Need to Know: September 8, 2022


You might have heard: Twitter unintentionally invited a conspiracy theorist to contribute to its fact-checking tool (The Washington Post)

But did you know: Twitter expands its crowdsourced fact-checking program ‘Birdwatch’ ahead of US midterms (TechCrunch)

A revised rollout of Birdwatch aims to add 1,000 contributors a week to the program ahead of midterms — and has added safeguards in an effort to ensure participants are adding helpful, fact-based context to tweets. It may take contributors about a week to earn the ability to write their own Birdwatch notes, and the program will run on a revised algorithm that boosts fact-checked tweets based on consensus across groups with differing views, instead of a traditional majority consensus approach. Despite previous challenges with Birdwatch, a Twitter spokesperson told Sarah Perez that people were 20% to 40% less likely to agree with a potentially misleading tweet after they read the note about it. 

+ Noted: Las Vegas police arrest county official on suspicion of murdering reporter Jeff German (Las Vegas Review-Journal); Brian McGrory to step down as Boston Globe editor (The Boston Globe); NYU partners with Rolling Stone and an online education platform to teach ‘modern journalism’ (Rolling Stone)


Social videos help Buffalo News increase engagement and sponsorship (It’s All Journalism)

In order to engage with readers beyond the seven-day print newspaper, Buffalo News used its staff’s expertise on the Buffalo Bills football team to build engagement and generate sponsorships via videos shared on social media. Tune in to the latest It’s All Journalism podcast to hear Geoff Nason, Mark Gaughan and Danielle Ossher discuss what it took to produce the videos. 

+ Related: Letrell Crittenden, API’s director of inclusion and audience growth, will speak on a panel at The Lenfest Institute’s 2022 Reimagining Philadelphia Journalism Summit on September 13. (The Lenfest Institute) 


Environmental justice outlet lets affected communities tell their own stories (Baltimore Magazine)

Last year, a former journalist and a community leader teamed up to create the Environmental Justice Journalism Initiative, an online platform for Black and Brown youth to share the ways climate change impacts their neighborhoods while learning environmental reporting skills such as editing, multimedia and scientific methods. The group’s headquarters are along Baltimore’s downtown waterfront, enabling partnerships with local schools and environmental organizations to cover both the city’s promise and problematic past.

“We want to help people find their voices and tell their own stories, as opposed to how traditional journalism outfits work, where they come from the top down,” said Rona Kobell, the program’s co-founder.


France rejects asylum claim of Syrian journalist who documented Islamic State group crimes (France 24)

A prominent Syrian journalist’s request for asylum has been rejected by France despite having received threats in both Turkey and Syria. Hussam Hammoud and his family, who are currently in Turkey, now risk deportation to Syria after they were denied humanitarian visas. Hammoud contributed to numerous international publications and documented crimes committed by the Islamic State in Syria, including giving evidence to Western investigators. 

+ Related: The leader of the Hong Kong Journalists Association arrested while on assignment, raising concerns about press freedom (Bloomberg)


Why Bloomberg lives on and on and on and on and on and on (Financial Times)

The Bloomberg terminal — considered a relic of trading technology in a world of high-tech platforms — continues to thrive despite its expense and notorious outages. There are several reasons Bloomberg defies gravity, writes Rupak Ghose: knowing their client preferences; the cost of substitution; a superior brand and network effects; a disciplined pricing strategy; and a long-term vision around product expansion. The final reason is what has enabled Bloomberg to build a vast news business, which is showcased for free in the terminals.


What corporate media executives mean when they talk about ‘objectivity’ (Popular Information)

Chris Licht, CNN’s new CEO, announced that he wants the network’s programming to become more objective — but Judd Legum asks what that actually means. Earlier this week, Licht hired former NYPD deputy commissioner John Miller as CNN’s chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst, but Miller is not “objective” on law enforcement or intelligence issues, Legum writes. Earlier this year, when Miller was still with the NYPD, he testified that there was “no evidence” of law enforcement spying on Muslims after 9/11 — an objectively false statement. “Hiring Miller does not make CNN more objective — it promotes a specific ideological perspective,” Legum says.


Muck Rack receives $180 million investment (Tech Crunch)

Journalist database Muck Rack raised $180 million in its first outside funding since it was founded in 2009. Muck Rack compiles lists of reporters and what they cover, which is used by public relations pros, marketers and others. It has evolved over the years to offer other media tools including pitching tools, media monitoring, and reporting and analytics capabilities. The big question for Muck Rack and similar organizations is how they will evolve with the times to reflect that mass communications landscape, writes Ingrid Lunden.