Need to Know: September 7, 2021


You might have heard: In November, Facebook revealed that massive amounts of misinformation flooded its service during the election (Fortune) 

But did you know: Misinformation on Facebook got six times more clicks than factual news during the 2020 election, study says (The Washington Post) 

A new study has found that news publishers who are known for spreading misinformation online — such as Occupy Democrats, Dan Bongino and Breitbart — got six times as many interactions on Facebook as legitimate news sites and sources between August of 2020 and January of 2021. Despite efforts on the platform’s part to combat misinformation, it has “found a comfortable home — and an engaged audience — on Facebook,” said Rebekah Tromble of George Washington University. The study found that misinformation was more popular than factual news on both the far left and far right, though conversative outlets “have a much higher propensity to share misleading information.” 

+ Related: A new study finds that small groups of laypeople can match or surpass the work of professional fact checkers on social media — and they can do it at scale (Wired) 

+ Noted: The News Product Alliance is hiring a part-time executive director for a one-year contract position (News Product Alliance) 


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

Journalism has a long history of stress and burnout, which, especially in recent years, has resulted in more people leaving the industry. Jane Elizabeth covers practical ways to redesign newsroom manager jobs so that managers — and their employees — have more flexibility, autonomy, and can enjoy greater work-life balance.

+ Applications for Trust 101: Earning trust with communities of color are due today, Sept. 7. (Trusting News)


10 Black newspapers have joined forces to ‘amplify the Black experience’ (Editor & Publisher) 

Black publishers from across the U.S. are collaborating on a new platform, Word In Black, that will share stories “about real people in communities across our country.” The collaboration’s website and newsletter will feature original work, as well as stories from its participant publications — New York Amsterdam News, The Atlanta Voice, Houston Defender Network, The Washington Informer, The Dallas Weekly, The Afro, Michigan Chronicle, The Seattle Medium, The Sacramento Observer and St. Louis American. The initiative is part of the Fund for Black Journalism, and is intended to help the publications, all of which still produce a print paper, grow their digital presences. 


Training programs for Black journalists seek to increase racial diversity in newsrooms across Brazil (LatAm Journalism Review) 

For the first time in its 33-year history, Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo will dedicate its entire training program this year to Black journalists, with the hope of making its newsroom more diverse. Over the years, many journalists who came through the popular Training Program in Daily Journalism have gone on to leadership positions at the paper, making the need for a more inclusive cohort even more important. São Paulo-based digital outlet Nexo Jornal also launched a training program exclusively for Black journalism students in 2021. Part of the training is in English, as many newsrooms require English fluency to even be considered for internships or jobs. 


More than 200 health journals call for urgent action on climate crisis (The Guardian)

Hundreds of health journals from around the world will collectively publish an editorial urging countries to address climate change for health reasons. Ahead of the United Nation’s climate summit in November, the editorial calls on countries to curb rising temperatures, saying that health worldwide “is already being harmed by global temperature increases” and that the “science is unequivocal.” One of the publications participating, the British Medical Journal, says it is the first time so many outlets have come together to make a joint statement; other publications include the New England Journal of Medicine, the East African Medical Journal, the Chinese Science Bulletin, the National Medical Journal of India and the Medical Journal of Australia.


The media needs to ‘stop death shaming’ the unvaccinated dead (The Atlantic)

Media outlets have treated unvaccinated individuals who have died of COVID-19 with “notes of shame or contempt,” writes Elizabeth Bruenig. If these are efforts to persuade the unvaccinated to take the shot, they are ineffective, she says, because they are written from the perspective of those who have already been persuaded to get the vaccine. A study of the unvaccinated finds that many have concerns — about side effects, the vaccine’s effectiveness and the trustworthiness of the government — that the media could explore by having more discussions with unvaccinated individuals and “inhabiting their point of view […] honestly and seriously.” 

+ Earlier: What the media gets wrong about red-state vaccine hesitancy (Undark)


Salon turns off comments and bets on email newsletters (Digiday) 

Salon has removed comments on all of its articles, and encouraged readers who want to engage with each other to do so on social media platforms. The site had once used registration for commenting as a way to gather emails for targeted advertising, but now newsletters are a more profitable and successful way to collect email addresses and target readers. Justin Wohl, Salon’s chief revenue officer, also said that commenting over the past year has become much harder to moderate, with misinformation and disinformation related to COVID-19 and vaccines taking up too much time for moderators.