Media Insider: Vogue Prints Alternative Kamala Harris Cover, New Yorker Union Walks Out, Digital Media Turns to SPACs

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

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Vogue to print alternative Kamala Harris cover following photo backlash

American Vogue received backlash when the cover of its February issue was leaked. The cover featured a very casual image of Vice President Kamala Harris in a black jacket and Converse sneakers. Fashion critics and social media users found the cover “disrespectful,” saying the cover appeared poorly lit and edited and did not match Vogue’s usual glamorous aesthetic. Vogue’s alternative cover for its digital edition, which featured Harris in a light blue suit against a gold background, received a lot of praise and left readers wondering why the more casual image was selected for the print edition. Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour defended the choice, saying that the magazine’s creative team had felt that the casual look was right for the current climate. However, due to the popularity of the digital cover, Vogue said it will print a limited quantity of magazines with the alternative cover.

23 female political reporters go on the record about what it was like covering Trump’s America.

The New Yorker’s fact-checkers walk off the job for a day.

More than 100 of The New Yorker’s union employees walked out Thursday after recent rounds of negotiations with management failed. The New Yorker Union, which includes fact-checkers, web producers, and some other editorial employees, has been working toward a collective bargaining agreement since 2018. Their focus is pay, asking managers at The New Yorker to raise the salary minimum to $65,000. A New Yorker spokesperson said that the recent bargaining sessions on salary were “initial offers” and said in a statement, “It is our hope that, as opposed to resorting to actions like this one, the union will bargain in good faith and return a counter-proposal, as is standard in negotiations. That way, we can work together productively to reach a final contract as quickly as possible.”

G/O Media plans to add 30 employees while diversifying its workforce.

Digital media survivors’ urge to merge

Digital media companies are turning to a financial structure known as a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) in order to rebuild after being hit hard by the pandemic in 2020. A SPAC is a shell company that raises cash through an initial public offering to buy or merge with another company and takes over its stock listing. With the help of SPACs, digital media companies are projected to grow in the double-digit range this year. Most recently, Group Nine Media launched its own SPAC to help it merge with another business in the digital media space. The Group Nine Acquisition Corp. SPAC launched with a goal of raising $200 million in an initial public offering that will close this week. It will be run by Ben Lerer, who also serves as Group Nine’s CEO. Group Nine Media will have a 20% stake in the SPAC.

Read next: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette plans to eliminate its remaining print editions in its transition to a digital-only newspaper.

Local Media Group Teams With Mather On Subscription Services

The Local Media Consortium announced a partnership with audience analytics leader Mather Economics to provide digital subscription services to media companies. Local Media Consortium members will have exclusive access to Mather’s services, which include consulting, audience and content analytics, industry benchmarking, data reports, and Mather’s Listener data analytics platform. “By working with the LMC, Mather is able to offer comprehensive reader revenue solutions for local news outlets that would otherwise be unable to afford these necessary services,” Matt Lindsay, president of Mather, stated. “As part of this offering, Mather will help local media companies implement profit-maximizing strategies for reader-revenue.”

More from MediaPost: Axios Media to launch a platform called AxiosHQ to help companies with their internal communications.

Joe Ricketts is launching a national news outlet based in Omaha

Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Joe Ricketts is launching an online national news outlet called Straight Arrow News. Ricketts’ goal with Straight Arrow News is to provide unbiased news without a political spin. “I think there’s a gap in the market — there’s no source for unbiased, fact-based news. And I believe there’s a business opportunity there. Some people say you can’t have unbiased news. I want to prove them wrong with Straight Arrow News,” Ricketts said. A launch date has not been confirmed but online job advertisements for Straight Arrow News say the endeavor is projected to start in February.

ICYMI: Gannett Sets Goal For 10 Million Paid Digital Subscriptions.

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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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