Cleveland editor: ‘There aren’t two sides to facts’

Chris Quinn, the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Saturday published a letter responding to readers who ask him why the publication doesn’t give more credence to Donald Trump and his supporters. In the piece, Quinn acknowledges that reporting on Trump is difficult because it  often upsets people who support the former president.

His answer to this dilemma: Even though the reporting may not be popular with a segment of readers, he says, “there aren’t two sides to facts.”

“The truth is that Donald Trump undermined faith in our elections in his false bid to retain the presidency. He sparked an insurrection intended to overthrow our government and keep himself in power. No president in our history has done worse,” he writes.

CNN’s Oliver Darcy called it a “clear-eyed assessment.” Charles P. Pierce in Esquire suggested other news organizations take the same approach. “No more being tied to the millstone of Both Sides, the one that’s sinking the profession (and the republic) into the abyss,” he writes.

This is not the first time Quinn has shared his thought process in politics coverage decisions. In 2022, the paper refused to cover a rally with then-candidate and now-Sen. J.D. Vance, saying Republicans had imposed “ridiculous” restrictions on reporters.

News In Focus
Headlines, resources and events aligned with API’s four areas of focus.

Civic Discourse & Democracy

+ Colorado newsrooms collaborate on Voter Voices project (Colorado Public Radio)

The project, which includes newsrooms across the state, is aimed at learning what voters want candidates to focus on, the issues people care about and how much they trust the system. Many of the participants have long been competitors, notes CPR editor Megan Verlee, but she says it’s important that citizens, not politicians, drive coverage decisions.

+ Addressing America’s divides: The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s newest chapter (Editor & Publisher)

The Chronicle of Philanthropy this week is launching a new project called “The Commons,’” which is aimed at exploring how America’s nonprofits and foundations are working to strengthen civic engagement, community and democracy. Chronicle senior editor Drew Lindsay spoke with Editor & Publisher’s Mike Blinder in a video chat to explain the new series.

+ Join us: Frameworks to focus your election coverage How can newsrooms best deploy their resources in covering elections including the local races for mayor, city council, school boards and others that affect people deeply and daily? How might they better allocate finite resources? In the second of our series of webinars with the Associated Press, API’s Samantha Ragland and Emily Ristow and Trusting News’ Joy Mayer will lead a discussion and Q&A on Thursday, April 25 at 1 p.m. Eastern. Sign up here.

+ API Update: Local news leaders and non-journalism experts are meeting today and tomorrow in Akron, Ohio for the API Local News Summit on Trust, Elections and Democracy. During the two-day summit, news leaders will navigate how they cover elections and contribute to civic discourse. The setting highlights the importance of decisions being made in newsrooms across the country in covering an election that will affect people in the American heartland and beyond. Follow along on API’s social media channels for updates from the summit.

Many thanks to sponsors and supporters of this summit and related resources: Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism, Templeton World Charity Foundation, National Issues Forums Network and Solutions Journalism Network.

Culture & Inclusion

+ We need more Black female representation in journalism. Here’s why (Forbes)

Black women do not occupy enough high-ranking positions in newsrooms, meaning “white people end up telling our stories,” says Maya Richard-Craven. She writes that Errin Haines, the editor at large of The 19th, is trying to change that. “Representation matters,” Haines told Richard-Craven. “People need to see themselves reflected in the stories that we tell ourselves about this country. Black women have always had a role in shaping this democracy and helping to perfect this union.”

Community Engagement & Trust

+ Let’s say it plainly: Fact-checking is not censorship (Poynter)

Tuesday was International Fact-Checking Day, an occasion when fact-checkers around the world celebrate and promote their work. Angie Drobnic Holan, director of the International Fact-Checking Network and former editor in chief of PolitiFact, used the moment to counter the argument that fact-checking amounts to censorship, a claim she says is itself aimed at “suppressing critique and debate.”

+ Trust Tip: Copy PolitiFact’s approach to building trust with casual users (Trusting News)

People tune in and out of the news, so it is important to develop strategies for increasing transparency with consumers who only casually engage with your content. Trusting News’ Mollie Muchna points to PolitiFact, which tested the success of various methods of building transparency into daily coverage, including links and content to principles and explanations of the newsroom’s mission, among others.

Revenue & Resilience

+ NYT to soon offer most articles via automated voice (Axios)

The New York Times plans to provide users with narrations of its articles using an automated voice, Sara Fischer reports. Starting this week, 10% of the Times’ website and audio app users will be able to hear the narrations, The Times’ Stephanie Preiss told Fischer. The move, Fischer writes, will “help position the Times as one of the biggest audio news companies globally.”

+ 4 news publishers offer mobile product design lessons learned (INMA)

The International News Media Association’s product and tech initiative asked product leaders from four publications —- the Financial Times, The Atlantic, Information Architects and Condé Nast —- to talk about lessons they learned in designing for mobile. One example the authors cite is The Atlantic’s mobile approach, which rests on the concept of four “homepages” — the mobile web homepage, article experiences, email newsletters and the mobile app.

What else you need to know

💸 Yahoo is buying Artifact, the AI news app from the Instagram co-founders (The Verge)

🤐 LA Times columnist apologizes for “deeply offensive” descriptions of LSU Women’s Team (Deadline)

🚔 Third employee of weekly newspaper in Kansas sues over police raid (AP)

🧊  The AI industry is steaming toward a legal iceberg (The Wall Street Journal)