Media Insider: Dallas Morning News Cuts Jobs, Forbes Builds AI Tools for Reporters, Meredith Launches New Business Unit

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

Media Insider 1.10: View from the ground, looking up at skyscrapers partly covered by clouds.

Dallas Morning News Lays Off 20 Newsroom Employees

The newspaper industry took another hit Monday as one of the country’s biggest and most-respected publications underwent major cuts. The Dallas Morning News eliminated 43 jobs, with nearly half coming from the newsroom. The move comes just as the paper’s owner, A.H. Belo Corporation, was expecting dreary fourth-quarter financial results from 2018. The Morning News’s publisher and president, Grant Moise, said the management team determined that the company’s business in the future “is largely supported by subscription revenue and the need for more aggressive investment in our digital products.’’ He also said the company will be creating 25 roles to achieve upcoming goals, but did not elaborate.

In more bad news, layoffs and more buyouts are planned at the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News.

Forbes is Building More AI Tools for Its Reporters

Forbes is investing in tools to make its newsroom more bionic. The business publisher rolled out a new CMS, called Bertie, which recommends article topics for contributors based on their previous output, headlines based on the sentiment of their pieces, and images too. It’s also testing a tool that writes rough versions of articles that contributors can simply polish up, rather than having to write a full story from scratch. The CMS is currently available to Forbes’ editorial staff and senior contributors in North America, and will be rolled out to all its contributors in North America and Europe in the first quarter of 2019. The AI story-writing tool, which Forbes’s product team is experimenting with, does not have an immediate roll-out date.

Also experimenting with AI is Quartz, which launched Quartz AI Studio to help U.S.-based journalists use machine learning to write better stories.

Meredith’s New Business Unit Focuses on Innovation, Consumer Product Development

Publishing giant Meredith is launching a new business unit. Called the Meredith Innovation Group, the arm will include three new units — Meredith Product Studio, Meredith Voice Network, and Meredith Smart Codes — focused on Meredith’s proprietary consumer data and insights. The unit will launch at the Consumer Electronics Show and will focus on enabling cross-platform experiences and extend its content to busy consumers through smart speakers and smartphones. Meredith Product Studio uses the publisher’s first-party data and insights and editorial expertise in consumer verticals like beauty, food, lifestyle, home and parenting to help brand partners design, develop, market and sell direct-to-consumer products. The Meredith Voice Network translates Meredith’s editorial articles into voice experiences for advertisers, which can be distributed on Meredith’s owned-and-operated sites, social media and podcast platforms, and smart speakers, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The third unit, Meredith Smart Codes, is developing QR code technology for readers to use their smartphones to scan Meredith print magazine pages and connect to a range of digital experiences, as well as provide opportunities for advertisers.

Meredith also announced that its EatingWell title is now the largest subscription title in the epicurean category.

Nielsen Adds Mobile and OTT Measurement to Its Total Ad Ratings Amid Standoff With CBS

As Nielsen continues its standoff with CBS over a new contract, in part because of the network’s claims that the company isn’t doing a good enough job of providing “complete and accurate measurement across platforms,” it is expanding the very cross-platform campaign-measurement abilities that have come under scrutiny. Nielsen’s Total Ad Ratings metric will now measure a campaign’s performance on mobile and over-the-top platforms, the company announced this week. Additionally, through a new partnership with Google, YouTube advertisements will be part of Nielsen’s mobile Total Ad Ratings. The Total Ad Ratings report will now include audiences who watched an ad on television, smartphone, tablet or computer, as well as any combination of those devices, via de-duplicated measurement, which Nielsen said will help marketers more fully understand the reach of their campaigns.

Over at CBS, Susan Zirinsky has been named to replace David Rhodes as CBS News president. She’s the first woman to lead the division.

New York Daily News Eliminates Sports Editor Position

The New York Daily News has fired its sports editor, Eric Barrow, a 15-year veteran of the paper who held the top sports job for the past three years. News Editor-in-Chief Robert York later confirmed Barrow would not be replaced, but that Kyle Wagner has been hired to a new position as the director of digital audience development for sports. Wagner was most recently senior sports editor at and earlier was a writer on the Deadspin website. The sports staff already had been hard hit by the July cutbacks that chopped the newsroom in half, leaving only about 40 staffers as the parent company Tribune Publishing fired more than 100 across the paper. Those cuts had left only a single reporter to split time covering both the Mets and the Yankees.

In other sports news, Axios announced that it is acquiring Sports Internet and relaunching it as Axios Sports.

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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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