On Tuesday, the News/Media Alliance released a report that found that AI chatbots disproportionately rely on news content for training. The report argues that this is a violation of copyright law and an extension of big tech companies not compensating news organizations for their work. It came one day after President Biden signed an executive order regarding rules of generative AI, which included creating new standards for AI safety and security and protecting privacy. Note: API is a nonprofit educational affiliate of N/MA. (The New York Times, The Verge)

This week also saw several instances of AI-generated content being used in dubious ways. The specter of AI has added to the “fog of war” in Israel and Gaza, a distasteful AI-generated poll from Microsoft appeared next to a Guardian article, ESPN posted a misleading, AI-altered interview video, AI-generated photos are perpetuating stereotypes, and AI-videos of Narendra Modi are influencing upcoming elections in India. (The New York Times, The Guardian, Sports Illustrated, Rest of World)


These are the stories that captured the most interest from Need to Know subscribers this week.

Content creators surge past legacy media as news hits a tipping point. An army of creators has stepped up to offer news to social media audiences, creating a more diverse media ecosystem but draining resources from legacy news outlets that conduct original reporting. (The Washington Post)

How to start and grow a journalism TikTok account. News outlets should have a consistent TikTok anchor, give them adequate tools and time to create something unique, and engage with commenters and followers. (The Lenfest Institute)

Israeli govt. denies Rolling Stone a press credential after critical coverage. Israel’s director of foreign press denied a credential to Jesse Rosenfuld, claiming that “Rolling Stone is not a news organization.” (Rolling Stone)


Try these community-centered election strategies from the Tennessean (Better News)

The Tennessean began planning its 2023 city mayoral and Metro Council election coverage in September 2022 and focused on creating partnerships, building relationships, and creating content and events on multiple platforms. It also ensured that its opinion and news sections collaborated to coordinate coverage. The Tennessean sent out short but meaningful candidate questionnaires — 92% of candidates filled them out, and they drove tens of thousands of page views and hundreds of new subscriptions. It also partnered with a local news station, universities and a voting group to create a mayoral debate series, offered an easy-to-use candidate scorecard based on reader feedback, and used its opinion section to facilitate conversation.

Trust Tip: Ask if your news is really worth paying for (Trusting News)

Journalists in newsrooms with paywalls seem to forget that a lot of news ISN’T behind a paywall. Unless you’re the only newsroom in town, if you have a story about a traffic accident, a new restaurant opening or who won the high school football game, there’s likely another newsroom providing that information. The same is true for national outlets.

A lot of community updates are probably shared on social media. Posts in a local Facebook group might not have the context and detail a reporter would provide, but they might be enough to satisfy folks’ immediate information needs.

Is what you’re offering significantly better than what people can get for free? Perhaps most importantly, how can you convey your unique value within the text of the blocker people see when they’re told they need to pay?

SPECIAL EDITION: Balancing Well-being

Every Monday in October, Sam Ragland, vice president of Journalism Programs, shared ways to support the well-being of news teams.

Driving systemic change one behavior at a time

In this October challenge, we haven’t talked about the systemic change needed to create a healthier news organization. Systemic change is hard because making decisions is hard. Changing behavior is hard. Sustaining new decisions and new behaviors is hard. But it’s not impossible.

Over the next two months, take stock of the following:

↗️ The habits you form

  • Start by setting your direction. A from-to statement is a concise, descriptive statement of where you are now and where you aspire to be.

🛣️ The behaviors you display

  • Then determine your route. This is the intentional part. What two to three behavioral decisions might you make to get you closer to the future state you noted above?

🤝 The co-conspirators you bring along

  • Share the plan. Changing organizational culture is a slow process, and it can’t be shouldered alone. Who can you bring along to help sustain the new behavior? How will you support each other in the short and long term?

🧾 The receipts you collect

  • Take stock of the signs. You know you’re headed in the right direction when you see specific things happening due to your new decisions and sustained behaviors. What receipts of proof might you anticipate?


+ This is the beginning of the end for the Union-Tribune (Voice of San Diego)

+ Joy Robins on how she’s steering The New York Times’ ad business into the wave of change (Digiday)

+ Fact-checking isn’t enough. We need fact-crusading. (Stop the Presses)

+ The BBC’s Shayan Sardarizadeh on how he fact-checks misleading posts about the Israel-Hamas war (Nieman Lab)  [newsletter]