OFF THE TOP
You might have heard: Network correspondents talk about covering a Trump-dominated Iowa race (Deadline)
But did you know: News outlets make an early call in Iowa, and a backlash ensues (The New York Times)
The Associated Press and several TV networks called the Republican Iowa caucus for former president Donald Trump just 30 minutes after voting opened — before some districts had even begun voting. The move infuriated Trump’s rivals; former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer called it “a self-defeating move at a time of massive distrust.” While it was in line with previous decisions to consider the “closing of polls” as when the doors closed and voters could no longer enter the caucus, some worried that the early call could influence voters in the rooms.
+ Noted: The Artifact app is shutting down (Medium, Artifact Team); The Baltimore Sun purchased by Sinclair’s David D. Smith (The Baltimore Sun); NBC News undergoes layoffs impacting “double digit” number of employees (Deadline); Red Ventures explores sale of CNET (Axios); Thomson Reuters buys World Business Media (Reuters)
Trust Tip: Ask your colleagues to weigh in on your stories (Trusting News)
Journalism is a team sport. We rely on each other for a bunch of things, one of which is to make sure we’re seeing an issue broadly and clearly. We point out what colleagues might be missing or getting wrong. That’s harder in a lot of newsrooms these days, because we aren’t always sharing physical spaces and aren’t getting to know each other as well, so we don’t build the type of relationships to seek out each other’s input.
When colleagues hesitate to share their perspectives with each other, it can lead to newsrooms that feel like echo chambers — with people chiming in when it’s easy but shying away when the stakes are higher. It can lead to a newsroom culture that only invites and values agreement, not dissent. At The Philadelphia Inquirer, anyone can post to a Content Consult Slack channel to seek feedback or a “sensitivity read” on specific stories.
Beyond stress: What journalists covering the 2024 election should know about burnout
70% of local journalists have experienced work-related burnout. In this self-reflective session hosted by API and the Atlanta Press Club, journalists will contribute anonymously to a series of prompts to learn actionable insights for reassessing and repairing their relationships with work. The free webinar is on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 12 p.m. Eastern time. Register here.
API Tech Talks x Table Stakes: Engaging audiences amid social platform flux
Table Stakes alumni are invited to join the American Press Institute’s newsroom success manager, Shay Totten, in a conversation on how to engage local news audiences and find ways to build trust, loyalty and community amid social media uncertainty. You’ll come away with some concrete ideas — as well as a printable ‘zine — to start connecting with your community of readers. The virtual event will be held on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Not sure if your news organization is on the list? Check here.
TRY THIS AT HOME
Five things news media can do to respond to consistent news avoidance (Reuters Institute)
News avoidance has grown around the world, but there are ways that news outlets can tackle the issue. One is to think about how the news makes people feel — relentlessly depressing stories or inside-baseball coverage can turn people off of your content. Encouraging a sense of community, and making sure that your coverage is welcoming and inclusive to non-traditional news viewers, helps people feel engaged. Other tips include packaging and delivering content for consistent news avoiders, encouraging media literacy and communicating the value of journalism, and defending your professional standards.
Political parties and candidates resort to lawsuits to silence journalists during elections: A growing trend in Brazil (LatAm Journalism Review)
In a new report, the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism has highlighted a disturbing new trend ahead of Brazil’s municipal elections this fall — candidates and political parties suing journalists for the removal of information about the electoral process. Of the 249 such cases from the 2022 general election, one-third led to content being removed, giving the judiciary power ”to define the contours of journalistic freedom and control over what can or cannot affect the electoral process,” according to the report.
Why shopping influencers are flocking to Substack (The Guardian)
Fashion journalists have turned to Substack as a place to give shopping recommendations without the glossy aesthetic or paid influencer model of social media platforms like Instagram. They are focused less on partnering with brands or retailers and more on helping readers understand current fashion trends or answering specific questions from subscribers. Many use affiliate links to earn a small commission from recommendations.
+ Related: Why Platformer is leaving Substack (Platformer)
These universities are crafting a plan to revitalize news in the South (Forbes)
Journalism leaders from University of Texas at Austin, Louisiana State University, Florida A&M University, and the University of Mississippi gathered recently to discuss how to use college reporters to cover local news across the South. High-poverty communities in the South have suffered some of the worst losses from the closings of local newspapers. These universities are planning a long-term effort to expand the influence of student journalists, with a focus on equity, sustainability, reliability and flexibility.