Media Insider: TIME Names Person of the Year, Product Manager is the New Pivotal Role in Media, Slate’s Unionized Writers and Editors Give OK to Strike

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

Media insider 12.13

TIME Person of the Year 2018: The Guardians

TIME named its Person of the Year, and it’s a collection of journalists who have been imprisoned, killed, or persecuted for their work to cover the news. Among the stories compiled in the recent edition: Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who was killed in his country’s Istanbul consulate; Maria Ressa, founder and editor of Philippine news site, Rappler, which fearlessly reports on the Philippine government; and the five Capital Gazette staffers who tragically lost their lives this summer in their Annapolis, Md. newsroom.

Read more: TIME Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal breaks down the reasoning behind this year’s choice

“There’s a huge demand’: Why product manager is the new pivotal role at publishers

Product managers have become the must-have new hire for publishers, Digiday reports. Some of the evidence: Bloomberg Media has grown its number of product managers from 10 to 14; Vox Media now employs 10 product managers; and over the past two years, The Washington Post has tripled the number of product managers it employs, attaching one to every single internal and external project it operates. “As digital media grows faster-moving and more complex, publishers are being compelled to add people who can evaluate new opportunities, balance sales and editorial’s competing priorities, helping to develop new, unfamiliar lines of revenue,” Digiday reports.

NPR aims to bring transparency to podcast metrics. NPR podcasts product manager Stacey Goers goes into this in a recent blog post.

Slate’s Newly Unionized Writers and Editors Give OK to Strike

Writers and editors at Slate have voted to green-light a strike, escalating tensions between the digital pub and its newly unionized employees, Bloomberg reports. By a vote of 52 to 1, Slate’s editorial employees authorized the potential strike, according to a spokesman with the Writers Guild of America – East. Bloomberg reports that “along with stronger diversity policies and cost of living increases, the union wants the company to back off its insistence on making union fees optional, the kind of “right-to-work” policy loathed by liberals and organized labor.”

In other union news: New York Magazine staffers move to unionize

Newsrooms must learn how to use AI: “Trust in journalism is at stake”

The Associated Press has been using artificial intelligence and algorithms for four years to help journalists to find and break news faster, reports. Lisa Gibbs, AP business editor, explained how the news organization has been doing things: “At the Associated Press, we have been experimenting with automation and AI to eliminate routine work, like video transcription, so that our journalists can focus on doing the creative and curious work.” reports that by the end of the year, AP aims to have created 40,000 stories using automated templates.

Related: Publisher-driven initiative Newsadoo aims to become the ‘Spotify’ for news

Facebook relaunches search ads to offset slowing revenue

Facebook is starting to test search ads in its search results and Marketplace, directly competing with Google’s AdWords, TechCrunch reports. Facebook first tried sponsored results in 2012, but eventually shut down the product in 2013. Now it’s going to let a small set of automotive, retail and e-commerce industry advertisers show users ads on the search results page on mobile in the U.S. and Canada, TechCrunch says.

Media companies are taking another stab at selling their tech to publishers. The reason? Dwindling digital ad revenue.

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Christine Cube is a senior audience relations manager with PR Newswire and freelance writer. Follow her at @cpcube.

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