TOP NEWS THIS WEEK

At the end of December, The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement, alleging that their AI tools can reproduce content from the newspaper almost verbatim. This week, The Information reported that OpenAI had offered some publishers between $1 million and $5 million annually to train its large language models on their content — an amount that is too small for many publishers to consider. (The New York Times, The Information) 

MOST POPULAR STORIES THIS WEEK

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

A look at impactful investigative journalism from every state in 2023. “For little money or recognition, reporters in 2023 stood up to power brokers who tried to bully them into silence, exposed corrupt officials and even saved lives,” wrote Joseph Cranney. (X, @joey_cranney) 

Journalists, we need to rethink how we fight burnout. Demoralization and secondary traumatic stress also align with what many journalists face when covering others’ traumatic experiences paired with an inability to cope or feelings of hopelessness. (Poynter)  

X once again adds headlines to article links — but with tiny text. Instead of a full text box below the picture, the headline appears in a small font overlaid at the bottom of the graphic. (The Verge)  

NEW FROM API

4 ways to use the funnel to grow reader revenue (Better News)

The Henrico (Va.) Citizen added more than 9,000 email subscribers and generated $34,000 in reader revenue in one year. Tom Lappas was the only full-time employee at the Citizen for much of its 22 years, during which advertising was its only form of revenue. In 2023, the Citizen aimed to generate at least $25,000 in reader donations from at least 400 people — an increase of $10,000 and 125 donors from 2022. It pulled in more newsletter subscribers by adding a subscription pop-up to its site, learned more about subscribers’ habits by analyzing newsletter data, sent consistent but authentic emails asking for donations and leaned into new coverage opportunities to find new audiences. 

Beyond stress: What journalists covering the 2024 election should know about burnout

The latest survey from the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media found that 70% of local journalists experienced work-related burnout. Burnout is an “occupational phenomenon,” but most of us don’t have the power to change the organizations we work for. 

In this self-reflective session hosted by API and the Atlanta Press Club, journalists will contribute anonymously to a series of prompts to learn actionable insights for reassessing and repairing their relationships with work. Created by Sam Ragland specifically for those working within a news organization, this session will help journalists:

– Assess where they sit on the stress spectrum

– Understand what is inside and outside of their control

– Self-prescribe a set of actions for the election year to combat their unique blend of burnout

The free webinar is on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 12 p.m. Eastern time. Register here.

How The Atlanta Journal-Constitution used iPads to move readers away from print (The Lenfest Institute) 

In an effort to transition some committed print readers to digital subscriptions, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution loaned iPads to subscribers and offered readers training on how to use them. The cost of the iPad plus all associated accessories was $350 and the annual cost of delivering a daily newspaper was about $300 per subscriber, meaning the cost of the iPad would be recouped in the second year. The subscribers who opted to receive the iPad were more likely to remain digital-only subscribers than those who declined. 

This case study is part of Beyond Print, a program created by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the American Press Institute to help guide publishers away from print-centric revenue models toward a sustainable digital future.

FOR THE WEEKEND

+ Claudine Gay’s resignation was a mainstream victory for conservative media (The Boston Globe) 

+ In India’s embattled news media, women are fighting to be heard (The New York Times) 

+ Journalism, belief, & belonging: The crisis in democracy is not just about information (Medium, Whither News) 

+ A right-wing tale of Michigan election fraud had it all – except proof (The Washington Post)