On Friday, Mother Jones and the Center for Investigative Reporting announced that they are merging. The two newsrooms have collaborated for decades. Monika Bauerlein, the chief executive of Mother Jones, said that the goal was to combine forces to “create a bit of a counterweight for the eroding in investigative reporting.” (The New York Times) 

A recent study found that the media industry lost 20,000 jobs in 2023, leading Mark Stenberg of AdWeek to dub it “the worst year in digital media history” and Matt Yglesias to reflect on the “bleak fundamentals and the need for a business model” in the industry. It comes after waves of recent layoffs at national outlets like The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and Vox, as well as more local setbacks, like the layoffs of the entire staff of Southern Illinoisian newspaper after its purchase by Paxton Media Group. (Poynter, Medialyte, Slow Boring, STLPR) 


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

Actually, people don’t hate the media as much as you think. Both conservatives and liberals give high reviews of local news, with more than three-quarters saying that the media does at least “somewhat well” covering local issues. (The Washington Post)  

Axel Springer, OpenAI strike “real-time news” deal for ChatGPT.  OpenAI will gain access to content from Axel publications like Politico and Business Insider, and will use this information to provide news summaries as well to train on the large language model. (Axios)  

CPB faces scrutiny from Ted Cruz over diversity policy. Cruz argues that the requirements for CPB grantees violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protections clause, citing the recent Supreme Court decision that ended affirmative action at colleges under the same rule. (Current)  


FINAL CHANCE: 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.

4 audience-first takeaways from The Sacramento Bee’s restaurant cookbook strategy (Better News) 

Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: How to create a regional keepsake that drives revenue toward your newsroom. Benjy Egel, food and drink reporter at The Sacramento Bee, created Sacramento Eats: Recipes from the Capital Region’s Favorite Restaurants.  He wanted to show that greater Sacramento can stand on its own as a dining destination if one knows where to look, from the prix-fixe special occasion places to the scrappy soul food joints, by amassing a one-of-a-kind guide for local gastronomes to experience the city’s foods in the comfort of their own homes. 

+ 4 benefits of engaging audiences with solutions journalism (Better News) 

API Inclusion Index cohort learns community listening and asset mapping basics in Pittsburgh  

The American Press Institute convened its second Inclusion Index cohort in Pittsburgh in late October to begin their in-person training in collaboration with Resolve Philly. Inclusion Index coaches, each of which are paired with a cohort newsroom, shared best practices for building asset maps and brainstorming practical solutions for improving community engagement.

The five news organizations present — PublicSource, City Cast Pittsburgh, WESA, WQED and YaJagoff — participated in a full day of training and brainstorming sessions, as well as a walking tour of the Deutschtown neighborhood, a small enclave located on the city’s North Shore. The walking tour was used as part of a larger training focused on direct engagement with communities — cohort newsrooms will target the Perry South and Allentown/Beltzhoover areas for their community listening efforts.

SPECIAL EDITION: A Year in Content

Welcome to API’s Year in Review series! It’s been a busy year for us: we resumed our in-person summits, expanded our training portfolio, revised our look and messaging, and offered numerous grants, products and programs to journalists. Members of our team have also been speaking to groups, classes and conventions across the country. Here are just some of the resources we offered to help foster healthy, responsive and resilient news organizations in 2023.

By the numbers: 

  • 12 Need to Know Special Editions highlighting API and partner voices on the issues most relevant to news organizations, offering actionable insights and resources you can implement immediately.
  • 12 articles updating media and journalism leaders on the shifts happening within the industry, while also bringing our team’s expertise and insights to the conversation. 
  • 4 guest essays on opinion journalism. As part of our work to promote healthier civic discourse and to better understand its role in news business sustainability, we highlighted voices of experts on new approaches opinion editors can consider.


+ Ed Yong: Reporting on long Covid taught me to be a better journalist (The New York Times) 

+ For over a decade, Twitter was the most powerful force in news. Why did we let that happen? (The Verge) 

+ Inside America’s school internet censorship machine (Wired) 

+ There’s so little to say about Taylor Swift being Person Of The Year (Defector)