Accountability journalism podcasts play important role in public radio

Public radio is struggling; NPR’s listenership has dropped dramatically and layoffs and buyouts proliferate, according to The New York Times. For Current, Elaine Appleton Grant of the Sound Judgment podcast says that New Hampshire Public Radio’s deep-dive into sexual misconduct in the addiction treatment industry, which also explored important issues around freedom of the press, is the kind of work that the industry needs to revive.

She writes that The 13th Step is the type of vital accountability journalism that often gets eliminated during times of budget cuts, but there are indications that listeners — particularly young listeners — gravitate towards this kind of strong journalism that holds powerful institutions to account.

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

Civic Discourse & Democracy

>> Violent attacks against environmental journalists on the rise, report finds (The Guardian) 

A report from UNESCO found that 70% of environmental journalists have been attacked for their work since 2009; 44 reporters were murdered between 2009 and 2023. At least half of the physical violence attacks were committed by state actors. 

>> Sign up for journalist safety training in Mich., NC, NV (IWMF)

Applications for the IWMF Newsroom Safety Across America initiative in North Carolina, Michigan, and Nevada are open now. This critical training will prepare local reporters ahead of the 2024 elections.

>> Join us: Community engagement tools to inform election coverage

How do American audiences view election news? And what simple steps can you take to build your community’s confidence in your election coverage? In this webinar, API will discuss both research and strategies for engaged election coverage this year. This is part of a seven-part API and AP webinar series — register here for the May 30 event.

Culture & Inclusion

>> The glass ceiling for women journalists in Italy feels unbreakable. What can be done?  (The Fix)

Italian newsrooms are still overwhelmingly led by men. To change the industry, newsrooms need to both include more women in leadership, and tell more women’s stories in their coverage. 

>> Tackling local tv news’ pay problem, there are no easy answers (TV News Check) 

Pay for local TV news reporters hasn’t risen in decades because local televisions outlets are struggling to remain profitable. To address this, stations will likely have to use technology to reduce their headcount and raise wages, or reduce the number of high-paying leadership roles. 

Community Engagement & Trust

>> Join us: Imagine rural journalism as community convener 

Our next API Local News Summit will aim to identify and advance solutions that help news leaders embrace and expand their convening and facilitation power — both to improve their community and support their overall resilience. 

The API Local News Summit on Rural Journalism, Community and Sustainability is scheduled for June 11-12 in Tulsa, OK. Request an invitation for the remaining spots at our summit via this form by Wednesday, May 15, at 11:59 p.m. ET 

>> The Star shares progress, acknowledges more to do since ‘Truth in Black and White’ (Kansas City Star) 

Three years after committing to better engage with and cover Kansas City’s Black communities, the paper says it has made progress in hiring Black leaders and incorporating the input of its Black Community Advisory Board. 

Revenue & Resilience

>> Local journalism by subscription: How Mill Media provides quality local news across England (The Fix)

The reader-funded local Substack news outlet is now in four cities and reaches 100,000 people. Founder Joshi Herrmann said the key has been focusing on quality over quantity, incorporating a personal touch and bringing in outside help. 

>> City Cast, unprofitable but expanding, finds podcast traction in a radio model (AdWeek) 

City Cast is likely to earn $3 million in revenue this year — not yet enough to make the 80-person outlet profitable. But it has survived a difficult period in the podcast market thanks to patient funders and success in local advertising. 

What else you need to know

🏆Here are the winners of the 2024 Pulitzer Prizes (Poynter)

🫱🏽‍🫲🏿Outlier Media announces leadership transition (Outlier Media)

💷Guardian to make ‘small number of voluntary redundancies’ amid ad recession (Press Gazette)

🚫 Israel orders Al Jazeera to close its local operation and seizes some of its equipment (AP News) 

🕺 TikTok sues U.S. government over law forcing sale or ban (The New York Times)