Need to Know: February 3, 2023


On Thursday, Elizabeth Green of Chalkbeat, Darryl Holliday of City Bureau and Mike Rispoli of Free Press published The Roadmap For Local News, a year-long research project that explores how “civic media” is improving the health of local communities. “There is a growing, galvanized movement ready to step up, in unison, with rigor and speed, to address our deepening civic challenges,” they write. At a recent conference in California, two dozen journalism funders and practitioners gathered to discuss the roadmap and “to galvanize funders, news organizations and supporting organizations to think and act much more aggressively.” (The Roadmap For Local News, Nieman Reports) 


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

When Americans lost faith in the news. Louis Menard explores how, despite the industry’s best efforts, objectivity, trust and business don’t mix in journalism (The New Yorker)  

Newsrooms that move beyond ‘objectivity’ can build trust. Newsrooms are increasingly moving to include more diversity and allow reporters to cover stories that personally impact them. (The Washington Post)  

At The Seattle Times, 70 percent of revenue now comes from readers. The paper began switching its business model away from advertising and towards reader revenue more than a decade ago. (WAN-IFRA) 


API Inclusion Index cohort kicks off plans to improve the Pittsburgh news ecosystem

Four newsrooms in Pittsburgh openly acknowledged their struggles to serve communities of color and dedicated themselves to concrete changes related to diversity and inclusion following a near-year-long project with API. As part of the Inclusion Index initiative created by API director of inclusion and audience growth Letrell Crittenden, the organizations gathered last week to discuss the work they’ve been doing to improve DEIB within their newsrooms and in their coverage. Crittenden shared his overall assessment of the Pittsburgh media ecosystem, and the participating newsrooms detailed what they learned during the program and how they plan to sustainably build DEIB moving forward. For updates on the Inclusion Index, including the release of the full report, fill out this form.

API Tech Talks: Engaging readers in an era of social platform flux

How can newsrooms and journalists stay connected to readers and communities — and each other? How can we re-examine what social strategies are working and prioritize amidst constant uncertainty? How are we allocating our limited time and staff resources? API is hosting a virtual participatory event to dive into these questions. Register here.

Take special care with coverage of police violence and protests (Trusting News)

The decisions that journalists make about documenting incidents of police brutality and resulting protests can have a big impact. In the wake of the killing of Tyre Nichols, newsrooms must make choices with thoughtfulness, integrity and transparency to show care for the community. Help your community navigate the news, but respect that you’re part of “the media.” Pay close attention to community criticism about your coverage and be clear and thoughtful about your language. Don’t shy away from diving into the complexities of the narrative, but explain what you don’t know rather than avoiding it.


+ CNET pushed reporters to be more favorable to advertisers, staffers say (The Verge) 

+ Meet the first-ever accessibility engineer at The Washington Post (Nieman Lab) 

+ Can you build a newsroom on TikTok? (Semafor) 

+ The enduring legacy of America’s oldest Black publishers (Substack, What I’m Reading)