Media Insider: SBA Releases Media Loan Info, Facebook Meets With Boycott Leaders, LION Partners With Google on Startup Labs

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

magazines strewn across a desk

Four Takeaways From the PPP Loans to Media Companies

Data released this week detailing recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program provides a glimpse into the breadth and depth of hurt to the news media industry, which has experienced a staggering number of layoffs and furloughs over the past few months. Forbes Media, the Texas Tribune, the Daily Caller, and dozens of other newspapers, magazines, and digital media outlets across the country collected loans through one of the government’s largest economic stimulus packages ever. The information sector, which includes magazines, broadcasting, Internet publishing companies, and more, makes up just a sliver — 1.78% — of total loans. But because many influential U.S. media organizations are privately held, the loan grant information provides a rare, if limited, window into both the finances and scope of some of these companies. Among the takeaways from the data: More than 100 newspapers received funds, but many local ones didn’t qualify, and recipients cover the ideological spectrum of partisan media.

Here’s a list of the media organizations that received PPP funds.

Facebook Boycott Leaders ‘Disappointed’ After Meeting With Zuckerberg, Sandberg

As the #StopHateforProfit campaign continues to attract surprisingly mainstream corporations to its boycott of Facebook advertising, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and Chief Product Officer Chris Cox sat down with the group on Tuesday. Following the conversation, leaders from four of the organizations spearheading the boycott called the chat an unequivocal disappointment. “Today we saw little and heard just about nothing,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. Greenblatt also expressed disappointment that Facebook fails to apply “energy and urgency” to issues like hate and misinformation that it brings to scaling its massively successful online ad platform. The campaign calls for companies to suspend their advertising on Facebook and Instagram for the month of July, citing recent policy choices by the company, including the decision not to touch a post by President Trump threatening racial justice protesters with violence. The effort has attracted surprisingly widespread support, with companies from Coca-Cola and Starbucks to Ford and Verizon agreeing to temporarily suspend their Facebook and Instagram ad budgets.

There has been a big uptick in traffic to conservative social media networks as conservatives look for an escape from what they feel is baseless censorship of their viewpoints from mainstream social networks.

Chinese Tech and Business Coverage Surges Amid Hong Kong Crackdown

As tensions between the U.S. and China escalate, more U.S. media companies are looking to invest in coverage of the country and its technology and business boom. “It’s coverage you have to have if you’re a serious tech or business news operation,” says Bill Bishop, author of the Sinocism newsletter. The Information is launching a new Chinese-language newsletter covering Silicon Valley and China’s tech sector for a Chinese-speaking audience, its first non-English language editorial product. At Politico, the new “China Watcher” newsletter, written by David Wertime, has quickly become one of its top-performing products since launching in May. Other journalists have found China’s economic boom to be compelling enough to warrant its own publication. David Barboza, a former longtime correspondent with The New York Times, co-founded The Wire China, a digital news magazine dedicated to understanding China’s economic rise in April. “Most publications consider China a tiny piece of what they cover; having a publication focused entirely on China and with its own database would likely mean improved reporting but also a decent readership for a very important topic,” Barboza said.

However, China’s imposition of a new national security law in Hong Kong may make it harder for bureaus and journalists to remain there.

Google Startup Labs Will Coach Aspiring News Entrepreneurs

LION Publishers has partnered with Google News Initiative to launch the GNI Startups Lab, a program to help aspiring news entrepreneurs in the U.S. and Canada prove there is a need and audience for their idea, build their news product, and set their business on the path to sustainability. The program is opening applications for the first phase: an eight-week, fully remote boot camp that includes live online classes, one-on-one coaching, and peer learning. Upon graduating, boot camp participants will have either launched or further developed their news offering. They will be able to provide a realistic revenue forecast for the next six months to three years, know how to execute on a set of three-month objectives, and have a deeper understanding of how the project will serve their audiences’ needs. The GNI Startups Lab also will collaborate with Project Oasis, a GNI-funded research project that is studying how digital news startups in North America can succeed, and will share resources to launch a local news business.

ICYMI: Alden confirms interest in McClatchy, challenges Chatham’s bid on the eve of the planned auction.

NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Wants a 50% Diverse Workforce

NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde has set a goal of having a 50% diverse workforce across his division, although no timetable has been set. There are around 3,000 employees across the units in the division — NBC News, MSNBC, and CNBC — with 27% of them people of color. Conde, who took over the group in May and is the first Latino to run a major English-language network TV news division, devised the diversity plan after meetings with employees about diversity and coverage of the Black community. Conde, who is calling the initiative the “50% Challenge,” said he wants the division to reflect the demographic trend in the country — this year, for the first time, a majority of Americans aged 18 or younger will be people of color. As part of the plan, Conde said NBCUniversal News Group will commit to expanding its searches for diverse candidates to fill its entry-level news associate positions in order to create a pipeline for future management positions. The company also will be “creative” in compensating interns to eliminate economic inequity; step up the use of its online education program offered to journalists and producers; invest in more long-form documentaries that examine the issues facing communities of color; and track diversity progress as part of its performance reviews of its leadership team.

This is not just an American issue. Australia faces its own reckoning over diversity in media.

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Maria Perez is Director, Web Experience & Operations at Cision. In her spare time, she runs Bags of Love Foundation, a local nonprofit that provides cancer patients with care packages aimed at making their treatment more comfortable. She also enjoys kickboxing, baking, and cuddling with her dog Toody, who thinks he rules the world.

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