Need to Know: September 8, 2023


On Thursday, a coalition of nonprofit organizations announced a plan to invest $500 million in local news over the next five years. The group, called Press Forward, will be led by the MacArthur Foundation and includes support from the Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The money will go to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and the pooled funds will be managed by the Miami Foundation. The goal is to eventually raise $1 billion. (The New York Times) 

Also on Thursday, LION Publishers announced the Maintaining an Affordable News Ecosystem initiative, which will help local news publishers obtain and maintain affordable technology. And URL Media announced a $1 million investment from Knight Foundation to help grow its network of BIPOC news partners. (LION Publishers, URL Media) 


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

The Star Tribune asked its interns to envision the future of the company. The paper’s new CEO gave the interns four weeks to explore how to reach college students and convert them to loyal customers. 

(Reynolds Journalism Institute) 

Publishers’ workforce diversity reports released this summer show steady improvement in newsroom diversity. But diversity in overall workforce numbers at publishers has remained stagnant. (Digiday)  

Global publishing, journalism organizations unite to release comprehensive global principles for artificial intelligence. The guidance embraces the opportunities AI offers to the publishing industry while protecting intellectual property. (News/Media Alliance) 


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. 

Four tips for print reduction from the Beyond Print Convening (The Lenfest Institute)

In June, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the American Press Institute gathered more than 20 news organizations in Detroit for the first-ever Beyond Print Convening. During the two-day event, participants shared best practices, lessons learned from their experiments and ideas for potential solutions for reducing print. Emerging trends included the benefits of 1-on-1 service, how new products can engage existing and new audiences alike, and how mail delivery can help overcome carrier challenges. Attendees also discussed the importance of transparency and regular communication with subscribers. 

SPECIAL EDITION: Diversify Your Sources 

Each Monday, Need to Know shares a special edition series focusing on top issues impacting today’s newsrooms. 

How to set impactful goals 

Whether you develop your own homegrown data collection system through a Google Form/spreadsheet hack or use a tech tool like Source Matters, source tracking is one way to tackle the complex problem of understanding how your coverage reflects and represents your community and audience. If you want to start tracking sources but don’t quite know where to begin, here’s a guide to help you get started.

+ To help our cohort come up with these goals for their sourcing strategies, we adopted a popular framework called SMARTIE goals. SMARTIE is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timebound, Inclusive and Equitable. Download the full worksheet here. 

+ Follow this checklist for launching a source tracking initiative in your newsroom, which is based on Katie Kutsko’s guide to auditing sources.

+ Source Matters is accepting new partners. Register for a demo on Thursday, Sept. 14 at noon EDT, or contact us to learn more about source diversity tracking.


+ Risk assessments can make journalism safer (Columbia Journalism Review)

+ The BBC’s Marianna Spring: ‘The more violent the rhetoric, the more important it is I expose it’ (The Guardian) 

+ YouTube’s crackdown on radicalization seems to have worked. But the world will never know what was happening before that. (The Atlantic) 

+ What is media criticism for? (Columbia Journalism Review)