Posts tagged with "journalism"

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.”

Women In Media

Women’s Media Center Releases 2019 Status of Women in U.S. Media Report:

Men dominate news, entertainment and digital media

94 studies — including new research from WMC — detail the shape and scope of women’s participation in media

Click here to read the full report.

The Women’s Media Center (WMC) today released its 2019 report on the status of women in U.S. media, which shows that despite some gains, men still dominate in every part of news, entertainment and digital media.

“The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2019” is comprised of 94 studies, including original research by WMC and aggregated research from academia, industry and professional groups, labor unions, media watchdogs, newsrooms and other sources.

Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said the data in the report paints a stark picture. “The media is in a state of great disruption, but despite all of the change, one thing remains the same: the role of women is significantly smaller than that of men in every part of news, entertainment and digital media. It is clear that a cultural, systemic shift is necessary if all parts of the U.S media are to achieve gender and racial parity and move toward a world where stories fully represent the voices and perspectives of diverse women,” she said. “Research spotlighted in this report shows that diversity boosts corporate profits. When boardrooms, newsrooms, studios and tech companies fully reflect the faces, genders and myriad talents of our society, we’re all exceedingly better served.”

The report includes several original WMC studies, including “Divided 2019: The Media Gender Gap,” an assessment of where women stand as media writers, reporters, correspondents and anchors in the major news media platforms, including the prime-time broadcast news programs, print publications, wire services and online news sites. Across all media platforms, men receive 63 percent of bylines and credits; women receive only 37 percent.

“Women have been fighting for greater parity and equality in the news media for decades,” said Maya Harris, co-chair, Women’s Media Center. “This report shows that more work needs to be done to level the playing field. Women and our male allies will not rest until we see wholesale change.”

“When we watch the evening news, we’re not seeing an America that truly reflects all voices,” said Pat Mitchell, co-chair, Women’s Media Center. “Too often, the voices we hear and the images we see are men’s. Men largely are reporting and telling the story even though women represent more than half the U.S. population.”

The report is inclusive and also features WMC’s “The Status of Women of Color in the U.S. News Media 2018,” which offers a rare look at where women journalists of color are — and aren’t — in legacy print, radio, TV, and digital news.

“Missing women of color in the newsrooms of this country is an injustice in itself, and an injustice to every American reader and viewer who is deprived of great stories and a full range of facts,” said Gloria Steinem, WMC co-founder. “Inclusiveness in the newsroom means inclusiveness in the news. Racism and sexism put blinders on everyone.”

In an expanded section on tech, social media, gaming and engineering, “Status 2019” also spotlights the growing threat online to women in media and the perils of failing to protect free and safe speech.

“As part of their day-to-day work, women journalists often face a torrent of harassment, denigration, and threats. The point of this hostility is to silence women, most frequently women of color,” said Soraya Chemaly, director of WMC’s Speech Project. “The onus continues to fall on women’s shoulders as individuals.  Media companies have to develop institutional responses to these threats if they are serious about building inclusive organizations.”

Here are the Status report highlights in traditional print and online-only, radio and television, news consumption, entertainment media and technology, social media, gaming and engineering:

In news media: print and online-only:

  • The American Society of News Editors’ latest tally found that women comprised 41.7 percent and people of color 22.6 percent of the overall workforce in those responding newsrooms.
  • Sports desks at 75 of the nation’s newspapers and online news sites earned a “B+” for racial diversity, a “D+” for gender and racial diversity, combined, and a sixth consecutive “F” for lack of gender equity. (Associated Press Sports Editors)
  • Editors of the nation’s 135 most widely distributed newspapers are overwhelmingly male and White. (Columbia Journalism Review)
  • 69 percent of news wire bylines (AP and Reuters) are snagged by men, 31 percent by women; 63 percent of TV prime-time news broadcasts feature male anchors and correspondents; 37 percent feature women; 60 percent of online news is written by men, 40 percent by women; 59 percent of print news is written by men, 41 percent by women. (Women’s Media Center)

In news media: radio and television:

  • A record number of women are employed in TV news, including as news directors, but fewer women and people of color work in radio news. (Radio Television Digital News Association)
  • Women owned 7.4 percent of the nation’s commercial TV stations. (Federal Communications Commission)

In entertainment media: film, TV & online streaming:

  • Over 12 years, through 2018, men accounted for 93.4 percent, or, 654, of the 704 individual directors of the highest-grossing films. Women accounted for 6.6 percent, or, 46 of those 704. (University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative)
  • The number of women working on-screen in television and online streaming entertainment shows declined 2 percentage points from 2016-17 to 2017-18, when 40 percent of all speaking characters were female and 60 percent were men. (San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film)
  • The share of women among nominees in the Oscars’ 19 non-acting categories rose slightly from 23 percent to 25 percent from 2018 to 2019, but women were shut out of nominations for cinematography, directing, editing, original score and visual effects. (Women’s Media Center)
  • The proportion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer regular (LGBTQ) characters cast during the 2018-19 broadcast TV season — 8.8 percent of 857 regular characters — was the highest tallied in 14 years. (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)

In tech, social media, gaming, engineering:

  • 45 percent of U.S. gamers were female, reflecting continued, year-over-year increases in female gamers. (Entertainment Software Association)
  • Over a decade, there was no significant rise in the number of female tech workers and Black tech workers. (U.S. Government Accountability Office)
  • 53 percent of women and 16 percent of men said they had been harassed at work. (Women Who Tech)

Click here to read the full report.

About The Women’s Media Center

The Women’s Media Center, founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem, is an inclusive and feminist organization that works to make women visible and powerful in the media. We do so by promoting women as decision-makers and as subjects in media; training women to be effective in media; researching and exposing sexism and racism in media; and creating original online and on-air journalism.

Democratic Socialists of America Has Become A Budding Political Force

Why an army of young people is joining DSA.
Anna Heyward for The Nation
 
 
24,000 people — 70 to 80 percent of them under 35 — have joined DSA since November 2016. Here’s the first long-form chronicle of the party’s 35-year history. Its founder, Michael Harrington, aimed to put aside the left’s infighting, forming an independent coalition working inside and outside the Democratic Party — in other words, a kind of friendly socialist lobby.
 
Anna Heyward will be available for remote interviews on the history of the Democratic Socialists of America through the new year. In 2018, she will be available for comment from New York, NY.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anna Heyward is a writer in New York and works on The New Yorker‘s editorial staff.
ABOUT THE NATION
Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has chronicled the breadth and depth of American political and cultural life from the debut of the telegraph to the rise of Twitter, serving as a critical, independent voice in American journalism and a platform for investigative reporting and spirited debate on issues of import to the progressive community.

JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION

James Beard Foundation Announces Final Call for Entry for Media Awards Categories

The James Beard Foundation (JBF) announced today the final call for entry for the Journalism and Broadcast categories of the 2018 Media Awards. The deadline for submissions is January 3, 2018. Nominees for all award categories will be revealed on March 14, 2018.

To reflect current trends in the vast media landscape, The James Beard Foundation has created a new Journalism Award. The Feature Reporting Award recognizes excellence for engaging, in-depth, and enterprising reporting in food and/or drink features. In the Broadcast Media Awards, the Documentary Award will now accept entries that have been viewed at a North American film festival. All Book, Restaurant and Chef, Restaurant Design, and Special Achievement Awards will remain largely unchanged from 2017.

“In a place and time where the media has such an omnipresence in our daily lives, we are proud to recognize the journalists and reporters shedding light on important food and restaurant industry happenings and issues,” said Journalism Awards committee chairperson, John Kessler.

For more information and to view the full list of 2018 Awards programs, criteria, and deadlines, please visit jamesbeard.org/awards.  Entries for all categories can be submitted via the online portal here.

The James Beard Foundation Media Awards will be held at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City on Friday, April 27, 2018.

The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception will be held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 7, 2018. During the JBF Awards ceremony, which is ticketed and open to the public, awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards Lifetime Achievement, Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.

About the James Beard Foundation

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation celebrates, nurtures, and honors chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, the late James Beard was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful, and delicious food. Today JBF continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit jamesbeard.org. Get food news, recipes, and more at the James Beard Foundation’s blog. Follow the James Beard Foundation on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Photo credit: Davide Luciano