Media Insider: Apple Plans News Subscription Service, Tampa Bay Times Announces Layoffs, Students Push to Save Newsrooms

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

BLOOMBERG TECHNOLOGY | MARK GURMAN
Apple Planning to Launch a News Subscription Service

Apple Inc. reportedly plans to integrate recently acquired magazine app Texture into Apple News and debut its own premium subscription offering. The move is part of a broader push by the iPhone maker to generate more revenue from online content and services. The company agreed last month to buy Texture, which lets users subscribe to more than 200 magazines for $9.99 a month, and is integrating Texture technology into its Apple News team. An upgraded Apple News app with the subscription offering is expected to launch within the next year, and a slice of the subscription revenue will go to magazine publishers that are part of the program.

On the newspaper front: Google recently rolled out a new subscription tool with McClatchy sites.

POYNTER | KRISTEN HARE
Tampa Bay Times CEO Says Dozens of Layoffs ‘Directly Related to the Tariffs’

Last month, Paul Tash, the chairman and CEO of the Tampa Bay Times, wrote that because of newspaper tariffs that were going to add $3 million more in expenses, layoffs were coming. Last week, those layoffs began and will total approximately 50 across the company. Tash declined to specify how many people are in the newsroom and how many of the layoffs came from the newsroom. Among the cuts was the Times’ movie critic, Steve Persall. That’s a position they’re unlikely to replace, Tash said. In addition, TBT, the daily free tabloid, has been moved to a weekly, and it will make some changes to the Sunday newspaper, said Tash.

In other layoffs news: The Sacramento Bee made another round of newsroom layoffs this week, with 15 more journalists leaving.

DIGIDAY | MAX WILLENS
‘Good Morning America’ Expands Digital Footprint

“Good Morning America” is trying to grow direct relationships and e-commerce revenue with a revamped digital strategy. The morning show relaunched its site with more lifestyle coverage, made-for-digital videos, an email newsletter, and a plan to drive visitors to log in. Another site, GMAdeals.com, is focused on e-commerce and is adding affiliate links to articles for the first time. The “GMA” move follows others by rival morning shows, NBC’s “Today” and “CBS This Morning,” to expand their digital presences. The show will continue its partnership with Yahoo to house and distribute digital clips from its broadcast. Most of the content on the “GMA” site will also be available on Yahoo’s “GMA” page.

Also entering the morning TV game: ESPN launched its “Get Up!” morning show this week.

CNN | DANIELLA EMANUEL
Student-Run Publications Band Together for #SaveStudentNewsrooms Campaign


More than 100 college newsrooms across the country are flooding social media with editorials emphasizing the importance of student media. It’s all part of a campaign called #SaveStudentNewsrooms, an effort spearheaded by the editors at the Independent Florida Alligator, the student paper at the University of Florida. Editors there said they learned that Southern Methodist University’s paper, The Daily Campus, would have to re-affiliate with the university due to lack of funding, an issue that various student publications around the country have been facing. “Some people … may not realize that student newsrooms don’t look like they did 20 years ago,” said Melissa Gomez, editor-in-chief of the Alligator. “Some of them have folded. Some of them are struggling to survive the next month. Others don’t really have a secured future. And we want people to be aware of that.”

Survey: The College Media Association sheds light into challenges facing student media.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE | ROBERT CHANNICK AND SAMANTHA BOMKAMP
Michael Ferro Sells Stake in Chicago Tribune Parent Tronc to McCormick Media for $208.6 Million


Michael Ferro, who resigned last month as chairman of Chicago-based newspaper chain Tronc, has struck a deal to sell his entire stake in the company, according to a filing late Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ferro, who as the largest shareholder owned more than 25 percent of Tronc, the parent of the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, agreed to sell his more than nine million shares for $23 per share, or $208.6 million, to McCormick Media, pending approval by regulators. The buyer, a distant relation to the McCormick family that controlled the Chicago Tribune throughout much of its history, approached Ferro within the past couple of weeks with the offer, according to a source familiar with the deal.

In more Tribune news: Organizers of a newsroom union say they have the votes needed and are asking Tronc to voluntarily recognize the guild.

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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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