RF Media Insights

RF MEDIA INSIGHTS 01.26.2024: The News About the News

Jan 26, 2024
RF MEDIA INSIGHTS 01.26.2024: The News About the News

According to Mary Louise Kelly, a host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “If you care about journalism — local news, national news, international news — every warning light should be blinking red.”

Alarms have been raised after the LA Times reported that the paper will lay off more than 20% of its newsroom, making up at least 115 staff members. And earlier this week, Condé Nast staffers – the company that owns Vanity Fair, Vogue, and GQ – staged a 24-hour strike that included a walkout following rumors of layoffs. Even Anne Hathaway walked out of a Vanity Fair photoshoot in solidarity with the Union. Among others, NBC News, Paramount Global, Sport Illustrated and Cheddar News also recently announced layoffs.

And it’s not just large publications making cuts, research from Northwestern University’s Medill School shows an average of five local newspapers close every two weeks.

Between negative news cycles causing reader fatigue, – think election news and war coverage – streaming services pulling viewers away from traditional broadcast news, companies moving their advertising budgets over to social media platforms and social media companies, like Meta, limiting or discontinuing their news sections, it’s looking grim for the future of news, which will have a huge impact on traditional PR tactics.

Kathy Bloomgarden

CEO, Ruder Finn

Streaming Service Success

According to Fast Company, “The streaming wars are over—and Netflix won.” Netflix has gained 13 million subscribers in Q4 earning over $5 billion this past year. All of this success for Netflix comes following a series of licensing deals that provide the streaming giant access to its competitors’ top assets – Sex and the City, The Batman, Aquaman and more! Will other streaming platforms be able to continue competing? Optimism still remains as this week David Ellison made a preliminary offer to buy National Amusements Inc., the holding company of Paramount+, while research firm Antenna reports that Peacock just acquired 2.8 million sign-ups due to its deal to exclusively stream the NFL‘s AFC Wild Card matchup between the Kansas City Chief and the Miami Dolphins.

State Regulations Could Alter Your Social Strategy

In Florida, the House of Representatives approved a bill this week that would prevent children under the age of 17 from having social media accounts. Simultaneously, New York City designated social media a “public health hazard” as the city issued an advisory. Both Florida & NYC are expressing concerns of how social media negatively impacts children’s mental health. With the rise of TikTok and increased consumer use of social media, many companies have prioritized their social strategies, finding success in reaching their target audience through social ads, influencers and direct-to-consumer communication. But for companies looking to target the next generation, it’s time to start brainstorming alternative methods of communication as the social media landscape may look much different later this year.

Crisis Control: Will Bud Light Bounce Back?

Bud Light is throwing a Hail Mary to revive itself and win back customers during this year’s Super Bowl by paying roughly $7 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad “highlighting the work of its wholesalers and featuring its Clydesdale horses.” This comes after conservatives, who make up the majority of Bud Light’s consumer market, boycotted the brand, following a Bud Light’s partnership with Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer, to promote their beer for an edgy social media campaign. With the rise of cancel culture, it’s crucial that brands thoroughly vet every campaign idea and influencer to ensure concepts stay on brand and don’t ignite a possible crisis. (We find our agency very much in demand for our campaign vetting expertise to prevent situations like this.)



Media Moves

  • The Atlantic has promoted Kate Guarino to senior associate editor on the audience team. Guarino has worked on the team for just over three years and was previously an associate editor.
  • The Atlantic has announced the following hires:
    • Thomas Chatterton Williams has been tapped and will serve as a staff writer. Williams is a cultural critic and writer who has contributed to the the Atlantic for several years.
    • Christine Emba has been hired as a staff writer. Emba was previously a columnist and a member of the Editorial Board at the Washington Post.
    • Robert Worth has been named as a contributing writer at the Worth is a former Beirut bureau chief for the New York Times and most recently wrote for NYT Magazine.
  • Bloomberg Newshas hired Jessica Nix as a reporter.
  • Bloomberg News reporter Todd Gillespienow covers Wall Street, having joined the US finance team in New York. Gillespie was previously based in London, covering Europe’s energy transition and broader climate stories.
  • Simone Foxman is now an equity team reporter at Bloomberg News.
  • Megan Cassella has been named as a correspondent for CNBC, based in the Washington, DC bureau. Cassella joins from Barron’s, where she was their senior economics and policy reporter.
  • Christina Passariello has been named CNBC’s new San Francisco Bureau Chief. She’s been in charge of the team that covers tech in addition to covering news from LA. She was formerly with the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
  • CNN has announced that Ryan Younghas been promoted to senior national correspondent.
  • Jeremy Kahn has been appointed AI editor at Fortune. Kahn, who is based in London, will be building out a small team to cover the latest artificial intelligence news from a business perspective. Kahn joined Fortune in 2019 as a senior writer and specializes in coverage of disruptive technologies.
  • Diane Brady will be joining Fortune as the Executive Director of Fortune Live Media and Editorial Director of the Fortune CEO Initiative, taking over for Alan Murray. Diane is a veteran journalist who was most recently the Assistant Managing Editor at Forbes.
  • The Guardian US has hired Melissa Segura and George Joseph to its investigations unit.
  • The Hill has appointed Sylvan Laneas business editor, to lead the outlet’s finance and technology reporters with a focus on the connections between politics and policy. Lane has worked at The Hill since 2015 and previously served as assistant business and finance editor.
  • The Informationhas hired Francesca Friday as a private equity reporter. Friday’s move follows almost six years with the Financial Times.
  • Chief finance correspondent Dakin Campbell is moving to Insider‘s investigations team. Campbell has covered Wall Street for more than 15 years, spending almost a decade at Bloomberg News before joining Business Insider.
  • Emily Stewart has joined Insider‘s discourse team as a senior correspondent. Stewart, who held the same title at Vox, will be writing about business, the economy and related topics.
  • Insider has named Zach Tracer as deputy editor on the investigations team. Tracer has covered healthcare at for the outlet for over five years, and was made deputy editor, healthcare, in 2021. Prior to Business Insider, Tracer worked at Bloomberg, where he reported on healthcare and insurance.
  • Michelle Stein has been appointed as a deputy editor at Modern Healthcare.
  • Marquise Franciswill be joining NBC News as a Stay Tuned correspondent. Francis will report across Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and all NBC News platforms, as well as writing for NBC News Digital. He has spent the past several years at Yahoo, where he was made a national correspondent in January 2023.
  • Mike Calia has joined NBC Newsas managing editor of the newly named business & economy unit, leading its editorial direction across a range of daily and enterprising business stories.
  • The New York Times has hired David Clary as senior staff editor. Clary worked at the San Diego Union-Tribunefor the last 21 years as a news editor with a focus on A1 articles and special projects.
  • The New York Times has announced the following staff changes in Opinion:
    • Meeta Agrawalis being elevated to editorial director for Opinion. In this role, she will continue to oversee Special Projects, including Sunday Opinion, and she will assume oversight of Opinion’s graphics and photo teams.
    • Brian Zittelwill take on the role of managing editor across Opinion. He will direct the section’s publishing schedule, managing the workflow and processes of the department and safeguarding our standards.
    • David Firestonereturns to Opinion as deputy editor of the editorial board. In February of this year, he stepped in to provide editing help and quickly became an invaluable member of the team, writing and editing unsigned and signed pieces.
  • Kathleen McGrory has been named as an editor on the Local Investigations Fellowship program at The New York Times.
  • The New York Times has hired Lisa Miller as a domestic correspondent on the well team.
  • Grace Maalouf has been hired as deputy head of news at POLITICO. In the new role, Maalouf will work closely with leaders across the North American newsroom and in Europe to shape reporting and take ownership of major editorial initiatives. She has most recently served as a night editor on the international desk of the New York Times.
  • Reuters has appointed Brian Thevenot as global automotive editor, overseeing journalists covering the industry worldwide. In his eight years at Reuters, Thevenot has held the posts of top news editor, Americas, and enterprise editor.
  • Matt Rosoff has joined TechCrunch as global managing editor. Rosoff, who is based in San Francisco, previously worked for CNBC Digital.
  • Kelly Conniff has been promoted to deputy editor at TIME. Conniff has worked at the publication for more than 11 years, during which time she has held the posts of social media editor, special projects editor, senior editor, director of features, assistant managing editor/editor of com and latterly executive editor.
  • Vox has announced the following staffing updates:
    • Eric Levitz has been tapped as a senior correspondent on the politics team. Levitz, previously a political columnist at New York Magazine, will report on a range of topics, with a focus on contentious issues of policy and politics.
    • Kyndall Cunninghamhas been hired as a staff reporter on the culture team. Cunningham, a former Daily Beast reporter, will cover culture topics such as reality TV, movies, pop music, Black media and celebrities.
  • Damian Paletta will be returning to The Wall Street Journal in the role of Washington coverage chief. He has spent the past seven years at The Washington Post, serving as a reporter, economics editor and deputy business editor.
  • Reporter Natasha Khan has moved to The Wall Street Journal‘s corporate news bureau in New York, where she’ll be covering American consumer giants, forces driving the global consumer economy and trends reshaping the industry’s best-known brands.
  • Jonathan Fischer has joined The Washington Postas arts and entertainment editor. Jon comes to The Post from Slate, where for the past nine years he ran a smart and vibrant business, tech, and media section that included coverage of cities, architecture, and design.
  • Maxine Joselow is taking on a new assignment at the Washington Post, joining the Climate & Environment Department as its climate policy and politics reporter. Maxine joined the Post in 2021 as the inaugural author of the Climate 2020 newsletter.
  • The Washington Post has announced that Robert Samuels, a staff writer at the New Yorker, will be returning to the Post and taking up the role of national enterprise reporter.
  • WIRED has re-hired Brian Barrett, who will assume the post of executive editor. Barrett held various roles in his seven years at WIRED, including executive editor of news, before leaving in 2022 to become VP of content for the start-up SpeakEasy AI.
  • Jason Tuohey has been tapped by Yahoo News, where he will serve as managing editor. Tuohey comes from the Boston Globe, where he was managing editor for audience and new platforms, responsible for digital publishing and news coverage.

Image of the Week

Comedy Central has invited Jon Stewart to return as the Monday host throughout the 2024 election cycle and executive producer of ‘The Daily Show.’ His on-air return date is scheduled for February 12 (Variety).

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