Need to Know: January 13, 2023


Media businesses have made some improvements in diversity, according to self-reported data collected by Digiday. Tracking shows that publishers including Buzzfeed, Conde Nast and Vox are less white than they were in previous years, and several have more female employees than men. But with concerns about the economy, many worry that hiring freezes will mean there are fewer opportunities to further diversify newsrooms. (Digiday)

On Wednesday, the Mail Tribune in Medford, Oregon, a newspaper that has been publishing since 1909, announced that it is shutting down this week. The paper won a Pulitzer Prize in the 1930s, and serves an area of nearly 224,000 people. (AP News) 


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

Amid soaring inflation and mass layoffs, news leaders head into 2023 with diminished confidence. Newsroom leaders are worried about their company’s business prospects and the rise of news avoidance. (Poynter)  

Axios launches centralized news hub. A new team will “synthesize” reporting from both national and local reporters to identify nationwide trends. (Axios) 

News and the next generation: Engaging Gen Z. Authenticity appeals to Gen Z — they are drawn to important causes and empathetic storytelling. (Editor & Publisher) 


API launches Leadership Reset Series

API’s Need to Know newsletter is kicking off the year with an ongoing Monday series helping you overcome leadership challenges. API’s Vice President of Journalism Programs Sam Ragland shares five common leadership challenges and assignments to help you navigate and overcome those challenges. First off is using user manuals to create the sense of belonging necessary to engage, retain and promote the talent on your team. Next Monday’s installment will help you navigate the challenges that come with either reporting to, or being, the leader who is unavailable, burned out or simply difficult.

Introducing API’s 2023 Source Matters cohort 

Thirteen news organizations are starting 2023 as part of an API cohort tracking the diversity of people quoted in their stories through Source Matters, API’s award-winning source diversity tracking and analysis tool. Goals of the cohort include building more accountability into their reporting practices to better reflect the communities they want to serve, expanding audiences with diverse communities, broadening sourcing, ensuring diverse sourcing practices align with diverse hiring practices, finding new voices that reflect their communities and replacing unsuccessful source trackers.

How a reader-oriented ask-the-newsroom effort brought digital subscribers to the Redding Record Searchlight (Better News)

Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Accelerate digital subscription growth by encouraging reader participation and answering reader questions. The Record Searchlight was facing the twin challenges of establishing trust with conservative readers and growing digital subscriptions. The publication began a reader-driven section called Ask the Record Searchlight. They engaged the community via live chats, emails, Facebook messages and direct contact — and the community responded by submitting about 700 questions. The Record Searchlight has answered more than 300 of those and published 70 stories that stemmed from the community, and saw a 24% growth in digital subscriptions.

+ Trusting News is hiring a part-time communications assistant, and API is hiring a program/community manager and a web applications engineer. News Leaders Association members can apply by Wednesday for a free five-session workshop on Dimensions of Difference.


+ What happened to The New York Times’ media column? (Vanity Fair) 

+ How New Lines Magazine built a home for long-form international reporting (Nieman Lab) 

+ Let’s stop calling celebrities ‘busy’ (Columbia Journalism Review)