Media Insider: Newsweek Publishes Exposé on Staff Firings, The Atlantic Goes on Hiring Spree, Fox News Plans Streaming Service for ‘Superfans’

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

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Newsweek publishes exposé about itself after staff firings

Earlier this month, Newsweek fired some of its top staff — editor Bob Roe, executive editor Kenneth Li, and reporter Celeste Katz — in the midst of pursuing an investigative story about its parent company, Newsweek Media Group. An exposé by Newsweek staff was published late Tuesday night revealing a “deep financial relationship between the parent company and a small Christian school, Olivet University.” According to The Washington Post, company executives attempted to delay and even block the story. But, a group of undeterred journalists continued the investigation, threatening to quit if management interfered with publication. The investigation’s findings are astonishing, but it’s the story’s editor’s note that is catching attention. The note, signed by seven editors, states in part, “We resisted their efforts to influence the story and, after learning of the review’s ethical failings, the reporters and editors involved in this story felt they would be forced to resign.”  A senior Newsweek Media Group executive says the company’s owners would ensure independent review and newsroom autonomy moving forward, reports The Washington Post.

Read the published story on Newsweek here: Why Is the Manhattan DA Looking at Newsweek’s Ties to a Christian University?

Fox News Plans a Streaming Service for ‘Superfans’

Fox News is jumping aboard the streaming bandwagon with Fox Nation — a stand-alone subscription service, available without a cable package. The new streaming service plans to “focus on right-leaning commentary, with original shows and cameos by popular personalities like Sean Hannity,” reports The New York Times. Due to the network’s plans to develop new daily programming with new commentators and anchors, Fox Nation will not have any overlap with Fox’s 24-hour cable broadcast. John Finley, who oversees program development and production at Fox News, says Fox Nation was designed to appeal to “…folks who watch Fox News every night for hours at a time, the dedicated audience that really wants more of what we have to offer.” The cost of the subscription is still under discussion, but it plans to launch the streaming service by year-end.

Digital services are on the rise. Here’s why Snapchat is a valuable partner for TV networks.

Vox Media Lays Off 50 Staffers

Vox Media is cutting approximately 50 employees — or about five percent of its 1,000-person workforce — from several of its sites, and will be offering role changes to a dozen others. With Facebook algorithms now prioritizing user’s posts over posts from publishers like Vox Media, “most of the layoffs affect staffers who produced social media videos for sites like Racked, Curbed and SB Nation, as well as the Video Services Team,” Adweek reports. However, Vox Media plans to continue investing in its podcast network and Vox Entertainment, which produces content for other networks, like Netflix and A&E.

For more on the algorithm changes: Facebook’s News Feed Bombshell Shouldn’t Have Caught Anyone Off Guard

Publishers warily embrace Amazon program to run their content on

For the past several months, Amazon has been running a test with a small group of publishers where versions of publishers’ commerce-focused articles are accessible directly inside Amazon’s website. The articles can be found through Google search or through specific keywords searches inside Amazon, and are shoppable just like they’d be on a publisher’s own site. According to Digiday, this relationship would give smaller publishers an opportunity to get in front of a huge number of shoppers and gain an enormous amount of exposure. But it comes at a price. Amazon is not offering publishers licensing fees to run their content. Instead it is tying publishers’ content fees to performance in driving purchases. Publishers are also concerned that the program steers consumers to look for third-party recommendations, rather than building a publisher-consumer relationship. “Should opportunities arise to work with Amazon more closely, publishers will have to figure out if that’s worth it, not just for the additional expenditure of time and energy but the prospect of becoming overly dependent on them,” writes Willens.

Speaking of Google: Publishers warm to Google, but still worry about getting crowded out in search results

The Atlantic Plans a Hiring Spree

Bob Cohn, president of The Atlantic, announced on Wednesday its plans to add as many as 100 employees to its staff. The hiring, which will take place over the next 12 months, will represent a 30 percent increase in personnel, with half of the jobs going to newsroom employees. The ambition to grow is surprising, considering legacy publications and recently established websites alike are cutting costs and shedding employees, says The Times. Cohn stated in a memo to staff that “circulation is at an all-time high — it rose 13 percent last year — and that visits to rose by 25 percent in 2017.” In order to focus on covering all of The Atlantic’s platforms, Cohn told The New York Times that additions to the newsroom “will be a mix of writers and editors and video producers and podcast producers and live events producers.”

Is publishing really a dying industry? The New Publishing Economy: An Optimistic Case For the Industry in 2018

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Joanna Giannell is a Senior Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire. She is also an animal lover and music enthusiast. Tune into her insights as a social curator at @PRNpets.

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