MRC Weekly Digest – 12th November 2021
By Media Reform Coalition / Friday November 12, 2021
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.
Our Manifesto for a People’s Media is out!
Over the last few months, we have been busy writing our Manifesto for a People’s 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.
Read the manifesto
The Yes Men’s genius double-bluff prank at COP26: #YASAVA
This week, activist pranksters the Yes Men were back for another climate action at COP26. It hasn’t had much attention…but we can change that!
Their speciality is creating ridiculous fake companies, and getting big time investors, organisations, and even governments to recognise them as real, to expose the absurdity of capitalist dealings.
But after being noted in The Guardian and The National, it transpired this one was not what it initially seemed, involving quite the double bluff…
And please share with the hashtag #YASAVA and #COP26.
This Week’s Media News:
(Written by Eliz Mizon, edited by Cléo Celeste)
- Tech culture magazine The Verge has announced a significant update to its ethics policy: when reporters seek information from sources they will, by default, be assumed to be ‘on the record’. In a post the company stated: “big tech companies in particular have hired a dizzying array of communications staff who routinely push the boundaries of acceptable sourcing in an effort to deflect accountability, pass the burden of truth to the media, and generally control the narratives”. (The Verge)
- Myanmar’s junta has charged US journalist Danny Fenster, who was arrested in May during the military coup, with sedition and terrorism. He is facing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. (The Guardian)
- Internal legal documents for conservative activist group Project Veritas obtained by The New York Times reveal “the extent to which the group has worked with its lawyers to gauge how far its deceptive reporting practices can go before running afoul of federal laws.” The group is being investigated by the FBI after allegations its members stole a diary belonging to President Biden’s daughter, and has been accused of “political spying” while posing as a media outlet. (NYT)
- YouTube will no longer display the dislike count on its videos, to reduce the impact of ‘dislike attacks’ on small creators’ videos. The button itself will remain. (YouTube)
- Meta has announced that from 2022 it will “no longer allow advertisers to select terms for ad targeting related to sensitive identifying traits, such as race, ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.” (Axios)
- The Ozy saga continues: the company is now being investigated by the Dept of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. (NYT)
- Illinois has become the first US state to require media literacy classes for high school students. (Axios)
- In “the first of what is expected to be many” lawsuits, the gaffer from the crew of Rust has filed a complaint of general negligence against the production and its financiers, plus numerous individuals including actor Alec Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, first Assistant Director David Halls, prop master Sarah Zachry, and armorer mentor Seth Kenny. (Deadline)
- A new media platform, Workweek, has been launched to provide business journalists with a home outside paywalled sites such as white papers and trade publications. “Influential business content is no longer limited to Wall Street Journal articles or Gartner white papers, but also comes in the form of Tweets, product reviews, YouTube clips, newsletters, and more,” the COO has explained. The company plans to take a cut of journalists’ revenue, but offers benefits rare for US workers, including 120 days of parental leave. (Axios)
- Channel 4 and Instagram are collaborating on a “world first real-time reality series” which will be broadcast via Instagram’s native functions such as reels, stories and feed videos. (Campaign Live)
- A Swedish production company is making a TV series about the history of torrent site The Pirate Bay. (Torrent Freak)
- Gadget reviewers for NYT’s Wirecutter imprint have announced they are planning a strike around one of their busiest annual events, Black Friday, over pay. (Bloomberg)
- Magazine publisher Hearst has announced that it will change its policy of charging freelancers for prompt payment, after author Roxane Gay called them out on it on Twitter. (Off the Record)