Need to Know: January 25, 2023


You might have heard: CNET’s AI journalist appears to have committed extensive plagiarism (Futurism)

But did you know: Newsrooms reckon with AI following CNET saga (Axios) 

The latest wave of artificial intelligence products is forcing newsrooms and journalists to think about how AI will impact their work. Newsrooms already use AI for menial tasks like aggregating data, but some worry that an over-dependence on the technology could weaken editorial standards. While certain types of evergreen content may be particularly susceptible to evolutions in AI writing, editors say that evolving stories like breaking news will be more difficult for AI to cover. 

+ Noted: Dozens of journalism groups join coalition to save local news (Axios); American Journalism Project announces $3.25 million in grants to three local, nonprofit news organizations (American Journalism Project); Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight are on ABC’s chopping block (The Daily Beast); Report for America launches 6-month Community News Fund Workshop with support from the Google News Initiative (Report for America); Washington Post begins layoffs (CNN)  


Two virtual events focus on engaging new audiences 

2022 was a whirlwind year for journalism and social media platforms. 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. This event, hosted by the API Product Strategy team, will be led by Amara Aguilar, a professor of journalism at USC. Register here. 

Newsrooms are facing significant challenges in reaching younger audiences, particularly Gen Z and Millennials, in a meaningful way. These generations are less likely to subscribe to traditional news outlets and are more likely to consume news through social media and other digital platforms. The Black Media Initiative, a part of the Center for Community Media at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, will host a panel with API’s Kevin Loker and Kansas City Defender’s Ryan Sorell, who will discuss best practices for attracting and retaining new audiences on social media platforms, as well as tools for deepening the relationship with your audience online. Register here. 

Trust Tip: Help your audience avoid news fatigue (Trusting News) 

Even we as journalists (maybe especially we as journalists) get burnt out by the news. Something has to shift. If we want to have sustainable, trusted relationships with our audience, there needs to be some sort of course change in the way we produce and deliver the news. Here are some ideas for how news organizations can do that: Empathize with people’s experience consuming news, give them permission to step away, and help folks feel caught up and explain why content is important and how it might impact them. 


AP goes after ads with website redesign (Axios) 

The Associated Press is looking to expand its consumer traffic and boost advertising as a revenue stream. The vast majority of the newswire’s income currently comes from licensing deals, but executives say that digital advertising offers a new opportunity for the organization. Alongside a new website, the AP is focused on making their content more engaging on other consumer-facing products like apps and social media platforms. 


How a newspaper and a museum partnered to create a project on the Dutch colonial past (Reuters Institute) 

150 years after the end of the Dutch slave trade, Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant teamed up with Rijksmuseum to launch a project devoted to Dutch colonialism. The special project, entitled Our Colonial Past in Fifty Objects, features a new essay every week devoted to a single object; the objects span from the pre-colonial era to modern day. “Each essay was intended to produce an ‘aha’ moment,” according to the project’s creator, Tjerk Gualthérie van Weezel. 


Instagram admits that it showed people too many videos last year (The Verge)

In a Q&A with users, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, said that the platform had shifted too much towards video and Reels last year. He said that the social media network is working to create more balance between photos and video going forward. Many photographers had become disillusioned with Instagram as a place for showcasing their work due to the increased focus on video. Mosseri also said the platform is working to address the increase in bots and spam. 


Fox News’ defense in defamation suit invokes debunked election-fraud claims (NPR) 

Fox News’ defense against the defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems appears to hinge on the idea that statements made about Dominion were reasonable and responsible at the time. David Folkenflik reports that the network’s attorneys argue that they were merely repeating claims made by public figures and that they were “hyperbolic characterizations or mere opinions.” They also claim that Dominion cannot prove “actual malice” against Fox News hosts. But lawyers following the case say that there is ample evidence that the network and its employees were fully aware that some of the statements that they made were incorrect. 

+ Related: ‘Fox News in Spanish’: Inside an upstart media company’s big plans to impact the 2024 election (Politico)