Media Insider: Vox Acquires New York Magazine, Appeals Court Rules on Media Deregulation, BuzzFeed Overhauls Operations

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

A stack of open magazines in different colors 

Vox Media Acquires New York Magazine

After more than 50 years of chronicling the highbrow, lowbrow, brilliant, and despicable characters of the city whose name it took, New York Magazine has a new owner. On Tuesday, Vox Media agreed to acquire New York Media, the company behind the biweekly print magazine and five popular online offshoots, in an all-stock transaction. Neither company would disclose the value of the deal. While consolidations in the media industry typically mean cutting costs at the expense of quality journalism, Vox and New York said their combination was something different. Jim Bankoff, Vox Media chief executive and chairman, pledged that the merger would not result in editorial layoffs or the folding of any of the New York-related publications, including the print magazine, or the Vox brands, which include The Verge, Eater, Curbed, Vox, and SB Nation.

ICYMI: British magazine The Face is back and available in the U.S.

Panel Slams FCC Move to Ease Media Ownership Rules

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Monday that the Federal Communications Commission implemented sweeping rule changes for media ownership without taking into account how they negatively affect female and minority ownership. The ruling is the latest in a series of legal battles that began in the 1990s between the Prometheus Radio Project and the FCC. The latest dispute centers on the FCC’s decision to do away with a ban on owning a TV station and newspaper in the same market and ease rules for mergers. Representing the Prometheus Radio Project, Cheryl Leanza of the consulting firm A Learned Hand argued in June that the FCC’s relaxed television ownership and radio-television cross-ownership rules brought minority and female ownership of broadcast media to abysmal lows.

Read FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s statement on the court’s decision.

Study: Nonprofit News Outlets See Revenue Increase in 2018 YOY

Nonprofit news outlets generated $100 million more revenue in 2018 than the previous year, according to a study from the Institute for Nonprofit News. The annual INN Index surveyed 108 of its members (60%) to analyze their finances and operations and found the nonprofit news outlets brought in $450 million in annual revenue in 2018. Nearly three-quarters of the members surveyed have launched since 2008 — likely a reaction to declining print ad revenue and the brutal competition against the duopoly for advertising revenue. Nonprofit news publishers also have stepped up efforts to engage with their communities and readers, as well as tapped into significant training, tools, and other capacity-building resources to help raise their fundraising expertise.

According to a Media Impact Funders report, journalism philanthropy has quadrupled since 2009.

BuzzFeed Seeks New President Amid Operations Overhaul

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said the digital publisher seeks to hire a new president amid a reorganization that aims to strengthen collaboration among its advertising and ecommerce businesses. The company has been without a president since 2017, when Greg Coleman departed to become a senior adviser at the company. Peretti announced the hiring plans this week in a memo to staffers that said the company is on track to be profitable for the second half of this year and all of 2020. That marks an optimistic turn for a company that cut 15% of its workforce as recently as January. Peretti also announced the departure of Lee Brown, BuzzFeed’s chief revenue officer, who accepted a job as vice president and global head of advertising at Spotify.

In more BuzzFeed news, the company announced it forged an alliance with Group Nine Media and Insider to combine ad sales across all their networks.

Fund Awards $5.25 Million to Philly News Organizations to Support Local Journalism

A fund set up to support local journalism has awarded grants totaling $5.25 million to three organizations in Philadelphia. The fund, established by the Knight Foundation and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, has awarded grants to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication, and Resolve Philadelphia. The grants, including $1 million from the Facebook Journalism Project, are meant to help newsrooms use technology to cover their communities, better reach their audiences, and generate revenue. The investments are the first grants distributed by the Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund, a $20 million fund created last year with the goal of building a sustainable future for local news. The collection of grants is believed to be the largest of its kind for local news in a single city.

Across the pond, Google is giving mega-publisher Archant millions to find a way to make local news pay online.

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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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