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.
Another group of powerful men in media, this time at video games giant Activision Blizzard, have been exposed as abusers. The Wall Street Journal has published a damning exposé of a ‘frat culture’, which comes after hundreds of official complaints from employees.
Staff have since responded en masse, taking collective action in an attempt to finally remove CEO Bobby Kotick, who is alleged to have known about and covered up abuse rife in the company for years.
This Week’s Media News
- An “independent and confidential HR service” has been set up by comedians Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Nina Gilligan “with the aim of making the live comedy industry safer to work in for everyone”. Their first initiative is a survey for comedians to research experiences of unwanted sexual behaviour while working. (Beyond the Joke)
- Danny Fenster, the US journalist sentenced by Myanmar’s junta to 11 years in prison last week, has now been freed and is flying out of the country. (The Guardian)
- Members of the film production union IATSE have voted to ratify a new contract, ending the threat of strike action. “More members actually voted against the deal than for it, with 50.4% voting no and 49.6% voting yes. But the outcome was determined by the delegate vote, an electoral college-style system.” (Variety)
- Following in Facebook’s footsteps, Google has agreed a deal with Agence France-Presse to host the publisher’s content in Europe. It’s the first under the 2019 EU directive for ‘neighbouring rights’. (Yahoo! News)
- Three YouTubers in Japan were fined and given suspended sentences for creating ‘fast movies’ – films heavily edited down to a few minutes that summarise the plot. (Torrent Freak)
- Feminist magazine Jezebel has shed staff at an alarming rate since hiring new Deputy Editorial Director Lea Goldman. “…nine of the website’s employees have quit — about 75 percent of its editorial staff. Those employees include the editor-in-chief, deputy editor, features editor, and six full-time writers.” (Gawker)
- New York Times workers have been protesting outside their HQ again, due to a delay in contract talks. The protesters are made up of staff from several unions within the company such as the Wirecutter Union and the Times Guild. (NYT)
- A bipartisan coalition of US state attorneys general has launched an investigation into Meta, the company that owns Instagram, for its continuing promotion of the app to children. It was revealed last month that the company’s own research showed its potential harms. (The Guardian)
- A Cision poll has found that 73% of women in UK journalism believe there is still a “glass ceiling” in the industry. Similarly, the US’s Women’s Media Center found that 69% of print news and 57% of online news is written by men. (Press Gazette/Women’s Media Center)
- Discovery+ has ordered a two-part documentary about the domestic violence case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, in which the two episodes will consider the case from each actor’s point of view. (The Hollywood Reporter)
- Andrew Marr is leaving the BBC after 21 years, with gigs lined up at LBC and Classic FM. He has claimed he “wants his voice back”. (Sky News)
Written by Eliz Mizon, edited by Cléo Celeste