Media Insider: Vox Media Cuts Freelancers, Facebook Funds Newsroom Education, Time Offers Membership

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

Several newspaper box stands on the street covered in snow

DIGIDAY | MAX WILLENS
Time’s new invite-only membership program will cost up to $20,000 a year

In 2020, Time plans to focus on customer revenue by creating a variety of new membership opportunities affiliated with Time 100. The most expensive membership at $20,000 offers access to every Time 100 event, private dinners featuring other Time 100 members, plus a private Time-hosted event. The middle level membership at $3,500 offers access to one summit, supplementary events throughout the year, and briefings on what happened at other Time 100 events. Time also will offer a free membership program, called Inside Time, that grants access to private newsletters offering an inside look at things like how the Time 100 is put together.

Luminary also announced a new subscription-based offering going into 2020.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | FRANCESCO MARCONI, CARRIE REYNOLDS, AND EMILY ANDERSON
What’s in a Hedcut? Depends How It’s Made.

After a year of training its new AI hedcut model to mimic its iconic visuals, The Wall Street Journal invites its members to create a traditional hedcut of their own. For the last 40 years, Journal artists have created the signature hand-crafted hedcuts for the front page. However, this year the Journal brought science into the art of storytelling by working with computer scientists to create the hedcuts. The technology-generated versions are made in real time once the photo is uploaded, compared to the traditional hand-drawn hedcuts which take Journal artists four to five hours to create. While the AI model produced some ghoulish images in the early training stages, the Journal is confident in the current algorithm and encourages its members to put it to the test.

Read next: How BBC News built a more engaged audience on Instagram.

AXIOS | SARA FISCHER
Facebook funding Reuters deepfakes course for newsrooms

Facebook is funding an international course created by Reuters on manipulated media and deepfakes for newsrooms. The free, 45-minute online course educates journalists on how to identify photos or videos that have been altered to present inaccurate information. “Ninety percent of manipulated media we see online is real video taken out of context used to feed a different narrative,” states Hazel Baker, Head of UGC Newsgathering at Reuters. “Sometimes it’s edited, but often it’s not. I think that’s quite an important starting point.” In 2020, Reuters and Facebook will work together to host events and panels centered around the course.

Take the course now: Identifying and Tackling Manipulated Media.

THE NEW YORK TIMES | MARC TRACY AND KEVIN DRAPER
Vox Media to Cut 200 Freelancers, Citing California Gig-Worker Law

Vox Media announced the elimination of 200 freelance positions at its sports outlet, SB Nation, in order to comply with California legislation. The law, meant to improve working conditions for contracted employees in the state, restricts freelancers to producing no more than 35 written content ‘submissions’ per year for a publication. While the law protects freelance journalists from long hours and low pay, some journalists argue that it takes away the opportunity to work for themselves. The 200 freelance positions at SB Nation will be transitioned to 20 full-time and part-time positions.

Related: More than 3,000 journalists lost their jobs this year. These are some of their stories.

SLATE | YAEL GRAUER
Arizona Now Has a Task Force Focused on Countering Disinformation

In the current state of “Fake News” media, Arizona lawyers, judges, academics, and public information officers have formed a task force to discuss ways to counter disinformation. Currently, the task force is holding public and private meetings on the subject with the goal of finalizing a report with final recommendations by October 2020. Potential report findings may include finding technology to assist in identifying disinformation, creating public education campaigns, and preparing responses to backlash on cases that put First Amendment rights into question. The Arizona Task Force on Countering Disinformation is believed to be the first such entity in the country.

Going into an election year, campaign teams aren’t feeling as confident fighting disinformation.

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Erin Wade is a Senior Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire. She is also an animal lover and aspiring world traveler. Tune into her insights as a social curator at @TotalCSR.

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