MRC Weekly Digest – 30th April 2021

By Media Reform Coalition / Friday April 30, 2021 Read More
Hi everyone! Eliz Mizon here with the Media Reform Coalition blog every Friday. For even more news about media/work/politics, plus extra content/campaigns/jobs, you can follow me at Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture. For now, here’s your media news digest! _____ Our New Public Media Campaign: The BBC and Beyond. The MRC’s new campaign, ‘The BBC and Beyond: Reimagining Public Media’, launches today and aims to defend and re-envision public media in the digital age. Over the next couple of months we will be running a series of public events – the next three we have planned are:  All the events will be streamed on the MRC Twitter and Facebook and YouTube. See you there!  Find all the info about the campaign at the dedicated website: _____ The Liberalism Inc conference from last week is now available to stream, for free, in a dedicated YouTube playlist. Marking the Guardian’s bicentennial, alongside a book about the paper’s past and present, last week’s free online conference explored topics crucial for the Guardian’s journalists, readers and leaders, and wider industry issues. The lineup included Gary Younge, Priya Gopal, Alan Rusbridger, Brian Cathcart and many other interesting journalists, campaigners, and academics.

This Week’s Media News

  • Jon Snow has announced he will be leaving Channel 4 News later this year, after 32 years. (Channel 4)
  • The USA’s liberal news media has lit up in reporting President Biden’s speech to Congress marking his first 100 days in office. John F. Harris called it “the most ambitious ideological statement made by any Democratic president in decades”. Biden pledged to “expand both free pre-school and community college, to subsidize the shift to a low-carbon economy, to fund a massive way of new public works construction by taxing the very wealthy” and address the climate crisis by creating ‘green jobs’.  (Politico)
  • YouTube’s ad revenue in the first quarter of 2021 was more than $6 billion, up from $4 billion in the same quarter of 2020, a 50 percent year-over-year increase. (The Hollywood Reporter)
  • The NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America has published a comprehensive pay equity study of Gannett, the largest publisher in the US by circulation, owner of USA Today and numerous local papers. It’s found significant racial and sexual disparity in the employee makeup, as well as clear pay inequity for women and journalists of color across the company’s newsrooms (the biggest gender pay gap, $30k, is at the Arizona Republic). (CJR)
  • Channel 4 has launched its first-ever ‘pregnancy loss policy’, designed to support both women and men employees through pregnancy loss – which includes, but is not limited to, miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion. (Channel4)
  • Facebook will give $5 million to local journalists as part of a $1 billion plan to address US ‘news deserts’. Beginning a newsletter model tied to the Pages function, building from the success of platforms such as Substack, they have stated they’ll focus on writers who cover areas with no local news presence, and focus on audiences of colour. (Reuters)
  • Amazon is spending over $1 billion to create wage increases for its operations workers, promising raises of between 50 cents and $3 an hour to more than 500k workers. This follows the union fight in Bessemer, in which union organisers who were campaigning on better treatment rather than increased payment, were not successful. (GeekWire)
  • Verizon is exploring a sale of Yahoo and AOL. The companies include sites such as TechCrunch and Yahoo Finance – and though their revenue runs into the billions, they failed to make their financial targets. Verizon sold HuffPost to Buzzfeed earlier this year, sold Tumblr to WordPress, and has cut jobs. (WSJ)
  • Facebook has said that it temporarily hid posts in India with the hashtag ‘ResignModi’ “by mistake”, not because the Indian government told them to. Both Facebook and Twitter appeared to comply with a legal order to censor some high-profile posts critical of the government’s handling of the worsening coronavirus pandemic. The government argued they were at risk of inciting ‘panic’. (TechCrunch)
  • Sirin Kale and Lucy Osborne have written an account for the Guardian outlining details from 20 women who allege serious, long-standing sexual misconduct by Noel Clarke. BAFTA has suspended his membership after they gave him an outstanding contribution award only a few weeks ago. (The Guardian)
The Digital Media Division of NPR is the latest media team to unionise, and, in a rare turn of events, has been voluntarily recognised by NPR management within 48 hours. (Digital Media United)