This week, The Messenger closed after less than one year in operation. It’s the latest in a string of media catastrophes that prompted Paul Farhi to ask “Is American journalism headed toward an ‘extinction-level event’?” in The Atlantic and Shawn McCreesh at Intelligencer to conclude that “Condé Nast and other publishers stare into the abyss.” Meanwhile, more staffers across the industry are planning strikes. (The New York Times, The Atlantic, Intelligencer, The Washington Post)


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

The New York Times is introducing a new format to its byline pages. The New York Times has updated its byline pages to share more information about its journalists in order to “bolster trust with readers by letting them know who we are and how we work.” (The New York Times)  

Wall Street Journal plans layoffs, restructuring in D.C. Some Washington-based economics coverage will be moved to New York. (Axios)  

Here is why we are asking for your email address to read 404 Media. The editors write that the disintegration of social media requires them to build a direct connection to readers. (404 Media)  


5 tips to build local partnerships that give back to your community (Better News) 

Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Your local news organization can build stronger communities and publish more diverse reporting through mutually beneficial local partnerships. 

The Kansas City Star focused on five steps — listening to their neighbors, identifying community partners, setting expectations and goals for their projects, guarding against extractive behavior, and measuring the impact of the partnerships — as they sought to connect with underserved members of their community. 

+ How a DEI task force can help shift perspectives and drive change (Better News) 

Trust tip: Explain your election coverage goals with a mission statement and FAQ page (Trusting News) 

As your newsroom continues covering the upcoming elections — and political/government coverage more broadly — get on the record about your goals. Don’t leave people guessing when it comes to how you are prioritizing coverage, where they can get the latest information, how you fact-check, etc. Tell them. 

There are two ways to do this. 1) Create a mission statement that focuses on your election or political coverage. It should address how you cover races, politicians, voting and even democracy. 2) Create a  user-friendly FAQ page offers readers a casual, accessible way to learn more about how you are going to cover the election/politics. 

From surviving to thriving: 8 ways you can prioritize your well-being this year (RTDNA) 

One thing that’s important for journalists to know — just as other first-responder industries such as medical professionals, public safety and the military have known for quite some time — is that it’s impossible to be exposed to trauma and not be impacted by it. Several well-being habits arose during conversations at our American Press Institute Local News Summit on Mental Health and Sustainability, where RTDNA was a sponsor. 

Here are some ways to take care of yourself as a news leader in TV and radio: 

  1. Close your door: Managers pride themselves on having “open-door policies” without acknowledging the boundaries needed for those policies to be helpful without causing burnout for the manager.
  1. Set your OOO: You use your “out of office” email notice as a “slow to respond” notice. This will protect deep thinking time. This will also help you manage your expectations of yourself — especially regarding response time and self-distraction.
  1. Know your value: Your value goes beyond your investment (or sacrifice) of time: Your perspective is valuable. Your character is valuable. Your news judgment is valuable. Your ability to ask questions, admit mistakes and take a good joke are valuable.
  1. Model the behavior: If you’re asking your team to take PTO, you should take PTO. If you ask them to leave on time, you should leave on time (and be loud about it). If you encourage them to pace their work, show how you have redistributed your workload.

SPECIAL EDITION: Journalism with Care 

Welcome to January’s Special Edition on care in the storytelling process. This month, community-engaged journalism consultant jesikah maria ross explores how we enact care in our reporting processes in and with communities. 

How to make room for self-care in your work

If we want to advance care in our community storytelling work – which I see as a key role of journalism – we also need to practice self-care. Showing up for ourselves, as it turns out, is the best way to sustain our ability to show up for others. To hear, understand and recognize their needs, and create journalism they’ll turn to and trust. 

Which is just what AX Mina gets at in her essay, How to make room for self-care in your work. She provides insights to help you develop personal and reporting practices that nourish your well-being.

+ More resources on building self care into your work:


+ What works in community news? ‘There is no one answer’ (Poynter) 

+ Austin’s daily newspaper is being starved to death (Texas Monthly) 

+ Gaza shrouded by communications blackouts, restrictions barring international reporters and extreme challenges facing local journalists (The New York Times) 

+ The Taylor Swift deepfakes disaster threatens to change the internet as we know it (404 Media)  

You might also be interested in: