MRC Weekly Digest – 14th May 2021

By Media Reform Coalition / Friday May 14, 2021 Read More
Hi everyone, Eliz Mizon here with the Media Reform Coalition blog every Friday. For even more media news and analysis, plus the latest campaigns, content, and UK media jobs, follow me at Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture. For now, here’s your media news digest!

Update on our current campaign: The BBC and Beyond – Reimagining Public Media 

We’ve got another event tonight on Protest, Dissent and the Media, part of the Writing on the Wall Festival.  Do tune in at 6pm this evening to hear our fantastic panel of speakers: Cameron Joshi (Global Justice Bloc), Anatasia Veneti (Bournemouth University), Marcus Gilroy-Ware (Bristol UWE) and Billy Vitch (photographer & Merseyside BLM Alliance.) We had another successful event last night on Lessons from Community Media – if you missed it you can watch it back on the MRC Youtube Channel.  The Liberalism Inc conference also remains available to stream, for free, in a dedicated YouTube playlist. PLUS: We are always looking for contributions for our Manifesto for a People’s Media that we’ll be putting together this summer – if you have any great ideas on how to reform public media, you can contribute your thoughts on the BBC and Beyond website.

This Week’s Media News

  • VICE UK’s union is campaigning to implement a four-day work week with no reduction in pay; Vice Media Group management is said to be “considering“ the proposal. If successful, more than fifty staffers would be the first major UK newsroom workers to benefit from the change. Numerous trials have shown that a reduced workweek often correlates to increased wellbeing and productivity, and the movement is gaining traction. (Press Gazette/Stuff)
  • The 2022 Golden Globes ceremony has been cancelled amid controversy about its lack of diversity. Numerous celebrities and companies have spoken out about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s membership, voting, and interviewing practices, and its general culture of secrecy and inequity. (NYT/Deadline)
  • OpenDemocracy has chosen to go public with the story that Jeffrey Donaldson, a former aide to Enoch Powell and prospective DUP leader, sued them. The outlet had published reporting unfavourable about the DUP and companies with links to Donaldson, who “dragged the ordeal out over two years […] costing thousands” the outlet says. The article makes a point about the vulnerability of small newsrooms holding power to account. (Open Democracy)
  • The cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced it will no longer negotiate salaries with staff, but instead “offer identical pay to every employee in the same position and location”. (Historical criticism of Coinbase’s workplace practices is covered extensively in this Intelligencer piece.) (Protocol/New York Magazine)
  • TikTok has launched a new campaign, #FactCheckYourFeed, alongside high-profile creators and celebrities to promote media literacy in the UK. Media Literacy charity The Student View and BBC’s Dan Walker are two of those involved in promoting the campaign to users. (TikTok)
  • A journalist has been jailed for three years for reporting on the anti-coup protests against the military junta in Myanmar. The charge is ‘incitement’. On Thursday, authorities announced that a Japanese reporter would be freed. (Reuters)
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists has called internet shutdowns in Myanmar, Ethiopia, and Kashmir, in the midst of political violence, “a human rights violation”. (CPJ)
  • Streaming service kweliTV, founded in 2015 to focus on Black stories, now has 43k users despite a lack of venture capital funding. This profile of DeShuna Spencer, who founded the platform and has been the only full-time employee, outlines some of the thinking behind the platform, diversity, and creating new media ecosystems. (CNN Business)
  • China’s government has taken to Western social media to boost their profile – and has seemingly done well. However, an Associated Press and Oxford Internet Institute investigation reveals that “an army of fake accounts […] have retweeted Chinese diplomats and state media tens of thousands of times, covertly amplifying propaganda that can reach hundreds of millions of people — often without disclosing the fact that the content is government-sponsored.” (AP)
  • Popular podcaster Joe Budden appears to have fired two co-hosts from his eponymous show after an argument was leaked. Official statements have yet to appear, but former co-hosts Rory Farrell and Jamil “Mal” Clay are apparently contesting their rate of pay, while transcripts see Budden saying that he “overpaid” and “overprotected” Farrell, before firing them. (Variety)
  • Ellen Degeneres has taken the decision to end her popular talk show. She says it’s because she needs a new creative challenge, and not because of bullying allegations that surfaced last year. (The Hollywood Reporter)