Media Insider: Twitter Blue Launches in U.S., Wirecutter Writers Plan Strike, Interest in Sports News Grows

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.

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Twitter’s Subscription Product, Twitter Blue, Launches in the U.S.

After first gathering feedback in Australia and Canada, users in the United States and New Zealand can now subscribe to Twitter Blue for $2.99/month. The subscription product offers super users features like an undo button, a news-aggregating “Top Stories” feature, and ad-free articles that will send a portion of revenue back to publishers. There’s no annual option yet, and Twitter doesn’t have a timeline for when users in the rest of the world will have access. A handful of the new features build on technology offered by the news startup Scroll — which Twitter acquired in May.

Speaking of Big Tech, The Verge is updating its policy for how PR and comms teams from tech companies speak to reporters “on background.”

New York Times’ Wirecutter Writers Plan Strike Around Black Friday

Journalists at the New York Times Co.’s Wirecutter unit plan to strike during the peak traffic period around Black Friday, joining a recent wave of threatened work stoppages by U.S. workers. Over 90% of Wirecutter union members have voted to authorize a work stoppage lasting one or more days in late November, according to the NewsGuild. Members plan to protest what they say is the company’s refusal to agree to an initial collective bargaining agreement with significant guaranteed wage increases.

Speaking of labor, the topic has become a hot news beat. And also this week, Politico recognized a union of its employees.

Americans now want to read about sports, not politics

In a major shift from last year, sports have shot to the top of Americans’ news diets. According to data from content recommendation company Taboola, the top 10 news topics from October 2021 included NFL, ESPN, and football, as well as several cities in the news for their sports teams like Houston (Astros) and Las Vegas (Raiders). Compare this to last year, when 18 of the top 20 stories were related to the national political conversation and included topics like “Trump,” “coronavirus,” “Biden,” and “George Floyd.” The data shows that interest in political news is plunging and while the coronavirus remains the top news topic, interest in it is also waning.

Also from Axios: OpenWeb, a platform used by publishers to manage comments and user interactions, has raised $150 million in Series E financing.

New Nonprofit Newsroom Aims to Launch in Cleveland Next Year With Starting Staff of 25

A coalition of local and national organizations has raised nearly $6 million to launch a new nonprofit newsroom in Cleveland in 2022. Spearheaded by the American Journalism Project and the Cleveland Foundation, the new newsroom aims to launch with a staff of 25, which would make it among the largest nonprofit newsrooms in the country and among the largest newsrooms in Cleveland. The specific flavor and brand of the newsroom is yet to be determined. A search committee is conducting a national search for an editor-in-chief and CEO.

Read next: Soaring newsprint costs make life even harder for newspapers.

Illinois Becomes the First State to Require Media Literacy Classes for High School Students

Illinois has enacted a law requiring high schools to teach media literacy. While many schools in the state and throughout the country teach media literacy in some way or another, Illinois is the first state in the nation to make it compulsory. Starting in the 2022-2023 school year, high schools in Illinois will provide instruction for students to learn how to analyze and communicate information from a variety of mediums, including digital, interactive, audio, visual, and print. The law also asks students to consider how media affects information consumption as well as its impact on human emotions and behaviors.

A recent poll highlights the problem of misinformation, especially in the battle against COVID-19.

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Maria Perez is director of web operations at Cision. In her spare time, she enjoys kickboxing, baking, and cuddling with her dog Toody.

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