OFF THE TOP
You might have heard: How we’re failing to cover the cops (Columbia Journalism Review)
But did you know: Better relationships with cops won’t help journalists cover crime (Poynter)
A combination of staff reductions and eroding trust between reporters and police have fundamentally changed how crime reporting is done, but Kelly McBride says there’s more to rethinking police coverage than rebuilding those relationships. Both the old system — in which journalists often adopted the police perspective in their reporting — and the new system — which is overly reliant on police press releases — don’t help readers understand the state of public safety in their community. Taking a public safety approach to crime coverage, including identifying a mission for that coverage, might help newsrooms rethink how they approach the cop beat.
+ Noted: A reporter is suing a Kansas town and various officials over a police raid on her newspaper (The Associated Press); Bluesky is now open for anyone to join (TechCrunch); Michigan city ramps up security after op-ed calls it ‘America’s jihad capital’ (Politico)
TODAY: How to find and apply for grants to support your journalism
Register for this month’s Table Stakes alumni session on how to find and apply for grants to support your journalism at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 8. The one-hour training will be led by journalist, media consultant and Table Stakes alumna Jane Elizabeth.
The session will cover five common misconceptions about journalism grants and share best practices for applying. If you’re curious about where to find grant opportunities, this session is a great place to start.
As always, all staff, including development, marketing, membership, etc., at TS alumni organizations are encouraged to attend. This session will be recorded.
+ Subscriptions, memberships and donation strategies are part of sustainable journalism business models. API wants to know which tool you primarily use for managing subscriptions and memberships.
How we introduced group subscriptions to The Atlantic (Medium, Building The Atlantic)
Using audience research, The Atlantic’s business development team noted that academic institutions could benefit from a group subscription model — articles are often included in syllabi, cited in college papers and shared among teachers and students. They also wanted to target younger readers, including high school students. Niya Watkins details how The Atlantic researched, tested and built a successful group subscription platform, which launched in summer 2023 and has over 60 participant institutions.
TRY THIS AT HOME
Reporting on people with extreme views? Ditch the shortcuts. (Poynter)
In 2024, what used to be rote community civic issues are now viewed as referendums on the fabric of our society. Poynter’s Beat Academy convened journalists from across the country to talk about how local reporters can cover extreme views of civil life. When reporting on a hot-button topic, ask yourself whether it’s actually new and changes how democracy functions, if it’s a one-off or happens often, and how the “other side” responds to the issue — whether they tamp down the activity or remain silent. The answers will help you distinguish between stories on the erosion of democracy and normal political spats.
How one Nigerian newspaper took on outrage fatigue (Columbia Journalism Review)
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani reflects on her time reporting for NEXT, a now-defunct Nigerian investigative journalism outlet that broke countless investigative stories on corruption, bribery and the imbalance between Nigeria’s business and political elite and normal citizens. Reporters were threatened, and advertisers pulled ads with impunity if NEXT ran a story they didn’t like. But NEXT’s biggest challenge was stirring up outrage among readers, other news outlets or the government — most scoops went no further than social media.
Confessions of an AI clickbait kingpin (Wired)
Nebojša Vujinović Vujo has made a successful business out of purchasing more than 2,000 abandoned website domains of news and other outlets and filling them with AI-generated content. Vujo has bought the domains for former women’s media sites The Hairpin and The Frisky, shut-down news sites like Apple Daily, and sites that used to be run by the Vatican, a famous chef, and a Trump property. He targets former media sites because of their existing audiences and history of ranking high in search results. Vujo uses ChatGPT to post SEO-boosting clickbait and makes money from ads and backlinks — but notes that he employs a dozen editors to check nothing offensive is published.
An internet media company launches a plan to cover the election for Gen Z (The Washington Post)
Viral social media account Betches is teaming up with Vitus “V” Spehar, who runs the @underthedesknews TikTok account, to create a political podcast called American Fever Dream, along with news-driven accounts to connect with young voters. The two powerhouse social media accounts boast a combined 12.2 million followers and plan to identify the space between influencer and media company to report on the election. Betches leans in to memes and humor in its coverage, and doesn’t shy away from its liberal slant — but plans to cover both Democratic and Republican news.