The BizBeat – September 22, 2016

Each Thursday, MediaFile’s Business section publishes The BizBeat, an overview of the past week’s news in media organizations and industry. Have a tip, see something we missed, or want to put something on our radar? E-mail

Making Headlines

    • To pardon, or not to pardon: The Washington Post editorial board made headlines this week when it published an opinionated piece with a simple message: no pardon for Edward Snowden. Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept noted that this is the first time a paper’s editorial board has called for the prosecution of its own source – even after the paper won a pulitzer for reporting on them. Since, the Post has seen a slew of backlash, even from within its own newsroom: media columnist and ex-New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan published a piece for the Post three days later, arguing for Snowden’s pardon. Other Post reporters (like Dan Zak below) have further revealed the newsroom divide. Read MediaFile Editor-in-Chief Scott Nover’s response to the controversy here.

Getting Down to Business

    • First came Gannett, then comes The Guardian: Last Thursday, Politico reported that The Guardian will be reducing the staff for its U.S. operations by 30 percent across the board. Guardian Media Group CEO David Pemsel called the mass firings as a “course correction”, while other leaders in the British news organization cited poor ad sales and “revenue projections”. Sources report the layoffs will amount to approximately 50 people out of a 150-person operation, and layoffs on the business side of the organization will begin immediately.
    • Things are moving quickly with Gawker Media – or should we say, Gizmodo Media. Following its acquisition by Univision, Gawker Media Group has been renamed Gizmodo Media Group, after Gawker’s famed tech blog Gizmodo. On Wednesday afternoon, Univision shuffled changes along even further, naming editor Raju Narisetti as the new CEO of Gizmodo Media Group. Narisetti is currently the Senior Vice President of Strategy for News Corp. and previously worked as Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network.

On the Radar

  • On Tuesday, Variety reported that Fox News host Megyn Kelly has been slated to produce a new scripted comedy series with “Fifty Shades of Grey” producer Michael De Luca that follows a presidential campaign trail and journalists reporting on it. “Embeds”, a political comedy available through Verizon’s Go90 streaming service, will be a mini-series with six half-hour episodes and politician cameos throughout. Peter Hamby, the lead of Snapchat’s news efforts, and Scott Conroy, co-author of Sarah Palin biography “Sarah from Alaska”, co-created the show and wrote the pilot. The team is aiming to air the first episode of the show by Election Day.

  • Vox Media Inc., which operates popular technology sites The Verge and Recode, is beginning to prepare to expand internationally, per a Bloomberg report. The expansion would follow other outlets, specifically those popular with millenials, in bringing U.S. brands and news content to overseas markets. Johnathan Hunt, who joined Vox last year from Vice Media, will be the company’s point person in exploring opportunities abroad.


    • NPR Shuffle: As long time “Morning Edition” host Renee Montagne is slated to step down from her role on the show, NPR reported that it will be shifting some regular hosts to different programs and adding new voices to the mix. Rachel Martin, who currently hosts “Weekend Edition Sunday”, will be taking Montagne’s spot alongside hosts David Greene and Steve Inskeep. Lulu Garcia-Navarro, who is currently NPR’s South America Correspondent, will be picking up Rachel’s mantle on the Sunday show. Martin will begin her new role in December, and Garcia-Navarro will join “Weekend Edition” in January.

  • Michael Slackman has been named the new international editor of The New York Times, per a Politico report. Slackman’s arrival comes as previous international editor Joe Kahn has been promoted to managing editor of the Times, in what some are calling a “surprise move” in a recent trend of senior position shifts. Slackman previously served as international managing editor under Kahn, and is a seasoned foreign correspondent who has a wealth of experience in running international coverage from day to day.
  • The Wall Street Journal will start invading inboxes with their new acquisition, The Daily Shot, a “global markets and macroeconomics” e-mail newsletter that already has 35,000 subscribers world-wide. The Journal’s announcement reports that the newsletter is meant for financially-savvy audiences to “speed read the markets” on mobile devices every morning and places special emphasis on topics that are of special interest to investors. The ownership transition for the newsletter will occur on November 1st.

Taking Stock

Prices as of closing on Wednesday, September 21. Changes reflect difference from last week’s report. 

  • Time Warner Inc. (TWX): $76.66 (up $0.44)
  • Twenty First Century Fox Inc. (FOX): $24.00 (up $0.38)
  • CBS Corp. (CBS): $50.08 (down $2.06)
  • News Corp. (NWS): $14.28 (down $0.15)
  • The New York Times Company (NYT):  $12.29 (up $0.04)
  • Viacom (VIA): $40.51 (down $1.38)
  • Gannett Co. (GCI): $11.30 (down $0.38)
  • Tribune Media Company (TRCO): $34.70 (down $2.61)

In Other News

    • Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go… Twitter? A while ago, the National Football League (NFL) and Twitter announced a streaming partnership for Thursday Night Football. In what the league calls its “Tri-Cast distribution”, Twitter will digitally live-stream the games broadcast by NBC, CBS, and NFL Network for free to its users each Thursday night. This past Thursday’s game started the series, and pulled in some serious audience numbers. Twitter will continue to flex its streaming muscle in the coming week with live feeds of the upcoming presidential debates.

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