Off the Top

This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers a different take on the top story of the day.

Tech companies agree they they have a role in fighting ‘fake news,’ but they aren’t yet sure what that role is

You might have heard: Google is expanding its use of the “fact-check” tag in Google News and providing financial support for six projects in fact checking and authentication (Google) But did you know: “Since the majority of news is being read through devices and [apps] I think we all have a responsibility for [fake news],” […]

‘Flynn resignation shows leaks under Trump are working. Keep ‘em coming.’

You might have heard: Investigative journalism and leaks to newspapers led to Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser (CNN Media) But did you know: “The Flynn episode is just the latest and most high-profile case in which the Trump administration has been forced to reverse course because of leaks to journalists,” Trevor Timm writes. […]

When publishing the documents, BuzzFeed should have explained what it’s doing to verify the claims in the documents

You might have heard: BuzzFeed published documents claimed to be compiled by a former British intelligence agent claiming that Donald Trump and his associates have deep ties to Russian spies and that Russia has “compromising information” on Trump (Recode) But did you know: In a note to the staff explaining why BuzzFeed was publishing the […]

It’s time to retire the term ‘fake news’ and call lies, hoaxes and conspiracy theories out for what they are, Margaret Sullivan argues

You might have heard: “Fake news” is an imprecise term that represents a growing distrust in media institutions But did you know: It’s time for us to stop using the term “fake news,” Margaret Sullivan writes: “Instead, call a lie a lie. Call a hoax a hoax. Call a conspiracy theory by its rightful name. […]

Smaller publishers are worrying that they’ve ceded too much control to Google AMP

You might have heard: Google Accelerated Mobile Pages launched in February 2016 as a tool to help speed up the mobile web But did you know: When Google Accelerated Mobile Pages launched nearly a year ago, it promised faster-loading mobile pages, a promise the project has delivered on. But smaller publishers working with Google AMP […]

Facebook is partnering with fact-checkers to identify and flag stories as fake

You might have heard: Almost a quarter of Americans say they’ve shared fake news online, a new report from the Pew Research Center says, and 14 percent say they knew it was fake when they shared it (Pew Research Center) But did you know: Facebook is starting a new program in partnership with Poynter’s International […]

Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen revealed the mission statement of their new startup Axios: ‘Media is broken—and too often a scam’

You might have heard: Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen left Politico earlier this year to start a new media outlet targeted to “corporate executives and other professionals with a mix of business and political news” (Wall Street Journal) But did you know: Few details have been available about Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen’s new media startup […]

Trump says he wants to turn his relationship with The New York Times around

You might have heard: After holding an off-the-record meeting with network executives on Monday (Huffington Post), Donald Trump was scheduled to meet with New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger on Tuesday and to speak on the record with NYT reporters and editors (@mlcalderone, Twitter), but the meeting was canceled after Trump claimed “the terms and […]

The New York Times says it has added 41,000 subscriptions since the election

You might have heard: After the presidential election, news organizations from The Wall Street Journal to The Atlantic are seeing significant upticks in digital subscriptions (Huffington Post) But did you know: Since last week’s presidential election, The New York Times says it has added 41,000 paid print or digital subscriptions — the largest subscription increase […]

Facebook says it found more miscalculated metrics, this time in organic page reach and Instant Articles time spent

You might have heard: Facebook overestimated its average video viewing time metric by 60 percent to 80 percent for two years But did you know: After announcing earlier this fall that it had been overestimating video metrics, Facebook announced on Wednesday that it found more metrics errors in how it was calculating organic page reach, […]