Need to Know: September 13, 2023


You might have heard: In Denver, civic-minded Colorado Sun acquires suburban newspaper chain (NPR) 

But did you know: The Colorado Sun, a pioneering for-profit/nonprofit hybrid, moves toward a fully nonprofit model (Nieman Lab)

The Colorado Sun announced this week that it is becoming a fully nonprofit news organization, moving away from its status as a public benefit corporation (PBC). Journalism professor and media expert Dan Kennedy writes that the move was not totally unexpected; a PBC is a complicated structure, and a nonprofit would probably be easier to explain to funders. Kennedy also writes that Sun editor Larry Ryckman is excited about a structure that will give the employees themselves “a say and a vote in how the organization is run.”

+ Related: Ryckman’s note to readers about the shift.

+ Noted: Maria Ressa, journalist and Nobel Laureate, is cleared of tax fraud (The New York Times); Apply for Google News Initiative’s Pre-launch Lab, a program supporting early stage entrepreneurs in journalism, by September 22 (Google News Initiative)


Trust Tip: Relearn how to talk to your colleagues (Trusting News) 

Journalists are not equipped to help communities engage in conversation with one another if they cannot first talk among themselves, writes Trusting News’ Joy Mayer. She and Spaceship Media’s Eve Pearlman have been discussing ways newsrooms can take on what are often messy conversations involving points of tension. They came up with several dialog tips and insights for such situations. Among them: Affirm what you have in common. “While there are generational and practice differences, you are likely far more alike than different,” Mayer writes.

Join us to explore mental health solutions for journalists 

The American Press Institute will host its next API Local News Summit on helping news leaders prioritize and support their journalists’ mental health. If you have ideas about how news leaders can support their staff’s mental health or solutions to change the often-toxic cultures of the news industry — and especially if you are working on this yourself — we’d like to extend this call for participation in our summit. 

This summit, scheduled for Oct. 10-11 to coincide with World Mental Health Day, will gather approximately 60 media leaders and non-journalism experts in Atlanta. We are open to people with various responsibilities and titles from for-profit and nonprofit media of all platforms. Request an invitation for the remaining spots at our summit no later than Sunday, September 17, at 11:59 p.m. ET. 


How scientists can help reporters cover disasters (Undark)

Ocean chemist Christopher Reddy sees crises, like a major oil spill or Covid-19, as moments of opportunity for journalists and scientists to work together to ensure that the public has an understanding of the facts. In an interview with Toronto journalist Dan Falk, Reddy said that during his work on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, he noticed that the disaster was being played in the media like a contest between “the good guys and the bad guys . . . And I thought folks were treating science like a house of cards.” Asked about how scientists can talk to the media, he said it’s important to understand that journalists and scientists have a lot in common: They both like to chase, investigate and write it up “in a clever way.” 


Dagbladet attracts younger audience with TikTok strategy (International News Media Association)

All the staffers at Norway’s Dagbladet have become TikTok specialists, the Oslo-based outlet’s social media coordinator Signe Elise Stenersen writes. If video footage made for the Dagbladet site seems like it could be engaging for a younger audience, “we transform the video into a vertical format and post it on TikTok,” she writes. While the content is adapted to fit TikTok’s platform, Dagbladet stays true to its branding, maintaining the company’s colors and snappy headlines. “Never have we experienced growth like this in such a short period of time on any platform,” she writes.


Beyond the bootstrap fallacy: Public service journalism deserves public funding (Medium, Center for Cooperative Media)

The Center for Cooperative Media’s Joe Amditis adds his voice to those who believe journalism is a public good and therefore should be funded as such. Too often, he writes, journalism funders adopt an approach of giving “just enough money” to news organizations to help them until they can eventually sustain themselves with revenue models like ads, subscriptions or other sources. “But let’s pause and consider this: Why is the onus on journalism to become a self-sustaining entity when other public services are not (and should not be) held to the same standard?”


Women in journalism pass another milestone (The Washington Post)

The appointment of Kristen Welker as host of NBC’s long-running news program Meet the Press means that for the first time, every Sunday public affairs show will be moderated or co-moderated by women, writes veteran NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell. Women have made strides in journalism, but over the years “paternalistic notions held us back” she says, recounting that when she applied for her first job, she was told women had no place in a newsroom. “I talked them into hiring me for the overnight shift, where I’d be less ‘disruptive.’” Her job title was “copyboy.”