OFF THE TOP

You might have heard: Many small news nonprofits feel overlooked by funders (Nieman Lab) 

But did you know: Patterns in philanthropy leave small newsrooms behind. Can that change? (Nieman Lab) 

A group of small nonprofit news outlets have come together to push for more funding for upstart news outlets, where founders and journalists alike are underfunded and overworked. These outlets say that the current philanthropic model is too focused on big grants to big organizations, and doesn’t acknowledge the value of small but impactful community news outlets. Some funders say that the wild swings of “fashionable” giving leave quality news outlets out to dry. 

+ Noted: Six months in, journalist-owned tech publication 404 Media is profitable (Nieman Lab); Slate reports best year (Semafor)  

API RESOURCES

How customer service can build trust and engagement with audiences 

Customer service representatives are on the front lines of audience engagement — audience members typically have far more contact with them than they do with journalists. In this report, we look at ways customer service can build audiences’ trust in your journalism, as well as how to tackle common problems with customer service departments at local news organizations.

+ Applications for the IWMF and Georgia News Collaborative Newsroom Safety Across America initiative in Georgia are open through 2/14. This critical training will prepare local reporters ahead of the 2024 elections.

TRY THIS AT HOME

Why Denverite, CPR News and KRCC are moving away from the term ‘migrants’ in our coverage (Denverite) 

Over the last year and a half, Denverite and Colorado Public Radio have used the term “migrant” to describe people arriving in the U.S. via the southern border. But now the news outlets have shifted to using the term “new immigrants” because of the worry that the term migrant has become heavily politicized and dehumanizing. It is also ambiguous; migrants are people in the process of moving, while the term new immigrant acknowledges that most of these people intend to stay in the United States. 

OFFSHORE

Local news in the UK is in deep trouble. But this band of radicals could change everything (The Guardian)

More than 4 million Britons live in news deserts, and millions more in “news drylands” where local news is on the edge of collapse. There are signs of success in upstart publications, which are focusing on community-oriented news and less on profits. But government subsidies for news overwhelmingly go to the corporate publishers who own legacy publications rather than small, independent outlets.

PQ: “We are locked in a downward spiral when we could be in a cycle of renewal. The government keeps throwing money at the newspaper publishers who have done the least to solve the problem, rather than unlocking the potential of the indies.” – Jonathan Heawood, Public Interest News Foundation

OFFBEAT

Meta turns its back on politics again, angering some news creators (The Washington Post) 

Meta announced last week that it would not promote political content in Instagram or Threads, angering journalists and politically-focused creators who had established themselves on the platforms after pulling back from or leaving X, formerly Twitter. Users can still follow political accounts or post political content, but those posts won’t be promoted by Meta’s algorithms. One political strategist said that the value of social media had been its ability to reach people who are not otherwise following news and politics. Some also worry that the vagueness of the policy could end up disproportionately restricting marginalized voices. 

SHAREABLE

They gave local news away for free. Virtually nobody wanted it. (Columbia Journalism Review) 

When, as part of a study, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Philadelphia Inquirer offered free subscriptions to more than 2,500 people who had shown an interest in politics, only 1.7% took them up on the offer. Some of those offered the subscription had strong feelings; one called the Post-Gazette “an awful newspaper run by horrible bigoted people.” Researcher Dan Hopkins said he was “surprised and dismayed” by the lack of engagement but didn’t have any solutions for increasing interest.