Media Insider: Newspapers Sue Big Tech, BuzzFeed Stock Tumbles, Snap Launches Minority Accelerator

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

Stack of newspapers

Over 200 Papers Quietly Sue Big Tech

Newspapers all over the country have been quietly filing antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook for the past year, alleging the two firms monopolized the digital ad market for revenue that would otherwise go to local news. What started as a small-town effort to take a stand against Big Tech has turned into a national movement, with over 200 newspapers involved across dozens of states. Doug Reynolds, managing partner of HD Media, a holding company that owns several West Virginia newspapers, filed the first newspaper lawsuit of this kind in January. As a part of the first lawsuit, Reynolds worked with a coalition of lawyers that agreed to represent newspapers all over the country looking to file similar lawsuits.

In more Big Tech news, Facebook is testing a new “Professional” mode for creator profiles.

BuzzFeed Tumbles in Turbulent Debut for Digital Media

BuzzFeed Inc. shares fell in the company’s first day of trading, a sign investors are wary of the digital media company after a shaky lead-up to its public debut. The stock, which trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol BZFD, was down 12% after surging earlier in the day. BuzzFeed’s debut as a public company not only marks a major milestone for the online media company but is also a sign of how other digital media companies could perform on the public market.

What’s next for media in 2022? Some of the smartest people in journalism share their predictions.

Lee Says No to Alden Global Capital’s Attempt to Nominate Directors

Lee Enterprises is still fighting to fend off a hostile takeover bid by hedge fund Alden Global Capital. It has rejected Alden’s attempt to nominate a slate of three board directors. Lee said the nominations did not follow the company’s bylaws and would not be honored. This is one more signal that Lee, publisher of 77 dailies including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Buffalo News, is digging in for a protracted fight. Lee previously put in place a shareholder’s rights plan, a so-called poison pill defense that aims to block Alden from increasing its ownership of shares beyond 10% over the next 12 months. Alden and related companies now own a little over 6% of Lee’s stock.

ICYMI: Horizon Media sold a minority stake to two investment firms to fuel further digital and international growth.

Snap Launches ‘523’ Accelerator for Minority-Owned Content Startups, With $60,000 Grants

Snap has launched 523, its first accelerator designed to support minority-owned content startups and creatives. Snap says it will work with participants to create Discover shows as part of its ongoing DEI efforts. 523 applications are accessible now through Feb. 1, 2022 online, and Snap says 20 participants from around the world will be selected by March 1. Applications will be adjudicated based on the ability to create content at a regular cadence, existing works off of Snapchat, a personal statement, and more. In order to be eligible, companies must have fewer than 20 full-time employees and 2021 gross revenues less than $5 million.

Speaking of DEI: 80% of Canadian newsrooms have no Black or Indigenous journalists on staff, according to the Canadian Association of Journalists’ inaugural diversity survey.

The Troubling New Void in Local Journalism – and the Nonprofits Trying to Fill It

States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit newsrooms covering state government across the country, announced plans to nearly double its presence, from its current 25 states to about 40 over the next two and a half years. It will open its next five outlets in Nebraska, Alaska, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Kentucky. It’s also launching “News from the States,” a new online clearinghouse to showcase all its affiliates’ reporting. Each news bureau is run independently, usually by veteran journalists with staffs of about four or five journalists. And each allows other news organizations to republish its work for free.

Read next: The advertising industry is growing at a record pace.

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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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