Need to Know: June 2, 2023


Hundreds of staffers at Gannett announced Thursday that they will walk off the job next week to call attention to budget cuts and put pressure on shareholders. The protestors want shareholders to hold a no-confidence vote against Gannett’s CEO, Mike Reed, who they argue has financially mismanaged the company. Last year, Gannett laid off hundreds of staffers across its nearly 400 papers. (The Washington Post)  

+ Related: Baltimore Banner CEO Imtiaz Patel to step down to join the senior leadership team at Gannett (The Baltimore Banner)


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

American Journalism Project CEO talks fundraising for local news. Sarabeth Berman says that the key to raising philanthropic money is convincing funders that the issues they care about will be poorly served without the watchdog effect of journalism. (Observer)  

What gets readers to pay? Transparency on the price of journalism. Readers are more likely to subscribe when a pitch explains the importance of supporting independent journalism in a financially precarious time. (  

Last Night at School Committee distills hours-long public meetings into half-hour podcast episodes. The podcasts go up the day after the meetings, and distill sessions into short fact-checked episodes that explain the backstory, process and context of debates. (Nieman Lab) 


Where should transparency language go? In the story itself. (Medium, Trusting News)

We talk a lot at Trusting News about transparency — the act of explaining how and why we do our work. But transparency only works if people notice it and find it interesting and persuasive, right? So, how do we know where to put transparency language? And how do we know if it has any impact?

Man, do we love it when researchers are interested in the same questions we are! A new study suggests that journalists should weave transparency information into coverage instead of pulling it out into separate elements. That’s consistent with one of our basic strategies at Trusting News: Take advantage of attention where you have it. Anywhere your audience is learning about what you cover is an opportunity for them to learn about how you do your jobs. 

Poynter Table Stakes coaches share their advice for local newsrooms (Better News)

During an in-person Table Stakes session at the Poynter Institute, we caught up with several coaches to ask them about their takeaways from supporting the teams. Each coach has done extensive work with a wide range of local newsrooms to help them overcome internal and external challenges. The coaches are: Manuelita Nadebah Beck, senior politics editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer; Katie Mercer, VP Content at Glacier Media; Tom Huang, assistant managing editor for journalism initiatives at The Dallas Morning News; Angela Evancie, director of engagement journalism and executive producer of Brave Little State at Vermont Public Radio; and Briana O’Higgins, ​​SVP of audience and content at KERA. 

API welcomes its new Program/Community Manager, Jan Ross P. Sakian

The American Press Institute is excited to announce that Jan Ross P. Sakian has joined API’s team as a Program/Community Manager. Sakian will work within the journalism programs team to co-design, manage and help grow our Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program alumni community. The Table Stakes alumni network spans programs and organizations across the country and provides principles, resources and training necessary to drive sustainable change across local news organizations.

SPECIAL EDITION: Transitioning to GA4

Each Monday, Need to Know shares a special edition series focusing on top issues impacting today’s newsrooms. This month we’re featuring a four-part series from API Newsroom Success Manager Shay Totten on tips to ensure that your migration to Google Analytics 4 is successful and relatively painless — well before the July 1 deadline. 

Lessons from the field + a starter checklist

The biggest challenges we’ve heard from the newsrooms who’ve transitioned to GA4: What to do with all of your historical UA data and hitting query limits in Looker (formerly DataStudio). As we noted in last week’s newsletter, Google has solved the latter problem. The historical data issue is one that each newsroom will have to solve for itself. We have some suggestions in our FAQ. 

+ Make a list of all domains, subdomains, apps, etc. that you currently track separately UA to ensure you don’t miss any of your data streams when building your GA4 instance. This is especially important for multi-site news organizations.

+ Make a list of current UA segments and ask yourself: Do we need all of them? Are there better ways in GA4 to capture these interactions? Are there new ways to look at our audiences? Are there new events and interactions we want to track?

+ Follow our suggested setup process, which includes tutorials developed by Google News Initiative.

+ Leave yourself plenty of time to play around and explore with the new reporting functions in GA4 and time to add audiences, or data streams, you may have missed from step one.

You can read this week’s full installment, including some FAQs from Shay, here.

Next week, look for a new Special Edition featuring insights from our friends at Trusting News. 


+ Nostalgia about newsrooms ignores how much they need to change (The Walrus) 

+ AI and journalism didn’t have a good start (Baekdal) 

+ ‘The last good website’: Defector in pursuit of a journalists’ utopia (Columbia Journalism Review) 

+ Breaking news at the end of the Earth: Meet the one-person team behind Antarctica’s longest-running newspaper, the Antarctic Sun (Esquire)