Media Insider: Al Jazeera Launches Conservative Platform, Facebook Restores News Sharing in Australia
Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media stories from the week.
MEDIAPOST | KARLENE LUKOVITZ
Al Jazeera Targets Fox News With New Conservative Platform in U.S.
Al Jazeera, the media company funded by Qatar, is launching a news platform targeted to American conservatives. The company — which shuttered its unsuccessful left-leaning cable channel Al Jazeera America five years ago — says that the new digital platform, dubbed Rightly, is not aimed at the far right, but at “center-right folks who feel left out of mainstream media.” The platform’s editor-in-chief, Scott Norvell, is a Fox News veteran who left in 2012 after 16 years. Political commentator Stephen Kent, currently host of a podcast called “Beltway Banthas,” will launch his show, “Right Now,” on the platform.
ICYMI: House Democrats are pressing cable and streaming services over their decisions to host channels accused of being “misinformation rumor mills.”
NEW YORK TIMES | MIKE ISAAC AND DAMIEN CAVE
Facebook Strikes Deal to Restore News Sharing in Australia
Facebook is restoring the sharing and viewing of news links in Australia after gaining more time to negotiate over a proposed law that would require it to pay for news content that appeared on its site. The social network had blocked news links in Australia last week as the new law neared passage. The legislation includes a code of conduct that would allow media companies to bargain individually or collectively with digital platforms over the value of their news content. Facebook had vigorously objected to the code, which would curb its power and drive up its spending for content, as well as set a precedent for other governments to follow. Facebook returned to the negotiating table after the Australian government granted a few minor concessions.
AXIOS | SARA FISCHER
Scripps Plots New National TV Lifestyle Networks
E.W. Scripps is planning to create new national lifestyle networks that will leverage its recent $2.65 billion acquisition of national broadcast company ION. The company, founded in 1878, has managed to survive by gradually spinning off its newspaper business while simultaneously acquiring and then reimagining its television assets. The networks will be managed by the group within Scripps that handles entertainment programming, according to a source familiar with the company’s planning. The networks will be available to consumers both over-the-air and via cable packages, which will presumably help them reach scale at the national level. The new networks could compete with the lifestyle cable networks that E.W. Scripps spun off years ago, including the Food Network, Travel Channel, HGTV, and others.
THE NEWS GUILD | SALLY DAVIDOW
Journalists at 11 Southern California Daily Papers Announce Plans to Unionize
Journalists at the Southern California News Group announced plans to unionize at 11 daily newspapers and more than a dozen weekly publications across four counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino. Together, the papers attract an online audience of 17.6 million monthly unique visitors, according to the company, and 451,000 Sunday print subscribers. The SCNG is owned by Alden Global Capital’s MediaNews Group, the New York-based hedge fund notorious for slashing newsroom budgets to the bone.
GEAR JUNKIE | SEAN MCCOY
Pocket Outdoor Media Acquires Outside Magazine
Pocket Outdoor Media announced its acquisition of Outside Integrated Media, the parent company of Outside magazine, Outside Studios, and the travel business publication Outside GO. It also expands to Outside TV, a provider of outdoor lifestyle TV and video programming. In the acquisition, Pocket Outdoor Media will also change its name, adopting the brand name of its newest member, Outside. These acquisitions were made possible by the closing of Series B financing from investment partners that include Sequoia Heritage, JAZZ Ventures, Zone 5 Ventures, and NEXT Ventures. According to a press release, the financing and acquisition transactions “will enable the company to make significant investments in audience, technology, and product development.”
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Maria Perez is Director, Web 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.