Need to Know: September 21, 2022

+ Editor’s note: Are you in LA for the 2022 ONA conference? So is API! Attend our 2:30 p.m. session, Build Your Newsroom Strategy for Connecting With Communities of Color, where Joy Mayer, Letrell Crittenden, Liz Worthington and Lynn Walsh are discussing ways to assess how well you engage with communities of color using specific tools including a DEIB index, source auditing and community listening. And listen to Elite Truong speak about Opportunities for Winning Gen Z and Millennial Audiences at 4:00 p.m. See what else we’re up to this week, and follow along at @ampress. 


Repairing community relationships

By now, it should be a given in journalism: Decisions for and about readers cannot be made without input from those readers, and that “if we build it, they will come” is a doomed plan. 

But longtime journalist Melanie Sill, who’s working with North Carolina newsrooms on local election coverage, is concerned that too many newsroom leaders are still making coverage decisions based on outdated assumptions about readers. “I worry that some people in the newspaper industry still don’t grasp that disconnect,” Sill told API. “That they’re focused on what they put out versus what people are looking for or using.” 

That discordance is one reason that confidence in the media, which has been a problem for decades, has now fallen to record lows. At a critical time in history, what can local journalists do to fix the longstanding lack of connections with communities?

The third installment of API’s guide to covering elections and democracy offers strategies to keep newsrooms and the community engaged, as well as how to talk with people who historically have low trust in the media. 

+ Did you miss the first two installments of the election preparation report? Catch up on Monday’s and yesterday’s.