A look at how foundations are helping the journalism industry stand up straight

Foundations across the U.S. are helping journalists watchdog the powerful — but who’s watching the foundations? The state of the journalism industry might be much more tattered right now if not for philanthropic dollars helping to sustain national and local news outlets like ProPublica, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Voice of San Diego, Texas Tribune, and others. Nonprofit news organizations have made so much progress in the past decade that now there’s even an playbook for how to make your own. But where is this money coming from, who is it going to, and how are these dollars reshaping journalism? (A piece by Julie Reynolds pointed out that the Knight Foundation has, in the past, invested in Alden Global Capital, the parent company of the “strip-mining” Digital First Media.) A study co-published by the Shorenstein Center and Northeastern University (and funded by a couple of foundations
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Newsonomics: McCormick Media’s back in the Tronc game, as eyes turn to the TRNC ticker

Since Patrick Soon-Shiong has resolved his “transition issues” with Tronc and has finally taken formal ownership of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, many eyes turned toward the NASDAQ at market open today. Their focus: TRNC. What will happen to the price of Tronc shares as investors, a good number of speculators among them, assess the post-L.A. Times value of a major daily newspaper chain effectively halved in the deal? Current investors certainly have keen interest, but they are not only ones looking for signs of new valuation. Even as Tronc dispatches its California holdings, sources tell me that the company has been talking to potential acquirers of the nine other Tronc properties. Those properties include the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, the Baltimore Sun, the Hartford Courant and two big Florida properties in South Florida and Orlando. As I’ve reported, there’s impetus Continue reading "Newsonomics: McCormick Media’s back in the Tronc game, as eyes turn to the TRNC ticker"

What news leaders learned at the 2018 Institute for Nonprofit News conference

The Institute for Nonprofit News held its annual conference in Orlando, Florida, this week and featured two days of speakers trying to share valuable knowledge: how to make money in nonprofit news. The need to find sustainable business practices in nonprofit organizations is just as important as it is for everyone else in journalism. INN began as a group of 27 journalists working at nonprofits in 2009, who formed a network of shared knowledge on how news publishers can make smart business decisions and improve on public service journalism. This conference was funded by the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the Knight Foundation (which is also a funder of Nieman Lab). It brought in speakers from WordPress, ProPublica, The Trace, and Mother Jones (and two speakers from my alma mater the University of Missouri). Topics over the two-day sprint covered everything from fundraising to storytelling techniques, big ideas
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With its Facebook Watch news show, Alabama’s Reckon wants to make a national audience care about local news

We’ve gotten a sense of what local publishers can contribute to some of Facebook’s bigger projects, like Facebook Watch. They’ve shared a documentary on a Texas high school football team, a three-season show exploring Long Island’s food scene, and more. Soon, we’ll have a taste of a local publisher’s first news show on Facebook Watch, as Alabama-based staffers from Advance Local rev their engines to traverse the country and highlight local investigative news for a national audience. “We knew that Facebook was looking for news, and we also knew we were not, from Alabama, going to be able to give you a recap on the day’s national news or do a number of things that you see the other brands were selected to do,” Michelle Holmes, the VP of content at Advance Local. (ABC News is putting together a daily news show, Anderson Cooper is doing daily Continue reading "With its Facebook Watch news show, Alabama’s Reckon wants to make a national audience care about local news"

There’s a big difference between the number of people who worry about fake news and who say they’ve actually seen it

“The biggest single gap between perception and what people actually see.” The Reuters Digital News Report for 2018 — which we wrote up here — includes big sections on fake news and misinformation. A few takeaways: — People worry about fake news, but have trouble thinking of times they’ve actually seen it.
In focus groups (UK, US, Brazil, Germany this year) we find that ordinary people spontaneously raise the issue of ‘fake news’ in a way they didn’t a year ago. This is not surprising given extensive use by some politicians to describe media they don’t like — and widespread coverage by the media. But we find audience perceptions of these issues are very different from those of politicians and media insiders. Yes, people worry about fabricated or ‘made up’ news (58 percent), but they struggle to find examples of when they’ve actually seen this (26 percent). Of all
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Despite concerns about control, news publishers are still pushing a lot of content to third-party platforms

Gather round for this history of the troubled, not totally requited relationship between news publishers and powerful technology companies like Google and Facebook. No publisher wants to be reliant on a platform that isn’t within their control, but few want to miss out, either — whether it’s on free(ish) money from Facebook to produce exclusive videos, or trainings from Google, or the promise of making money from readers subscribing on Apple News. “Platforms don’t always reward the best behavior,” one publisher told the researchers at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University in a new report on platforms and publishers, out Thursday. “So you can end up in a rabbit hole where you look at your product in the rearview mirror and think, ‘Is that what I intended to create?’” The 23,721-word report, which is the culmination two years of interviews, publishing data, and tracking of
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After years of growth, the use of social media for news is falling across the world

People are becoming disenchanted with Facebook for news. The “Trump bump” appears to be sustaining itself. And younger people are more likely to donate money to a news organization than older people. These are some of the findings from a big new report out Thursday from Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report for 2018 surveyed more than 74,000 people in 37 countries about their digital news consumption. (Included in the report for the first time this year: Bulgaria.) The research is based on online YouGov surveys earlier this year, followed by face-to-face focus groups in the U.S., U.K., German, and Brazil on the topics of social media and messaging apps. The report includes a number of findings on fake news, misinformation, and trust in the media; for more on those topics, see this piece by the report’s
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