Media Insider: California Revises Freelancer Law, Survey on Americans’ Trust in Media, The New Paper Launches News Digest Via Text

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

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California Lawmakers OK More Exemptions From Labor Law

California lawmakers this week approved exemptions of about two-dozen more professions from a landmark labor law designed to treat more people like employees instead of contractors. Among other things, the legislation would end what critics had said were unworkable limits on services provided by freelance still photographers, photojournalists, freelance writers, editors, and newspaper cartoonists, with certain restrictions to make sure they are not replacing current employees. Lawmakers separately approved giving newspapers one more year before they have to start treating newspaper carriers as employees, an action the papers say would drive up costs and accelerate the decline of print. The measure cleared the Senate and passed the Assembly. It would take effect immediately if Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it into law.

In more legal news: Voice of America journalists say their parent company’s new CEO is endangering the livelihoods of contract journalists.

Poll: Most Say Trust in News Media Can Be Improved

While less than half of Americans say they have confidence in journalists, a new Pew Research Center survey found that three-quarters of U.S. adults are still open to improving their trust in the media. According to the findings, 52% of respondents have either little or no faith in journalists. The public’s trust, or lack thereof, comes from several places. While the survey found that 61% of Americans expect the news they get to be truthful, 69% think that news organizations try to hide or cover up their mistakes. The perceived reasons for those mistakes highlight the various types of mistrust that the public feels toward the media: 55% of respondents say careless reporting is a major factor behind mistakes, while 44% think mistakes can be attributed to a desire to mislead the public. A perceived lack of transparency from news organizations was also a theme that emerged in the research. Seventy-two percent said news organizations do a poor job of disclosing where their money comes from, and 80% think the news they receive is influenced at least partially by corporate and financial interests. 

You can read more about Americans’ views on the news media on the Pew Research Center site. 

The New Paper Launches Daily Text Message News Digest

Indiana-based startup The New Paper has launched a text-message-based daily digest that will summarize the day’s biggest stories in a text message sent out every weekday morning. Its editorial team will curate the top news stories, especially in areas of business, politics, the economy, and global affairs. Each story will link to a reference or primary source to give additional context to the news of the day. In six months of private beta testing, The New Paper experienced “significant growth” with its subscription-based model. The company, which says its business model is profitable, claims more than 7,000 paid subscribers and $400,000 in annualized recurring revenue. It charges $5 a month, after a seven-day free trial.

Also from MediaPost: Quartz nearly doubles its subscriber base in one year.

A New Way to Measure Sports

As sports begin to trickle back, the way they are measured will start to look a little different. Nielsen has started including out-of-home (OOH) ratings for television with its linear TV ratings for the fall TV season. The changes could help boost TV network viewership numbers substantially for sports and other types of programming typically viewed outside of the home — including bars, restaurants, and workplaces. Networks can charge more for ads if viewership is higher. Some networks, like ESPN, have already been able to transact separately on OOH ratings via tools Nielsen has provided since 2017. But for big broadcasters airing major sporting events, the changes could be massive.

ESPN+ is debuting a slate of new shows this month, including “Bettor Days,” which tells the stories behind sports betting’s craziest wins and losses.

Cable TV News Networks Grow 31% in Primetime Ad Revenue May-July, Fox News Tops

In this big political election year, cable TV news networks have seen more than 30% primetime advertising revenue growth, with Fox News Channel as the strongest performer. In the most recent three-month period — May through July — primetime ad revenues rose 31.5% to $158.7 million (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) vs. the previous three-month period, according to Standard Media Index’s Accu-TV. Fox News Channel posted the best results, rising 44.3% to $79.7 million for May through July, while CNN gained 28.4% to $45.7 million and MSNBC was 11.8% higher to $33.3 million. For the six-month period overall, the three networks pulled in $219.7 million.

ICYMI: Medill completes prototype of new Subscriber Engagement Index to help local news outlets tie readers to revenue. 

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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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