Media Insider: Google Launches Search Engine for Fact-Checks, Democrats Push for ‘Internet Bill of Rights,’ iHeartMedia to Invest in High Times

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

POYNTER | DANIEL FUNKE
Google is Building a Search Engine for Fact-Checks

Earlier this month, Google News Initiative launched the beta version of a tool that aims to help journalists fact-check. The feature, which the company has been working on for months, uses the same signals as other Google products, such as Google News, to surface work from fact-checkers like Snopes and PolitiFact. The company also launched a form that improves upon the ClaimReview markup, which essentially is a few lines of code that fact-checkers add to their articles so that the platform’s crawlers can pick them up. Now, instead of going into the backend and manually adding code to each story, fact-checkers simply can fill out a form using story URLs in the same panel as the search engine.

Also on the fact-check front: Reporters’ Lab announced it’s launching a global effort to get more publishers to use ClaimReview

CNET | MARGUERITE REARDON
Democrats Push for ‘Internet Bill of Rights’

Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat who represents Silicon Valley, has proposed the “Internet Bill of Rights,” a set of sweeping consumer privacy protections that Khanna hopes will become part of a comprehensive legislative package that could be voted on next year. The list includes protecting net neutrality, ensuring consumer choice for internet service providers, offering greater transparency on how data is collected online, and notifying consumers in a timely manner when personal data has been accessed via hacks. Perhaps most groundbreaking, however, is a provision requiring consumers to opt in before online companies can collect data about them.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration announced it was working on its own set of guidelines to protect Web users’ privacy

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | ANNE STEELE
iHeartMedia to Invest up to $10 Million in High Times

iHeartMedia Inc. has agreed to invest up to $10 million in the publisher of High Times, the 44-year-old marijuana magazine, offering the biggest U.S. radio broadcaster access to the nation’s growing number of cannabis consumers. The deal, which at current valuation would give iHeart about a 5 percent stake in Hightimes Holding Corp., provides the publisher with access to the media giant’s radio and outdoor advertising as it gears up to sell shares to the public. High Times is expected to announce the investment in a filing with Securities and Exchange Commission.

High Times also made news earlier this year, when it announced the purchase of Dope Magazine for $11.2 million.

PUBLISHERS DAILY | MELYNDA FULLER
Digital First Media Announces More Layoffs at Boston Herald

Late last week, the Boston Business Journal reported that leadership at Digital First Media executed planned layoffs across the Boston Herald’s editorial and non-editorial staff, cutting 14 employees. The paper began 2018 with about 240 employees; it now counts approximately 100. These layoffs come on the heels of subscriber price hikes, which are extended to longtime readers. 

In other layoff news: Diply, a London-based social entertainment publisher, announced additional layoffs across three locations

NEW YORK POST | KEITH J. KELLY
Tronc Finally Changes Name Back to Tribune Publishing

Tronc finally, officially changed its name back to Tribune Publishing last week, acknowledging the much-maligned corporate rebranding effort begun two years ago was a flop. The original Tribune Co. split itself in half in 2013 with the TV stations taking the name Tribune Media and the newspaper side taking the name Tribune Publishing. The publisher changed its name in 2016 to Tronc, which was said to stand for Tribune Online Content, because then-chairman Michael Ferro wanted to emphasize the company’s digital efforts. With the name change, the stock ticker symbol also will change, from TRNC to TPCO.

In other Tribune news: Tribune Publishing looks to be inching closer to a potential merger with McClatchy

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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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