News Bites is our quick snack of public media news that you may have missed...


‘An Election Night That Could Last Weeks’: How News Publishers Are Updating Their Digital Strategies for the Results Long Haul

Election night could become election month as more Americans seek alternatives to voting in person.

But despite more people having the chance to vote ahead of November 3, a large portion of those ballots legally cannot be counted until election day. What’s more, depending on the state, some mail-in ballots are still valid if postmarked by the election day itself, further delaying the finally tally.

It’s likely we will know who the next president is by the December holiday season. But that means news publishers have upwards of a month-and-a-half before they are able to make their call. It also means that they have a month-and-a-half to compete for traffic as audiences search for the latest election updates online. READ MORE AT DIGIDAY...

In Praise of PBS, a True Democratic Institution

On Oct. 4, 1970, the Public Broadcasting Service entered the airwaves with an episode of “The French Chef.” Next month will mark 50 years of television that aims to educate and unite.

Public television today enjoys unmatched public trust — at a time when those two words have become almost an oxymoron — perhaps because PBS is an inherently democratic institution. But not by glossing over differences. READ MORE AT NYT...

WGA East Supports ‘Future Of Local News Commission Act’ To Save Struggling News Outlets

Hoping to save local news outlets whose advertising revenues have plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic, the WGA East is supporting the Future of Local News Commission Act, which was introduced today in the U.S. Senate.

The proposed law would create a commission of 13 members to examine the implications to America’s democracy if the public does not have access to local newspapers, digital sites and broadcasting outlets in every state and territory; in rural, urban, suburban and tribal communities; and those serving Black and non-English-speaking communities. READ MORE...

Pennsylvania PBS Pilots Datacasting’s Capabilities for at-Home Learning

A yawning chasm called the digital divide segregates American communities with high-speed internet access from those without, and educators are scrambling to keep the have-nots from falling behind in their studies as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into another academic year.

“We’re looking for whatever solutions we can to make sure that all kids can learn. Some of these students who are in these situations are already in poverty, and education becomes a pathway out of poverty,” said Ben Smith, who taught high-school physics for 27 years and now serves as assistant director of educational technology for 25 school districts across south-central Pennsylvania. READ MORE AT CURRENT...

An Algorithm for Empowering Public Service News

SR is Sweden’s national public broadcaster and leading audio company, with 1,900 staff stationed in over 50 locations around the country. Representing the whole population and covering both underreported areas and issues are central strategic ambitions as expressed in our new vision: “More voices and more powerful stories for greater understanding.”

Giving prominence to their unique public service values – called “SR values” – is at the heart of a year-long project to create an editorial algorithm for news from scratch. The algorithm is powered by “news values” – a system by which editors rate every one of the hundreds of news stories produced by SR every day. The pre-publication rating feeds the algorithm that in turn helps automate and personalise the news experience for a wide and diverse audience. READ MORE...

What Happens When a Newspaper Dies?

The Youngstown Vindicator, a 150-year-old newspaper, announced in the summer of 2019 that it was closing. The fate of the newspaper known as the “Vindy” was a painful blow to its northeast Ohio city and a grim symbol of the growing distress in America’s local news industry.

The news was also the inspiration for a new documentary called “Newstown” by former Youngstown resident Craig Duff, a professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Duff, a former CNN and Time.com producer, took his cameras to Youngstown and found much more than a simple tale of urban decline. “Newstown” is a nuanced story about journalists both inside and outside of Youngstown fighting to overcome the Vindy’s loss and keep the community informed. READ MORE...