Media Insider: Politico Reporters Start Standalone Newsletter, Facebook News Tab to Launch in UK, NYT Raises $4M for Headway Project

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media stories from the week.

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Politico stars plot new Playbook

Politico reporters Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer, and John Bresnahan are planning to launch their own daily newsletter in 2021 as a standalone company, sources tell Axios. The newsletter, which will have a large focus on Capitol Hill, will basically be competing with the Politico Playbook franchise that the writers helped create. Although it’s not yet clear if the product will be paid, Fischer reports, “Industry sources tell me they will be able to attract advertisers focused on the DC market, especially if they quickly replicate their elite audience.” Politico has not yet named Playbook replacements.

Fischer and Axios also reported on a new product from Patch that will let local news reporters publish their own newsletters and websites.

The New York Times Announces Philanthropic Support for the Headway Initiative

The New York Times announced that it has raised $4 million for Headway, “a journalism initiative to investigate global and national challenges.” The team of journalists will report on large-scale issues including economic, social, health, and environmental challenges. In addition to 10-12 in-depth reports each year, Headway will also feature a “public square” for debate and education and will include a fellowship to support local news. The three-year project will be funded by The Ford Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; the Times will retain full editorial control over the stories.

The Washington Post announced a new team this week as well: Meghan Hoyer, the AP’s data editor, will join the outlet in 2021 to establish and lead a new data journalism department.

Facebook to pay UK publishers for content with January launch of News tab

Facebook announced this week that it will be launching its News tab in the UK in January. It’s expected that the company will pay publishers tens of millions of pounds to license their content. Some of the first publishers to sign up include Guardian Media Group, Conde Nast, and The Economist. After launching it in the U.S. earlier this year, Facebook says that 95% of traffic via the News tab is from new audiences, so the hope is that the service will benefit publishers’ subscriber numbers and ad revenue. The company told The Guardian that “news curators will pay attention to the quality of reporting and sourcing of individual news articles when choosing which to highlight.”

Another UK story: The Guardian has a look inside some of the world’s largest newsrooms with a series by photographer Noel Bowler.  

The words that actually persuade people on the pandemic

A new study by veteran GOP pollster Frank Luntz and the de Beaumont Foundation finds that certain words are more effective at getting the public to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. Certain word choices used by the government, business leaders, and the media are politicizing the issue, even if that’s not the intention, according to the study. While some vocabulary seems invasive of constitutional rights to some, other words are too impersonal. The study found that simple word changes can lead to more positive reactions, like changing “lockdown” to “stay-at-home order”; changing “national duty” to “personal responsibility”; and saying we need to “eliminate” or “eradicate” the virus as opposed to “defeat” or “crush” it. “If we don’t get this language right, people will die,” Luntz said.

In other news about words, Merriam-Webster announced its Word of the Year. Surprising nobody, the 2020 winner is “pandemic.”

The ‘missing perspectives of women in news’ is alarming and grim, a new report shows

“The Missing Perspectives of Women in News,” a report commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and released this week, “delivers a grim state of women’s representation both in newsrooms and in news media coverage across six countries.” The study found that the proportion of women journalists in newsrooms has remained flat since 2000 across all the analyzed countries (U.S., UK, India, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa). Women are also underrepresented as experts, protagonists, and sources of news stories. The report analyzed 2,286 academic articles, 11,913 publications, and 56.9 million stories, as well as a Google Trends analysis of the public’s searches for “International Women’s Day” in the six countries. Pamella Makotsi-Sittani, executive editor of the Nation Media Group based in Nairobi, Kenya, said of the findings, “This is a crisis that we need to look at because, if we do not have the perspectives of both men and women in society, we cannot have an equal society.”

On a positive note, Forbes released its 30 Under 30: Media list this week, and women are featured prominently.

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Rocky Parker is the manager of Audience Relations at PR Newswire. Check out her previous posts for Beyond Bylines and connect on LinkedIn. When she’s not working, Rocky typically can be found cooking, binge-watching a new show, or playing with her puppy, Hudson.

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