The BizBeat – September 1st, 2016

Each Thursday, MediaFile’s Business section will publish The BizBeat, an overview of the past week’s news in media organizations and industry. Think Reliable Sources meets TheSkimm meets BloombergBusiness. Have a tip, see something we missed, or want to put something on our radar? E-mail Shiplett@Mediafile.com.


Making Headlines

Quite a week for Facebook:

  • After receiving complaints about curating procedures for its “trending news” section, Facebook made the decision to lay off its human editors (19 curators, seven copyeditors) and rely solely on an algorithm to compile the trends. A three days later, the algorithm allowed a fake story on Megyn Kelly to enter into the “trending topics” list. Whoops.
  • During a Q&A session at Luiss University in Rome, Mark Zuckerberg iterated that Facebook “is a tech company, not a media company” when asked about the site’s news and media future. A number of media and tech writers disagree.

Getting Down to Business

  • Tribune Media will sell its iconic Tribune Tower in Chicago to Los Angeles-based CIM Group for up to $240 million, reports the Chicago Tribune. The deal marks another milestone in Tribune’s ongoing organizational changes, which have included the notorious creation of publishing conglomerate Tronc, the tower’s largest tenant.
  • Viacom’s departing CEO Philippe Dauman sold almost all of his stock in the media company since resigning earlier this month. Dauman gained almost $59.4 million from the sales in only eight days, per BloombergMarkets. Talk about a severance package!
  • Charter Communications, Inc (CHTR) will join the S&P 500, Benzinga reports, replacing EMC Corporation that was acquired by Dell earlier this year. The announcement spiked after hours trading prices of Charter stock by almost $10 per share.

On the Radar

  • Condé Nast may be facing cuts to its organizational structure and publishing operations, reports Women’s Wear Daily. After the completion of September fashion issues, the media giant may be looking to reduce costs and pivot their focus from print production to digital publishing.
  • Gannett/Tronc negotiations: Last Friday, Tronc stock prices surged to to $17.66 per share after news broke that Gannett would offer around $18 per share in continuance of its previous attempts to buy out the company. The $18 offer from Gannett marked an almost 20 percent increase from their last offer made in May of $15 per share. Brooke Sutherland at Bloomberg predicts that Tronc’s next counteroffer may rise to $20 per share.
  • Vice Media, in partnership with HBO, has begun to hype its upcoming daily news TV show, “Vice News Tonight”. Although Vice is partially owned by mainstream media conglomerates like 21st Century Fox and A&E Networks, the millennial-targeted show promises “no anchors, no sponsors, no censors” to bring audiences “journalism without the makeup” and “truth without the talking heads”.

Arrivals

  • The Hill reports that Ed Henry will return to Fox News as their Chief National Correspondent after a four-month hiatus. Henry was previously the network’s chief White House correspondent, but was sidelined after his affair with Las Vegas “hostess” Natalia Lima was revealed.
  • President Obama will guest edit WIRED’s November Issue, per an announcement Tuesday, marking the first time a magazine has been guest-edited by a sitting President. Past WIRED guest editors have included J.J. Abrahms, Bill Gates, and Serena Williams. The theme for the issue will be “Frontiers” and will be available on select newsstands, WIRED.com, and tablet editions on October 18.
  • Millennials can revive elementary school memories with a newly announced Netflix talk show featuring none other than scientist Bill Nye. “Bill Nye Saves the World” will tackle a variety of topics from a scientific perspective, aiming to dispel myths and refuting claims from public figures. Science rules!
  • BuzzFeed News announced that it will be partering with the Newseum to re-launch its interview series, “BuzzFeed Brews”, that aims to put politicians in more casual settings in front of a live audience in Washington D.C. Beginning on September 20, the series will feature members of Congress who have championed specific causes, with its first guests being Senators Corey Booker and Mike Lee.

Departures

    • Arianna Huffington officially leaves Huffington Post today to lead a new start-up, Thrive Global. While it’s clear Huffington will leave a legacy at HuffPo, some are saying it was time for her to go.
    • After 22 years, Charles Osgood, longtime host of “CBS Sunday Morning” announced this week that he will retire from the show on September 25. CBS reports that Osgood will continue to make occasional appearances on the program, and will continue to provide commentary on CBS radio.

  • After the revelation of a new sexting scandal, the past week was nothing short of a cliche, sad country song for Anthony Weiner – and perhaps rightly so. Not only has Weiner’s soon-to-be ex-wife Human Abedin announced her plans to divorce him, New York Daily News and NY1, where Weiner occasionally contributed, have said their goodbyes as well.

Taking Stock

Prices as of closing on Wednesday, August 31. 

  • Time Warner Inc. (TWX): $78.41
  • Twenty First Century Fox Inc. (FOX): $24.85
  • CBS Corp. (CBS): $51.03
  • News Corp. (NWS): $14.43
  • The New York Times Company (NYT):  $12.94
  • Viacom (VIA): $45.19
  • Gannett Co. (GCI): $11.93
  • Tribune Media Company (TRCO): $38.08

In Other News

    • At Skagway News, journalists really do it all: David Uberti of Columbia Journalism Report dives into the background of a job posting for a bi-weekly in remote Alaska that asks applicants to write, edit, design, and deliver the publication.
    • Last Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the broadcasted murders of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward. WDBJ held a memorial in rememberance at the Roanoke, Virginia station.

  • Twitter during MTV’s Music Video Awards is almost as entertaining as the show itself. This year, Huffington Post posted some questionable tweets during the event, including one some are claiming was anti-semitic. Many of HuffPo’s tweets from the night have since been deleted.

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