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Would reinstating public editors bring back trust in media?

In the 1980s, many cash-flush news organizations employed a public editor specifically to build and foster trust between readers and journalists. These days, just two news organizations in the United States — NPR and PBS — still appear to employ a public editor. So, is it time for more news organizations to consider hiring ombudspersons to help rebuild trust in the media — one community at a time?

In this month's column, E&P columnist Guy Tasaka shares some thoughts on what the future local media website looks like and how local media publishers can thrive in the new environment. As you read his thoughts, consider that any local presence that has the legacy trust can take this playbook and run with it. It could be the two largest television stations in the market, the public media company, the big university or the local chamber of commerce. There are no swimlanes anymore, and local media 3.0 will be a winner-take-all race.

The 2024 class of 10 News Publishers That Do It Right is now E&P’s News Media’s 10 to Watch. They represent our industry with small-town publishers to large properties; monthly, weekly and daily publications; legacy print and digital publications; business, university and alternative publications — representing the breadth and depth of our industry. Each faced challenges and innovated to overcome them, and each has a story to tell — revenue, content, community service, engagement, business model or platform. We’re excited to highlight these 10 to Watch to give you energy and ideas.
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Although media and journalism may seem to be endangered species, they are critical to revealing the truth, supporting democratic principles and creating more enlightened voters. In the many excellent collegiate media and journalism programs nationwide, the next generation is preparing to step forward to support those principles at Temple's Klein College of Media
In a move signaling a “renewed commitment to the heart of its community,” Detroit Public TV announced its relocation back to the city of Detroit and a rebranding as Detroit PBS. This significant shift underscores the organization's dedication to serving Southeast Michigan with unparalleled quality, trust, and fairness in media.
The voices in the street are often as important as those in the suite. That's the upshot of California Voices, the opinion arm of CalMatters, a California non-profit organization raising its megaphone for different kinds of experts.
To bolster the tech services available to local news publishers, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism launched the Lenfest Local News Infrastructure Fund with a $7.25 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
To better understand the current level of collaboration between universities and public radio stations, CCN surveyed public radio stations in the summer of 2023, receiving 95 responses from stations in 38 states. There are 182 public radio station licenses associated with universities.
News media publishers face dilemmas over social media policy today. There's a delicate balance between encouraging reporters to engage on social media — to extend journalism's reach — and avoiding pitfalls that undermine reporting. They're also grappling with respecting journalists' freedom of speech in an age when social media is integral to their professional and personal lives.
In news media advertising, organizations often spend too much time analyzing rates and comparing them to similar-sized outlets. It’s important, but sometimes, focusing too much on rate hinders the ability to assess an opportunity directly. Before immediately delving into pricing considerations, it’s crucial first to identify opportunities aligned with your organization’s goals.
Under the leadership of Dean Raul Reis, who took office in July 2022, the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina has significantly revised its curriculum, infusing courses that can assist students in excelling once they graduate — whether in journalism or other communication fields like advertising or public relations.
Ten news organizations won up to $25,000 in grants to help convert print subscribers into digital customers, and those teams no doubt celebrated their good fortune. But from the standpoint of The Lenfest Institute, which reviewed more than 50 applications and handed out the grants, the program’s value is more about helping the news industry than providing one-time allowances to 10 deserving companies.
AI is now powering an upheaval of the search economy that could devastate news publishers desperately needing good news. For the first time since it became the world’s largest search engine in 2000, Google’s dominance in the search market is facing a serious threat. One of the challengers, Perplexity, shoots back short, AI-generated responses to direct questions. Is it perfect? No. Is it pretty useful? Of course. But it comes at a terrible cost to publishers.
As of January 2024, 1,177 pink slime sites have been identified across the United States, representing both sides of the political spectrum, with innocuous-sounding names, like The Main Street Sentinel and Metric Media. NewsGuard, which uses AI to help programmatic advertisers direct ads to reputable sites, warns that the number will rise as election season heats up.
Most sales gurus agree that about 98% of all sales are not made on the first call. Sometimes the customer says “no.” That’s when the selling starts. If you can turn a no into a yes, you make the sale. There are a lot of reasons prospective advertisers say no.
Attacks on free speech and expression — including the role of journalism and the people’s right to know in a free-thinking society — are constant, regardless of the swings of the political and cultural pendulums. Advocating for those rights and educating Americans to understand them better has been the mission of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression since its founding in 1999.
Implementing new revenue streams, from events to newsletters to podcasts to philanthropy — and even T-shirts — has been the goal of many news publishers for several years. Some don’t require much investment, while others require a major commitment in money and staff time. Some have worked, and others haven’t.
Launched in 2010, Honolulu Civil Beat began as a for-profit news business, charging $19.99/month per subscription, but the model proved unsustainable. In 2016, they reorganized as a nonprofit and honed their editorial mission, publishing on several platforms: a website, newsletters and podcasts.
If you visit the web page of The Intersection Magazine, you’ll notice something unique. The subject titles contain pairings: “PG Politics + Religion” and “Health + Politics.” This is intentional, said its founder, Delonte Harrod: “As a Black reporter trained in the  Black press, that is how Black people live their lives. I will say I think it’s universally how people live their lives.”
Two champions of investigative reporting, Mother Jones and the Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal, announced their Feb. 1, 2024, merger. They are combining to counter the attacks on the press and reveal more of what many public and private institutions, monied interests and those hiding behind false patriotism would rather keep hidden from journalistic scrutiny and the public’s view.
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The United States is just a few months into what will undoubtedly be a contentious election year. Leading up to the November election, polling will help news media publishers tell the election story, and what the public thinks about the candidates and the public policy issues most important to them. How reliable are polls today — political or otherwise? E&P asked the experts.
Over the last few years, news leaders have discussed diversity at conferences and launched initiatives to address historical disparities in their reporting and their ranks. However, a recent study shows little traction in making actual change in the most elite sector of newsrooms.
The NPR-produced TED Radio Hour debuted in 2012 in partnership with the nonprofit TED organization. The weekly radio show and podcast explores an array of topics on issues related to climate, COVID, culture, food, technology, health, democracy, war and more. To the listeners, Manoush Zomorodi's conversations with her guests flow organically and spontaneously, but a great deal of research, preparation and thoughtful editing happens behind the scenes.
Popular. Fearless. And progressive. That’s Raw Story’s tagline. The other word that comes up when talking to leadership is nimble. Two decades into its run, the digital native site, started in 2004 by John Byrne as a counterpoint to the right-leaning Drudge Report, is reinventing itself to keep up with changing times.
In an era when local newsrooms are looking for creative ways to bring in revenue, The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, is putting its latest bet on a new high-end international travel program hosted by Editor-in-Chief Autumn Phillips.
An Ohio-based nonprofit organization is expanding journalism throughout the Buckeye State and engaging readers to help with public accountability. Like many nonprofit journalism startups across the U.S., Signal Ohio fills news coverage gaps vacated by for-profit newspapers and broadcast companies.
In this column for Editor & Publisher magazine, Michael Bugeja, a distinguished professor of journalism at Iowa State University, writes: "Journalists must stop worrying about impartiality when dealing with outright racist, sexist or autocratic comments and posts. And it is time to stop using the cliché 'dog whistle' and then searching for a source to interpret it.”
Design services are vital in the publishing industry. And one of the ways publishers are choosing to get their vital ads built and pages crafted is outsourcing the entire creative process. However it is crucial to evaluate first the advantages and disadvantages before deciding to outsource.
Providing in-depth coverage of what is already a tumultuous and historically significant election year will require persistence, late nights, and good old shoe leather. Accessing independent resources with tips and explainers of election topics will be of equal importance, from the science of polling to identifying misinformation to understanding how to report on local ballot measures.
The University of Kentucky has emphasized its support for rural journalism for two decades. Housed in the heart of one of America’s 60 largest cities, the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues (IRJCI) is celebrating its 20th year on campus. The IRJCI is designed to help students prepare for journalism work in rural areas and to provide training and other resources for small news organizations.