How global news outlets are succeeding — and failing — in their elections coverage

According to Amélie Reichmuth at The Fix, 2024 is “the biggest election year in world history,” and right now journalists in Europe are preparing for EU elections in June. Several multilingual, cross-border news organizations are working less to cover the machinations of the elections in Brussels, but instead to cover the issues that are most relevant to the everyday lives of Europeans.

Meanwhile in India, where elections are already underway, fact-checking options for voters are not living up to their promises. “Tip lines” that have emerged on WhatsApp have promised to identify misinformation and AI-generated content. But when Ananya Bhattacharya and Fahad Shah of Rest of World tested 11 of these chatbots, they found that they were not able to provide coherent answers, struggled with local language content and often took days to respond.

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

Civic Discourse & Democracy

>> New from API: Critical conversations on election coverage

Need a guide for discussing some of the hardest topics your newsroom will handle this year? Take a look at our new series designed to help you talk about them, starting with misinformation. And if you have a tough topic you’d like to tackle, let us know — we’ll come up with an agenda and add it to the mix.

>> In a pre-Dobbs world, the Washington Post deferred to a Supreme Court justice (Semafor)

The New York Times recently reported that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito had flown an upside-down American flag outside his house in January of 2021 — a symbol used by many who believe the election was stolen from Donald Trump. But the Washington Post knew about the flag in 2021 and declined to cover it; Semafor’s Ben Smith says that this reflects a “pre Dobbs” perspective of the Supreme Court as “above” partisan politics.

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

In this webinar, API will discuss both research and strategies for engaged election coverage this year. This is part of API and AP’s webinar series to support news organizations’ evolving needs around local elections and democracy. Register here for the event on Thursday, May 30 from 1 to 2 pm ET.

Culture & Inclusion

>> What I learned from writing a book about mental health for journalists (Poynter)

After writing a book about mental health among journalists, Hannah Storm writes that some reporters still feel that showing vulnerability can hurt their career prospects and reputation in a newsroom. But she argues that the industry as a whole needs to make well-being a priority.

>> Join us today: Beyond stress: What journalists should know about burnout

Burnout is an “occupational phenomenon,” but most of us don’t have the power to change the organizations we work for. In this self-reflective session — led by Sam Ragland, API’s vice president of journalism programs — journalists will contribute anonymously to a series of prompts to learn actionable insights for reassessing and repairing their relationships with work. This free interactive webinar will be held today  from 1 – 2 pm ET.

Community Engagement & Trust

>> Postcards and laundromat visits: The Texas Tribune audience team experiments with IRL distribution (Nieman Lab)

When the Texas Tribune published a story about air quality monitoring and petrochemical plants near Houston, they knew they wouldn’t be reaching many Spanish-speaking residents with its English-language website. So the site began printing flyers and postcards in English and Spanish and distributing them in the community.

>> Trust Tip: Interview news avoiders with this guide

People give many reasons why they avoid the news, but the bottom line is that we as journalists are missing the mark when it comes to meeting our communities’ information needs. This News Avoider Interview guide is designed to guide journalists through having curiosity-driven conversations with news avoiders in their community to better understand their perceptions and experiences surrounding the news.

Revenue & Resilience

>> New from API: Efforts to serve Gen Z increase revenue and engagement (Better News podcast)

Gulf Coast Media in Alabama and The Sumter Item in South Carolina decided to revamp their Athlete of the Week feature as a way to connect with younger audiences — and were surprised by how successful the updated feature was at growing cross-generational engagement and attracting corporate sponsorships. Executive editor Kayla Green joins host Michael O’Connell on this week’s Better News podcast.

>> Dispatches from the media apocalypse (Werd I/O)

In an assessment of the media landscape and the challenges facing publishers, Ben Werdmuller of ProPublica argues that news outlets must take this opportunity to experiment with technology and be willing to take risks to find new audiences and secure new revenue streams.

What else you need to know

🤝 AP expands local content partnerships ahead of 2024 election (Axios)

🥶 AI companies freeze out partisan media (Semafor)

🪧 Media Matters for America undergoes round of layoffs (Deadline)

🔊 Semafor’s Ben Smith to launch new media podcast ‘Mixed Signals’ (Bloomberg)