2019 was a transformative year for the U.S. news media industry, but it was also one of the most turbulent points in its history.
The big picture: There were enormous business challenges, which resulted in an unprecedented number of layoffs, desperate product maneuvers and fire-sale deals.
Driving the news: The impeachment of President Trump by the House of Representatives on Thursday was prompted by a whistleblower’s complaint, but the stage was set by the dogged reporting of many journalists across the country.
- But despite those efforts, the economic outlook of the news industry is still grim heading into 2020.
- The impeachment process has proven that voters are starting to tune out political coverage, which for the past few years has been the news industry’s biggest money-maker. That reality, coupled with an anticipated recession, has newsrooms on edge.
Where things stand: 2019 was a particularly brutal year for older news industries, like newspapers, magazines, television and radio. Revenue for television was down nearly 4% this year, and for print it was down nearly 20%.
- Legacy magazine brands that were once considered must-reads, like Sports Illustrated, struggled to find suitors. Magazine titans like Conde Nast are expected to miss their revenue numbers given a bleak advertising forecast.
- Univision, one of the largest media companies that serves America’s fastest-growing population, is looking for a buyer to help it crawl out of a massive debt hole, driven by a private equity investment gone bad.
Be smart: Legacy industries still continue to serve local news markets, which are mostly void of the same investments financially, and in tech and talent, as national outlets.
- The two biggest local newspaper holding groups — New Media (GateHouse and Gannett) and McClatchy, which collectively house over 700 newspapers — had a combined market cap value as of Thursday of less than $400 million. By comparison, Apple, which this year launched its own news product, is worth more than $1.2 trillion.
- Meanwhile, several other papers serving major markets closed, like the 150-year-old Vindicator in Youngstown, Ohio and the beloved OC Weekly in California.
Regulators, aware of the realities that legacy industries and local media face in a digital world, continued efforts to level the playing field this year, mostly by trying to roll back decades-old rules and legal agreements that may be keeping them from growing.
- But their efforts have proven mostly moot, as most consumers have already migrated away from those mediums to a handful of apps owned by Silicon Valley titans.
- Policymakers did began to more meaningfully consider regulating internet giants in 2019, but a gridlocked Congress and powerful lobbying forces have so far prevented any meaningful internet regulation from getting passed.
In the markets, a string of highly-anticipated IPOs faltered in 2019, which forced investors in private media companies to push for quicker paths to profit.
- Given that news is traditionally a slow-growth business, many desperate efforts to make money quickly, like launching half-baked subscription or video products, fell short.
- For some media upstarts, that pressure proved perilous. Splinter, the left-leaning news and opinion site, shut down this year after its parent company, G/O Media, was purchased by a private equity company for less than half of what it was worth just three years earlier.
- Its sister company, Deadspin, is now essentially defunct.
The big picture: As a result of these realities, investor sentiment in digital media has begun to slip, and investments in the sector are predicted to decline in the next decade.
- That matters because over the past few years, private investment into media companies soared, at all levels.
- Many of the venture-backed media companies that were expected to go public eventually, like Buzzfeed and Vice Media, no longer seem heading in that direction. Disney this year wrote down all of the $400 million it invested in Vice.
Between the lines: These challenges took a human toll on journalists and news industry employees around the country. By some estimates, nearly 8,000 people were laid off or lost their jobs in media in 2019. That level of attrition is on pace to be the highest it’s been since the 2009 recession.
Yes, but: The challenges that most media companies face have forced them to innovate faster, and in many cases, reach new heights.
- Most media companies distribute content to far more people than ever before through dozens of new channels ranging from Netflix to TikTok.
- Many broke stories this year that will define our generation, like The Washington Post’s investigation into the decades-long lies told by officials about the war in Afghanistan or The Miami Herald’s explosive reporting about Jeffrey Epstein.
The bottom line: But despite those feats, news media companies as a whole have mostly suffered — and there’s no sign that the economic outlook is going to get better any time soon.
Explainer – Who faces legal liability in ‘Rust’ shooting case?
Lawsuits seeking to assign civil liability in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins would be most likely to name the “Rust” crew member who inspected the gun, the assistant director who handed it to actor Alec Baldwin and possibly others in the production company, experts said on Wednesday.
New Mexico authorities have not ruled out criminal charges in the case. While rehearsing a scene on the movie set, Baldwin accidentally fired a gun that he had been told was safe. The shot killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
COULD THERE BE CRIMINAL CHARGES?
Experts said criminal charges are possible, though likely not against Baldwin.
“For a criminal case, you’re going to need some sort of actual intent, or criminal negligence, gross negligence. That’s … something more than pointing the gun,” said former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani in Los Angeles.
The criminal investigation will likely focus instead on how the gun came to be loaded. “I think having live ballistic rounds on a movie set is inexcusable and rises to the level of gross negligence that you see in a criminal charge,” said lawyer Jeff Harris of Harris Lowry Manton.
WHAT COULD THE GROUNDS FOR LAWSUITS BE?
Hutchins’ family and Souza could file civil lawsuits for financial damages, legal experts said.
These lawsuits would most likely argue negligence, legally defined as a failure to exercise a reasonable level of care.
Such claims got a boost from the revelation by Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza on Wednesday that the gun handed to Baldwin contained a live round despite having been inspected and declared safe by two people, armorer Hannah Gutierrez and assistant director David Halls, and that other live rounds were found on the set.
“It’s pretty obvious; somebody had to be negligent,” said University of Southern California law professor Gregory Keating.
WHO COULD BE SUED?
Harris, who represented the family of a stuntman on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” in a wrongful death case, said both Gutierrez and Halls could be sued. Bryan Sullivan of Early Sullivan, a Los Angeles entertainment attorney, agreed.
Harris said the “Rust” production company, people in supervisory roles and people involved in hiring decisions could also be targeted.
Allocating liability could take years of litigation. The outcome would determine who might have to pay financial damages and how much.
“It’s very common to have multiple defendants whose negligence intermingles with each other,” Harris said.
Baldwin probably will not be held civilly liable for firing the gun after being told it was safe. However, he could face liability as one of the film’s producers, said Sullivan.
A court “would look at who had ultimate authority to ensure the safety of the set,” he said.
WHAT ARE THE OBSTACLES TO DAMAGE CLAIMS?
Defendants in a civil lawsuit would likely argue the shooting was a workplace accident, meaning that the victims could only seek payment through workers’ compensation insurance.
However, University of New Mexico School of Law professor Sonia Gipson Rankin said the victims could seek to prove that defendants had ignored safety concerns in the past and were knowingly acting in a dangerous way.
If successful, the victims might be able to seek damages in court, rather than through workers’ compensation.
(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Additional reporting by Nate Raymond, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Cynthia Osterman)
Wasaga Beach, Ont., disables comments on its social media to prevent spread of hate, misinformation – Global News
An Ontario town says it will no longer allow comments on its social media posts in an effort to prevent the spread of hate and misinformation.
The Town of Wasaga Beach says it will disable comments for now, but will continue to share community information on social media.
The town located on the shore of Georgian Bay says it’s making the change because certain individuals in the community have been using its social media pages to “bully, spread hate and misinformation.”
In a video posted online, Mayor Nina Bifolchi says the town does not want to give those people a platform to spread “hate and lies.”
She says residents are still encouraged to reach out to staff and council members by phone and email if they need to.
The town is also encouraging residents to use the municipality’s community engagement website called Let’s Talk Wasaga Beach.
White House says ‘self-regulation is not working’ following Facebook whistleblower who claims company prioritized profit
© 2021 The Canadian Press
Social media plea helps find the family dog – CKPGToday.ca
2nd Floor 1810 3rd Ave.
Prince George, BC
Phone: (250) 564-8861
Newsroom: (250) 563-0111
We strive to achieve the highest ethical standards in all that we do. Our newsroom abides by the RTDNA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and follows the Canadian Press Stylebook
CKPGToday is a division of
Kate Hudson flaunts toned abs in Breast Cancer Awareness Month photo – Yahoo News Canada
NBA roundup: Thunder shock Lakers with 26-point comeback
COVID-19 fourth wave abating in Alberta, but many cases being missed: independent modeller – Calgary Herald
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Economy20 hours ago
Here's why Joe Biden's economy is heading in the wrong direction – CNN
Investment17 hours ago
Ping An Profit Falls on Investment Returns, Sales Slowdown – BNN
Tech17 hours ago
Google Pixel 6's fingerprint scanner is perfectly placed, so it's a shame it sucks – TechRadar
Tech16 hours ago
Self-driving “Roboats” ready for testing on Amsterdam’s canals
Sports16 hours ago
Joel Quenneville meeting Gary Bettman over Blackhawks scandal Thursday – Sportsnet.ca
Business15 hours ago
Rogers Family Feud Creates Boardroom Chaos for Canadian Communications Firm – The Wall Street Journal
Business15 hours ago
U.S. holiday sales could hit record levels of over $800 billion – NRF
Politics21 hours ago
Billionaires tax faces constitutional, political hurdles – NBC News