Media Insider: Facebook Goes Local, BBC Overhauls Salaries to Correct Pay Gap, Network Anchors Shine on Snapchat

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media stories from the week.


Facebook Is Going to Start Showing More Local News in News Feed

In response to user requests for more local news on Facebook, the social network announced it will change its News Feed to prioritize stories and news outlets from areas where users live. The move is part of a series of changes designed to make Facebook more trustworthy and informative. If a user follows a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed. This may be good news for local news outlets, where readership has declined and advertising dollars have moved online, particularly to major platforms like Facebook and Google. The change is currently available in the U.S., but Facebook plans on expanding it to more countries this year.

Facebook isn’t alone in focusing on local news. Google is also testing Bulletin, an app for hyper-local news.

Mike Cernovich Is Bidding $500,000 to Buy

Gawker nemesis Peter Thiel isn’t the only one eyeing the website. Mike Cernovich, the right-wing social media personality, writer, and conspiracy theorist, is offering $500,000 in cash for Gawker’s assets, according to a copy of the offer letter obtained by Vanity Fair’s The Hive. The letter, confirmed by Ropes & Gray, the law firm representing Gawker in its bankruptcy proceedings, is dated Jan. 9 – the day after a failed Kickstarter by ex-Gawker employees ended. It seeks ownership of Gawker’s domain names and 200,000-odd archived articles. Cernovich’s offer comes as he attempts to navigate away from the fringes of the internet, where he initially developed a cult following on the far right, in a bid for more mainstream respectability. Last year, he was involved in breaking major news about the National Security Council and sexual harassment in Congress.

Following a report that Thiel was eyeing Gawker, the Freedom of the Press Foundation announced it will capture and save all of the site’s posts.

Pulitzer-Winning New England Editor Fired Over Stance for Equal Pay

Jeffrey Good, executive editor of Newspapers of New England’s Pioneer Valley Newspaper group, says he was fired for advocating equal pay for women employees. In a note to staff, Good said publisher Mike Rifanburg dismissed him for his advocacy for transparency and fair pay for female colleagues. According to the article, Good explicitly mentioned three women in the Gazette newsroom as having alleged that they are underpaid considering their education, experience, and contributions to the newspapers’ award-winning news reports. Good also conceded that he was himself not without fault. “I accept my share of blame for the situation that prompted the women’s protests,” he says. “I (and my boss) failed to see the gap developing as we hired some male reporters at higher-than-existing rates based on their previous salaries or competing job offers.”

Meanwhile, after revelations of a gender pay gap, the BBC revealed its own plans to overhaul its on-air pay structure.

Vice Media’s Digital Chief Loses Job After Sexual Harassment Investigation

Vice Media announced its chief digital officer, Mike Germano, would not return to the company after the public disclosure of sexual harassment allegations against him prompted an internal investigation into his behavior. Germano was placed on leave after a New York Times investigation last month detailed the treatment of women at the company. The article included allegations made by two women against the Digital Chief. Germano founded Vice’s in-house digital agency Carrot Creative in 2004 and then sold it to Vice in 2013.

Also moving on is Newsweek Media Group’s chief content officer, after a reporter complained about his conduct.

Network News Reporters Are Snapchat’s Biggest Stars

Snapchat isn’t traditionally known for creating rising-star news anchors. But since the mobile app launched Shows last year, a growing number of young journalists have been making a name for themselves on the platform. Savannah Sellers and Gadi Schwartz, the hosts of NBC’s “Stay Tuned”; Erin Lim, host of E! News’ “The Rundown”; and Elle Duncan, one of the hosts of ESPN’s “Sportscenter on Snapchat,” have all amassed a dedicated legion of followers who tune in by the millions to watch them daily. But staking the celebrity anchors to the continued success of an app can be volatile. Snapchat has publicly struggled since going public last March and recently started a full-scale redesign of the app that could affect these shows’ viewership. And there’s no telling if those viewers will ever translate to TV. As Sellers says, “No one really knows what news or TV is going to look like soon.”

Thinking of wading into the Snapchat waters for your news organization? Read this this guide on Snapchat for journalists

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Maria Perez is director of audience website operations with PR Newswire. An animal lover, she curates content for @PRNPets – that is, when she’s not busy cuddling with her 10-year-old blind Maltese, Toody.

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