Media Insider: Business Insider to Buy Morning Brew, WaPo Launches Vote Tracking Tool, ProPublica Expands in the West

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

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NIEMANLAB | SARAH SCIRE
Journalists Are Struggling with Mental Health, Financial Hardship, and Disinformation

The Journalism and the Pandemic Project, a partnership between the International Center for Journalists and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, published the first part of its global survey of journalists. The results were “startling and disturbing,” said project authors Julie Posetti, Emily Bell, and Peter Brown. Seventy percent of respondents rated the psychological and emotional impacts of dealing with the COVID-19 crisis as the most difficult aspect of their work. A similar number (67%) identified concerns about financial hardship as a significant difficulty, while the intense workload was ranked the third biggest challenge, ahead of social isolation and the risk of contracting the virus. The survey was conducted in May and June, during what they’re calling “the first wave” of the pandemic in the U.S., and the vetted respondents came from 125 countries.

Another study making news this week was the 2020 Newspaper Compensation Study, which surveyed radio, television, and newspaper owners and operators on how to attract, hire, and retain top sales talent.

VOX | PETER KAFKA
Morning Brew Is in Talks to Sell Itself to Business Insider

Two college students started Morning Brew five years ago; now they’re in talks to sell their business newsletter company to Business Insider, according to sources familiar with the two companies. It’s unclear how much Business Insider intends to pay for Morning Brew, which says it will turn a profit on revenues of $20 million this year, but people who have talked to the company’s founders believe they expect to sell it for more than $50 million, and possibly much more. Business Insider is a digital publisher that got its start with a mix of high-volume clickbait and the occasional scoop but has recently made a push into more sober journalism it wants to sell via subscriptions. Morning Brew is a business-focused publisher that re-assembles news into bite-sized chunks for its millennial audience. You can imagine the logic behind this one: Business Insider gets a company with 2 million subscribers to its free newsletter, which it can try to convert into paying subscribers; and Morning Brew’s team of 50 people gets more resources to help it build out more iterations of its newsletter and other products, like a podcast arm.

The deal underscores the media industry’s current fascination with email newsletters.

AXIOS | SARA FISCHER
The Washington Post Won’t Predict the Election Outcome

The uncertain nature of this year’s election has forced news companies to reevaluate the way they will present the election results. The Washington Post has created a vote modeling tool that will help the newsroom determine with reasonable confidence if an election is too close to call and where votes remain to be counted. The “Expected Votes Tracker” is not designed to call races or predict outcomes, says Jeremy Bowers, the Post’s director of engineering. Instead, it is designed to give readers a sense of where things are headed. It learns from early returns in similar places, which means that if there’s a spike in turnout or a shift from 2016, it will learn from that in real time. “We wanted to make sure readers know how much uncertainty remains, how up in the air the election is, and provide information in real time,” says senior politics editor Peter Wallsten. The tool will be used to inform all of The Post’s election coverage, from the alerts it sends out to where it deploys its reporters for deeper coverage.

Also on Axios: the growth of global fact-checking organizations.

THE COLORADO INDEPENDENT | COREY HUTCHINS
Powerhouse Nonprofit News Outlet ProPublica Expands in the West, and ‘Possibly Colorado’

ProPublica announced it is dramatically scaling up its commitment to local investigative journalism with the launch of three regional reporting hubs. The nonprofit news organization will establish two new units covering the South and Southwest. ProPublica Illinois, which since 2017 has published investigative journalism on key issues in Illinois, will be transformed into a unit covering a broader swath of the Midwest. In addition to the regional reporting hubs, ProPublica is launching a Distinguished Fellows program to support proven investigative journalists. Selected fellows will embark on three-year partnerships with ProPublica, as they report from their local newsrooms. Funding for the expansion comes from “two significant grants from philanthropic entities, one a donor-advised fund held at the Pew Charitable Trusts,” and will allow the outlet to hire 30 new people across the country.

ICYMI: New York Magazine brings Curbed back to life – but says goodbye to its local sites.

THE NEW YORK TIMES | MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
As Trump Flouts Safety Protocols, News Outlets Balk at Close Coverage

After an outbreak of the coronavirus among President Trump and his aides, several major news organizations, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, are citing the lack of safety protocols in their decisions to pull reporters from traveling with the president on the campaign trail this week. The White House Correspondent’s Association is now having to search for journalists willing to cover the events, an “unheard-of phenomenon,” as it’s considered a coveted assignment by many. According to The Times, the concerns raised by reporters and outlets include: “Many flight attendants and Secret Service agents on Air Force One have not worn masks; White House aides who tested positive for the coronavirus, or were potentially exposed, are returning to work before the end of a two-week quarantine; and the campaign has instituted few restrictions at the raucous rallies that Mr. Trump is now pledging to hold on a regular basis until Election Day.”

There are many moving parts in this year’s election, so Journalist’s Resource published tips and story ideas for journalists covering the presidential election.

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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 cuddling with her dog Toody, who thinks he rules the world.

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