Need to Know: February 26, 2021


You might have heard: The moral argument for diversity in newsrooms is also a business argument (Nieman Lab) 

But did you know: New York Times calls for workplace changes in diversity report (The New York Times)

Executives at The New York Times said they were committed to changing the paper’s culture after a new internal report on diversity and inclusion found that “The Times is a difficult environment for many” staffers. The report, which was commissioned in June, says that the newsroom is a difficult place for many employees to thrive, particularly people of color. Executives said that there would be “sweeping” changes to the newsroom, comparing the shift to the transition to a digital-first news outlet. The report laid out a plan of action, including clear expectations for workplace behavior, new training for managers, and an office of diversity, equity and inclusion.

+ Noted: Local Media Association announces launch of climate collaborative, applications open for 25 media partners (Local Media Association);  LION launches News Revenue Fellowship, which gives direct funding for members to hire revenue-generating roles (Medium, LION Publishers); Oklahoma bill would make it illegal to photograph or film police (The Black Wall Street Times); Austin American-Statesman employees vote 36-12 to unionize (Austonia); Arrested for covering protests, four journalists are set to face trial this month (Freedom of the Press Foundation) 


Let’s find out what conservatives really think about local news (not ‘the media’) (Medium, Trusting News)

Americans who identify as conservative are more likely to say that they don’t trust the media. To help regain conservative trust, Trusting News is launching a listening project, and inviting local newsrooms to interview right-leaning individuals in their communities about their perceptions of journalism. With the Center for Media Engagement, Trusting News will provide an interview guide, help newsrooms identify interviewees, and analyze the final results. Trusting News is looking for 25 local newsrooms to do three to five interviews each. 


How journalists and researchers can access 1 billion public records at once (Investigating Reporting Workshop) 

The Accountability Project was launched by the Investigative Reporting Workshop in 2019 to provide a single place for journalists and researchers to search across a wide range of public data. As of this month, the project has amassed 1 billion records, which includes data on topics like money in politics and government spending, as well as pandemic-related documents on the Paycheck Protection Program, CARES Act funding and data from hospitals and nursing homes. IRW is currently working on a series of stories with local news outlets using data from TAP.


German broadcaster resumes Hungarian service for first time in decades amid free press fears (Reuters)

Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster, has resumed Hungarian-langauge content for the first time in decades, out of concern over press freedom in Hungary. The move comes several months after the United States’ Radio Free Europe also resumed Hungarian services. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has curtailed media freedoms considerably during his time in office, and Hungary’s last pro-opposition radio station went off the air last month after losing its broadcasting license. Deutsche Welle will start by launching a Hungarian-language YouTube channel in March, and the director general said that the budget for the project is in the “mid six figures.” 


Philadelphia’s WHYY launches News & Information Community Exchange (Twitter, @WHYYNews) 

WHYY in Philadelphia has launched the News & Information Community Exchange, a mutual aid group and journalism collaborative focused on developing and supporting “grassroots news and information content creators.” The goal is to connect content creators with resources that allow them to reach new audiences and make their work sustainable, as well as enable creators to connect with diverse communities and build trust. “N.I.C.E will give voice to trusted community members who are sources for information in communities typically left out of mainstream news,” the station wrote on Twitter. The exchange is launching with eight partners covering different neighborhoods and communities in Philadelphia.

+ Twitter announces paid Super Follows to let users charge for tweets (The Verge) 


Journalists don’t always cover anti-racism protests as fairly as they think they do (Nieman Lab)

As more newsrooms are taking the time to reflect whether their past coverage perpetuated racist ideas, Summer Harlow writes that many news outlets are still not covering racial justice protests as fairly as they think. In a new study, Harlow and Danielle Kilgo found that while journalists rate themselves well for covering protests evenly, content analyses showed that stories tended to delegitimize protesters, especially anti-racism protests. Anti-racist protests were more often covered negatively than other protests, with an emphasis on violence and destruction and with more attention given to official sources than protestors’ voices. 

+ Earlier: Research shows that journalists tend to pay little attention to protests that aren’t dramatic or unconventional, and that reporting on protests tends to focus on spectacle more than substance (The Conversation)


How S. Mitra Kalita went from leading coverage of the world at CNN to connecting her neighbors in Queens (Poynter) 

S. Mitra Kalita was working at CNN when the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York, and her neighborhood — Jackson Heights, Queens — became an epicenter for the pandemic. She began using her skills as a journalist to help neighbors connect with resources, and eventually launched Epicenter-NYC, a newsletter focused on helping locals navigate life under pandemic restrictions. The newsletter, which now has a team of freelancers and contract workers alongside volunteers, is helping people in the neighborhood get vaccines. In January, Kalita co-founded URL Media, a network of Black and Brown media organizations, of which Epicenter-NYC is an inaugural member. 


+ It’s bigger than Fox News: Time for mainstream journalism to reckon with monetizing disinformation and eroding truth (Medium, Farai Chideya) 

+ ‘Our fates are going to be the same’: They won an Alaska newspaper giveaway. Then the pandemic arrived. (Columbia Journalism Review)