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RF Media Insights 5.5.23: The Media Is In A State of Disarray!

May 05, 2023
RF Media Insights 5.5.23: The Media Is In A State of Disarray!

Media Trends to Watch & Happenings

From newsrooms to movie entertainment companies, the media world is a bit disheveled.

This week, as Chris Licht celebrates his one-year anniversary as the CEO of CNN, Business Insider shares information about the new direction for the company. In addition to the 10 hours of programming that Licht has updated since taking the position, CNN will also undergo a brand refresh of its on-air look, a revamp of CNN’s digital presence, including the website, and a new ad campaign. Never mind the fact that CNN still doesn’t have a 9pm anchor since Chris Cuomo was ousted in 2021 or that its star, Don Lemon, was abruptly fired last week! Yet despite all this, CNN’s ratings seem to be somehow improving with a gain of 24% increase in total primetime viewers. CNN is striking a more centrist tone in its political coverage with former President Trump scheduled for a townhall that’s moderated by Kaitlan Collins on May 10.

Aside from CNN, Paramount is also experiencing its own turmoil. Yesterday, the company’s shares dropped nearly 30% following its Q1 earnings and an announcement that dividends will be cut. While the company’s streaming site, Paramount+ gained 4.1 million subscribers, its direct-to-consumer business took a $511 million adjusted operating loss. The streaming industry is saturated with so many platforms forcing streaming services to cut costs wherever possible to remain competitive.

These streaming services are also putting economic pressure on TV and film writers who have gone on strike for the first time in 15 years. The Writers Guild of America Union is demanding a number of changes including higher minimum pay, more writers per show and shorter exclusive contracts. If a new contract isn’t formed soon, it’s likely that more writers will join the 11,500 film and television writers who have already paused their work.

There’s a lot going on in the media world this week, and there’s no telling what’s going to happen next.

Kathy Bloomgarden

CEO, Ruder Finn

A Few Things That Are Good to Know

AI: Helping or Replacing Journalists?

In honor of World Press Freedom Day, Microsoft has launched a new Journalism Hub this week which encompasses everything from a cybersecurity package to an AI tool called Nota that crafts headlines and short videos based on existing stories. With the rise in misinformation, we need journalists to continue uncover the facts and tell the hard-hitting stories, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t use AI to improve processes and efficiency. AI has tremendous potential to aid employees across industries, and not just replace them!

TikTok Tackles Deepfakes

In an effort to mitigate the rise in misinformation and copyright issues over AI-generated videos, TikTok has become the first social media site to announce that it will be developing a tool for content creators to disclose their use of generative AI in their videos. Given TikTok has been at the front and center of intense policy and security debates in Washington, their proactive efforts to be responsible with AI could score them points given the White House met yesterday with AI CEOs to look for ways to develop safe and trustworthy AI. All this as Geoffrey Hinton, a pioneer of AI technology, confirmed he resigned from Google due to his growing concerns over AI’s fast-paced development.

No More Tech Jobs for Class of 2023

A new report by the college student and recent grad job forum site, Handshake, has found that the Class of 2023 is less interested in the shiny offerings of Big Tech companies due to the recent job cuts across the sector. Instead, this cohort is looking for stability and is turning to jobs in retail, finance and manufacturing, and companies including Raytheon Technologies, Nike and Toyota are experiencing the fastest growth in search interest on Handshake in the last year with increases of 209%, 103% and 101%, respectively. This shifting perspective of the Class of 2023 could offer companies outside of Big Tech the chance to recruit some of the most tech-savvy recent graduates.

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May 17-18, 2023

Media on the Move

  • Jeffrey Ballou has joined ABC News in Washington, D.C., as a producer of the daily packages and live shots.
  • Mary Bruce has been named chief White House correspondent at ABC News.
  • Wyatte Grantham-Philips has recently been hired by The Associated Press to be their new business reporter focusing on trending news. Grantham-Philips was previously a trending reporter at USA Today for almost three years.
  • Axioshas recruited Ryan Heath as global technology correspondent. He joins the site from POLITICO Live and POLITICO, where he most recently served as editorial director.
  • After more than 15 years at CNNAdam Levy has joined BBC News as executive producer and news editor based in Washington, D.C.
  • Bloomberg Law has hired Randi Love as a junior litigation reporter. Previously, Love had been a freelance journalist for the past two years.
  • Bloomberg Law added a new associate litigation reporter, Billy Jean Louis, in late March.
  • Diana Li now covers venture capital and technology at Bloomberg News.
  • Bloomberg News promoted an editor and hired a reporter:
    • Alan Goldstein gets promoted to the position of executive editor of Global Weekends. Goldstein has been with Bloomberg News since March 2007 when he joined as an editor covering corporate finance. His last role was as a senior editor of Bloomberg Today.
    • Bloomberg News hired Kendra Pierre-Louis to be a climate solution reporter.
  • Bloomberg News has hired Naomi Shavin to be a senior podcast producer. Shavin previously spent four and a half years at Axios mostly in producing roles and was involved in the development and launch of “Axios Today” and “How it Happened” and the relaunch of “Axios Re:Cap.”
  • One reporter is changing coverage beat and another his hired by Bloomberg News:
    • Sohee Kim, a technology reporter with Bloomberg News since June 2019, will now focus on Asia’s media and entertainment.
    • Jonathan Randles joins Bloomberg News as a reporter and will mostly cover Chapter 11 and bankruptcy. Randles comes from The Wall Street Journal, where he spent 6 years as a reporter.
  • Cheddar News has hired Kayla Jardine to be a producer. She arrives from The Wall Street Journal where she was a NEO Studios executive producer, Snapchat.
  • CNBC hired Hayden Field to cover technology as a senior reporter on “Morning Brew” in New York.
  • CNN has hired a reporter and promoted another one:
  • Cosmopolitan has named Christen A. Johnson to the position of lifestyle editor and will be covering topics including home, health and wellness, travel, food, and much more.
  • Molly Bohannon has joined Forbes as a reporter on its breaking news desk.
  • magazine has reassigned reporter Melissa Angell from covering healthcare, health insurance, wellness, to now covering policy from the White House and government agencies.
  • After a year as a venture capital reporter, Maria Heeter will now handle deals reporter duties at The Information. Heeter will now cover shareholder activism and M&A as a member of the finance team.
  • Technology news site The Information added Kalley Huang to its team as a reporter. Huang arrives from The New York Times where she spent almost a year as a technology reporting fellow.
  • Ana Cabrera is the new 10 a.m. anchor on MSNBC in New York. Cabrera arrives from CNN also in New York and had been the “Weekend Prime Time” anchor for the last six years.
  • David Rohde will  move to NBC Newsas senior executive editor, national security. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was most recently the executive editor of The New Yorker‘s digital site.
  • Nishka Dhawan is now an associate commerce editor at NBC News in New York.
  • NBC News has promoted Sara Ruberg to associate producer, upped from news associate. In her new role, Ruberg will produce packages and articles for the Business, Technology & Innovation Unit.
  • The New York Times has announced a new hire and promotions in Book Review:
    • Neima Jahromi is joining The New York Times Book Review as preview editor. He has been at The New Yorker since 2011 as one of the magazine’s fact checkers and writers.
    • MJ Franklin has been promoted to preview editor. He has been on the Books desk working with both emerging writers and well-known literary names as he assigns reviews of fiction and nonfiction titles.
    • Emily Eakin has been promoted to senior editor. She will take a step back from assigning scores of reviews to focus on assigning longer and more hard-hitting pieces.
  • Maddie Ngo has returned to the Washington bureau of The New York Times as a reporter. She covers economics and follows the money to see where all those billions of dollars in stimulus funds went.
  • Danyel Smith has joined The New York Times Magazine as a contributing writer. Smith, who is also the author of “Shine Bright”, worked previously for over three years at ESPN as a media executive.
  • POLITICO has announced a couple of moves on its Politics team:
    • David Sidershas moved from national political correspondent to politics editor.
    • Sally Goldenberghas moved from New York’s City Hall bureau chief to a role as politics reporter with a focus on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the ‘24 primary.
  • Christie Wilcox has joined Science Magazine as newsletter editor. She joins the staff from The Scientist, where she was senior editor since 2021.
  • Sam Jacobs is the new editor in chief of TIME, effective immediately. He oversees the magazine’s journalism across all platforms and manages TIME’s
  • Three new reporters have joined The Washington Post:
    • Samantha Chery has joined as a breaking news reporter.
    • Herb Scribner also joined as a breaking news reporter. He arrives to the newspaper from Axios where he spent the last year as a reporter.
    • After spending the last three year in a half as an assistant editor, Mikhail Klimentov has been appointed an afternoon & evening editor on the foreign desk.
  • Yahoo Finance has named Josh Schafer for the position of markets reporter and will now be covering trending stock stories, economic data and anything market-related.

Image of the Week

A deepfake image of Selena Gomez at the Met Gala circulates the internet. Selena never attended the celebrated-studded Met ball. (New York Post)

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