TOP NEWS THIS WEEK

This week, data showed the social media traffic to news outlets has dropped off precipitously. Many publishers are dealing with a drop in referrals from Facebook, partly due to an unintended bug. But Facebook traffic has also dropped off as the platform has deprioritized news. This week, Campbell Brown, who led Meta’s news division, announced that she is leaving that role. The platforms are also proposing changes that will affect news outlets — X, formerly Twitter, now does not show headlines in news articles on iOS, while both TikTok and Meta are experimenting with paid, ad-free subscriptions. (Axios, Digiday, The Verge, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal) 

MOST POPULAR STORIES THIS WEEK

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

Fact checkers take stock of their efforts: ‘It’s not getting better’.  Growth in the fact-checking industry has slowed, while fact-checkers around the world are facing more harassment. (The New York Times)  

How a rural Kansas weekly newspaper refreshed an outdated business model. Harvey County Now has found that live events, newsletters and memberships were all successful in building up the paper’s readership and increasing revenue. (The Colorado Sun) 

America’s new print-only newspaper reinvents the art of reading slowly. County Highway is modeled after 19th century newspapers, both in look and in coverage. It’s published every two months and costs $8.50.  (The Guardian)  

NEW FROM API 

The American Press Institute Board of Trustees adds five media leaders, appoints Barbara Wall of Gannett as new chair

Barbara Wall, a board member of Gannett Co. and The Freedom Forum, will serve as the next Chair of the American Press Institute’s Board of Trustees. ​​In addition to Wall, who also serves on the board of the News/Media Alliance, the board welcomed four new members, including Steve Grove, CEO and publisher of Star Tribune; S. Mitra Kalita, co-founder and CEO of URL Media and co-founder and publisher of Epicenter-NYC; Geraldine Moriba, senior vice president and chief content officer of TheGrio; and Ross McDuffie, chief portfolio officer at the National Trust for Local News. Wall succeeds longtime chair Kevin Mowbray, President and Chief Executive Officer at Lee Enterprises. 

5 ways to support source tracking in your newsroom

It’s been a year of learning for the newsrooms participating in the 2023 Source Matters Cohort as they track the diversity of people quoted in their stories. Recently, two journalists shared how they made use of the data to change and improve sourcing habits. Ruth Serven Smith, an education editor for AL.com, created a Bingo card to track source diversity, which helped break down the task and make it more fun. She also emphasized the importance of spreading the responsibility for source diversity initiatives across teams to achieve better journalism in the long run. Journalist Kristen Barton, who developed an in-house source diversity database while she was at the Fort Worth Report, created a guide for reporters to use and gave tips on overcoming resistance to source tracking.

Register for a Table Stakes impact tracking session

For Table Stakes alumni: Join an interactive session on how to measure and share the impact of your journalism from 12 to 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 12. Anjanette Delgado, executive editor at the Detroit Free Press, will lead the training. Register at https://bit.ly/TS-Oct2023.  

What will you learn? Whether or not your news organization is already tracking impact, this training will help:  

  • Define what impact looks like for your news organizations
  • Gauge real-world change connected to your journalism 
  • Enhance the impact of your storytelling and coverage

SPECIAL EDITION: Balancing Well-being 

Each Monday, Need to Know shares a special edition series focusing on top issues impacting today’s newsrooms. In honor of World Mental Health Day on October 10, Sam Ragland, vice president of Journalism Programs, will share 20 ways to support the well-being of news teams. We aim to help you build better mental health habits over this month.

Week One Challenges

Healthy news organizations don’t happen overnight. It takes policy and infrastructure, as well as  time, consistency and critical mass to change your newsroom’s culture. Both leadership and team members must collectively seek change, one consistent action and behavior at a time.

1. pastedGraphic.png Get grateful: Notice — and share — gratitude

2. pastedGraphic_1.png Get space: Set a 5- to 10-minute cushion between meetings 

  • Why? Back-to-back meetings compound stress and increase attention fatigue. The brain’s ability to receive and process information increases when it’s given 10 minutes of rest between “being on.” 

3. pastedGraphic_2.png Get coached: Seek out career coaching 

  • Why? Perspective is a powerful tool, and it can be difficult, in the midst of chronic stress or burnout, to see a way to exit the loop. Career coaching is an opportunity to brainstorm and problem-solve with a neutral party. 

4. pastedGraphic_3.png Get chatty: Catch up with colleagues at the start of a meeting 

  • Why? Phatic communication is the small talk that has been upended in our post-pandemic, hybrid world, but it’s also been found to increase a group’s trust with one another, motivation, decision-efficiency and ability to communicate effectively and collaborate more creatively. 

5.pastedGraphic_4.pngGet away: Leave your desk/office/home for lunch 

FOR THE WEEKEND

+ ‘Don’t fight the future’: Taylor Lorenz on news publishers’ (continuing) adjustment to the internet (Nieman Lab) 

+ In one small Mexican city, journalists who tried to expose cartel violence and government corruption became swept up in the murders devouring the country (The New York Times) 

+ Inside the NBA’s ‘only real rivalry’: In a battle for scoops and attention, it’s ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski vs. his former protégé, the Athletic’s Shams Charania (The Washington Post) 

+ Shattered Glass: An oral history of the media-movie cult classic (Washingtonian) [newsletter]