Residency to “nurture the next generation of editors.”)

How an Asian business site attracted 30,000 subscribers by publishing one story a day. When The Ken launched five years ago, CEO and co-founder Rohin Dharmakumar knew that it couldn’t expect to capture more than 15-20 minutes of subscribers’ attention a day. Its one-article-per-day model has proved popular — The Ken is entirely subscriber-funded and has no plans to chase advertising, sponsorship or events revenue. “Choosing what not to do is as important as choosing what to do,” says Dharmakumar.


Webinar: Learn how Newsday and Spokesman-Review keep more subscribers

API’s Director of Reader Revenue Gwen Vargo will lead a free webinar on Sept. 28 about developing strategies for retaining news subscribers. Erik Zenhausern, director of acquisition and retention at Newsday and Pat Leader, the director of audience and consumer revenue at the Spokesman-Review, will share ways they have revamped their retention strategies to reduce churn of digital subscribers. Learn more and register for the conversation here.

+ How the Post and Courier raised more than $1 million for a South Carolina-wide investigative fund and Education Lab (Better News)


+ Reading on the internet is a terrible experience. A flurry of new apps promises to change that. (Protocol)

+ Rethinking growth: Why looking only at numbers to chart progress is a mistake (The Rebooting)

+ 50 tools to make you a better journalist (Radically Rural 2021 conference)