Media Insider: WaPo Announces Press Freedom Partnership, Tampa Bay Times Reduces Staff, Meredith Restructures Ad-Selling Practices

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

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In Wake of Khashoggi Killing, Washington Post Announces Press Freedom Partnership

The Washington Post last week announced a new initiative called the Press Freedom Partnership to increase awareness of the importance of an independent press. Working with the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, Reporters Without Borders, and other interested groups, the Post will devote ongoing resources, deploy its marketing and advertising capabilities, and use the reach of the paper’s platforms “to champion the journalists who take risks every day to expose the truth,” said CEO Fred Ryan. “Through the Press Freedom Partnership, and initiatives that I hope other media organizations might launch, we can keep alive the noble work of Jamal Khashoggi. And we can honor all the courageous journalists whose efforts hold the powerful to account and preserve our fundamental freedoms.”

In related media news: The Committee to Protect Journalists recently shared the results of its 2018 Global Impunity Index which ranks places with the worst records of prosecuting the killers of journalists

Tampa Bay Times Announces Staff Reductions

Tampa Bay Times confirmed last week that it had reduced the newsroom staff by 16 through a series of job eliminations of full- and part-time employees. The layoffs are the second round for the Times this year. In April, the Times said it eliminated 50 jobs company-wide due to a combination of slumping ad revenue and an increase in newsprint prices tied to tariffs.

Over on the other side of the country: The Denver Post announced it’s laying off 107 at its Colorado Springs service center

Report for America Announces Initiative to Place Local Reporters in California Newsrooms

Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit group that supports young journalists around the world, is launching an initiative to address the proliferation of news deserts in California. Since 2004, 73 newspapers have closed in the state, according to a report released earlier this month by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The initiative pays for half of each reporter’s salary, with the remainder covered by the local newsroom and local donors. The organization is accepting applications from news organizations throughout the state and across the country that want to host Report for America corps members, including newspapers, radio stations and television stations. Report for America currently has 13 reporters in Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, New Mexico, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia. In 2019, it will place 28 reporters nationwide, with a goal of 1,000 reporters by 2023.

And while newspaper readership may be dwindling, it’s not completely out for the count. New research from Pew finds young people are more likely to trust newspapers as a main source for news.

Meredith Continues to Restructure Ad-Selling Practices

Meredith shuffled the deck inside its publishing operations as it continues to dismantle the ad-selling structure it inherited from Time Inc. Time, when it was still trying to reinvent itself, had wiped out the publisher title on individual titles in favor of selling across broad advertiser-oriented categories like autos, pharmaceuticals, food, and tech. Last week, TV veteran Bruce Gersh, president of Meredith’s Entertainment Group, relinquished oversight of the magazine publisher’s ad sales efforts to Carey Witmer, who becomes the EVP-group publisher of Meredith’s Entertainment Group, which includes People, EW, and People en Español.

In other Meredith news: The company recently reported its fiscal 2019 first quarter results. Its quarterly results showed growth in total company revenue, from continuing operations and total advertising-related revenues.

Supreme Court Calls for More Information in Google Privacy Battle

In a move that could affect many legal battles over online privacy, the Supreme Court is raising questions about whether Google should have faced a federal class-action lawsuit for allegedly leaking the names of people who used its search engine. Recently, the court officially called for legal briefs addressing whether the Google users who sued suffered the kind of concrete injury that warranted a lawsuit. The battle dates to 2010, when Google was hit with a class-action, alleging it violated users’ privacy by including their search queries in “referrer headers” — the information that’s automatically transmitted to sites users click on when they leave Google. Some queries, like people’s searches for their own names, can offer clues to users’ identities. (Google no longer transmits search queries when people click on links in the results.) Google agreed to resolve the allegations by donating $5.3 million to six nonprofits and schools — including at least one that previously received money from Google.

In related news: Google’s top Washington lobbyist announced she is stepping down

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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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