Connect with us

Media

Monday’s FTB: Navigating the new media landscape without a safety net – Pension Plan Puppets

Published

 on


On December 16, SBNation put up a post, topped by a stock photo of some young female San Jose Sharks fans, to tell the world they were terminating the contracts of a large number of writers for sites based in California. SBNation, isn’t just hockey or even just the big four professional sports, so that announcements affected 25 different sites. They reported in this post that over 200 people blogged on those sites in 2019.

200 people.

SBNation termed this move “bittersweet” and most of us are still looking for the sweet and can’t find it.

The root of this decision is a new law (signed in to law on September 18) in the state of California that makes it carder for companies to classify workers as contractors instead of employees. The popular description of the law is an move against “gig economy” employers who contract out work almost exclusively. This law has actually grown out of a court decision, and has been in the works for some time.

The law affects journalism, and journalism-adjacent businesses in a particular way:

As CJR reported in March, some publishers responded to the Dynamex ruling by cutting ties with freelancers based in California. The passage of Assembly Bill 5 offers some relief: freelance writers, editors, photographers and editorial cartoonists were given a partial carve-out, allowing publishers to hire them for up to 35 separate “content submissions” in a given year. (The law exempts more than 20 professions, including doctor, lawyer, manicurist, travel agent and commercial fisherman. Graphic designers have a full exemption, which means California judges could find themselves ruling on how much Photoshop work it takes to distinguish photography from graphic design.)

And for many types of media today, that means they have to overhaul how they get their stories, and who they hire, or in a lot of cases, just don’t hire.

Nathan Cambridge, a freelance sportswriter in Los Angeles, covers football games and other high school and community college sporting events for local newspapers

“In an ideal world, the company would recognize the value of my content and think, ‘Rather than not being able to use this person anymore, I’ll give them a job,’ but that’s not the world we’re in with newspapers,” Cambridge says. “What’s going to happen is, I’m going to hit 35 and they’re going to stop giving me assignments.”

And this is where the reality of media itself smashes into the intent of California’s lawmakers to protect the rights of workers. Something all sides in this conversation should realize is that there isn’t a big pot of gold greedily being horded by publishers of most forms of media. SBNation, for example, has suggested they are going to hire 15 paid employees to run the 25 sites in California.

For us here at PPP, we don’t expect anything to change, and we have no contributors who live in California, so no one is being fired out from under us. But the hockey sites as a group are connected, and we share back and forth, standing on an even playing field as writers and site managers who aren’t journalists, who aren’t working at a job where an editor hands us assignments, but as bloggers who, frankly, run off at the mouth for the most part.

We’re here to talk, to argue, to opinionate, and we’re here — here on SBNation — because when the sites were originally founded and PPP joined up, it was a way to link writers like us (fans who blog, bloggers who are fans) to an audience. SBNation pays for the infrastructure that all of us as individuals would have to re-invent hundreds of times over to go out and just blog as the OK Boomer advice has been from professional journalists in the past.

The media landscape has changed a lot, just in the time PPP has existed. And when people do try to go out on their own and “just blog” following that advice, they quickly find out they’ve got two full time jobs that don’t pay them anything: one writing and one shilling their brand on social media. Oh, and then there’s the cost and technical skill of putting a site on the air.

So, it’s fair to say that SBNation provides a service to the fans who want to blog, and then they divvy up the ad revenue as they see fit. They’ve seen fit to dole it out in small portions to non-professional writers and site managers, and now for one set of sites, that’s going to change:

For some of [the California site contractors], that will mean full or part-time employment at SB Nation, but for others it will mean offering a platform: They’ve built a following among our communities and after their contracts end, they’ll have the option (but no obligation) to continue blogging on those communities whenever (and only when) they like. They will be the first of our new Community Insiders – with a special lane to write on the site and a special place on the masthead. Community Insiders’ participation in events, blogging and any other community activities will always be 100 percent voluntary with no obligations to SB Nation at all. But to the extent these incredibly talented people want to remain involved in the communities that they helped build, create and foster, they will be – with special access to the features of the best sports conversation platform on the web.

Our common playing field is getting tipped. And in whose favour is a very open question. There is nothing sweet here for anyone, not Vox who owns SBNation, not us looking in on this from another country where our rules about contracting vs employment are different, and not the 200 or so people who are now competing for a very, very few jobs or who can blog for no compensation at all.

Many of the hockey sites have decided to take today to go dark to protest this situation:

We are very disturbed and concerned by two separate, yet related, issues that arose as a result of this decision. First, the decision to cut loose the entire writing staffs of 25 SB Nation team sites was a complete surprise to everyone impacted. It dropped out of the clear blue sky with no warning and minimal contact from SB Nation management prior to being made public. The fact that it happened a week and a half prior to Christmas makes it even more difficult to accept.

The California law that prompted this decision was enacted on September 18, yet the affected writers had no knowledge that their contracts with Vox Media were at risk until they were told that the contracts were being terminated, nearly three months later.

SBN management has stated that part- and full-time positions, which are now posted, will be used to replace the current contractor positions that will no longer be available as a result of the new California law. While current contractors have been invited to apply for these newly-created positions, the reality is that many of the writers affected by this decision have little to no interest in traditional employment with the requisite expectations on time and commitments that employment entails. Many of us have existing jobs and careers that we work our SBN commitments around. While it isn’t by any means a perfect scenario, it works for a good number of our writers, and it’s heartbreaking that so many good writers are being sacrificed outright as the result of an ill-conceived law and ill-conceived decisions resulting from that law.

Read more here.

SBNation has chosen to carry some of their California contractors through next year in a transition phase. I personally do not see any way out of this mess that doesn’t involve California relaxing it’s rules or exempting some or all forms of journalism from this law the way they have many other professions.

But the decision to remove non-California residents from their site-manger and writer positions, to terminate contracts with little warning, and to wait until the end of 2019 to disclose how they were going to deal with a law passed months before failed the fans who built those 25 sites in a fundamental way.

There might never be a good solution to this conundrum. There can only ever be integrity and respect in dealing with each other as we try to navigate this difficult media landscape.

PPP has chosen to discuss this with you today in a way that we hope is helpful to you in understanding the issues, and we will cover the Leafs game this afternoon with a game day thread for you to meet and talk with us, which is what we’re here for, is what makes these sites unique and is not something a professional content creator can ever replicate.

See you at 2 pm for the game.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Media

Are You Missing Life’s Moments Because of Social Media?

Published

 on

Recently my wife and I watched the movie Before Sunrise [1995], starring Ethan Hawke as Jesse and Julie Delpy as Celine. While travelling on a Eurail train from Budapest, Jesse, an American, sees Celine, who’s French. It’s Jesse’s last day in Europe before returning to the US. Jesse strikes up a conversation with Celine, and they disembark in Vienna to spend the night wandering Austria’s capital city.

 

Summary: Before Sunrise is a back-and-forth conversation between a romantic [Celine] and a cynic [Jesse].

 

During the closing credits, I turned to my wife and said, “That wouldn’t have happened today. Jessie and Celine would have been staring at their respective smartphone throughout the train ride, which in 2021 would have free Wi-Fi, not noticing the passing scenery, their fellow passengers or each other, let alone start a conservation.”

 

How much of real life are we trading to participate in the digital world?

 

I have this problem; actually, it’s more of an addiction I need to keep in check constantly. I suffer from FOMO [Fear of Missing Out].

 

You’ve probably heard of FOMO. Odds are you suffer from it to a degree. FOMO is that uneasy feeling you get when you feel other people might be having a good time without you, or worst, living a better life than you. FOMO is why social media participation is as high as it is. FOMO is why you perpetually refresh your social media feeds, so you don’t feel left out—so that you can compare your life. FOMO is what makes social media the dopamine machine it is.

 

FOMO has become an issue, especially for those under 40. More and more people choose to scroll mindlessly through their social media feeds regardless of whether they’re commuting on public transit, having dinner in a restaurant, or at a sports event. Saying “yes” to the digital world and “no” to real life is now common.

 

Your soulmate could be sitting a few seats over on the bus (or Eurail train), or at the diner counter, or in the doctor’s waiting room. However, you’re checking your social media to see if Bob’s vacationing in Aruba with Scarlett or if Farid got the new job and may now be making more money than you. Likely, your potential soulmate is probably doing the same.

 

Look around. Everyone is looking down at the screen in their hand, not up at each other.

 

We all know Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, et al. [even LinkedIn] doesn’t provide a very well-rounded picture of people’s lives. Most of what people post is cherry-picked to elicit self-affirming responses, such as likes, thumbs-up and hand-clapping emojis, retweets, shares, and those coveted comments of “Congratulations!”, “Way to go!”, “You’re awesome!”, “Looking good!”

 

The Internet, especially its social media aspect, equates to “Look at me!”

 

Sometimes I wonder, if bragging and showing off were banned on social media sites, how much would posts decrease?

 

“Stop paying so much attention to how others around you are doing” was easy advice to follow pre-Internet (the late 90s). Back in the day, it would be only through the grapevine you were a part of that you found out if Bob was in Aruba with Scarlett and that be without pictures. Evidence of how others are doing, strangers included, is pervasive because undeniably, most of us care about status. In 2021 how people are doing is in the palm of our hands, so we tend to give more time to the device we’re holding at the cost of neglecting the real-life happenings within our immediate surroundings.

 

Social media has made us a restless, anxious bunch underappreciating the present moment. With lockdown restrictions lifting and more social activities taking place, people will be hunkering down on their smartphones more than before to see what others are doing. They’ll see the BBQ they weren’t invited to or people they consider to be friends having a few laughs on the local pub’s patio or camping or at the beach without them. Loneliness, questioning self-worth, depression will be the result.

 

Trading engaging with those around you to feed your FOMO angst is what we’ve come down to. In my opinion, Guildwood is the GTA’s most walkable neighbourhood. You can choose to take walks around Guildwood, getting exercise, meeting people or stay addicted to the FOMO distress social media is causing you.

 

Instead of catching up with an old friend or colleague in person over lunch, coffee, or a walk in Guild Park & Gardens, people prefer to text or message each other on social media platforms eliminating face-to-face interactions. Instead of trying to reconnect with old friends verbally, people would rather sit at home with their technology devices and learn what their friends are up to through social media platforms, thus the start of a slippery slope towards anti-social behaviour.

 

Social media’s irony is it has made us much less social. How Jesse and Celine meet [you’ll have to see the movie] and the resulting in-depth conversation they have as they gradually open up to each other, thus beginning a postmodern romance wouldn’t have happened today. They’d be too preoccupied with their smartphones feeding their FOMO addiction to notice each other.

 

Social media will always nudge you to give it attention, but that doesn’t mean you have to oblige. Take it from me; there’s more to be had in enjoying life’s moments outside of social media.

______________________­­­­­­­___________________________________________

Nick Kossovan is the Customer Service Professionals Network’s Director of Social Media (Executive Board Member). You can reach Nick at nick.kossovan@gmail.com and him on Instagram and Twitter @NKossovan.

Continue Reading

Media

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck pictured kissing as ‘Bennifer’ returns

Published

 on

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have been pictured exchanging passionate kisses, apparently confirming weeks of fevered rumors that they have rekindled a romance that dominated celebrity media almost 20 years ago.

Paparazzi photos printed in the New York Post on Monday showed the two actors kissing while enjoying a meal with members of Lopez’s family at Malibu’s posh Nobu sushi restaurant west of Los Angeles on Sunday.

Representatives for Lopez, 51, declined to comment on Monday, while Affleck’s publicists did not return a request for comment.

Lopez and “Argo” director Affleck, dubbed “Bennifer,” became the most talked about couple in the celebrity world in the early 2000s in a romance marked by his-and-her luxury cars and a large 6.1-carat pink diamond engagement ring. They abruptly called off their wedding in 2003 and split up a few months later.

The pair have been pictured together several times in Los Angels and Miami in recent weeks, after Lopez and her former baseball player fiance Alex Rodriguez called off their engagement in mid-April after four years together. Monday’s photos were the first in which Lopez and Affleck were seen kissing this time around.

Celebrity outlet E! News quoted an unidentified source last week as saying Lopez was planning to move from Miami to Los Angeles to spend more time with Affleck, 48, and was looking for schools for her 13-year-old twins Max and Emme.

Max and Emme, along with the singer’s sister Lydia, were also photographed walking into the restaurant in Malibu on Sunday.

Lopez married Latin singer Marc Anthony, her third husband, just five months after her 2004 split with Affleck. Affleck went on to marry, and later was divorced from, actress Jennifer Garner.

 

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Continue Reading

Media

TikTok debuts new voice after Canadian actor sues

Published

 on

TikTok

After noticing a new female voice narrating the videos on the popular video-sharing social networking service, users of TikTok were baffled as to why. It actually turns out that the Canadian actress behind the old voice filed a lawsuit against the platform for copyright violation as her voice was apparently being used without her permission.

Bev Standing, a voice actor based in Ontario, is taking China-based ByteDance to court. TikTok’s parent company has since replaced her voice with a new one, with Standing reportedly finding out over email after a tip-off from a journalist. On the matter, Standing said: “They replaced me with another voice. I am so overwhelmed by this whole thing. I’m stumbling for words because I just don’t know what to say.”

TikTok is said to be considering a settlement for Standing outside of the courts, but nobody knows whether or not this is true. According to legal experts, the fact TikTok now has a new voice on the popular social media app suggests they acknowledge Standing’s case and potentially understand that she may have suffered as a result of the company’s actions.

Thanks to the emergence of the powerful smartphone devices of today, alongside taking high-quality images for Instagram, getting lost down YouTube wormholes, and accessing popular slots like Purple Hot, people are turning to relatively new platforms like TikTok. The service has 689 million monthly active users worldwide and is one of the most downloaded apps in Apple’s iOS App Store. This latest news could harm the platforms future, although many of its younger users potentially aren’t aware that this type of scenario is unfolding.

For Bev Standing, the ordeal is a testing one. She wasn’t informed of the voice change, there is no mention of it in TikTok’s newsroom online, and the development is news to her lawyer also.

 

This all comes after her case was filed in a New York State court in early May after the voice actor noticed a computer-generated version of her voice had been seen and listened to around the world since 2020. Speculation is rife as to how TikTok managed to obtain the recordings but Standing believes the company acquired them from a project she took part in for the Chinese government in 2018.

(Image via https://twitter.com/VoiceOverXtra)

The Institute of Acoustics in China reportedly promised her that all of the material she would be recording would be used solely for translation, but they eventually fell into the hands of TikTok and have since been altered and then exposed to a global audience.

According to Pina D’Agostino, an associate professor with Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and an expert in copyright law, the fact that the hugely popular social media platform has now changed Standing’s voice could result in a positive outcome for the distraught voice actor. She said: “It’s a positive step in the way that they are mitigating their damages. And when you’re mitigating, you’re acknowledging that we did something wrong, and you’re trying to make things better.”

When assessing social media etiquette and how both companies and users should act, this type of news can only do more harm than good. Not only does it make the company look bad, but it could have an effect on revenues and, ultimately, TikTok’s reputation.

With a clear desire to move on and put this whole process behind her, Bev Standing is eager for the case to be resolved and get back to the daily work she loves and has been doing for a large part of her life. TikTok has until July 7 to respond to her claim.

 

Continue Reading

Trending