Need to Know: July 5, 2017

Fresh useful insights for people advancing quality, innovative and sustainable journalism


You might have heard: On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted a video where he is portrayed wrestling and punching a person whose face has been replaced by the CNN logo (New York Times)

But did you know: CNN found the identity of the Reddit user behind the Trump-CNN wrestling video and ‘reserves the right’ to name him (CNN)
After CNN found the identity of the Reddit user who took credit for the Trump-CNN wrestling video, that user issued an apology on Reddit for that video and other offensive content he posted. Given the user’s apology and promises not to repeat the behavior, CNN says it won’t be publishing his identity — but that it also “reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.” Meanwhile, Trump has not apologized for the tweet, and Homeland Security advisor Tom Bossert said on ABC’s This Week that “no one would perceive” the tweet as a threat.

+ Citing Trump’s tweets, free press groups are warning of violence against media: “I haven’t seen an appropriate response from the government since he tweeted that [CNN video] and that’s scary. They should acknowledge it’s a serious matter to tweet something like that. To actually seemingly threaten CNN with violence in a video and to encourage that other people act that way, they need to acknowledge that is what that is,” says Margaux Ewen, advocacy and communications director of Reporters Without Borders in North America (Politico); The reporter who revealed the Reddit user who created the video says he’s been the target of numerous death threats since Monday (Raw Story)

+ Context: Digging up and posting the personal information of an anonymous user is prohibited by Reddit’s rules and considered unacceptable behavior by its users (Reddit)

+ Trump’s press bashing on a national level affects local journalists, James Warren reports: For many people, whether you’re part of a national news organization or a local one, you’re lumped together into “the media,” which is being vilified on a national level (Poynter)

+ Noted: NJ Advance Media on how it got the picture of Chris Christie on a closed beach: It had originally booked a plane for the Fourth of July, but changed plans when Sunday’s weather was nice and Christie’s schedule was open ( and even before the photos were published, set an all-time pageview record on Saturday (Poynter); The Wall Street Journal is shutting down eight blogs, saying “the tools for telling” stories have changed (Nieman Lab); An update on how Facebook’s pilot program with local newsrooms is going: Each news organization in the program is working on a project over the six-month program, building a direct relationship with Facebook and receiving training on best practices for using the social network (Poynter); Facebook has a new way to identify spam and false news in its news feed and is altering the news feed algorithm to try to remove that content (Recode); ThinkProgress is the latest publisher to leave Medium (Poynter)


A new survey of 1,300 journalists reveals insights on how to cover mass shootings better (International Journalists’ Network)
A new study led by University of Oregon assistant professor Nicole Smith Dahmen examines U.S. journalists’ attitudes towards news coverage of mass shootings, revealing new insights on how journalists can cover mass shootings better. The journalists surveyed were “largely ambivalent” about showing a connection between news media coverage and a copycat effect. “Indeed, it is a grim realization to think that the product of one’s work potentially contributes to further mass shootings,” Dahmen writes on the findings. “But given research findings supporting a copycat effect, journalists should be aware that their perceptions of their work don’t always match the work’s actual impact. A useful comparison in this case may be suicide coverage.”


New regulations in China require two ‘auditors’ to vet all audio-visual content posted online to ensure it adheres to ‘core socialist values’ (Reuters)
On Friday, an industry association in China circulated new regulations that will requires two “auditors” to check all audio-visual content posted online, from full-length films to documentaries to educational materials. These auditors will be ensuring that the videos adhere to “core socialist values.” In the criticism of the new regulations, many noted that the rules would be nearly impossible to enforce — and it would hurt creativity online in China. “According to these censorship rules, nothing will make it through, which will do away with audiovisual artistic creation,” says Li Yinhe, an academic who studies sexuality at the government-run Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

+ The BBC released its annual plan Tuesday, which outlines plans to work with Facebook to reduce the impact of fake news, prioritize live video on mobile, and invest in its data journalism teams (Press Gazette)


‘Tumblr’s unclear future shows that there’s no money in Internet culture’ (Select All)
In the aftermath of Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo, which has included a lot of layoffs, Tumblr’s future is uncertain, Brian Feldman writes: The site is hugely popular among young people, but doesn’t have a user base nearly as large as that of Instagram, and it’s never figured out how to make money at the level shareholders expected it to. However, Feldman argues that Tumblr is one of the most important sites on the Internet because of its place in Internet culture: “It is rare, but not at all unprecedented, for a site to reach Tumblr’s size, prominence, and level of influence and still be unable to build a sustainable business. Twitter steers a huge portion of online culture, and has become an essential water cooler and newswire for journalists, tech workers, and otaku Nazis, but still has trouble turning a profit.”


‘A “pivot” begs the question of not just what we in the digital media are pivoting to but away from’ (The Ringer)
“You could write a depressing history of the American media through its dumb attempts at pivoting … But the pivot to video feels both grislier and more soulless,” writes The Ringer editor-at-large Bryan Curtis. Curtis explains that these “pivots” widen old divides between writers and TV types, plus “the pivot to video stokes a longstanding existential fear among print journalists: What if writing is now the most important, but third-most-lucrative thing you can do for your media company? What if writing, full stop, isn’t a job anymore?”


In this week’s episode of ‘Last Week Tonight,’ John Oliver examines the rise of Sinclair Broadcasting Group and its ‘noticeably’ right-leaning slant (Hollywood Reporter)
In the episode of “Last Week Tonight” that aired on Sunday, John Oliver spends 19 minutes explaining the influence of Sinclair Broadcasting Group, “arguing that the media giant uses its scale to inject right-wing talking points into local news coverage” and offering examples of how Sinclair creates “noticeably” right-leaning content that then airs across its stations. “If the opinions were confined just to the commentary or to the ad breaks that would be one thing,” Oliver says in the episode. “But Sinclair can sometimes dictate the content of your local newscast as well. And in contrast to Fox News — a clearly conservative outlet where you basically know what you’re getting — with Sinclair they’re injecting Fox-worthy content into the mouths of your local news anchors.”

+ The FCC approved Sinclair’s purchase of seven Bluestone Television stations from Bonten Media on Monday, a deal that was announced in April shortly before Sinclair’s agreement to buy Tribune Media’s TV stations (TVNewsCheck)