Houston Is Getting a Nonprofit News Startup

From a story on cjr.org by Paroma Soni headlined “Houston will get a $20m startup newsroom”:

A GROUP OF PHILANTHROPIES is launching an independent nonprofit news organization in Houston with initial funding of more than $20 million, marking one of the biggest investments into local news in recent years.

The investments—$7.5 million each from the Houston Endowment and the Kinder Foundation, $4 million from Arnold Ventures, $1.5 million from the American Journalism Project, and $250,000 from the Knight Foundation––are for an initial period of three years.

Can U.S. Journalism Truly Serve Global Audiences?

From a story on niemanlab.org by Anita Zielina headlined “Can U.S. journalism truly serve global audiences? Not if it treats them like an afterthought”:

2022 started off with some high-profile movement in the media entrepreneurship space, when Ben Smith, the media columnist for The New York Times and former editor of BuzzFeed News, announced he was leaving the Times to start a news organization with Justin Smith, who also announced that he was stepping down as the CEO of Bloomberg Media.

A Report From The Committee to Protect Journalists on the Biden Administration and the Press

From a Committee to Protect Journalists report by Leonard Downie Jr. headlined “‘Night and day’: The Biden administration and the press”:

The first year of the Biden administration’s relationship with the U.S. press has been an almost complete reversal of the Trump administration’s unprecedentedly pervasive and damaging hostility, which seriously damaged the news media’s credibility and often spread misinformation around the world.

In marked contrast, President Joe Biden, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, and administration officials have repeatedly stressed the importance of working with the news media to keep Americans informed. Reporters still have had issues with access to the president and some administration officials and information. But there have not been any vicious attacks on journalists as enemies of the people or accusations of “fake news.”

Obstruction of Justice Laws Should be Adapted to Cover Journalism

From a story on cjr.org by Erin Carroll headlined “Obstruction of Journalism: A new way to combat violence against journalists”:

Two days before Christmas in 2020, the Fallen Journalists Memorial Act was signed into law. The act authorizes a monument in the District of Columbia to commemorate “America’s commitment to a free press” and honor “journalists who sacrificed their lives in service to that cause.”

Part of the impetus for the law was the 2018 mass shooting at the Annapolis Capital Gazette. And in the months leading up to the passage of the act, images of journalists being beaten and bloodied went from surreal to near-routine. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker documented 593 assaults against journalists in 2020–nearly a 1,400 percent increase over the year before.

The New York Times Insider: Finding a Story by Asking “Really Dumb Questions”

From a New York Times Insider column by Katie Van Syckle headlined “Finding a Story by Asking ‘Really Dumb Questions'”:

As the international climate correspondent for The Times, Somini Sengupta covers the human toll of climate change, particularly the impact on vulnerable populations.

Ms. Sengupta was born in Kolkata, India, the city formerly known as Calcutta. When she was 8 years old, her family moved to a small village on the Canadian prairie and later to a suburb of Los Angeles. Moving taught her to adapt, she said, “to be like water, as Bruce Lee would put it.”

Caitlin Petre: “Traffic whoring” or simply optimizing? Finding the boundaries between clean and dirty metrics.

From a story on niemanlab.org by Caitlin Petre headlined “‘Traffic whoring’ or simply optimizing? Finding the boundaries between clean and dirty metrics”:

In late January 2012, A. J. Daulerio, then the editor in chief of Gawker.com, published a post on the site announcing an experiment. Every day for the next two weeks, he explained, a different Gawker editorial staffer would be assigned to “traffic-whoring duty,” and their sole task would be to publish whatever posts they thought would earn the most unique visitors. Daulerio laid out a few ground rules for “traffic-whoring days:” Photo galleries were prohibited, as were pornographic and racist posts. Other than these basic parameters, the writer assigned to traffic-whoring was “free to add things to the site they presume will make the little Chartbeat meter freak out.” Daulerio proffered a few suggestions of such topics, the tamer of which included “dancing cat videos,” “Burger King bathroom fights,” and “sexy celeb beach bods.”

What the Next Generation of Journalists Thinks

From NiemanLab’s Predictions for Journalism: “What the next generation of journalists thinks” by Robert Hernandez”

This past semester, I taught my JOUR 323: Journalism and The Audience class at USC Annenberg. The user-focused course is mostly seniors with a few juniors, all of whom strategically launch a semester-long product to serve a particular audience or demographic.

As part of the class, we read and discussed one of last year’s Nieman Lab predictions each week.

It seems fitting that this year I turn my prediction over to them. Here’s what a few soon-to-be-graduating journalists predict will happen in the coming year.

Bill Bartleman: “A devastated Kentucky town is grateful for help but fears what will happen when the reporters are gone”

From a Washington Post Voices Across America column by Bill Bartleman headlined “A devastated Kentucky town is grateful for help but fears what will happen when the reporters are gone”:

MAYFIELD, Ky. — The 10,000 residents of this conservative, 200-year-old community are in shock as they survey the devastation left by the tornado that ripped through their town last weekend. Grim-faced or tearful, they silently drive and walk down Broadway, circle the court square and continue on residential streets to get a first-hand look at the piles of brick and rubble that used to be buildings, the bare lots once shaded by trees. They often stop to hug passing neighbors, friends and even strangers. No words are needed.

Pope Thanks Journalists for Helping Expose Church Sex Scandals

From a story on reuters.com headlined “Pope thanks journalists for helping expose Church sex scandals”:

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Saturday thanked journalists for helping uncover the clerical sexual abuse scandals that the Roman Catholic Church initially tried to cover up.

The pope praised what he called the “mission” of journalism and said it was vital for reporters to get out of their newsrooms and discover what was happening in the outside world to counter misinformation often found online.

Tom Jones: “‘On background’ is common journalism lingo. What does it mean?”

The Poynter Report with Tom Jones asks “‘On background’ is common journalism lingo. What does it mean?”:

Here are two phrases that often come up in journalism — in fact, they come up so often that even non-journalists have heard of them.

Off the record. And … On background.

What do they mean, exactly?

First, off the record. Here’s how it’s supposed to work: