Americans and the News Media: What they do -- and don't -- understand about each other 6/19/18

A key factor in the erosion of Americans’ trust of their news media is a failure to communicate – we have a public that doesn’t fully understand how journalists work, and journalism that doesn’t make itself understandable to much of the public.

This fundamental pattern emerges from a new study by the Media Insight Project. Twin surveys of both the public and journalists asked each group parallel questions about the public’s understanding of journalistic concepts, the public’s interactions with journalists, and how all of that affects people’s assessment of the news media.

The findings reveal problems of miscommunication, as well as opportunities. They highlight shared ideals: for example, the public and journalists want the same things from the press – verified facts, supplemented by some background and analysis. But they also reveal dissatisfaction: many Americans think what they see in the news media looks largely like opinion and commentary – not the carefully reported contextualizing they hoped for.

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RJI links 6/19/18

News and commentary of interest to journalism innovators and entrepreneurs. Read the latest from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

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Distinguishing between factual and opinion statements in the news 6/18/18

In today's fast-paced and complex information environment, news consumers must make rapid-fire judgments about how to internalize news-related statements – statements that often come in snippets and through pathways that provide little context. A new Pew Research Center survey of 5,035 U.S. adults examines a basic step in that process: whether members of the public can recognize news as factual – something that's capable of being proved or disproved by objective evidence – or as an opinion that reflects the beliefs and values of whoever expressed it.

The findings from the survey, conducted between Feb. 22 and March 8, reveal that even this basic task presents a challenge. The main portion of the study, which measured the public's ability to distinguish between five factual statements and five opinion statements, found that a majority of Americans correctly identified at least three of the five statements in each set. But this result is only a little better than random guesses. Far fewer Americans got all five correct, and roughly a quarter got most or all wrong. Even more revealing is that certain Americans do far better at parsing through this content than others. Those with high political awareness, those who are very digitally savvy and those who place high levels of trust in the news media are better able than others to accurately identify news-related statements as factual or opinion.

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The State's new publisher, a child of the South, is ready to serve Columbia, S.C. 6/12/18

By Rodney Mahone, president and publisher, The State, Columbia, S.C.

When I was introduced as the new president and publisher of The State and four other McClatchy Co. newspapers in South Carolina and North Carolina, some were wondering, "Who is this guy, and what might we expect?"

At the heart of the answer is this: I'm a child of the South, raised with the values of family, faith and service. I'm a man of the South, who has lived and raised his children in the goodness of this region. And, yes, as an African-American man of the South, I know the darkness that is part of our story.

I'm also an Army brat, who moved every two years until eighth grade, learning new places, new cultures and new countries, making new friends, and seeking to become part of new communities over and over.

Those experiences, this upbringing and its challenges and opportunities have shaped me and inform what you can expect from me as publisher of this esteemed institution.

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Facebook hits back at publishers with archive policy 6/12/18

Speaking at Axios' Media Trends event Monday night, Facebook's head of global news partnerships Campbell Brown formally announced a policy to try to appease publishers' concerns over a controversial archive of political ads on its platform, which would also include ads promoting publishers' political content.

Why it matters: It's Facebook's latest effort to make nice with publishers, which continue to show frustration with changes and experiments to news functions on its platform.

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Almost seven-in-ten Americans have news fatigue, more among Republicans 6/5/18

If you feel like there is too much news and you can't keep up, you are not alone. A sizable portion of Americans are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of news there is, though the sentiment is more common on the right side of the political spectrum, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted from Feb. 22 to March 4, 2018.

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One Alabama paper's business model features a chair and cigar box 5/8/18

For almost a century, a single wooden chair has been sitting on the aptly named Rural Street in Evergreen, Ala. Nobody knows exactly how long "the chair," as it's simply and lovingly called, has been there. Most say since at least World War II, or even the 1920s – as long as the Bozeman family has owned it. It's old, and has lost a few slats over the years, but the oak skeleton is still strong enough to support a stack of The Evergreen Courant every week. And on top of those newspapers sits a small black cigar box with a worn label reading "50¢." With no online presence to speak of, the weekly newspaper relies on this honor system to sell copies – though most of its revenue comes from a pool of dedicated subscribers.

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Here's how an Alabama newspaper marked the opening of the nation's first lynching memorial 4/30/18

John Williams. Gaines Hall. Buck Steward. Pete Zeigler. Jim Acoff. Henry Ivy. Willy Webb.

The names go on and on, 313 in all, printed in white against a dark backdrop, each a testament to a whole life stolen through the horrific American legacy of lynching.

The stunning presentation graced the front page of last Thursday's Montgomery Advertiser to mark the opening of The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the nation's first memorial to lynching victims, alongside a new museum in Alabama's capital that chronicles America's history of racism.

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Local newspapers fear tariffs could cripple them 4/24/18

The Tampa Bay Times, Florida's largest newspaper, said this week that it is cutting about 50 jobs. Publisher Paul Tash told CNN Money that tariffs have added an additional $3 million in expenses that the paper can't absorb.

In this article, see how tariffs also are affecting newspapers published by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. and Boone Newspapers.

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McClatchy announces 12 President's Awards for journalism excellence 4/10/18

McClatchy has announced 12 President's Awards for journalists who held officials accountable, forced transparency into dark corners of government and told stories that connected with millions of readers around the U.S. in original, compelling and essential ways.

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