Media Insider: Industry Sees Worst Job Losses Since 2009, Times-Picayune Absorbed by The Advocate, DMA United Launches Mandela Media

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

Silhouettes of people being terminated from their jobs  

Journalism Job Cuts Haven’t Been This Bad Since the Recession

The news business is on pace for its worst job losses in a decade, with about 3,000 people laid off or offered buyouts in the first five months of this year. The cuts have been widespread: Newspapers owned by Gannett and McClatchy, digital media companies like BuzzFeed and Vice Media, and the cable news channel CNN all have shed employees. The level of attrition is the highest since 2009, when the industry saw 7,914 job cuts in the first five months of that year in the wake of the financial crisis, according to data compiled by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an outplacement and executive coaching firm.

Some news outlets are growing: The Los Angeles Times has added 100 employees to its editorial staff since last June, and The Washington Post recently expanded its investigative team.

Progressive Non-Profit ACRONYM to Invest $1M in Local Media Effort

ACRONYM, a progressive non-profit, announced that it plans to invest more than $1 million in The Dogwood, a new hyper-local digital news site that caters to residents of Virginia, over the next two years. It’s the latest effort made by the progressive community to counter the rise of conservative media voices it feels are filling the void of dying local news outlets. The Dogwood is owned by the for-profit FWIW Media. While it’s non-partisan, ACRONYM says it’s investing to help ensure the accuracy of news that spreads in this location. The company covers a range of topics like politics, the economy, education, transportation, entertainment, and more. 

Over at the White House, a “social media summit” gathers conservative critics of social media platforms.

Facebook Offers Content Creators Ad Breaks to Monetize Video

Among other new features, Facebook is offering content “creators” additional options for monetizing their videos. That includes “ad breaks,” which come in three formats: mid-roll shown during the video; pre-roll before the video; and a non-interruptive image ad that shows below the video without stopping it. Facebook says the most suitable ad break formats will be automatically chosen based on the user and type of video content viewed. Ad breaks have been a big hit for Facebook. In fact, pages using ad format have increased by more than 300% over the past year.

In more ad news, local media will continue to see rising digital advertising revenue.

The Times-Picayune Was Absorbed by the Advocate in New Orleans. Here’s What Happened to Its Staff.

On Monday, The Times-Picayune was officially absorbed into The Advocate. Peter Kovacs, editor at The Advocate, said about half the staffers at the rival paper either were not interested in The Advocate’s offers or did not ask for an interview at all. Almost no one agreed to take a job covering a different beat. Of the roughly 65 journalists who lost their jobs, 19 will remain as journalists in New Orleans, 10 of them moving to The Advocate, and 14 others are leaving to practice journalism elsewhere. Six staffers are giving up journalism altogether to stay in New Orleans; three of them will be going into public relations.

The Vindicator, the Youngstown, Ohio, region’s only daily newspaper, announced it will close down at the end of next month.

DMA United, Nelson Mandela Family to Launch Mandela Media

A new content hub and event and video platform, Mandela Media, will focus on some of today’s most pressing issues. It is the creation of advertising agency DMA United and the family of Nelson Mandela. With the goal of generating conversation and action around topics like racism, gender equality, mental health, food security, and social justice, Mandela Media will produce scripted and unscripted video content, audio and podcasts, live events, and editorial content. Mandela Media has structured deals across long-form scripted content with Michael Sugar’s Sugar23. Luxury retailer Dover Street Market also has signed on as a partner and more partners are expected to join.

The Chicago Defender, an “essential force in American history,” will cease print operations next week, ending a 114-year newspaper legacy.

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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 11-year-old blind Maltese, Toody.

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