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Media at a flashpoint: 2019 year in review – CNN



Here is a very incomplete look back at the year in media, especially when it intersected with government, business, culture, and entertainment.

News about the news

In year three of the Trump presidency, journalists reached for new ways to describe the tumultuous times — I noticed “the victim president,” “the Infowars president,” “the conspiracy theory president,” “the ‘say anything’ president,” and “the grifter president,” just to name a few. In Foxland, Lou Dobbs called him “the greatest president in our history.” At the end of the year, of course, it was “the impeached president.”
Trump’s mendacity and his propaganda machine’s complicity hit new heights during the impeachment inquiry. Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler reported at the end of the year that “Trump said more false or misleading claims in 2019 than he did in 2017 and 2018 combined.” There were signs of exhaustion and numbness — the ever-present “Trump fatigue.”
The president’s near-daily complaints about the news media almost faded into the background, but there were times when the extreme nature of his rhetoric was newly shocking. In June he accused the New York Times of a “virtual act of treason” and threatened a Time journalist with prison over a Kim Jong Un letter. In September he tweeted that two Washington Post reporters “shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House.” That same month, a federal judge ruled that the White House had to restore press access to Playboy columnist Brian Karem, who had been suspended for 30 days.
Trump also complained about Fox News more than a dozen times, usually when news anchors were reporting fact-based news or when Democratic politicians were speaking on the channel. He griped about Fox’s scientific polls and occasionally promoted OANN, a far-right channel that wants to reach Fox’s viewers. But despite the barbs, Trump leaned heavily on support from the channel’s right-wing commentators and took his cues from their shows. Fox’s chief news anchor Shep Smith suddenly resigned in October, the most high-profile example of news being squeezed out by opinion on the channel.
Back in DC, the Mueller probe came and went; on-camera White House press briefings were scrapped; and Stephanie Grisham took over as press secretary. Sanders accepted a Fox News contributor gig.
Arguably the most shocking media/politics story of the year broke in February when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos alleged that the National Enquirer attempted to extort and blackmail him. Bezos — the owner of the Washington Post and a longtime Trump target— implied that it was a political hit job.

Entertainment’s new world order

The Disney-Fox deal took effect in March, creating a media company of unparalleled scale, and a slimmed-down Fox Corp focused on live news and sports. Disney dominated the year at the box office and launched a flagship streaming service, Disney+, that will define the company’s future.
All the talk about Disney+ and other streaming launches reflected the fact that Netflix is the pace setter, establishing the model for the new streaming world order. Netflix tripled down on its original content bets, competing with the likes of Apple and Amazon.
Richard Plepler stepped down at HBO and Bob Greenblatt joined WarnerMedia (CNN’s parent company) in a top content job that included oversight of HBO. The company’s top priority became the HBO Max streaming service, which will launch in April. WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey was promoted to president and COO of AT&T, putting him in line to succeed Randall Stephenson. AT&T fended off an activist shareholder campaign. Verizon continued to shrink its digital media footprint while focusing on 5G. Sprint and T-Mobile tried to merge.
At NBCUniversal, the top priority was Peacock, which will launch in May. NBCU CEO Steve Burke will step aside on January 1, making way for Jeff Shell.
Apple launched new subscription products in both news and entertainment. (Reminder: I’m a consulting producer on one of Apple’s shows.) Analysts predicted that an Apple bundle is on the way. Other bundles launched in other categories: For instance, Luminary launched in the ever-more-crowded podcast space.
Spotify acquired podcasting companies like Gimlet Media and inked deals with programmers like Barack and Michelle Obama. Sometimes it seemed like everyone had a podcast. But companies kept betting that the ecosystem has room to grow.
Media business stories, meantime, kept giving inspiration to Hollywood storytellers: Look no further than “Succession,” “The Loudest Voice,” “Bombshell,” and, yes, “The Morning Show…”

Business interrupted

Upheaval in digital media continued: A private equity firm acquired a set of beloved websites — including Gizmodo, Kotaku, Deadspin, Jezebel, and The Onion — from Univision. By the end of the year Deadspin was a figment of its former self. Vice bought Refinery29, Bustle Media Group bought multiple brands, and more and more websites put up pay walls to spur subscriber revenue. More and more digital newsrooms pushed to unionize.
While losses accumulated in local news, big tech companies said they would do more to support the fragile news ecosystem that has suffered from digital disruption. For the first time, Facebook started to directly pay publishers for opening up their content to the social network. Google’s support came in the form of grants and partnerships. Critics said the efforts were just a relative drop in the bucket, given the overwhelming size of the tech giants.
Despite the hardships and headwinds, news organizations produced ambitious work, from “The 1619 Project” and “The Privacy Project” at The New York Times to “The Afghanistan Papers” and “The Opioid Files” at the Washington Post. Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown was celebrated for her intrepid reporting about Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes. “We were assisted by some excellent investigative journalism,” prosecutors said when announcing Epstein’s arrest.
Newspapers explored new models to stay in business. Consolidation continued, with Gannett and Gatehouse coming together in a takeover deal that immediately led to further layoffs. In Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune became the first metropolitan daily paper in the United States to file with the IRS and turn into a nonprofit enterprise.
Speaking of not-for-profit media, John Lansing became the new chief executive at NPR, succeeding Jarl Mohn.
In other transitions, Kevin Tsujihara stepped down amid controversy and Ann Sarnoff became the new CEO of the Warner Bros studio. Adam Moss retired from New York Magazine and David Haskell took over.

Changing of the guards

In the television news world, Susan Zirinsky took charge at CBS News, signed Gayle King to a new contract, and moved Norah O’Donnell to the “Evening News.” Tony Dokoupil and Anthony Mason joined King on “CBS This Morning.” Steve Kroft retired from “60 Minutes.”
At NBC, Andy Lack and Noah Oppenheim weathered the “Catch & Kill” storm, and Oppenheim signed a new contract, putting him in line to succeed Lack after the 2020 election.
At Vice, news boss Josh Tyrangiel left when HBO’s “Vice News Tonight” was canceled. Vice hired Jesse Angelo to be the new news and entertainment chief.
Executives in newsrooms and Hollywood boardrooms increasingly came to believe that their competitors weren’t just down the street or across the country, but across platforms and around the world. The short-form video sharing app TikTok was a sensation, and it originated in China. Esports consumed more and more viewing time. The massive multiplayer game “Fortnite” collapsed into a black hole, reinvented itself and, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, “remained a massive force.”
Attention was the currency, whether people were recording a funny video on a phone or buying tickets for a live taping of a podcast or getting news alerts on a smart watch or riding a connected bike. What captured your attention in 2019?

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'Unfair' but not the worst-case scenario: Chinese state media reacts to 'reasonable' TikTok deal – CNBC



GUANGZHOU, China — Chinese state media said ByteDance’s deal to set up TikTok Global in the U.S. is “reasonable,” adding that Chinese authorities would still need to give their approval to a deal with U.S. giants  Oracle and Walmart.

Global Times, a Chinese state-backed tabloid, said the TikTok deal avoids the “worst-case scenario” even though it was “unfair” that ByteDance was forced into this position. 

On Saturday, President Donald Trump tentatively agreed to a deal in which Oracle and Walmart would take a combined 20% stake in TikTok Global. Oracle will be the cloud provider responsible for storing and handling U.S. user data. 

Trump claimed the deal has “nothing to do with China” and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the new entity will be “controlled by Americans.”

However, Beijing-headquartered ByteDance on Monday confirmed it would have an 80% stake of TikTok Global. ByteDance also said it would not transfer its algorithms and technology to Oracle, though the U.S. firm can inspect the source code to ensure it’s safe. 

Earlier, the U.S. president had threatened to ban the app if it was not sold to a U.S. acquirer. But the current deal does not amount to a full acquisition and TikTok has managed to avert a ban in the U.S. for now.

“But it should be noted the plan is less costly for ByteDance than a shutdown or a complete sale to US companies,” the Global Times editorial read. “This plan is relatively more reasonable to ByteDance. The plan shows that ByteDance’s moves to defend its legitimate rights have to some extent worked.”

Earlier this month, China made amendments to its export restriction list to include technologies for “recommendation of personalized information services based on data analysis.” It did not specifically name ByteDance, but the addition was seen to relate to the video recommendation algorithm that has been a key factor behind the rising popularity of TikTok. 

Global Times claimed China’s move “significantly influenced the outcome” of the deal.

Meanwhile, in a separate opinion piece, the state-backed publication indicated the TikTok deal will need “the approval of the Chinese government,” suggesting that there are still some final hurdles to overcome.

Washington has often claimed that TikTok Global will be an American firm free of Chinese influence.

“It’ll be a brand new company. It will have nothing to do with any outside land, any outside country, it will have nothing to do with China,” Trump said.

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This Is Why You Need To Turn Off Social Media Notifications – Forbes



I’m a social media ghostwriter, so it’s literally my job to be active on social media. If I’m not helping leaders craft their stories and experiences into compelling and concise posts for them to share, I’m writing, publishing, and engaging with my own content.

I’m also a huge proponent of using social media for good, spreading messages that are educational, uplifting, empowering, and positive and generally in a way that helps us better communicate and connect, rather than agitate and divide.

So what I say next might come as a surprise: turn off your social media notifications.

The thing about social media apps is that it’s designed to hijack our attention and entice us to spend as much time as possible on them. When we get a notification, our brains release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good. And since our brains crave dopamine, we’re wired to find fast fixes of it, like those from notifications, so we’ll unconsciously keep repeating those behaviors.

At first, it starts innocently enough: Oh, look! Someone engaged with my post. I’ll just pop in to check. Between the big red numbers and the incessant dinging tones, soon you find yourself shifting your focus away from what and who matters most to the device buzzing at your side. Five minutes quickly becomes 30 that can easily creep into an hour.

Or maybe, like me, you realize that all the notifications aren’t just robbing your time and attention; they’re also increasing your stress and anxiety.

Research suggests a staggering 80% of smartphone users check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking up each morning. True confession: I’m one of them. And what confronted me every morning was a sea of notifications across multiple social media and messaging platforms. That alone made me feel like I was falling behind. Worse, if I ignored them, every time they multiplied, they screamed for attention with beeps and moving banners.

Last week, amidst my growing overwhelm, I had an ‘aha’ moment and decided to turn off my social media notifications; here’s why you should too:

You’ll start your day less anxious.

The first morning I looked at my phone after turning off notifications, I felt a huge sense of relief. Instead of starting my day with a sense of dread, I felt calm and peaceful, knowing that I wasn’t allowing external forces to dictate my mood.

It redirects your behavior to support conscious and intentional consumption.

I have reclaimed my time as my own, and I’m much more intentional with how I spend it. Instead of being in a near-constant reactive mode, I decide when I want to check and engage on social media.

You’ll have uninterrupted blocks of time to do deep work.

One of the biggest lessons leaders can learn is to protect their time. Without the distraction of social media notifications, I’ve found it easier to have blocks of time to immerse myself in deep work.

You’ll be more productive and less busy.

As we all know, being “busy” is not the same as being productive, and the former can prevent the latter. When you’re not scrolling through and checking notifications, you’ll have more time to do the things that matter most.

You’ll be more present for others.

Have you ever been deep in conversation with someone when your phone dings? It’s far too tempting to check it, and even if you don’t, your attention is compromised because you’re thinking about it rather than actively listening to your companion. When your notifications are off, you’ll be more present for those that matter most.

It reminds you of what’s truly urgent and important.

When you have notifications constantly bombarding you, it can feel like you have to respond to everything right now. With them off, it’s amazing what falls away. If someone needs to reach me, they know they can call, text, or email. Not everything requires an instant response, and as it turns out, not much is truly important and urgent.

The bottom line is this: Turning off social media notifications lets your phone work as a tool for you rather than letting it control you.

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/REPEAT — Media advisory – Media technical briefing on Hurricane Teddy/ – Canada NewsWire



DARTMOUTH, NS, Sept. 20, 2020 /CNW/ – Media representatives are advised that the Canadian Hurricane Centre will provide an update on Hurricane Teddy on Monday, September 21, 2020. Warning Preparedness Meteorologist Bob Robichaud will discuss the latest information about the storm.

Given the current restrictions with COVID-19, the briefing will be held by teleconference.

Event: Technical briefing (bilingual)
Date: Monday, September 21, 2020
Time: 1:00 p.m. (ADT)
Phone: 1-866-805-7923 / 1-613-960-7518
Code: 2850640#

Media will have the opportunity to ask questions. Media are asked to call 15 minutes before the briefing to register. Late registrants may not be able to join the conference.

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page 
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

SOURCE Environment and Climate Change Canada

For further information: Media Relations, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free), [email protected]

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