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Americans who get news mostly through social media are least likely to follow coronavirus coverage – Pew Research Center's Journalism Project

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A woman checks her cellphone in Los Angeles on March 20. Los Angeles County had announced a near-lockdown a day earlier in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

While coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic consumes the nation’s news, people whose most common pathway to political and election news is through social media are less likely than others to be closely following that coverage.

A chart showing those who get news mostly on social media less likely to be following coronavirus newsAnd more of these social media news consumers say they have seen at least some misinformation about the pandemic, according to a survey conducted March 10-16, 2020, as a part of Pew Research Center’s Election News Pathways project.

These responses may help explain another finding: Those who use social media as their most common news pathway – 18% of U.S. adults overall – fare comparatively poorly when it comes to answering a question about when a vaccine might be available. These findings come from a survey of 8,914 U.S. adults who are members of the Center’s American Trends Panel.

One way to understand news audiences in today’s complex environment is to look at consumers through the prism of their most common pathway for getting political news: print, radio, local television, national television, cable television, social media sites and news websites or apps.

A chart showing about two-in-ten U.S. adults get most of their political news on social mediaOverall, the 18% of Americans who are “social media first” stand out as younger, more likely to be Hispanic, and less interested in political news, though they aren’t strongly characterized by any particular partisan leaning.

More than half who rely most on social media for political news say they have encountered made-up news about COVID-19

About four-in-ten of those who depend on social media for their political and election news (37%) say they are following news about the outbreak very closely, the lowest percentage of any news pathway asked about. Those who mostly rely on local TV and radio are next-lowest, with 44% of each group saying they are following COVID-19 coverage very closely. That compares with about two-thirds (65%) of those who mostly rely on cable TV for political news.

Want to see more data on these questions?

To analyze these survey questions by additional media habits and demographic characteristics, visit the interactive tool and access the dataset.

In all, eight-in-ten social media news consumers say they have been following news of the outbreak at least fairly closely. While still a strong majority, it is again the lowest percentage for any of these seven news groups.

By way of comparison, 95% of those who primarily use cable television for political news, 94% who use national TV and 92% who rely on news websites have been following the outbreak fairly or very closely.

A chart showing majority of those who get most news from social media say they’ve seen at least some misinformation about the coronavirusAnd some of what social media news consumers have seen has been problematic. More than half (57%) of those who rely mostly on social media for news say they have encountered some or a lot of news and information about the outbreak that seemed completely made up. That is the highest percentage for any of the news pathway groups. It stands in especially stark contrast with the small portion of those who prefer print products for news, 37% of whom say they’ve come upon made-up news.

Regarding the information they’ve seen coming from the media, social media news consumers were more likely than most to say that news sources have exaggerated the threat posed by the virus. Overall, 70% of them say the media greatly or slightly exaggerated the risks, with only those in the radio group (69%) and news website group (67%) as likely to see those exaggerations.

At the same time, 45% of social media news consumers say the media greatly exaggerated the risks – among the highest percentages of the seven groups, along with radio consumers (44%).

Social media users fare poorly on question about COVID-19 vaccine

A chart showing knowledge about coronavirus vaccine varies by where people turn most for political newsThe survey also asked if respondents know when a vaccine for COVID-19 might be available. About four-in-ten (37%) of the social media news consumers selected the answer that is in line with statements by public health experts: that it would take a year or more to become available. The only group with a similarly low percentage answering correctly is the local TV group, at 32%. At least half of all of the other groups said it would be a year or more.

This is primarily because a greater share of social media-first consumers express uncertainty. One-third of social media news consumers say they are not sure about the answer (33%), a number again rivaled only by local television users (33%).

On the most likely source of the new coronavirus, social media news consumers were also slightly more likely than those who turn to other pathways to say that the virus was created in a lab, either intentionally or unintentionally. However, this is more related to the fact that younger adults are more likely to give this answer, regardless of what platforms they use.

These measures and more can be explored further in the Election News Pathways data tool, where all of the data associated with this project is available for public use. You can read more about public opinion of COVID-19 here.

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Indonesia approves large-scale social restrictions for Jakarta: media – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s health ministry has approved a request by the government of Jakarta to impose large-scale social restrictions in the city to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, media on Tuesday cited a ministry official as saying.

A health ministry spokeswoman, however, subsequently told Reuters that Jakarta’s request has yet to be approved.

Several news outlet, including news website Detik.com, quoted Busroni, who heads the media and public opinion department at the health ministry, as saying the Jakarta government can decide on the restrictions it wants to impose after approval.

(Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo, Fanny Potkin and Stanley Widianto; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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COVID-19 crisis: Most Canadians support bailout for media organizations, poll finds – National Post

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The majority of Canadians support government bailouts for media organizations that are facing a collapse in advertising revenue since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses across the country, according to a new poll.

The survey was conducted by Nanos Research for FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting, a non-partisan media watchdog, and was released Monday.

It found that seven in 10 Canadians support (26 per cent), or somewhat support (41 per cent) the federal government sending financial aid to failing news organizations.

A majority of Canadians also agree (36 per cent), or somewhat agree (26 per cent) that Ottawa should treat media bankruptcies and layoffs as an emergency because journalism is essential to “keeping Canadians safe” during this crisis.

A country that can’t talk to itself ceases to be

The survey notes that Canadian media outlets have seen advertising revenues fall by as much as 60 per cent, and nearly 500 journalists were laid off in the first two weeks of the lockdown.

Torstar, which publishes several daily newspapers including the Toronto Star, announced on Monday that it would eliminate 85 positions and cut its operating budget to offset advertising revenue losses.

The government previously announced a $30-million COVID-19 awareness advertising campaign in an effort to support Canada’s struggling media industry. And Ottawa said it was moving closer to implementing long-promised tax credits for newspapers.

However, the measures were widely criticized as too little to make a real difference, including Mark Lever, the president of SaltWire Network, a newspaper chain in Atlantic Canada that laid off 240 employees — or about 40 per cent of its workforce — last month and shuttered several of its publications.

“Many of our most prominent journalism outlets face imminent failure, even after the government’s proposed tax credits and wage subsidies are factored in,” FRIENDS’ Executive Director Daniel Bernhard said. “This is an acute emergency and Canadians want Ottawa to intervene quickly to save these trusted institutions from mass extinction.

“Our democracy and our future as an independent country are at stake. A country that can’t talk to itself ceases to be. If we lose our media, we lose our country.”

When the stakes are this high, only professional journalists can be trusted to deliver the truth

The survey also found that most Canadians trust traditional media more than social media outlets to deliver accurate information during a crisis. Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) think content in social media posts is less accurate. Only 10 per cent believe social media is as accurate as traditional media, while four per cent think it is more accurate.

“Canadians are very clear that when the stakes are this high, only professional journalists can be trusted to deliver the truth,” Bernhard said. “It’s time for Ottawa to end the unfair advantages and preferential tax policies that help untrusted companies like Facebook sink Canada’s newsrooms.”

Canadians also support (41 per cent), or somewhat support (31 per cent) increasing funding for the CBC.

The survey was conducted over landlines, cellphones and online between March 30 and April 2 as part of an omnibus survey. Nanos Research carried out a random survey of 1,036 Canadians aged 18 and over. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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Top Tabloid Exec Dylan Howard Out at American Media Inc. (EXCLUSIVE) – National Post

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LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – American Media Inc. executive Dylan Howard is out after more than a decade at the publishing company, Variety has learned exclusively.

Howard’s contract, which expired on March 31, was not renewed. Reasons for his departure were not immediately clear, though rumors of his exit had been brewing internally at the owner of Us Weekly and InTouch magazines for weeks, multiple sources said. Howard, an unflinching tabloid editor, became the subject of media storms surrounding Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump in recent years.

Howard and American Media did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.

Howard most recently served as a senior vice president in corporate development, where he was said to be conceiving scripted and unscripted projects in the true crime arena. Prior to that, Howard spent six years as the editor in chief of AMI digital gossip property RadarOnline, and previously served as chief content officer for all the David Pecker-run publications including the National Enquirer, Closer, Life&Style and InTouch.

Numerous media reports over the past year suggested Howard had been sidelined at AMI with his editorial role being minimized, as he’s switched his focus to TV and literary projects.

The Australian-born journalist rose to prominence as a tabloid reporter by exposing major stories like Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rants and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s secret child. He was a key figure in Ronan Farrow’s reporting regarding Weinstein’s enablers with Farrow reporting that Howard was a Weinstein accomplice who dug up dirt on women accusing the fallen movie mogul, who is now serving a 23-year prison sentence for rape and sexual assault.

Howard famously threatened to sue the Pulitzer Prize-winning Farrow and his publisher over his best-selling book, “Catch & Kill,” which is about a journalist being threatened by systems of powerful men. (The phrase “catch and kill” refers to the practice of tabloid editors buying stories and then burying them, so they never see the light of day.)

Howard was also accused by Farrow and The Wall Street Journal of burying stories about President Trump with Farrow writing that the Australian tabloid executive shredded incriminating documents about Trump when he oversaw the Enquirer, which never published the documents.

In 2019, Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, accused Howard and American Media of extortion and blackmail after the Enquirer published an expose about his extramarital affair and included racy texts to his now-girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, which forced Bezos to publicly announce his divorce. The Amazon founder made his accusations known in a lengthy written piece, where he said Howard threatened to print a nude photo of Bezos and Sanchez, unless the Bezos-owned Washington Post eased up on their “politically motivated” coverage of AMI.

American Media Inc. paid $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed an affair with Trump, to buy the exclusive rights to her story, which never ran. Following scrutiny for the McDougal hush money payout and fallout from the Bezos expose, AMI made a $100 million deal to sell the National Enquirer to James Cohen, the heir to Hudson News, which as of today, has still not closed. A source says the much-delayed deal has not been called off, and prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the buyer was still working through details, but with the economic crisis spurred by the pandemic, business across all industries is on pause.

Howard’s departure comes as American Media announced company-wide salary cuts, in the wake of the coronavirus, though the publishing company was financially troubled long before the viral outbreak. All of the company’s titles, such as Us Weekly, cut employees’ salary by 23% on Apr. 1.

When announcing company-wide pay cuts last week, American Media Inc. released a statement to media, noting that no layoffs have occurred. “American Media is committed to doing everything we can during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure our staff maintain their employment and health benefits,” a spokesperson for the company said.

Prior to the coronavirus-prompted salary cuts at AMI, both RadarOnline and Men’s Journal underwent sweeping staff reductions with the men’s lifestyle magazine relocating to the west coast and laying off New York-based employees. Insiders say RadarOnline was hit the hardest, among the company’s layoffs.

American Media’s pay cuts come as the advertising business has been shaken by coronavirus’ impact, causing other publishing company to slash salaries, including Buzzfeed, which recently announced temporary cuts.

The entire entertainment industry has been deeply affected by the pandemic with production shut down across television and film and deal-making halted in Hollywood, resulting in the talent agencies being particularly hit hard with layoffs and staff-wide salary reductions. Mega corporations, like Disney, have furloughed employees, as theme parks remain closed and chairman Bob Iger gave up his multi-million annual salary.

After a brief departure from American Media when he ran the celebrity site CelebBuzz, Howard had been back with AMI since 2013 and became editor-in-chief of RadarOnline, and later was named editor of the National Enquirer. During his rise at AMI, Howard was a key lieutenant to Pecker, who remains atop the publishing company.

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