Media Insider: DHS to Compile Journalist Database, Robb Report Launches Female-Focused Publication, MediaShift Changes Focus

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

BLOOMBERG LAW | CARY O’REILLY
Homeland Security to Compile Database of Journalists, Bloggers

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seeking a contractor to set up an online “media influence database” to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, cable and radio, as well as trade and industry publications, national and international outlets, and social media. The data that will be collected includes a publication’s “sentiment,” as well as geographical spread, top posters, languages, momentum, and circulation. The database also will track media coverage in more than 100 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, and instantly translate articles into English. The request comes amid heightened concern about accuracy in media and the potential for foreigners to influence U.S. elections and policy through “fake news.”

ICYMI: Freedom of the Press, an independent watchdog organization, recently found that global press freedom has reached its lowest level in the past 13 years

WWD | KARA BLOOMGARDEN-SMOKE
Robb Report Launches Muse, a Female-Focused Print and Digital Pub

Robb Report is launching Muse, a print and digital magazine geared toward women. The inaugural issue includes stories on female “change agents” like Natalie Massenet, architect Barbara Bestor and “tequila’s first lady” Bertha González Nieves. Vogue writer Lynn Yaeger contributed an essay on power suits. Other pieces take on female watch collectors, female culinary figures, female investors and what self-driving cars mean for automotive enthusiasts. Robb Report, which was founded in 1976, provides advice and recommendations in super-luxury categories such as aviation, boating, automobiles and watches. The brand has steadily expanded its global footprint in the last few years. In 2016, WWD parent company Penske Media Corp. revealed that it had bought a stake in Robb Report from the Detroit-based Rockbridge Growth Equity.

In other women’s-magazine news: Shape has redesigned its print magazine to focus on wellness

MEDIASHIFT | MARK GLASER
MediaShift to Change Focus to Trainings, Events, Studio

MediaShift, an independent online publication that covers the media landscape, is no more. Publisher Mark Glaser announced this week that the business will focus exclusively on the company’s online trainings, including panels and peer group training, events like private roundtables, and studio work for outside companies and publishers. MediaShift will no longer update their website on a daily basis with feature stories, and is suspending publication of daily and weekly newsletters, as well as the weekly MediaShift Podcast. Glaser also announced that most of the staff has been let go.

More on MediaShift: The company also separately announced new training offerings for publishers

NEW YORK TIMES | SYDNEY EMBER
Denver Post Rebels Against Its Hedge-Fund Ownership

The Denver Post is in open revolt against its owner. Angry and frustrated journalists at the 125-year-old newspaper took the extraordinary step this weekend of publicly blasting its New York-based hedge-fund owner and making the case for its own survival in several articles that went online Friday and are scheduled to run in The Post’s Sunday opinion section. “News matters,” the main headline reads. “Colo. should demand the newspaper it deserves.” The lead editorial pulled no punches, describing executives at Alden Global Capital, the paper’s hedge-fund owner, as “vulture capitalists.” The bold tactic was born out of a dissatisfaction not uncommon in newsrooms across the country as newspapers grapple with the loss of revenue that has followed the decline of print.

Also in media news: Fusion Media Group is in turmoil as employees clash with their new digital boss

DIGIDAY | LUCIA MOSES
The Washington Post Offers Exclusive Benefits in Push to Retain Subscribers

With help from Jeff Bezos’ money, The Washington Post has shown the ability to hit big audience gains and grow digital subscriptions, which passed the 1 million mark last year. Now it’s facing the harder work of retaining those subscribers. To that end, the Post is working on a few features just for subscribers. One is a new article format it’s testing, called News Reader. Users in the test are treated to a cleaner article page that features infinite scroll, indication of where the reader is in the article and, in some cases, fewer ads. For the first time, the Post will also introduce subscriber-only content. In the coming weeks, the Post will introduce a weekly, subscriber-only newsletter around the midterm elections. It’s also preparing an audio series called “American Stories” that will revisit recent Post stories. These will be emailed to subscribers as well as available on the site behind the paywall.

In related news: Google recently launched an initiative to help media find and retain readers for paid content

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Maria Perez is Director, Web Experience & Operations at 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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