Need to Know: September 16, 2022


Yesterday was Democracy Day 2022, a coordinated effort between newsrooms and media industry groups to “encourage more and better reporting on the anti-democratic threats,” according to its website, hosted by The Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. Trusting News suggests that newsrooms “commit to coverage that resists polarization,” while new research from Democracy Fund found ample evidence that having a local news outlet encourages citizens to vote. The Center for Cooperative Media has collected democracy-related coverage from dozens of outlets from across the country. (The Center for Cooperative Media; Medium, Trusting News; Democracy Fund) 


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

Tracking young people’s relationships with news. Younger readers make a distinction between “the news” — serious political and current affairs content that they tend to avoid — and “news” — which can include more approachable subjects like sports, entertainment and culture. (Reuters Institute)  

Jay Rosen on the mess at CNN and the perils of “both sides” journalism. Rosen argues that CNN’s move to appear centrist may make it harder for them to accurately describe threats to democracy. (Public Notice)  

Your career is just one-eighth of your life. Derek Thompson advises viewing work within the context of the rest of your life, consistently trying new things and being “ruthlessly honest with yourself” about what you value in life. (The Atlantic)


API to present ONA session on connecting with communities of color 

The American Press Institute is gearing up for the 2022 Online News Association Conference September 21 to 24, including hosting a session on building your newsroom strategy for connecting with communities of color. API and Trusting News will offer tips on assessing how well you engage with communities of color and how to build a system of accountability to help your newsroom make meaningful progress. Specific tools, such as a DEIB index, source auditing and community listening, will also be discussed. The session will be held at 2:30 p.m. on September 21.

+ Noted: Next week’s Need to Know newsletter will feature the ONA sessions API and our partners are participating in, as well as a new survey on how newsrooms are preparing for elections.

How The Oklahoman changed its newsroom’s mindset to focus on digital growth (Better News)

The Oklahoman grew its online audience by pushing its staff away from a print mindset, adjusting its workflows and cutting stories that used to be valued for print reasons in order to pursue digitally-successful stories. Historically, The Oklahoman was the newspaper of record in Oklahoma City, but the newsroom wanted to focus on expanding digital subscribers as print subscriptions plummeted, business editor David Dishman says. They knew they had to transform the newsroom from the inside out for their efforts to be successful. 


+ By making obituaries free to publish, these Ohio news outlets hope to play the long game (Nieman Lab) 

+ Traffic to local news websites has plummeted. What happens now? (Poynter) 

+ How the British government is using coverage of the monarchy to bury bad news (British GQ) 

 + Kara Swisher’s thread on “the ephemeral nature of content, who owns your work & why creators need to own their IP” (Twitter, @karaswisher)