Media Insider: Journalists Initiate New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, CBS Aims To Grow Sports HQ, Newspapers Report Suspected Malware Attack

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

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As New Year’s Eve Ball Drops, the Free Press Gets a Moment in the Spotlight

2019 started off a little differently with 11 journalists pressing the crystal button that initiates the minute-long descent of the New Year’s Eve Ball. Ranging from familiar faces like Martha Raddatz of ABC to behind-the-scenes editors like Karen Toulon of Bloomberg News, these journalists were able to share the Times Square limelight all thanks to an effort by organizers to recognize the diminution of press freedoms around the world. Joel Simon, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in an interview that “people who are watching across the country will see the media together, standing on the stage, visually united behind this principle. That’s a positive message at a time when journalists around the world are threatened as never before.” Other journalists who were part of the ball drop include Karen Attiah, who edited the Washington Post columns of Jamal Khashoggi; Alisyn Camerota of CNN; Lester Holt of NBC; Jon Scott, a weekend anchor on Fox News; Maria Ressa, a journalist in the Philippines who was also featured on the cover of Time’s person of the year; and Vladimir Duthiers of CBS.

ICYMI: Time Names Person of the Year for 2018: Jamal Khashoggi and Other Journalists

CBS aims to grow Sports HQ within its network of streaming channels

With a new production studio in Connecticut and now broadcast rights to this year’s Super Bowl, CBS Sports is making a push behind its 24-hour streaming channel, CBS Sports HQ — a free, ad-supported streaming channel available across desktops, mobile devices, and connected TV screens. With CBS broadcasting the Super Bowl in February, Sports HQ will focus on providing deeper analysis of the game and various match-ups. Jeff Gerttula, EVP and GM of CBS Sports Digital, told Digiday that they plan to have a strong on-site presence in Atlanta leading up to the big game. “Users can access Sports HQ directly through its own branded site and apps, or as a channel within the CBS All-Access subscription streaming service,” Digiday reports.

Related: CBS’ Ratings Deal With Nielsen Expires, Complicating Network’s Advertising Buys

Newspapers report suspected malware attack

Several newspapers fell victim of a foreign cyber attack which resulted in not only misprinted newspapers, but printing and distribution delays as well. Papers like the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and The Baltimore Sun are just a few that were affected by the incident. As a result, The Union-Tribune said most subscribers were left without a Saturday morning paper and The Baltimore Sun’s usual comics and puzzles were not included in Saturday’s print edition. According to the article, staffers at some of the affected papers said they haven’t received much information about the extent of the cyber attack from management. However, the L.A. Times said that according to a source with knowledge of the situation, the cyber attack “appears to have originated from outside the United States.” Tribune CEO Justin Dearborn has stated that it is making progress with the issue and that “there is no evidence that customer credit card information or personally identifiable information has been compromised.”

More on this: What we still don’t know about the cyberattack on Tribune newspapers

FCC will suspend most operations on Thursday if the shutdown continues

The Federal Communications Commission reported that if the partial government shutdown continues, it will need to suspend most of its operations by the middle of Thursday. As President Trump refuses to back down on his border wall demands, House Democrats are working to introduce bills that will put an end to the shutdown but not include funding for the wall. According to the article, the FCC said suspended activities will include: “Consumer complaint and inquiry phone lines cannot be answered; consumer protection and local competition enforcement must cease; licensing services, including broadcast, wireless, and wireline, must cease; management of radio spectrum and the creation of new opportunities for competitive technologies and services for the American public must be suspended; and equipment authorizations, including those bringing new electronic devices to American consumers, cannot be provided.”

Read the full document here for what needs to happen for an “orderly shutdown”

‘Bird Box’ Viewed By 45 Million-Plus Subscriber Accounts, Netflix Says, In Best First Week For Any Of Its Original Films

Netflix — which has notoriously been strict on sharing its platform data — shared a tweet revealing that 45,037,125 accounts streamed the film Bird Box during its first seven days, making it one of the company’s most-watched films to date. This claim, however, raises questions about what constitutes as a view by Netflix’s metrics and what this means for the theatrical box office. Deadline reports that “it is difficult to translate viewing over the course of a week by 45 million streaming accounts into theatrical box office revenue — though that won’t stop everyone in Hollywood from trying.” Even though Nielsen has begun measuring Netflix film viewing, it’s only being measured in the U.S. with a key variable on how many people watched per account, and whether or not any of them watched the film more than once.

Don’t try it at home: ‘Bird Box’ Challenge: Netflix Warns What Can Happen When You’re Blindfolded

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Joanna Giannell is a Senior Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire. She is also an animal lover and music enthusiast. Tune into her insights as a social curator at @PRNpets.

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