Need to Know: September 14, 2022


You might have heard: The news habits and attitudes of the Gen Z and Millennial generations 

But did you know: Tracking young people’s relationships with news (Reuters Institute) 

A new study of news consumers between ages 18–30 in Brazil, the U.K. and the U.S. found that they make a distinction between “the news” — serious current affairs information that they equate with mainstream media outlets — and more general “news”, which can include entertainment, science, sports and culture. They are more likely to avoid the former while still engaging with the latter. Young people tend to be skeptical about the information that they receive and judgmental of mainstream brands. “Mainstream news brands cannot please all young people all the time, but as this report shows, they can give themselves a better chance of being chosen more often,” writes Kirsten Eddy. 

+ Noted: Twitter shareholders approve $44 billion Elon Musk buyout (The Verge); Las Vegas administrator Robert Telles charged with murder in stabbing death of journalist Jeff German (CNN); Gannett is selling 4 Massachusetts papers marked for closure (MediaPost)  


Trust Tip: Interview more people with complicated (not extreme) views (Trusting News) 

When activists on either end of an issue are the ones whose voices get amplified by news coverage, many people are left feeling unrepresented, writes Joy Mayer. They’re also left with an exaggerated picture of the country’s polarization. Journalists should ask themselves whether their sources fall along a range of views on the subject matter being discussed, consider the agenda of any of your sources and explain to the audience how and why sources were chosen. “There are often a lot more than two sides to a story. And most people likely don’t really feel fully represented by *either* side of a polarizing issue,” writes Mayer. 


Planet Money’s Jack Corbett explains his TikTok strategy (Teen Vogue) 

Jack Corbett is a producer on NPR’s Planet Money and a star on TikTok, where he explains how American economics works to hundreds of thousands of fans. His goal is to make his audience really understand topics that can be dense or opaque, and he’s particularly proud of videos about unionizing and hot-button topics like NFTs. Corbett also says that covering very serious issues — like rent control or the stock market — in ways that are goofy helps him highlight the weirdness of economics that people often overlook. 


Mass firing at UAE newspaper raises question of censorship (Associated Press) 

After journalists at Al Roeya in the United Arab Emirates reported on the high cost of gasoline, the Dubai-based print publication was shut down. Top editors were interrogated and dozens of employees were fired, reports Isabel Debre. Local outlets in the UAE are expected to provide a stream of good news about the country, and self-censorship among journalists is common. The newspaper’s publisher, IMI, claims that the shutdown was due to the imminent launch of CNN Business Arabic, a co-partnership between IMI and CNN. IMI is owned by the brother of the president of the UAE. 


Disinformation via text message is a problem with few answers (NBC News) 

In the 2022 midterm elections, one of the biggest spreaders of misinformation has been text message campaigns. Before the Kansas primaries, voters were inundated with false information about how to vote and lies about an abortion referendum on the ballot. Despite “a cottage industry and federal agencies that target election disinformation when it’s on social media, there’s no comparable effort for texts,” writes Kevin Collier. It’s impossible to screen or collect text messages, and while it is illegal to automate messages, there are easy workarounds for campaigns or bad actors. 


The Washington Post should commit to local news (A Media Operator) 

The Washington Post has been struggling to retain readers and grow since President Trump left office, and Jacob Donnelly argues that instead of trying to compete with The New York Times, the Post should instead focus on local news. He sees promise in Tony Haile’s idea that the paper should adopt a “hub-and-spoke network” by partnering with local papers around the country. Because the Post already owns a CMS that many newspapers use, integrating publications would be easier than for other news outlets. But, Donnelly writes, it might be easier for the Post’s billionaire owner, Jeff Bezos, to buy a local news chain like Lee Enterprises and push the value of bundled subscriptions. 


The Verge goes after Twitter with new redesign (Axios)

The Verge has updated its website to include a Twitter-like content feed, curated by editors and reporters. Nilay Patel, the outlet’s editor-in-chief, said that the decision came after the site realized that its competition wasn’t other tech publications like Wired; it was Twitter itself. Sara Fischer reports that The Verge hopes that the feed will elevate its own original reporting by showing conversation around the pieces while building trust by highlighting reporting from elsewhere. Patel also said that the aggregation feed will save time across the newsroom by eliminating the need for aggregation reports. 

+ Related: For media publishers, Twitter still dominates on social (Axios)