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Social Media Reacts: Seahawks Celebrate Mariners Clinching Playoff Spot – Seahawks.com

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As with all media, messaging from sports stars like LeBron James must be consumed with discretion – CBC Sports

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This is a column by Morgan Campbell, who writes opinion for CBC Sports. For more information about CBC’s Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

Last week, LeBron James, the NBA star and production company president, ended a post-game news conference by tossing a question back at reporters.

“I got one question for you guys before you guys leave. I was thinking when I was on my way over here, I was wondering why I haven’t gotten a question from you guys about the Jerry Jones photo,” James said. “But when the Kyrie thing was going on, you guys were quick to ask us questions about that.”

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The photo in question was published in the Washington Post, and shows a teenage Jones, now the owner of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, among an all-white mob opposing the integration of North Little Rock High School in 1957.

Isn’t this masterful stuff from James, a former high-school prodigy who has essentially grown up in front of reporters’ microphones? Don’t you admire James’s black-belt level verbal jiu-jitsu, putting writers on defence while highlighting a glaring double standard? This is important work, forcing the media to focus on an important story instead of gossip-column sideshows.

Right?

Not really, but hold on.

This past weekend here came Deion Sanders, the two-sport superstar turned college football coach, leaving his previous job at Jackson State University for a higher-paying post at the University of Colorado Boulder. Video clips from his provisional farewell to Jackson State players (he’ll coach them in the Celebration Bowl next weekend), and his introduction to staff and players in Colorado, hit the internet immediately.

One video was titled, “The Part of Deion Sanders ‘Exit Meeting With His Team’ THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO SEE.” The implication here is that the media curated the Sanders footage to make “Coach Prime,” appear more opportunistic and less empathetic than he really is.

Two sports superstars, and two examples of the media missing the point.

Except that James used that same rant to highlight his “platform” — he has 52.5 million Twitter followers. And last Saturday’s glut of Sanders content? Much of it came from Well Off Media, the outlet Sanders himself controls. 

James and Sanders are, of course, free to complain about the media, but when you boast about your social media reach, and run a production company, you are the media. Celebrities understand that reality, even if the audience doesn’t always recognize it. Inside that knowledge gap, everything famous folks and civilians alike resent about the traditional press can flourish — bias, spin, self-serving half-truths and more.

Whose truth?

We’re living in the #MoreThanAnAthlete era, where sports stars are encouraged to join important conversations. James has more social media followers than the Washington Post and NPR combined, and he knows that one comment or tweet could drive an entire 24-hour news cycle. 

But when superstars use their voices, the rest of us still have to use our brains, and figure out whether we’re consuming the truth, or just their truth.

In James’s case, the alleged double standard is just your everyday false equivalence. Writers asked about Irving because he and James are peers and former teammates, both members of the NBA Players’ Association. It makes sense to wonder how the Nets’ outside-the-CBA sanctions on Irving resonated with fellow union members.

And Jones?

He owns an NFL team, and has no direct, obvious connection to James. If a reporter didn’t already know James was invested in the Jerry Jones photos, they wouldn’t have much impetus to ask. They could ask anyway, hoping to luck into a juicy answer… but why?

The Washington Post published a picture of a teenaged Jones, above, among an all-white mob opposing the integration of North Little Rock High School in 1957. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

When you’re one-on-one with an athlete, and know something about their interests, wide-ranging, outside-the-lines questions can yield insightful responses. When I worked the baseball beat, I could draw players into conversations about the overlap between sports and politics in Cuba, or Venezuela, or whether merengue makes better walk-up music than salsa or reggaeton.

But to do it at a press conference, full of reporters on tight deadlines and players eager to fulfil their press obligation as quickly as possible, is reckless on several levels. If the athlete gives a thoughtful answer, it belongs to every reporter in the room, and not just to you. But if the athlete isn’t interested in your nuanced topic — and most times they’re not — you’ll get a quizzical look and a non-answer. Every dud question wastes everyone’s time.

Unless James is suggesting that reporters routinely solicit his opinion on current events during post-game press briefings, maybe using the beat writer’s favourite rhetorical device — the “talk about” non-question.

“LeBron, talk about the FTX collapse.”

“Talk about quantitative easing.”

“Since we’re in Toronto, talk about the Ontario Line transit stop at Osgoode Hall.”

Do you want that? Every night? Even if you think you do, you don’t.

PR misstep

And if James wants reporters to discuss issues that are important to him, he can mention them on social media, or put it on a t-shirt, like he did after Eric Garner’s death at the hands of a New York City police officer.

In short, because he has the platform, he can say it himself.

If he needs an example, there was Sanders, with his videographer trailing him, strutting into a Colorado meeting room full of nervous young men. Face to face for the first time, Sanders urged them to jump ship, so he could replace them with his own recruits.

“I’m coming. And when I get here, it’s gonna be change,” Sanders said. “So I want y’all to get ready to go ahead and jump in the [transfer] portal and do whatever you’re gonna get because more of you [transfer] the more room you make.”

Sanders’s one PR misstep: asking the players for a call-and-response after revealing he planned to cut most of them. Better to get them to chant with you while they’re still star-struck, then pivot to the grim business of trimming the roster.

By then, Sanders, who went 27-5 in three seasons at Jackson State, had already won the news conference. Go back and watch it. Short on football specifics; long on smiles and swagger and shout-outs to God. 

Later, in the team meeting, a player asked Sanders about off-season training. Sanders acknowledged that he intended to “make some of you quit.”

Talk like that foreshadows brutal winter workouts that aren’t designed to prepare players for football. Those sessions sometimes make headlines for sending athletes to the hospital with rhabdomyolysis, where your muscles essentially disintegrate from overwork. Seems to happen somewhere every winter. Is 2023 Colorado’s year?

I hope not.

Either way, it sounds like a new boss threatening to endanger a vulnerable workforce. But Sanders has a resumé and charm, and a media outlet on his side, and so can make an objectively sleazy situation sound normal, harmless and justified. 

When you have a platform and a delivery system, that kind of spin is possible. Most athletes — and certainly all superstars — have access to both.

So they can complain about the media missing the point, and we can listen. But none of us has to buy it. They’re media too, and I encourage you to consume their content the same way you consume anybody else’s. Mine included.

With discretion.

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Regulators Put Brakes on Media Megadeals

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Some of the biggest surprises in media M&A this year came not from ambitious CEOs or activist investors but from the clinical precision of regulators focused on warding off too much market concentration.

Industry insiders, meanwhile, say judges and antitrust watchdogs are focused on the wrong mature businesses while online-based media continues to operate like the Wild West. The anti-Big Media mood on both sides of the partisan divide in Washington is likely to complicate the completion of the biggest media transaction of the year, Microsoft’s proposed all-cash $68 billion takeover of gaming giant Activision Blizzard.

“Under this administration, that deal has a 50-50 chance of going through,” says a veteran entertainment attorney who specializes in M&A and regulatory issues.

The simmering regulatory probe by the Justice Dept. and Federal Trade Commission of the Microsoft-Activision merger is being closely watched as a litmus test for future transactions.

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There’s been much talk over the past two years about the possible combination of more legacy Hollywood brand name studios, a la Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox. But the combination of a muddled macroeconomic environment, rising interest rates and falling stock prices has likely put a freeze on big-time buying and selling until the political winds shift in Washington. “Everything is on hold until after 2024,” the source says.

Nothing exemplifies the Biden administration’s classically liberal distaste for media consolidation like the Justice Dept.’s decision last year to sue to block Paramount Global’s $2.2 billion sale of publisher Simon & Schuster to Bertelsmann, parent company of Penguin Random House. Circuit Court Judge Florence Y. Pan, of the District Court of Washington, D.C., issued an 80-page ruling with a clear-eyed analysis of the market dynamics in the book business. The case focused on the impact of how the marriage of the U.S.’ biggest book publisher (Penguin Random House) with the third-largest (Simon & Schuster) would impact the prices paid to authors for new manuscripts.

A week after Pan’s Nov. 14 decision, Paramount Global gave up the chase and pulled the deal, despite Penguin Random House’s vow to appeal.

Tegna, one of the largest independent TV station groups still around, has been through the ringer in recent years after a public battle with activist investor Soo Kim, head of private equity firm Standard General. But after Tegna management ultimately accepted an $8.6 billion buyout offer from Standard General and Apollo Global Management, the FCC has taken an extra-long look at the transaction. The reticence reflects growing unease in some circles about the influence of private equity and media ownership.

No less a legislative force than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighed in on the Tegna review with a letter sent to FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel raising apprehensions about the deal and its impact on local news and information in Tegna markets.

“We are concerned that this transaction would violate the FCC’s mandate by restricting access to local news coverage, cutting jobs at local television stations, and raising prices on consumers,” Pelosi wrote in the letter, co-authored with Frank Pallone Jr. (D-New Jersey), chairman of House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Books are the oldest of mass media. Broadcast TV stations are hitting their octogenarian years. But the regulatory focus on Simon & Schuster and Tegna reflects worries in the culture about the growing influence of screens and media in our lives, and who controls the levels of access and commerce behind them.

“There is now greater concern about who controls the media. It’s not just like any other industry,” says Erik Gordon, professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “Most of us don’t know or care who controls this railroad company or this hamburger chain. But media of any sort — whether it’s TV stations or Twitter or Facebook — people are now paying attention to who controls it.”

Judge Pan likely sent a chill down the spines of bankers and M&A lawyers by highlighting the expansive terms of the Clayton Act, a 1914 antitrust law that was enacted amid fear that consumers needed protection from the natural urge to merge among large business entities.

Pan’s opinion posits that the sheer market share that the enlarged Penguin Random House would gain in the $12 billion domestic book market was enough for the government to block the deal. In essence, even without evidence of monopolistic intentions, the mere potential for an enlarged Penguin Random House to sway pay scales for writers was a danger to competitiveness.

“The substantial market share of the proposed combined entity justifies a strong presumption of anticompetitive effects,” Pan wrote. She also cited a key passage from the Clayton Act: “All that is necessary is that the merger create an appreciable danger of such consequences in the future.”

On some level, antitrust law is driven by math and how much market share a company is allowed to amass. The rise of prominent duopolies in the Big Tech arena — two companies that largely dominate a sector a la Google and Facebook (digital advertising), Uber and Lyft (ride-hailing) and Apple and Samsung (smartphones) — has upended traditional thinking on how healthy markets develop.

A lot of Silicon Valley-related activity has fallen under the cloak of giving companies some breathing room to invest billions in testing out new technologies. But that laissez-faire attitude is hardening, says Derek Kompare, who studies TV and media history and is chair of Southern Methodist University’s Division of Film and Media Arts. He was not surprised that the Justice Dept. moved to put the kibosh on Penguin Random House swallowing up Simon & Schuster.

“There’s still significant business and social impacts of ‘old’ media like publishing and broadcasting that attentive regulation assesses,” says Kompare, who studies TV and media history. Simon & Schuster “seems a pretty clear case where there was no upside for anyone outside the proposed giant,” he says. “Given the controversies around the latest big media mergers, as well as general disappointment with the direction of the tech industry, I imagine that the regulatory stance for allowing ‘disruption’ to develop digital markets might be fading, or at least growing more skeptical.”

Gordon predicts that with the level of turmoil, battered stock prices and balance sheets that Hollywood is enduring amid the industry’s transition from linear to streaming platforms, there will be more activist investors pushing Big Media to accelerate transformation in one direction or another.

Reports have emerged that Disney’s abrupt CEO shuffle on Nov. 20 from Bob Chapek back to Bob Iger came in part because the company was facing increasing pressure from large investors.

One reason why regulators focus on books and TV stations is that the markets are mature and operations are fairly similar across the largest publishers. That’s not true for TV, film and streaming entertainment companies. At a time when “everyone’s guessing” about where the profit-making potential is headed, Gordon says, there is sure to be more conflict in the air for CEOs — even one as well-regarded as Iger, who previously steered Disney as chief executive from 2005 to 2015.

“With this kind of uncertainly you’ve got a bunch of smart people seeing a very different future for the industry; we’re going to see more differences of opinion,” Gordon says.

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Healthcare Recruitment Mission to the Philippines a Success | News and Media – Government of Saskatchewan

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Released on December 7, 2022

128 conditional offers made by the Saskatchewan Health Authority to qualified Filipino Registered Nurses

Saskatchewan’s delegation to Manila led by Health Minister Paul Merriman has wrapped up its targeted health care recruitment mission and returned home with successful results, making conditional employment offers to 128 registered nurses and one continuing care aide.

“Saskatchewan has an innovative plan that demonstrates our serious commitment and sincere intent to the people of the Philippines,” Merriman said. “To achieve these outstanding results, we took bold steps by going to the Philippines to engage in-person with more than twelve hundred interested and available healthcare workers. Filipino people travelled from every corner of their country to attend our information sessions.”

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A primary focus of the mission was in-person interviews conducted on-site by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) while in the country. Many registered nurses had undergone a pre-screening process and secured an interview in advance of the delegation’s arrival. A high number of qualified and experienced individuals who attended the general information sessions were also identified as strong candidates.

“By the end of the week, the SHA extended 128 conditional offers to qualified and enthusiastic members of our future Registered Nurse workforce, many with relatives and friends who already belong to Saskatchewan’s growing Filipino community. Dozens more interviews are scheduled in the days and weeks ahead” Merriman said.

Saskatchewan delegates also promoted provincial health care employment opportunities over a five-day period in Manila by hosting 10 workshops and information sessions attended by over 1,200 interested Filipino healthcare workers. These sessions assisted with the licensing and regulatory process, immigration process, and relocation supports. Newly created Saskatchewan health system navigators will continue to assist Filipino health care candidates and provide follow-up information to the more than 1,000 prospective candidates identified by the mission.

Minister Merriman’s delegation participated in a series of bilateral meetings, representing the province in talks with Philippine government departments including Secretary Maria Susana V. Ople from the newly formed Department of Migrant Workers.

“It was an honour to meet with Secretary Ople, a highly-respected advocate for Filipino workers, to discuss the supports our province has in place for new recruits so they make a successful transition into our workforce along with assistance and support for families settling into our communities,” Merriman said. “We are committed to following ethical principles in the recruitment efforts, while creating the positive working environments and conditions that make Saskatchewan a top destination of choice for employment candidates.”

Minister Merriman and Saskatchewan’s post-secondary representatives also met with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Commission on Higher Education to discuss how to create more streamlined and efficient training pathways between Saskatchewan’s institutions and the Philippines.

Minister Merriman joined Saskatchewan Polytechnic to celebrate the opening of its Manila-based office and participated in Memorandum of Understanding signings and partnership agreements with nine Philippine State Universities.

“It was a privilege to meet many future health care workforce members, from registered nurses to medical lab technicians to continuing care aides and their families, who are excited to come to Saskatchewan and enhance our workforce,” Merriman added.

This recruitment mission is a part of the government’s four-point plan to recruit, train, incentivize and retain healthcare workers to stabilize and strengthen Saskatchewan’s health care work force.

Details on other health care opportunities, how to access them and more information on province’s Health Human Resources Action Plan are available at: saskatchewan.ca/HHR.

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For more information, contact:

Media Relations
Saskatchewan Health
Regina
Phone: 306-787-4083
Email: media@health.gov.sk.ca

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