TOP NEWS THIS WEEK

On Wednesday, the Canadian government announced a deal with Google that will see the tech company pay roughly $100 million to Canadian publishers as part of the country’s Online News Act. Google’s relationship to news publishers continues to evolve; changes to Google search have affected traffic and revenue at news outlets around the world. (CBC, Press Gazette) 

This week, newsletter platform Substack announced that it is expanding its offerings, adding video creation and editing tools for its users. But Substack’s moderation policies are still causing controversy. This week, The Atlantic reported that the platform has become “a home and propagator of white supremacy and anti-Semitism.” (The Washington Post, The Atlantic) 

MOST POPULAR STORIES THIS WEEK

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

In Alabama, another small-town paper hit in ‘open season’ on free press. Arrest warrants were issued for a reporter and publisher at Atmore News for disclosing confidential grand jury information. (The Washington Post)  

WSJ, Times journalists pull union away from Gaza statement. Members of the NewsGuild resisted efforts by leadership to issue a statement supporting a ceasefire in Gaza. (Semafor)  

The legal framework for AI is being built in real time, and a ruling in the Sarah Silverman case should give publishers pause. A judge ruled that since AI models are not attempting to reproduce copyrighted works, it is not derivative. (Nieman Lab)  

NEW FROM API 

The 10 most popular Better News case studies of 2023 (Better News)

In 2023, Better News featured lessons and successes from local news organizations building trust in marginalized communities, partnering with local organizations and diversifying revenue streams. These case studies help accelerate the work of journalists and news organizations across the industry. The most-read articles include how the Detroit Free Press used personas to better gauge readers’ interests, how WJCT Public Media turned newsletter subscribers into donors and how a reader-oriented ask-the-newsroom effort brought digital subscribers to the Redding Record Searchlight.

+ Launching a newsletter? Consider these tips first.

Make your “stop doing” list for 2024 

With 2024 around the corner, what do you want to change about your news organization’s day-to-day work? Table Stakes alumni are invited to a workshop led by Emily Ristow, director of local news transformation for the American Press Institute, to create their “stop doing” lists for the new year. 

Much of the hour will be dedicated thinking time for you, you and a colleague, or you and your team to think strategically about what you can stop doing. The session will cover how to:

  • Use a “stop doing” list to help you give up low-value work
  • Prioritize based on ease and impact
  • Identify the value of your work as it relates to your mission and business needs
  • Make “stop doing” part of a regular practice and offer tips to help you figure out what to “start doing” instead 

The next 60-minute workshop will take place on Monday, Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. ET. Sign up at tinyurl.com/TS-Dec23

Not sure if your news organization is part of the Table Stakes network? Check bit.ly/TS-alumni-finder

Tell API and AP how to support your election coverage

The American Press Institute and The Associated Press want to support your 2024 election coverage. Read about our collaboration, and take this 4-minute survey to help us better support you.

SPECIAL EDITION: Plan for Local 2024

Over the past month, AP provided reporting tips on four different election topics: covering misinformation, election conspiracies, school boards and election office turnover. Covering elections and preparing for them is important and we want to learn what other topics or training would be most helpful to you in the year ahead. Please remember to complete the survey to share your thoughts

Can election coverage begin a community relationship?

Elections present an opportunity to build new relationships and audiences around something concrete that affects the community’s future. But how do you keep that going? 

One answer may deal with product strategy. For example, will you move new newsletter subscribers around your election coverage to something related — or naturally evolve that product to continue to serve them? Other answers may deal with the shape — or container — for your election journalism. Do you treat elections as a standalone project, or does it clearly flow into some other pillar of your coverage?

+ URL Media realized that the information its readers wanted was very tactical. That insight can help them empower people to engage with their government in meaningful ways. URL Media currently categorizes these types of stories as “Politics + Participation.

+ The Tennessean and USA TODAY NETWORK-Florida each have First Amendment beats. The frame could allow reporting around the right to petition during the year and relevant ballot issues around local elections, in addition to speech issues that might flare near elections but exist year-round. 

+ CivicLex covers election news, including explaining what offices do, as part of its wider work to encourage understanding and participation and to “strengthen civic health.”

+ At the American Press Institute, our Civic Discourse and Community Voices cohort is experimenting with how to convene and facilitate conversations generally — a skill that can be developed, then expected year-round by the community, including but not limited to when elections return.

FOR THE WEEKEND

+ The Israel-Hamas war makes it clear: Local media must reclaim the religion beat (Poynter) 

+ This Gen Z investigative reporter is rocking conservative media (Politico) 

+ Why can’t Mexico stop the killing of journalists? (Columbia Journalism Review) 

+ “African media houses must do more investigative reporting to stay relevant” (Nieman Lab)