Media Insider: Fake Editions of WaPo Distributed, FT Builds Brand Loyalty with Young Readers, Barstool Sports Gets 10K Paying Subscribers in 3 Days

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

Person holding up a newspaper

THE WASHINGTON POST | EMILY HEIL AND PAUL FARHI
Fake editions of The Washington Post handed out at multiple locations in D.C.

The Washington Post reported that fake editions of the paper claiming that President Trump was leaving office were handed out at multiple locations in Washington. The fake papers were dated for May 1, 2019, and were filled with anti-Trump stories. The group claiming responsibility for the papers — the Yes Men — also created a website that mimicked the Post’s site. Kris Coratti, a Washington Post spokeswoman, said “we will not tolerate others misrepresenting themselves as The Washington Post, and we are deeply concerned about the confusion it causes among readers.” According to the article, the print and digital newspapers cost about $40,000 where $36,000 of that was raised from the organization’s mailing list. One of the founders of the Yes Men, Jacques Servin, claimed that the group printed 25,000 copies and estimated that 10,000 of the papers were distributed.

Learn more about who the Yes Men are here.

TECHCRUNCH | DEVIN COLDEWEY
Shutdown could delay challenge of FCC’s net neutrality rollback

As if the ongoing government shutdown hasn’t already affected millions nationwide, it could now possibly delay a major legal challenge to the FCC’s net neutrality repeal. TechCrunch reported that the agency made a motion to delay oral arguments scheduled to begin on February 1. According to the article, the filing for the extension is to help ensure that attorneys can fully prepare for argument consistent with the Antideficiency Act — which essentially prohibits the government from operating without adequate funding. Because of the shutdown, U.S. legal counsel would be working without pay if the federal court judge rules to proceed. If it does get delayed, however, it could be weeks or even months before it gets rescheduled, TechCrunch reports.

Related: FCC Chairman Pai celebrates Congress failing to bring back net neutrality

DIGIDAY | JESSICA DAVIES
How the Financial Times is building brand loyalty among young readers

The Financial Times has established a long-term program to help cultivate regular reading habits with younger generations. The program’s goal — which was designed to help students contextualize their school curriculum — is to get 16- to 19-year-old students reading relevant, real-life, and contemporary news articles written by FT journalists. The paywall is lifted with participating schools and students so that students can create their own mobile and online accounts. Because the Financial Times has historically been perceived as having an older audience, global education editor, Andrew Jack, told Digiday that the program “is important in terms of thinking about our future readers, and with the wider debate around fake news and poor quality information so readily available, we feel providing high-quality information to that next generation is very important.” According to the article, the Financial Times has reported that more than a million pages have been accessed by both teacher and students in the program and that in the last year alone, 34,000 individual accounts were created.

Interested in the program? Read more about it here.

THE WRAP | JON LEVINE
Mic Quietly Comes Back to Life With New Writers, Fresh Content

After laying off its editorial staff as part of the $5 million sale to Bryan Goldberg’s Bustle Media in November of 2018, Mic.com has slowly started to publish stories from two new writers. The new authors — Lauren Rearick and Emma Sarran Webster — currently do not publicly identify themselves as a Mic employee on their Twitter pages and are not part of the Mic Union. A representative for the Mic Union told TheWrap that they aren’t surprised this is how Bustle Digital Group’s CEO Bryan Goldberg went about relaunching Mic.com. That same representative said in a statement that “we have demanded that Goldberg adhere to journalistic ethics and exhibit professional integrity in protecting the contributions and the materials created by our members.”

Related: Mic Co-Founders Savaged by Union After Mass Layoffs: ‘New Low in Corporate Mendacity’

DIGIDAY | SAHIL PATEL
Barstool Sports gets 10k paying subscribers in three days

Barstool Sports — the sports and pop culture blog — reports that it already has more than 10,000 paid subscribers to its new member service, Barstool Gold, after its launch on January 8. The tiered membership product offers everything from early access to events and office tours, meet-ups with Barstool personalities, and exclusive content and merchandise. Barstool Sports CEO, Erika Nardini, told DigiDay that “Barstool benefits from having a dedicated fanbase that has demonstrated a willingness to pay for stuff — whether that’s an amateur boxing pay-per-view, a seemingly endless line of merchandise or even pizza delivery. It’s a big reason why Barstool did not erect a paywall against existing content.” With the obvious assumption that each tier comes with different advantages, the lower tier costs roughly $1 per week whereas the higher tier costs roughly $2 per week.

With the Big Game coming up in February, you could consider ordering your pizza through Barstool’s One Bite app: Barstool Sports’ new pizza app gets 175,000 downloads in a month

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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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