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The U.S. Media Index database shows news consumers who owns what

If you ever wanted to track down who owns a news outlet, it’s now much easier to do it. The U.S. Media Index database by the Future of Media Project has done the grueling work of compiling that information for us. The databases includes three indices: The U.S. Mainstream Media Index details the 176 parent...
Posted: May 14, 2021, 6:34 pm

Sorry, eating a burnt orange with sugar likely won’t bring back your senses

With so many people losing their abilities to taste and smell due to COVID-19, the internet has been overloaded with tricks, hacks and home remedies for how to get your senses back. One supposed “solution” that’s been making the rounds on YouTube involves burning an orange and mashing it up with sugar. But is this […]

The post Sorry, eating a burnt orange with sugar likely won’t bring back your senses appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: May 14, 2021, 4:33 pm

The view from Tel Aviv

Ruth Margalit is an Israeli journalist living in Tel Aviv. By day, she covers the crisis there for The New Yorker. By night, her young family shelters in their building’s stairwell. On this week’s Kicker, how American framing of this week’s violence conflicts with the rest of the world’s; how Israeli military censors lost control […]
Posted: May 14, 2021, 4:21 pm

Five competition ministers discuss regulating Big Tech

Regulating big tech has become a global preoccupation; how such regulation might affect journalism is less clear. A couple of months after the controversial Australian News Media and Digital Platform Bargaining Code came into force, requiring Google and Facebook to pay for news in the country, competition ministers around the world are considering whether to […]
Posted: May 14, 2021, 4:02 pm

A tragic week in Palestine

On Wednesday, Youmna al-Sayed, a journalist in Gaza City, was reporting live from a rooftop for Al Jazeera, wearing a large bowl-shaped helmet and a bulky flak jacket with PRESS emblazoned across the front. She was right by the Al-Shorouk tower, which housed at least seven media outlets, including the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV and a newspaper associated with the Palestinian National Authority—and which had just come under fire from Israel. These were “warning missiles,” Sayed said, “and right now they should be starting to bring down the entire tower.” Soon, that happened: Sayed flinched, said “Oh my God,” and ducked for cover, continuing to narrate as the camera pivoted to show twin plumes of smoke curling into the sky. “The destruction is massive,” she said. Later, she added, “Targeting such a building, which holds media offices, is a clear message by the Israeli occupation that it does not want any media to tell the truth of what is going on in the Gaza Strip.”

The Al-Shorouk tower wasn’t the first building that Israeli forces bombed this week; the day before, they’d destroyed the Al-Jawhara tower, which was home to at least thirteen media organizations, including the Qatari channel Al-Araby TV, the newspaper Felestin, and the Forum of Palestinian Journalists. The local office of Al Jazeera, in an adjacent building, also sustained damage. The International Federation of Journalists reported that the Al-Jawhara tower was evacuated and that no journalists were injured, though the Committee to Protect Journalists was unable to confirm that and noted that the BBC has reported civilian casualties. Israeli officials said they were targeting Hamas “weapons stores” and offices, including “the military wing’s public relations department.”

The Israeli military hasn’t attacked journalists just in Gaza City. A week ago, security forces fired rubber bullets at protesters in the Temple Mount Complex in Jerusalem, injuring at least five Palestinian freelancers, including Saleh Zighari, who also reported being hit with shrapnel from a stun grenade, and Atta Awisat, whom officers had also beaten with batons. Three journalists with Anadolu, a Turkish state outlet, were hit with rubber bullets; on Monday, two of them and another colleague were attacked again as they covered a raid by Israeli forces on the Al-Aqsa mosque, where at least six Palestinian journalists inhaled tear gas and another, Fatima al-Bakri, was physically assaulted by officers. (Israeli officials said they support press freedom, but not protesters documenting officers “in order to create a journalistic facade.”) A reporter named Ibrahim al-Singlawi said that he was assaulted by security forces at least four times while covering protests in Sheikh Jarrah, an occupied neighborhood whose Palestinian residents are facing forced displacement by Israeli settlers. On Wednesday, according to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Hazem Nasser, a photojournalist, was arrested in the West Bank. 

There have been protests in Sheikh Jarrah and elsewhere for weeks, but the situation became a major international story only on Monday: following a raid at Al-Aqsa, Hamas militants fired rockets into Israel and the Israeli government ordered air strikes on Gaza; so far, at least 119 people have been killed, 31 of them children, and hundreds more have been injured. Early this morning, Israeli ground forces fired shells into Gaza; a spokesperson said that troops also “entered” Gaza, but later claimed that was a miscommunication. Much of the top-line coverage in the United States has used fuzzy, passive language—“warlike violence erupts”; “the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, reignited”—that obscures who has done what to whom; after the Al-Aqsa raid, clashes was ubiquitous. “This is a straightforward attack by Israel on Palestinians,” Jack Mirkinson wrote, for Discourse Blog. Mehdi Hasan, a host on MSNBC and NBC’s streaming service Peacock, called the word a “journalistic shorthand” that “personally, I cannot stand.” He condemned Hamas for firing rockets, but added that “the fundamental, unavoidable reality at the heart of this conflict is that there is an asymmetry of power here. One side is the occupier. The other side is occupied.” 

“Palestine/Israel coverage in American media has always been poor,” Rowaida Abdelaziz, a reporter at HuffPost, tweeted Monday, “but it is actually insane to me how egregious it currently is.” Nevertheless, Palestinian voices have made themselves heard in the US. Mohammed El-Kurd, a writer and resident of Sheikh Jarrah, was invited onto MSNBC and CNN, where he called out the press for distorting his experience: when an anchor referred to Kurd’s possible “eviction,” he replied, “Forced ethnic displacement”; when the anchor asked if Kurd supported “violent protests” in support of his cause, he asked back, “Do you support the violent dispossession of me and my family?” (There followed an awkward silence.) The clip went viral; Kurd told Vice that this was probably because “there’s not been this kind of articulation about Empire in the media in recent years. I wanted to make the joke that it’s because I’m good TV, but it’s not. More often than not, it’s the fact that what I’m saying sounds unprecedented.”

Vice asked Kurd if he feared repercussions for being outspoken. “In addition to the media attention,” he said, “there have been hundreds of people reaching out to me, saying, ‘may God protect you, please be careful, I hope nothing bad happens to you.’ ” Then, on Wednesday, Israeli forces kicked Kurd and his family out of Sheikh Jarrah

Below, more on Israel and Palestine:

  • “Unheard of”: The Daily Beast’s Maxwell Tani and Lloyd Grove assessed the coverage of MSNBC’s Hasan and Ayman Mohyeldin, who, Tani and Grove wrote, have spent “the past several days challenging the US-media status quo by doing something practically unheard of on an American television outlet”—devoting “substantial airtime to the Palestinian point of view.” (Mohyeldin interviewed Kurd this week.) Their coverage “has prompted cheers among some within the network who have been pleased to see MSNBC elevate voices seemingly skeptical of Israeli military force,” though it has also prompted some “eye-rolling among a few of their NBC colleagues.” 
  • The regional angle: The BBC rounded up how the week’s events have been covered in Middle Eastern media. “The news remains relatively low down the running order of Syrian TV news, and in Iran it only started topping bulletins on Tuesday. In both countries—key members of the so-called ‘axis of resistance’ to Israel—domestic issues have taken priority,” the BBC reports. “Qatari Al-Jazeera’s Arabic channel, a traditional supporter of the Palestinian cause, gives the story full coverage. It is also the lead story on Saudi-funded Al Arabiya, which is pressing its guests and correspondents on claims by both sides.”
  • Bibi: This week’s events have taken place against the backdrop of another round of domestic political wrangling in Israel, where negotiations to form a new government are in flux, and the ongoing trial of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, who stands accused of corruption, including in his dealings with media outlets. Reporters Without Borders has the latest on the trial; for more background, read Ruth Margalit in CJR.  


Other notable stories:

Posted: May 14, 2021, 2:03 pm

How journalists can avoid amplifying misinformation in their stories

When we’re covering misinformation, it can be important to feature visuals. Visual examples of misinformation — screenshots of posts from social media, for example — can provide evidence for our claims, and make our stories more engaging, memorable and informative. But there’s a problem. Including images of misinformation can cause harm by amplifying it. This...
Posted: May 14, 2021, 1:57 pm

There can be no free press unless journalists are able to do their jobs safely

Last week was World Press Freedom Day and this is Mental Health Awareness month. At first glance, these two might seem like strange bedfellows. But after years of working at the intersection of media freedom and safety, I’m convinced there can be no free press unless journalists are able to do their jobs safely, and […]

The post There can be no free press unless journalists are able to do their jobs safely appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: May 14, 2021, 11:45 am

Legislators have reintroduced a bill to examine the state of local journalism

Poynter Report author Tom Jones is on vacation this week and will return Monday. Today’s Poynter Report was compiled by Kristen Hare, Angela Fu, Rick Edmonds and Ren LaForme. A bipartisan group of legislators reintroduced the Future of Local News Act Thursday. If passed, the bill would create a 13-member committee to study the state […]

The post Legislators have reintroduced a bill to examine the state of local journalism appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: May 14, 2021, 11:30 am

12 unresolved questions about the CDC’s new guidance for wearing masks and social distancing

Covering COVID-19 is a daily Poynter briefing of story ideas about the coronavirus and other timely topics for journalists, written by senior faculty Al Tompkins. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely go […]

The post 12 unresolved questions about the CDC’s new guidance for wearing masks and social distancing appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: May 14, 2021, 10:00 am

How big is the threat of inflation in the post-pandemic era?

Inflation — a phenomenon that most Americans haven’t had to think about much for a decade or two — has reemerged as a concern as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. On May 12, the government announced that the consumer price index was 4.2% higher in April 2021 than a year earlier, the fastest increase since […]

The post How big is the threat of inflation in the post-pandemic era? appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: May 14, 2021, 9:55 am

How China used the media to spread its Covid narrative — and win friends around the world

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese President Xi Jinping enjoyed prime real estate in the centre of Serbia’s capital, Belgrade: his face plastered across a billboard with the words “Thank you brother Xi.” The sign, courtesy of the pro-government tabloid Informer, was in response to China sending Covid-19 medical supplies to Serbia. It joined...
Posted: May 14, 2021, 7:30 am

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on truth, objectivity and the assault on democracy

There’s a real problem facing journalism today: the unprecedented assault in our democracies on the truth, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour shared on Thursday during the last day of the United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking. Social media has only made it worse in what she described as a massively polarized world. “Actual elected democracies […]

The post CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on truth, objectivity and the assault on democracy appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: May 13, 2021, 10:16 pm

CNN public editor: Should CNN journalists unionize?

Newsrooms are unionizing faster than ever, driven by economic uncertainty and their need for more influence over diversity––of content and staffing. Axios reports that in 2020, “More than 1,800 journalists across unions from the NewsGuild and the Writers Guild (of America) unionized… That’s up from roughly 1,500 the year prior.” Conspicuously missing from that trend: […]
Posted: May 13, 2021, 5:30 pm

Cooperation and Competition: Algorithmic News Recommendations in China’s Digital News Landscape

Executive Summary This research report examines perceptions of—and approaches to—personalization among news organizations and technology companies in China and aims to identify the current state of personalized recommendation technology within the Chinese digital news landscape. Between September 2019 and August 2020, we conducted interviews with 26 individuals from 19 organizations, pausing to adjust for the […]
Posted: May 13, 2021, 5:00 pm

NBC spotlights MediaWise’s efforts to arm the public against misinformation

NBC News correspondent and MediaWise ambassador Savannah Sellers says the impact of online falsehoods has never been more evident in everyday life. “There’s a very real issue when people, no matter what age they are, can’t tell the difference between fact and fiction online,” Sellers said. All week, NBC News has been examining the influence […]

The post NBC spotlights MediaWise’s efforts to arm the public against misinformation appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: May 13, 2021, 4:32 pm

The journalists and colleagues we’ve lost to the coronavirus

Please check Press Emblem Campaign’s list for the latest updates.  How can we understand loss on the scale we’re now experiencing? Worldwide, more than 2 million people have died, according to The New York Times, with more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. Those numbers will keep changing. We’ll keep updating them. They’ll still be […]

The post The journalists and colleagues we’ve lost to the coronavirus appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: May 13, 2021, 3:30 pm

USC’s Student Journalism Wellness Project offers a new resource for emerging reporters

“The thing about student newsrooms — especially now that they exist virtually — is that there are no boundaries.” “Having an environment where I can pursue my passion for journalism while being surrounded by people who also share that passion is extremely important to me and my mental health.” “I knew before applying to write […]

The post USC’s Student Journalism Wellness Project offers a new resource for emerging reporters appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: May 13, 2021, 2:30 pm

Here are some films and short documentaries about local news

Three years ago, I spoke with a photographer and filmmaker who wanted to make a short film about local news. Dustin Cohen has seen the challenges facing the industry up very close — his dad was the publisher of Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, which he sold to Knight Ridder and are now part of Alden […]

The post Here are some films and short documentaries about local news appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: May 13, 2021, 12:33 pm

Did the Facebook Oversight Board drop the ball on Trump?

Last week, after months of deliberation, the Facebook Oversight Board—the theoretically independent body that adjudicates cases in which content has been removed by the social network—released its decision on the banning of Donald Trump. The former president’s account was blocked indefinitely following the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, after Facebook decided he […]
Posted: May 13, 2021, 12:03 pm

Local news and the real scale of India’s COVID crisis

When the pandemic’s second wave swept India in mid-April, Deepak Patel, an aviation reporter for the Press Trust of India in New Delhi, noticed something odd. Whenever he perused the local papers from his home state of Gujarat—Divya Bhaskar, Gujarat Samachar, and Sandesh—reports about COVID-19 cases, and the obituaries that filled the pages, didn’t match […]
Posted: May 13, 2021, 10:55 am

Washington Post public editor: Buzbee, Bezos, and ongoing tensions

Four months after Marty Baron announced his retirement as top editor of the Washington Post, the paper has announced that Sally Buzbee, former executive editor of the AP, will succeed him, becoming the Post’s first female executive editor. The good news is that the newsroom largely seems to find Buzbee a promising choice. The bad […]
Posted: May 12, 2021, 8:21 pm

Why did the Trump DOJ secretly seize phone records from Post journalists?

It was hardly surprising to learn late last week that the Trump Justice Department had secretly seized the phone records of journalists as part of a leak investigation. More important now is the question of what President Biden’s Justice Department will do about it. The seizures affected three reporters at the Washington Post. The conversations […]
Posted: May 12, 2021, 4:42 pm

From deepfakes to TikTok filters: How do you label AI content?

When an astonishingly realistic deepfake of Tom Cruise spread across the internet in March, many people were quite rightly shocked. Its pinpoint realism suggested artificial intelligence had leapt forward several years. But one important feature was easily missed. By using the social media handle “deeptomcruise,” the creator was transparent about the fact it was a deepfake. In...
Posted: May 12, 2021, 3:49 pm

How systems thinking is guiding El Tímpano’s reporting on health & overcrowded housing

Three months ago, El Tímpano began investigating the prevalence of overcrowded housing in Oakland’s Latino and Mayan immigrant communities and how those housing conditions affect the health of residents, throughout and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. We knew from the start that this project demanded an unconventional approach to reporting. The crisis of overcrowded housing — particularly as...
Posted: May 12, 2021, 2:28 pm

The challenge facing Sally Buzbee at the Washington Post

Since January, when Marty Baron announced his retirement as editor of the Washington Post, the media beat has hummed with speculation about his replacement: Would it be an internal candidate? Or one of a bevy of editors from the New York Times? Or Ben Smith? So it was impressive yesterday when the Post appointed someone who hadn’t appeared in the guessing game: Sally Buzbee, the executive editor of the Associated Press. Online, the unexpectedness of the hire sparked a mini-debate as to whether media reporting is bad or not; Nieman Lab’s Hanaa’ Tameez asked why we had “to suffer through so many think pieces that ended up being way off?” Management at the Post certainly maintained a high wall of secrecy around the process, blinding not just outside media reporters but the paper’s own staffers, some of whom, the Daily Beast reported recently, were irked by their lack of insight. At one point, the paper’s union wrote to Fred Ryan, the publisher, requesting input into the decision. “Given the confidential and sensitive nature of the executive editor search,” he replied, “we do not plan to broadly address the search process with employees.” Maybe not so impressive after all.

The news of Buzbee’s hire was broken, in the end, by Paul Farhi, a media reporter at the Post. (“I was just telling @farhip that I’m looking forward to finding out who the next executive editor of the Washington Post will be via the bot in our Slack telling us that his story about it published,” Elahe Izadi, Farhi’s colleague on the media desk, tweeted. “That’s how I found out.”) Ryan told Farhi that he valued Buzbee’s experience atop an international news organization given that the Post is in the process of expanding overseas, with plans for new “hubs” in London and Seoul and bureaus in Sydney and Bogotá; Ryan also told staff, in a memo, that he “looked carefully for someone who shares our values of diversity and inclusion, and who is committed to prioritizing them in our news coverage as well as our hiring and promotion.” The decision won plaudits from journalists with ties to the Post and the AP: Laura Helmuth, a former Post staffer who now leads Scientific American, wrote that she was “so happy (and frankly, relieved) for my former colleagues”; Julie Pace, the AP’s Washington bureau chief, made the case that “there is simply no better newsroom leader and mentor than Sally,” and hailed her, too, as a “role model” for moms working in journalism. “This is normally the part where everyone fires off kiss ass tweets to the new boss,” Devlin Barrett, a Post reporter who formerly worked at the AP, tweeted, “but honestly, even knowing what it makes me look like? Sally is a… tremendous editor.”

ICYMI: What’s the difference between freelance writers and gig workers?

Buzbee, who is fifty-five, will be the first woman ever to lead the Post. Farhi noted on Twitter that six of the paper’s ten most senior editors are now women, as are the heads of other major news organizations such as ABC News, MSNBC, Reuters, and the Financial Times. (There are many more examples, as the replies to Farhi’s tweet attest.) “The fact that this is not a big deal is kind of a big deal,” he wrote. Many observers praised the path-breaking nature of Buzbee’s appointment, though some also pointed out that Buzbee—like many other senior women in journalism—is white, and that there is much diversity work still to be done. Responding to Farhi’s tweet, Wesley Lowery, a former Post reporter who vocally criticized Baron’s leadership, called Buzbee’s hire “unquestionably a big deal,” though he wrote elsewhere that “the overqualified black candidate not even getting a serious call about the job, only for it to go to a white lady and be framed as a win for diversity is the entire story of newsroom diversity efforts.” (He was referring to Kevin Merida, a former Post editor who was reportedly not courted aggressively to succeed Baron, despite his strong credentials and enduring popularity among the paper’s staff. Last week, Merida was named executive editor of the LA Times.)

In addition to the secrecy of the Post’s search, Buzbee’s name may have been absent from the post-Baron media chatter because the AP is often absent from general media chatter—as it noted in its own story on Buzbee’s departure, the AP is “both ubiquitous and somewhat invisible, since it sells its journalism to thousands of outlets that use it on their websites, front pages and broadcasts.” This is an oversight—the AP is one of the biggest news organizations in the world, and it routinely does important work with an impressive range of scale; as Fenit Nirappil, a former AP reporter who is now at the Post, put it yesterday, the AP “doesn’t get enough love in this industry” given that it’s “a massive global multimedia operation adept at ambitious and reader friendly work while championing state-level accountability reporting.” It is also very traditional in its tone, a fact that didn’t always serve its day-to-day coverage of the Trump era all that well. “Here’s the first question that springs to my mind: The AP is well-known as our most buttoned-down straight-news organization,” whereas Baron “succeeded in straddling those old-school values with newer forms of journalism characterized by voice, attitude and ‘swagger,’” Dan Kennedy, a journalism professor at Northeastern University, wrote yesterday. “Will Buzbee be able to adapt?” A similar question sprung to my mind—except I’d note that Baron failed to establish consistent rules as to how much of a voice his reporters were allowed to develop, especially on social media. Buzbee has only ever worked for the AP. It’ll be interesting to see how much of its culture comes with her to the Post.

Buzbee’s past statements about journalism offer cause for optimism—she told CJR in 2017 that some journalists don’t understand what “a dangerous weapon polling is,” and argued ahead of the early stages of the 2020 primary campaign that reporters should ignore horserace polls altogether—as well as reason for skepticism: when CNN’s Brian Stelter asked her last year if the AP wasn’t labeling Trump’s lies as “lies” because doing so might inject “emotion” into its coverage, Buzbee replied that she didn’t “want to put any filter, or any sort of off-putting thing there, that keeps [readers] from going to good, old-fashioned, factual journalism.” (The AP has recently been more blunt in labeling Trump’s election lies, as several media-watchers have noted.) According to Farhi, on a staff call at the Post yesterday, Buzbee avoided speculating on how her leadership might change the paper, though she did emphasize a focus on “deep, factual journalism,” and pledged to run a newsroom where “a wide, very wide diversity of voices are heard and have influence.” After Baron announced his retirement, I wrote that a strong successor would understand that ensuring the latter is integral to the former, and that factual journalism needn’t be old-fashioned. That challenge now falls to Buzbee.

Below, more on the Buzbee hire:

  • Some background: Buzbee is originally from Olathe, in Kansas. After graduating from the University of Kansas in 1988, Buzbee began her career as an AP reporter in Topeka, Farhi reports. “She was also a reporter in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Washington. She made the jump to editing in 1996 as assistant bureau chief in Washington. Beginning in 2004, she was AP’s Middle East regional editor in Cairo, supervising coverage of the Iraq War. She also holds an MBA from Georgetown University.”
  • The role of Bezos: Jeff Bezos—the Post’s billionaire owner, who also owns Amazon—also took part in the search for Baron’s successor. (Baron was already in the job when Bezos bought the paper, in 2013.) Buzbee will inherit a newspaper in good financial health—but not everyone is sanguine about Bezos’s involvement. “I have no reason to believe Sally Buzbee isn’t a great choice,” Judd Legum, who writes the newsletter Popular Information, tweeted yesterday, but the fact that “the billionaire CEO of one of the world’s most powerful companies picks the top editor of one of the world’s most important news orgs is not a good thing.” Last month, Hamilton Nolan, CJR’s public editor for the Post, asked what would happen should Bezos at some point decide to abandon his hands-off approach. “Bezos is, despite all appearances, not a robot,” Nolan wrote. “And he can snap.”
  • On foreign reporting: In 2019, Mya Frazier reported for CJR on concern, among some veterans of the AP’s overseas bureaus, on changes to the agency’s foreign-reporting model, including “the shrinking of its global footprint as bureaus are quietly closed; the phasing out of the salaried ‘expat package’ for correspondents; and the reliance on local stringers and staffers, who often are paid far less than full-time American correspondents once were.” Buzbee told Frazier that she gets “a little prickly that someone in the US thinks they should have a salary out of whack with the very talented people in the country where they are working… I admit it might be unfair for the people who aren’t getting expat packages anymore, but it was a two-tier system.” Buzbee added: “I think the old two–tier system sucked.”
  • What next for the AP?: Gary Pruitt, CEO and president of the AP, told David Bauder, an AP media reporter, that management will immediately begin scouting a replacement for Buzbee, and that he expects the search to take several months. In the interim, Bauder reports, Brian Carovillano, a vice president and managing editor, will lead the AP’s news team, while David Scott, who holds the same title as Carovillano, will handle operations. Buzbee will assume her role at the Post at the beginning of next month.

Other notable stories:

ICYMI: The Miami Herald, The Appeal, and media unions’ ongoing fight

Posted: May 12, 2021, 12:21 pm

Why do people avoid news? It’s not just because it makes them feel bad

Creating community-centered news in Philly Going back to at least the 1990s, some journalists and scholars have been pushing for a form of journalism that centers on the needs of the community it serves — not just in an abstract sense, but by allowing the community to actively set the agenda and including it in...
Posted: May 11, 2021, 4:45 pm

Here’s how Bloomberg Media plans to turn a popular podcast into paying subscribers

In February, roughly two and a half years after launching its paywall, Bloomberg Media met a major milestone: 300,000 paying subscribers. The subscription business is now the company’s strongest area of revenue growth. But a subscription is expensive ($35/month or $420/year). It’s not for everyone. A big question for Bloomberg: where should they look for...
Posted: May 11, 2021, 4:39 pm

Staffers at The Appeal announced they had formed a union. Five minutes later, management announced layoffs.

This morning, staffers at The Appeal — a nonprofit news site focused primarily on issues of criminal justice — made the sort of announcement that’s become remarkably commonplace over the past couple of years: They were forming a union. And honestly, these days, that move is as much about a tweet as a filing with...
Posted: May 10, 2021, 6:51 pm

How we unionized the digital team at The Seattle Times (and how you can do it at your company too)

The digital journalists at The Seattle Times ended a decades-long, arbitrary divide within the company last fall by voting to unionize and join our peers in the existing Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild, which already represented more than 100 employees at the paper who are not categorized as “digital” employees. The official process itself took four months, preceded by more...
Posted: May 10, 2021, 3:14 pm

It’s not their job to buy you cake

On Thursday, The Washington Post ran an op-ed by Cathy Merrill, CEO and owner of Washingtonian Media, in which she expressed her fear that employees will want to continue working from home after the pandemic. I am more bothered by the idea that other media executives think like Merrill. If they do, they are hurting...
Posted: May 7, 2021, 3:10 pm

It turns out no one wants to be tracked all across their iPhones by Facebook (or anyone else)

Three years ago, we ran a piece by Digital Content Next’s Jason Kint on what kinds of data collection and tracking consumers expect Facebook to do in order to improve their ad targeting. A majority said they expected Facebook to track their activity within Facebook, as well as within sibling apps like Instagram and WhatsApp....
Posted: May 7, 2021, 3:00 pm

When Twitter asked people to be nicer, they listened

Twitter is rolling out a new feature that prompts users to revise their tweet replies if the language in them can be considered offensive (the algorithm aims to detect “insults, strong language, or hateful remarks”). Twitter has made several moves over the last year to improve safety on the platform and curb misinformation. What’s exciting,...
Posted: May 6, 2021, 5:03 pm

Overstory Media Group wants to provide cover (and salaries) for local journalists

Overstory Media Group cofounders Farhan Mohamed and Andrew Wilkinson bonded over a common frustration: when it comes to local news, there’s got to be a better way. Mohamed previously served as editor-in-chief and co-owner of the online news site Daily Hive and Wilkinson is a cofounder of Tiny Capital — which owns digital businesses like...
Posted: May 6, 2021, 1:15 pm

Swati Sharma is leading a new era in Vox’s mission to “explain the world”

In 2014, Melissa Bell, Ezra Klein, and Matt Yglesias started, a news outlet that pioneered explanatory journalism. Seven years, 13 podcasts, one Netflix series, and millions of readers later, Vox’s leadership was ready for change. In 2020, Klein, who was last the editor-at-large, left to join The New York Times as a columnist. Yglesias...
Posted: May 6, 2021, 12:30 pm

Eying a future subscription service, Twitter acquires the ad-free news startup Scroll

Since Scroll launched in early 2020, its users have paid $5 per month for ad-free versions of news sites like The Atlantic, The Verge, The Sacramento Bee, and The Daily Beast with most of the fee going straight to publishers. I’ve tried it out and the technology (actually!) keeps me logged in. It sounded cheesy...
Posted: May 4, 2021, 4:02 pm

Passports, pauses, and Pfizer: Here’s where Covid-19 misinformation went in April

Over the course of April, English-language media coverage related to vaccines revolved around three key themes: opposition to “vaccine passports” in the U.S., the safety of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness in younger adults. Coverage of vaccines generally peaked on April 13, following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and...
Posted: May 4, 2021, 1:44 pm

Someone new thinks they can make Yahoo and AOL good businesses in 2021

Yahoo and AOL have been boring for so long that it can be hard to remember why (if?) they were ever interesting. But there was a time when they were truly the kings of the web — one connecting people to the internet, the other taking up a shocking percentage of their time once they...
Posted: May 3, 2021, 5:54 pm

As Covid-19 spreads, India’s press freedom is shrinking

The world is watching in horror as Covid-19 overwhelms hospitals in India. It is hard to look away as images of open air crematoriums and makeshift funeral pyres in public parks in the nation’s capital flicker across our screens. It’s hard to overstate the enormity of the public health calamity unfolding in India as the...
Posted: May 3, 2021, 2:09 pm

Not just “elected officials and policy experts”: Top editors are trying to refocus the opinion pages on regular people

“It’s not the old op-ed page anymore!”, declared The International Symposium on Online Journalism while promoting an event with opinion editors. As it turns out, it’s not even an op-ed page anymore. The conference gathered top editors — and one prominent, opinionated Substacker — to discuss the growth of opinion in online journalism. There to...
Posted: April 30, 2021, 6:05 pm

We’re hiring! Come work for Nieman Lab as the deputy editor

Nieman Lab is hiring a deputy editor! Come work with Joshua Benton, Sarah Scire, Hanaa’ Tameez, and me. The job posting is here, but let me tell you a few more things about it and what we’re looking for. This used to be my job, so I have thoughts. What kind of experience are you...
Posted: April 29, 2021, 7:37 pm

Facebook is starting a Substack competitor

The Facebook Journalism Project will commit five million dollars to “support local journalists interested in starting or continuing their work” on a new platform for building websites and email newsletters, the company announced on Thursday. Really excited to see how this plays out – it's already a such a great time to be a star...
Posted: April 29, 2021, 6:29 pm

Do Americans really not support “core journalism values”? It all depends on your definitions (and the questions you ask)

Last week, I criticized a recent report from the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That report made a number of bold claims about the American public and what it said was a widespread lack of support for core journalistic values like transparency, oversight, and giving voice to the...
Posted: April 29, 2021, 5:46 pm

Covid-19 accelerated the media’s reporting on early, drafty scientific research (for better and for worse)

Since the first reported case of Covid-19, cities across the world have shut down, people have stopped socializing and going to work, economies have taken a hit and there have been far too many deaths. But at the same time the scientific community has come together and produced an immense amount of knowledge on the...
Posted: April 29, 2021, 2:55 pm

Here’s how to turn your Gmail into Google Reader, kind of

After paying for all those damn Substacks, you might as well read them, right? But I’ve found that Gmail isn’t very good at recognizing the newsletters you pay for as important. It doesn’t necessarily treat the newsletter you’re paying $50 a year as different from, say, “20% Off Big and Husky Deals Ending Soon! ⏰...
Posted: April 29, 2021, 1:11 pm

“Punched-in-the-gut feeling”: A Gannett union study shows major gender and racial pay gaps in 14 of its newsrooms

Women journalists and journalists of color aren’t paid as well as their white male counterparts in 14 Gannett newsrooms, and journalists in unionized newsrooms are paid better than those in non-unionized shops, according to a pay equity report published by NewsGuild Gannett Caucus on Tuesday. The caucus requested salary and demographic data from Gannett for...
Posted: April 27, 2021, 6:22 pm

We want to know: What was the last news subscription you canceled, and why?

For every newspaper cancellation that’s trumpeted on Twitter, there are dozens more that people make quietly from the safety of their own computers (or, heaven forbid, by calling customer service). Most Nieman Lab readers — a news-supporting bunch if there ever was one — would understandably rather publicly tout the news subscriptions they are buying. But...
Posted: April 27, 2021, 2:17 pm

In the vast Mountain West, collaboration on radio news finds success

Last summer, I drove cross country. I found that in parts of the Mountain West — Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming — you can go for miles and miles and pick up just one or two radio stations. (If you’re one of the many people planning a road trip outside a metropolitan area in the next...
Posted: April 27, 2021, 2:05 pm

After 50 years, The New York Times is retiring the term “op-ed”

The New York Times announced its opinion section will no longer use the term “op-ed.” Outside opinion contributions will be labeled as “guest essays,” instead. In a post announcing the change, opinion editor Katie Kingsbury described the label — a holdover from print newspaper design referring to opinions published on the opposite (“op”) page as...
Posted: April 26, 2021, 6:24 pm

No explaining allowed! A new journal promises just-the-facts description, not theory or causality

A major trend in digital journalism over the past decade has been the rise of the explainer: the let’s-step-back article or infographic-packed video that takes a big issue in the headlines and, well, tries to explain it. Vox built an entire editorial model around it. But on the flip side, a very common complaint about...
Posted: April 26, 2021, 4:45 pm

With Trapital, Dan Runcie found a way to cover the business of hip-hop and make it sustainable

In 2019, Beyoncé released her “Homecoming” documentary on Netflix, following her performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2018. Releasing the film with Netflix might have seemed like an odd choice since Beyoncé is a part owner of the streaming service Tidal. But in an essay titled “Beyoncé’s streaming strategy, explained,”Dan Runcie...
Posted: April 26, 2021, 1:00 pm