Need to Know: December 1, 2021


You might have heard: Online harassment of female journalists is real, and it’s increasingly hard to endure (The Washington Post)

But did you know: Twitter bans sharing ‘private’ images and videos without consent (Engadget)

Twitter this week announced an expansion to its safety policy that makes it a violation to post photos or videos of a private individual without their permission. The policy makes some exceptions for public figures and based on the content’s newsworthiness — if the photo or video, and the text of the tweet, are “shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse,” Twitter may allow it to remain online. The company will consider factors such as whether the images are available in the news media. Twitter has long banned sharing private information such as individuals’ addresses, phone numbers, ID or financial information (which amounts to doxing). It describes the new rule around private images as part of its work to bring its safety policies in line with human rights standards.

+ Noted: The Knight Foundation announces a new $3.5 million investment in NewsMatch (Knight Foundation); CNN suspends Chris Cuomo after new details on help he gave his brother (The New York Times)


Start your 2022 source tracking goals now

Is your newsroom working to broaden the diversity of your sources to better reflect and serve the communities you cover? API recently launched a source-auditing tool called Source Matters to help newsrooms monitor the sources they use in local news coverage. We are hosting an open demo of Source Matters, as well as a discussion of general strategies for source auditing, on Monday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. EST. Register here.


How environmental journalists can use NASA’s new Landsat 9 satellite (Global Investigative Journalism Network)

Any journalist can now download environmental data from Landsat 9, which launched in September. The data shows trends in deforestation, forest health, agricultural crops and cover, coastal erosion, wetland loss and restoration, urbanization, suburban sprawl, drought and flooding, and more. The US Geological Survey has made the data easier to access and use; there’s a handy webpage that journalists can use to quickly find what they’re looking for. “Unless you are a data journalism specialist, you might do well to seek sources, experts, and collaborators to guide you through the data,” writes Joseph A. Davis. Journalists may find those experts in the natural resources departments of their local universities, in relevant government agencies, or at the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ team at the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR).


How a quiz and learning resources helped attract readers to The Hindu’s e-paper (WAN-IFRA)

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, The Hindu, India’s largest English-language newspaper, began to invest in its e-paper. One of the things it did to draw readers was to launch a daily 10-question news quiz. It also has created two exclusive resources for university students, who make up a significant portion of e-paper subscribers. Named Text and Context, the two sections offer deep analysis of the week’s news. This December, The Hindu will also launch “Learning Corner,” a similar product designed to help students prepare for competitive exams via elements like quizzes and analytical articles.

+ Related: How polls, quizzes and Q&As bring interactivity to modern TV, podcasting and newsletters (The Fix)


Does TikTok create a second pivot to video? (A Media Operator)

Some publishers are beginning to invest more in TikTok, which has exploded in popularity. But it begs the question — will TikTok represent another colossal flop for publishers, the same as the infamous “pivot to video” on Facebook? Or could publishers actually find value with the platform? “Where I see real value for these platforms is less the direct monetization via advertising and more the indirect monetization via commerce,” writes Jacob Donnelly. “If you’ve got an audience’s attention and you’ve built a brand, can you sell something to them directly? That’s where I think the real opportunity exists.”


Shouldn’t cable news networks declare their allegiances? (Politico)

An analysis of cable news coverage shows that the networks often function more like political players than independent news organizations, writes Jack Shafer — emphasizing news that flatters the political prejudices of their audiences and avoiding stories that become inconvenient to their agenda. Partisan journalism has a long tradition in America, but many of those journalists and publishers were (or are) clear about their stances. Cable news networks, though, pretend to be “fair and balanced,” even as they pursue a partisan agenda, writes Shafer. “By attempting to have it both ways — tilting while at the same time posing as straight news — cable news tarnishes journalism’s good name and needlessly increases viewer tribalism.”


Journalism isn’t who you are. It’s what you do. (Poynter)

Journalists tend to feel a deep social responsibility to their jobs — if we don’t discover and report the truth, who will? But that kind of commitment — particularly in a relentless news cycle — can lead to burnout, writes freelance journalist Wudan Yan. “The industry socializes us to believe that journalism is a calling. It’s trite, and it suits us when we want to justify the passion and purpose that bring us to the profession, but it also makes us supremely exploitable.” Keeping professional identity distinct from personal identity helps journalists draw healthier boundaries that guard against burnout.

+ Since 2005, about 2,200 local newspapers across America have closed. Here are some of the stories in danger of being lost — as told by local journalists. (Washington Post Magazine)