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New media investment firm Attention Capital acquires Girlboss – TechCrunch

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Attention Capital, a new outfit that buys, builds and scales media brands, is acquiring Girlboss, the female-focused multi-media business founded by Sophia Amoruso, who will join the firm as a founder partner.

A spokesperson for LA-based Girlboss declined to disclose terms of the deal but said Attention Capital has acquired 100% of the business. Girlboss had raised $3.1 million in venture capital funding in 2017 from Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Today’s announcement represents Amoruso’s second exit, though her first M&A deal was more of a rescue operation. She previously founded and led the millennial retailer Nasty Gal, growing it from a small eBay store to a fashion giant that observed more than $300 million in sales at one point in time. Ultimately, Nasty Gal lost its way. The business filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2016 after raising $65 million over its 10 years of operation.

In 2017, Nasty Gal was acquired for a meager $20 million. Meanwhile, Amoruso was on to a new and similarly venture-backed business, one born out of the success of her book, #GIRLBOSS, which the company said has sold more than 500,000 copies since it was published in 2014.

“Girlboss is built on the idea of powering growth through community,” Girlboss chief executive officer Amoruso said in a statement. “The Girlboss movement’s viral success makes evident that women are more successful if they have access to each other and can share their experiences.”

Attention Capital, founded by media heavyweights including former Fox Networks Group president Joe Marchese, Snap’s former head of content Nick Bell and former Palantir executive Ashlyn Gentry, seeks to acquire media and technology platforms that “properly measure and value attention and are positioned to exponentially benefit in a market correction of the attention economy.” The new firm plans to raise up to $500 million, according to earlier reporting. Attention Capital has previously acquired a majority stake in Tribeca Enterprises through a deal led by James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems.

“Girlboss is an internationally known brand that is redefining what it means to be entrepreneurial—it’s not just starting your own business, it’s taking a risk, looking for that next role, making a career switch and taking a step into the unknown,” Gentry, the former senior vice president of commercial growth and business strategy at Palantir, wrote in a statement. “Millions of women feel more comfortable going on this journey because they know they have Sophia and the global Girlboss community right there with them. The loyalty and passion that this brand captures makes it a massive market opportunity and at Attention Capital we’re looking forward to working with the team on Girlboss’s expansion.”

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Hong Kong press body says new police media rules could limit scrutiny – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Yanni Chow and Carol Mang

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) said on Thursday a move by police to narrow the definition of “media representatives” allowed at public events such as protests could limit scrutiny on law enforcers.

The guidelines, officially changed on Wednesday, now exclude recognition of press passes issued by local media associations such as HKJA and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association (HKPPA), while accepting journalists from 205 bodies registered with the government and international media.

News associations say the move could limit the work of and raise the risks of arrest for freelancers and student reporters, who have captured some of the most striking scenes of the pro-democracy protests that roiled the city last year, including a video of a police officer shooting a demonstrator in October.

Police are suspicious of student reporters, who fit the age group of the most ardent protesters, and say they have discovered fake media badges and been attacked by fake reporters.

“All the police want is to limit us,” said HKJA chairman Chris Yeung, appearing next to representatives of HKPPA and six other media unions.

“Journalism students are the future of our industry,” he said, speaking in front of a banner reading “Defend the truth, no government vetting.”

Some students who said they were reporting for their student union publications have been arrested at protests for suspected crimes including rioting.

Late on Wednesday, Security Secretary John Lee said freedom of the media remained intact.

The change to internal guidelines meant that recognised reporters will be allowed in cordoned zones where media is not usually allowed and could also be offered interviews at the scene, which has also been rare, he said.

Lee said the guidelines do not attempt to change the definition of journalists who can conduct reporting outside cordoned areas.

The Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) said on Wednesday the move was “another step in the erosion of Hong Kong’s once cherished press freedom as it would give the police — rather than reporters and editors — the power to determine who covers the police”.

The FCC expressed concerns that journalists not recognised under the new guidelines risked being arrested for unlawful assembly and rioting.

China’s foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong said on Wednesday that the club should “immediately stop meddling with Hong Kong affairs on the pretext of press freedom”.

“The truth is not to be distorted,” it said. “By anxiously whitewashing the fake journalists, FCC Hong Kong is attempting to endorse the rioters and condone their ‘burn with us’ violence, thus sowing more trouble in the city.”

Pro-democracy protests have been smaller and fewer this year due to coronavirus restrictions on gatherings and since the introduction of a national security law on June 30. There are calls for protests on Oct 1., China’s national day.

(Writing by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Michael Perry)

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City probes racist, sexist social media posts by fire-paramedic staff – Winnipeg Free Press

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The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is investigating social media posts by employees that allegedly contained racist and sexist content, offences the service says could trigger penalties that range up to termination.

A Sept. 18 memo written by WFPS chief John Lane, which was obtained by the Free Press, notes the service had issued social media guidelines for its employees, which were meant to ensure a diverse and welcoming workplace. Lane wrote that it took place in the midst of worldwide discussions about “racism, sexism, prejudice, and other threats to these core values.”

“Unfortunately… it is apparent that unacceptable behaviours continue on social media and occasionally among individuals. Instances have recently been brought to our attention. This is profoundly disappointing for me, both professionally and personally,” Lane wrote.

“Unfortunately… it is apparent that unacceptable behaviours continue on social media and occasionally among individuals.” –John Lane

The WFPS memo states that the incidents will be investigated, noting employees who have violated the city’s code of conduct and/or other rules may face discipline “up to and including termination of employment.”

Lane also urges all staff to report any behaviour that doesn’t meet city standards and notes a third party will be sought out to ensure that process is confidential.

The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU), which represents Winnipeg paramedics, said members have complained about racist and/or sexist posts by other WFPS staff, as well as some in-person interactions.

Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU’s president, said the issue has been reported since at least June, so the city must quickly move to address it.

“People should be thinking about the effect of what they’re putting up on social media at all times.” –Michelle Gawronsky

“It definitely is not stopping. We’ve been able to provide the employer with documents showing that. And so we are looking for some action now,” said Gawronsky.

She said WFPS must do something promptly to ensure better workplace conditions, an effort that could start with staff education.

“Frontline paramedics, in fact all workers, have the right to go to work and feel safe and secure in their jobs and not have to put up with any racism or sexism,” said Gawronsky.

The union leader said she believes the city must address all of the complaints, including those linked to personal social media accounts.

“When… it’s hurting other people, it is not acceptable at all. People should be thinking about the effect of what they’re putting up on social media at all times,” she said.

Alex Forrest, president of the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg union, declined to comment, stating he had little knowledge of the investigation.

In an emailed statement, WFPS spokesperson Kristin Cuma did not answer specific questions about the number or nature of the complaints, the number of employees affected or the timeline of the investigation.

“No information will be provided about specific human resources matters involving individuals,” wrote Cuma.

Joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

 

Joyanne Pursaga
Reporter

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.

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Trump Media Agency Boss Explains Non-Appearance to House Panel – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — The chief of the agency that oversees the Voice of America and other media organizations told the chairman of a congressional committee that subpoenaed him that he couldn’t appear because of a scheduling conflict.

Michael Pack, who earlier this year took charge of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, had angered both Democrats and Republicans on the Foreign Affairs Committee when he defied the subpoena to testify about changes at the agency.

In a letter to the panel’s chairman, Eliot Engel, on Wednesday, Pack said he was “disappointed to receive your subpoena” and “eager to testify.” He complained in the letter that the panel’s staff had refused to accept other dates.

“As we have repeatedly explained to the committee, USAGM has become preoccupied with a series of pressing and complex matters necessary to correct over a decade of systemic security failures. In view of these genuine and urgent conflicts, we requested a brief adjournment so that I may appear a few weeks later.”

He added that he “could not provide complete information concerning the pressing internal matters.”

He was originally scheduled to appear voluntarily on Thursday, and the committee issued the subpoena last week after he withdrew.

Engel, a New York Democrat, said Tuesday that it was Pack who had failed to provide alternative dates or offer an acceptable excuse.

Pack’s withdrawal also drew a strong statement from the committee’s ranking Republican, Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, who called for Pack to testify. In a sharply divided Congress, the bipartisan response was unusual, particularly with regard to pressing a Trump nominee to appear before a committee controlled by Democrats.

McCaul said that since being confirmed by the Senate in June, Pack had placed critical national security programs “in jeopardy” and that he “needs to come before this committee and explain those actions.”

In June, Pack dismissed the heads of four news organizations, including Radio Free Europe, as well as staff and governing board members at the Open Technology Fund, or OTF, an organization that promotes internet freedom abroad and receives grant money from the Agency for Global Media. McCaul was one of the lead authors of a measure that would establish the OTF as an independent grantee of the agency.

Pack’s nomination by President Donald Trump drew heated opposition from Senate Democrats, both for his association with former Trump campaign and White House adviser Steve Bannon, but also over unresolved questions about his business dealings while running an nonprofit media organization called the Public Media Lab. The attorney general of the District of Columbia is investigating the organization for unlawful use of funds.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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