Hi everyone, Eliz Mizon here with the Media Reform Coalition blog every Friday.
For even more media news and analysis, the latest media reform campaigns, and intriguing content from around the web, follow me at Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture.
For now, here’s your media news digest.
Over the last few months we have been busy writing our Manifesto for a People Media, drawing on the ideas put forward by you!
The manifesto draws on conversations with dozens of organisations and individuals, and 9 Town Hall events attended by nearly 30,000 people. It includes proposals for a People’s BBC and Channel 4, which would be radically transformed to become far more devolved and participatory. And it includes proposals for an Independent Media Commons – a thriving ecology of participatory newsrooms, community radio stations, digital innovators and cultural producers, supported by democratically-controlled public resources to tell the stories of all the UK’s communities.
We are now working on a series of podcasts, animations and short videos to bring the ideas in the manifesto to life, so keep an eye out for those.
This Week’s Media News
- Buzzfeed is now a publicly-traded company (BZFD). After commentators claimed that its performance on the stock market could spell the future of digital media, the stock price has continued to fall each day since its debut. (Vox/NYT)
- Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, faced a grilling from US lawmakers over ongoing criticism of Instagram’s impact on children. Senator Richard Blumenthal said “the time for self-policing and self-regulation is over”, with Mosseri responding by highlighting other platforms’ culpability and calling on the government to regulate social media more widely. (NPR)
- Wirecutter Union, a group of organised staff in the product review section of the New York Times, have announced they are filing an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board after the company “illegally withheld holiday pay in retaliation for striking”. (Wirecutter Union on Twitter)
- A Media Matters researcher who listened to 350+ hours of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast from 2021 has claimed that COVID misinformation has become “core” to its premise, and says it highlights Spotify’s inaction in properly moderating its content. (The Verge)
- IHeartMedia is the latest media organisation to unionise. The “vast majority” of staff have voted to unionise and are now asking management to voluntarily recognise and negotiate with them. (Bloomberg)
- A report by the Committee to Protect Journalists has found that the number of reporters jailed for their work hit a new global record of 293 in 2021. It claims “at least 24 journalists were killed because of their coverage so far this year”. (CPJ)
- Songs of Disappearance, an album of the calls and songs of 53 threatened bird species, has beaten Mariah Carey, Michael Buble and Abba to get to No 5 on Australia’s Aria music chart. (The Guardian)
- Australian legislators are “split” on whether to conduct a “royal-commission style inquiry” into Murdoch’s media monopoly. The potential investigation is the key recommendation of a year-long Senate inquiry into media diversity led by the Australian Greens, a coalition of ecological- and social justice-focused political parties. (Sydney Morning Herald)
- All major UK broadcasters have agreed to stop using the generic term ‘BAME’ “wherever possible”. The move comes after recommendations from the Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity at Birmingham City University. (Deadline)
- After an “exceptional” year of profit-making surpassing its own expectations, The FT will give all its journalists a £5k bonus. (Press Gazette)
- In the latest update to the phone-hacking scandal, Sienna Miller has settled with The Sun newspaper rather than face a “multimillion-pound legal bill” to take the case to trial. The paper appears to have illegally obtained her medical records through a “blagger”, and subsequently published details of the actor’s pregnancy before she had told her family. (The Guardian)
- Two major creative advocacy groups have merged and relaunched as Creative UK. The Creative Industries Federation, a data and advocacy group, has come together with the training and investment team at Creative England. Together they will continue their mission to “champion, connect, support and invest in creative people and businesses, using creativity to shape the UK’s social, cultural, and economic future.” (Creative UK)
- Kevin Spacey has been directed to pay MRC, the production company behind House of Cards, $30 million for losses incurred after his mid-season firing for misconduct. A court ruled that Spacey “violated his contract’s demands for professional behaviour” by engaging in “certain conduct in connection with several crew members in each of the five seasons that he starred in and executive produced House of Cards”. (The Guardian)
(Written by Eliz Mizon, edited by Cléo Celeste)