Posts tagged with "John Stanton"

Tech’s Impact on Journalism

In the epicenter of big tech, Representative Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) joined Audrey Cooper, the Executive Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, CEO of CalMatters and the former Executive Editor of Bay Area News Group Neil Chase, and Save Journalism Project co-founders Laura Bassett, a laid-off HuffPost reporter, and John Stanton, laid-off former D.C. bureau chief of BuzzFeed, to shine a light on the plight of local news and a key culprit: big tech.   

n the first quarter of 2019, the media has shed more than 2,400 jobs – including East Bay Express staffers – and, over the past 10 years, newsrooms have declined in size by 45%. The plight of the journalism industry has generated bipartisan congressional action, a rather unique occurrence in this polarized political climate. And while the journalism industry faces many challenges, the focus of Congress’ current action is to halt big tech’s negative impact on the economic sustainability of the free press. Wednesday’s speakers will address this unusual bipartisan action and the widespread consequences of the loss of local news.

According to Representative Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), “Not that long ago, the Bay Area was home to over 1,500 journalists, but now there are less than 300 serving roughly 7 million people. This problem is not unique to our community—it is happening in every corner of the country, and we need to act. During a time when fact and accountability are under constant attack, today’s conversation about ways to preserve and protect local news and high-quality journalism is critical to the health of our democracy.”

According to Neil Chase, CEO of CalMatters and the former Executive Editor of Bay Area News Group, “I’m glad we had such a deep, meaningful conversation about the challenges facing journalism today, right here in downtown San Francisco. If we can’t solve it here, we can’t hope to help the places across America that don’t have the technology and financial resources that are available in a place like this.”

According to Laura Bassett, laid-off HuffPost senior politics reporter and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, “As our country grapples with natural disasters, political turmoil, violence, and everyday life, Americans rely on journalists and the news industry to explain and break through the chaos. But, for that process to survive, we need well-staffed newsrooms and a blossoming industry. Instead, big tech is decimating journalism. Facebook, Google, and big tech have consumed the digital landscape and continue to threaten local and national journalism. We need our elected officials to weigh in, to reign in big tech, and to save the journalism industry, before this goes any further.”

And, according to John Stanton, laid-off former D.C. bureau chief of BuzzFeed and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, “The irony of all ironies, we live streamed today’s event on Facebook to ensure it reached the largest audience. The mere fact that we had to rely on the conglomerate proves our point: Facebook and Google have too much power. Together, they control the landscape, the audience, and the content. I saw this first hand at BuzzFeed, when Facebook, without notice, changed its algorithm, resulting in huge viewership and financial losses for the company. As more and more local and national news outlets feel the death grip of big tech, we need Congress to step in and save journalism.”

 

Journalism in America is facing an existential threat from the monopolistic control of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple. Big tech’s dominance over the digital advertising market and their unrivaled capacity to monetize its platforms are having drastic effects on journalism as a whole.

John Stanton Statement Regarding Newsday, Vallejo Times-Herald and ReWire News Layoffs and Buyouts

American newsrooms continue to be decimated by big tech with the news that buyouts and layoffs are coming to Newsday, Vallejo Times-Herald and ReWire News publications.

In a move that surprised its staffers, executives from Newsday announced to its team Thursday that they would be offering voluntary buyouts. Additionally, the Vallejo Times-Herald’s news reporter, John Glidden tweeted the newspaper would be eliminating a news reporter position, leaving just him to cover a city of 120,000 people. And, according to a ReWire News union statement, ReWire News, once at the forefront of reproductive health and justice, just fired its remaining reporters. The journalists, who produced groundbreaking coverage on crisis pregnancy centers and Trump’s immigration policies, are now considered to not be vital to the publication or “mission critical.” As of now, these journalists are left without severance and are fighting for compensation for their work.

All this comes as newspapers large and small, far and wide have been forced to condense their staff, in a futile attempt to fight an unbalanced war against their biggest competitor: big tech.

John Stanton, former DC bureau chief for Buzzfeed who was laid off in January and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, stated: 

I stand with my colleagues at Newsday, Vallejo Times-Herald and ReWire News and all those facing the consequences of lay-offs, buy-outs, and closures – a tale all too familiar for many in our world. The journalism industry and our country faced a huge loss this past week.

The free press is essential to our democracy, and, when big tech stifles this access, our democracy is diminished. But tech companies won’t stop here. Their thirst for money will only continue to drive newspapers like Newsday, Vallejo Times-Herald, and ReWire News to extinction.

Journalism in America is facing an existential threat from the monopolistic control of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple. Big tech’s dominance over the digital advertising market and their unrivaled capacity to monetize its platforms are having drastic effects on journalism as a whole.

How Big Tech Is Destroying Our Press

Ahead of today’s House Judiciary Hearing, the Save Journalism Project held a press call with Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11); journalists Laura Bassett, laid off by HuffPost; and John Stanton, laid off by BuzzFeed; and Neil Chase, CEO of CalMatters and former executive editor of The Mercury News and East Bay Times.

The monopolistic power of big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple is destroying the economic model of the entire journalism industry, whether its traditional circulation newspapers or digital news outlet.

 This week’s hearing on how digital platforms affect news organizations marks the much-needed return of congressional antitrust scrutiny to big tech companies, which have gained a monopolistic position that lets them dominate the digital advertising marketplace and distribute massive amounts of content from news publishers on their platforms without paying to produce the content. 

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) said, “I don’t think there’s anything more important right now than this issue. Being from the Bay Area, I have been to every big tech company. After meeting with them, I think it’s time to make it easier for licensing like the music and movie industries have done. We are members of Congress, you are journalists, and we have to keep an appropriate Constitutional distance, but there are policy proposals in our legislation that protect the freedom of the press and are necessary to keep the industry alive. When I was first elected to the Concord City Council there was a reporter who was consistently in the front row keeping officials accountable. His presence made local government work, and it is vital that we protect the journalism industry to make sure leaders are kept accountable and communities are informed.”

Laura Bassett, a reporter who was laid off by HuffPost, commented, “In the first few months of 2019, I was one of about 2,400 journalists and media staffers who lost our jobs. Even though I was aware the cuts were coming, it was still shocking to be laid off after nearly a decade in my newsroom. The reason for the mass layoffs, I found out, was that Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook are dominating the digital ad market, swallowing about 60 percent of all revenue and making it difficult for journalism to survive. News publishers are being forced to give a cut of their ad revenue to these companies- revenue that would otherwise go to hiring journalists. Because a well-funded news media is vital to a healthy democracy, the public needs to be aware of Big Tech’s death grip on publishers. At the House Judiciary Hearing today, lawmakers in Congress need to address this bipartisan issue and find legislative solutions that regulate tech giants and restore fairness to the digital ad market. Journalists are taught not to be the story, but as Big Tech’s digital ad monopoly benefits off of our revenue streams, it’s incumbent upon us to fight for the future of our industry. One or two companies should not have the power to cripple the free press.”

“After 20 years of covering Congress and the White House for BuzzFeed, I found out layoffs were coming in a tweet from the Wall Street Journal,” said John Stanton, former Buzzfeed Washington Bureau Chief before being laid off. “Despite the great work my colleagues and I were doing for the publication, there simply wasn’t enough money. Because stories that lead to changes in state and federal law, jailing of criminals and exposing wrongdoing — cost money. Money that is increasingly gobbled up by Google and Facebook. To try to survive, slashes had to be made. To entire desks. The reason advertising revenue has fallen so steeply is that Google and Facebook dominate the digital ad market, consuming more than 60 percent of all revenue. And their share is growing, because they devour nine out of every ten new dollars that are spent on digital advertising. Big Tech’s monopoly has a death grip on publishers. Congress needs to be discussing how to regulate this imbalance and restore competitive fairness in the digital market.”

Neil Chase, CEO of CalMatters and former executive editor of The Mercury News and East Bay Times, added, “We all believe journalism is central to democracy. Newspapers have experienced a decline not in the past five years, not in the past ten or fifteen years, but in the past seventy-five years. Newspapers have been declining since World War II. The problem is that we are essentially sitting on a 200 year-old product, but are trying to compete with new and changing technologies. Newspapers have maintained a monopoly for over 200 years. This is how people historically gained all their information; how they found where to buy clothing, where to buy their groceries, and where they got their news. With the change in how society works, all we have is the news. In order to solve this problem, we need a multi-pronged approach. We need to engage in philanthropy, which my company is already focused on this aspect. We need newspapers with benevolent leaders, not the leaders that we have at some major news organizations now. We need support from legislators. And, we need people paying for the news. We need a lot of support from a lot of different places in order to make this work.”

Save Journalism Project Launches To Protect Our Press From Big Tech

BuzzFeed Reports on Recently Laid Off Journalists Serving  As Spox For New Campaign To Save Journalism From Monopolistic Power of Big Tech Companies

Today, BuzzFeed reports on the Save Journalism Project that’s launching to raise awareness and engagement about the critical need to save journalism as it faces an existential threat—the monopolistic power of big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple destroying the economic model of the entire journalism industry, whether its traditional circulation newspapers or digital news outlets. At the same time, Google and Facebook have made acquisition after acquisition, gaining a monopolistic position that lets them dominate the digital advertising marketplace and distribute massive amounts of content from news publishers on their platforms without paying to produce the content. Just now are Facebook, Google, and other tech giants facing federal government and Congressional antitrust scrutiny.

Two recently laid off reporters will serve as spokespeople for the Save Journalism Project, Laura Bassett  and John StantonLearn More and Join the Fight at SaveJournalism.org and@SaveTheNews.

BuzzFeed: These Reporters Lost Their Jobs. Now They’re Fighting Back Against Big Tech.

“John Stanton and Laura Bassett are warning about what they believe the tech industry is doing to journalism, as thousands have lost their jobs this year alone.

By Rosie Gray”

Two prominent reporters who were recently laid off from digital media outlets are forming a new advocacy group formed to raise awareness about big tech’s impact on the journalism industry.

John Stanton, a longtime congressional correspondent and former BuzzFeed News Washington bureau chief, and Laura Bassett, a former culture and political reporter for nearly 10 years at the Huffington Post, have teamed up to launch a new initiative called the Save Journalism Project. The two have first-hand experience with the troubled state of the news industry: Stanton was laid off from BuzzFeed News during a round of layoffs that affected 200 people company-wide this winter and spurred a unionization drive among the news staff. Bassett lost her job in similar fashion in January after Huffington Post laid off 20 employees as part of larger cuts at its parent company, Verizon Media.

This year has been one of the worst in recent memory for journalism jobs. Across the industry, thousands have lost their jobs: from BuzzFeed News, Vice, CNN, and others across the country at local publications. Media organizations have been imperiled by crashing advertising revenues as Facebook and Google vacuum up available ad dollars.

Their new project will be set up as a nonprofit, according to Eddie Vale, a Democratic consultant whose firm is providing the man-power to launch the effort. Vale pitched Bassett on the idea, and the two of them brought in Stanton. Vale said initial funding had been secured from “someone who doesn’t want to be public so Google and Facebook don’t go after them,” and the group plans to continue to fundraise. So far, the pair have co-authored testimony given to the Senate Judiciary Committee highlighting the tech giants’ impact on the news industry — “since being laid off, we’ve made it our mission to understand how the digital marketplace works and how Big Tech is killing the journalism industry,” they wrote — flown a plane above Google’s I/O conference, and authored op-eds.

A key part of their goal is to get journalists, who aren’t known for showing a keen interest in the business side of their publications or for engaging in advocacy themselves, to take an active role in defending the future of their jobs. In an interview, Stanton said they were “trying to educate the public and members of Congress and also start encouraging our colleagues to speak up.”

“Reporters are not generally super interested in speaking about their own problems and about things that affect them directly because they feel like it becomes a conflict of interest, and in certain ways that’s true,” Stanton said. “But when the future of the free press is being pretty seriously endangered by something, I think it’s incumbent upon us to stand up for ourselves.”

Like many reporters, Bassett said she had “never really had to pay attention to the financial side of journalism.”

But “after getting laid off, I started to become really interested in why all of these amazing news publishers were sort of going under, having to lay off staff, why we were losing local newspapers. It’s a tragedy, it’s really bad for democracy.”

Their effort comes at a time of increased scrutiny of the tech industry on the part of the federal government as well as Congress as public concern mounts over repeated privacy scandals, technology companies’ role in spreading misinformation, and their dominance over certain industries. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission reportedly made a deal to divide potential antitrust investigations between them; Apple and Google will fall under the purview of the DOJ, while the FTC took Facebook and Amazon. The House Judiciary Committee announced it would “conduct a top-to-bottom review of the market power held by giant tech platforms.”

The Save Journalism Project’s founders are hoping to steer the public conversation around the negative effects of Big Tech towards its impact on journalism.

Stanton, who lives in New Orleans, mentioned examples like that city’s local paper, the Times-Picayune, which laid off its entire staff last month. Around the country, Stanton said, “local reporters are so overtaxed. They’re doing as good a job as they can but there’s not enough of them.”

At the moment, Stanton and Bassett are more focused on warning the public and the industry about the issue than on proposing solutions.

“I do think that everyone is starting to see a need to break up and regulate these companies or something along those lines,” Bassett said. “And with regards to how they’re going to make journalism viable again, I don’t frankly know…I think right now we’re starting with just getting this conversation out into the public and making people aware of exactly what’s going on. I do hope at some point we graduate into saying, ‘here’s a list of policy proposals, here’s exactly what needs to happen.'”

Stanton and Bassett plan to interview elected officials, candidates and colleagues in the media about the industry’s crisis, and started with conducting on-camera interviews with Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Ruben Gallego. They plan to circulate a letter with which media companies can sign on to their cause. And their first official event will be at the annual Congressional Baseball Game, where they plan to distribute a physical newspaper laying out the problems on their agenda.

“The DC press corps is a really powerful constituency within our industry,” Stanton said. “If we can get our colleagues [there] to start talking about this it will help more broadly.”