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.
Make Your Voice Heard
There are a number of government consultations on the media with upcoming deadlines – have a look at these and please make your voice heard if any of them stir something in you!
- Ofcom consultation on The Future of Media Plurality in the UK – closes August 10
- Government consultation on the privatisation of Channel 4 – closes September 14
- Ofcom consultation on How Ofcom regulates the BBC – closes September 15
- Government consultation on a new pro-competition regime for digital markets – closes October 1
Financial Support for Screen Industry Workers
If you’re facing unexpected costs or a short-term financial shortfall, the Film and TV Charity are open for grants of up to £800. You’ll need at least 2 years’ proven professional experience behind the scenes in the UK film, TV and cinema industry to apply.
Capitalism’s Mascot Magazine Now Has a Union
Congratulations to the staff at Forbes Magazine, who have formed a union via the National Labor Relations Board this week with a 90.5% vote, after management refused to voluntarily recognise them.
This Week’s Media News
- Former intelligence analyst Daniel Hale, who leaked documents about US drone strikes that killed civilians to The Intercept, has been charged with violation of the Espionage Act and jailed for 45 months. Judge Liam O’Grady noted his “courageous and principled stance” but said: “You could have been a whistleblower . . . without taking any of these documents.” (WaPo)
- Both Netflix and the Washington Post have clarified vaccination policies for their workers this week. Netflix has stipulated that all cast and ‘Zone A’ crew – those who come into contact with actors – must be vaccinated, as must all WaPo employees before their return to the office in September. (Deadline/NYT)
- Alan Jones, a prominent Australian columnist for its Daily Telegraph newspaper, has been fired for an anti-lockdown stance and otherwise minimising the danger of COVID-19. (The Guardian)
- The Maltese state is responsible for the death of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia due to its fostering of a “culture of impunity”, according to an inquiry into her assassination. (Times of Malta)
- Gawker has officially returned, relaunched under the editorship of former features editor Leah Finnegan. It was put out of business five years ago via a lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan and financed by Peter Thiel. (Gawker)
- The overall UK advertising spend for the press sector is forecast to grow by 18% in 2021, completely recovering 2020’s £2bn decline. According to an Advertising Association report, “the UK market is expected to be worth a record £30bn in 2022.” (Press Gazette)
- Alden, the hedge fund that bought Tribune earlier this year and bought out a significant number of its staff, has now shut down one of the company’s local papers which was in circulation for more than 40 years. “A brief, unsigned note to readers at the bottom of Thursday’s front page announced the closing: ‘Due to the changing habits of our readers and the shifting demands of our advertisers, The Bowie Blade-News will cease print publication effective immediately’.” (NYT)
- Fact-checking website Snopes has crowdfunded $1.7 million to help fight ongoing legal battles. A “complex dispute” between Snopes’ 20-person team and a former tech publishing company over the ownership of its website, which CEO David Mikkelsen calls “corporate bullying”, has continued for four years. (Axios)