Media Insider: NY Times Acquires The Athletic, Senator Proposes ‘Do Not Track’ Law

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

Exterior photo of New York Times office - Media news recap

The New York Times to Acquire The Athletic for $550 Million in Cash

The New York Times has agreed to acquire the The Athletic in an all-cash deal valuing the sports media startup at $550 million, a source confirmed to Axios. It’s a huge victory for The Athletic, which had been shopping a deal for months. The subscription-based sports media company was under pressure to sell in light of how much cash it’s lost over the past two years. The Athletic co-founders Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann will stay on after the deal.

The Times also announced media columnist Ben Smith is leaving the media outlet to start a new global news organization.

Senator Wyden Wants ‘Tough Regulations’ on Facebook, Touts Proposed ‘Do Not Track’ Law

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has called for a national privacy law that would include “tough regulations” on Facebook’s ability to harvest data about its users. “It is past time for a federal data privacy law,” Wyden said in an online video conference. Wyden specifically touted his Mind Your Own Business Act, which he first proposed in the fall of 2019 and reintroduced last April. Wyden’s proposed legislation would apply more broadly than Facebook. Among other provisions, the measure would create a national “do not track” regime that would give consumers the right to prevent large tech companies and data brokers from disclosing personal data to ad-tech companies.

More bad news for Facebook: Privacy regulators in France are preparing to fine the company $68 million.

NPR’s Podcast Push Now Includes Subscriber-Only Bonus Material

NPR’s podcast efforts have increasingly revolved around its paid, ad-free NPR+ service, and now it’s offering stronger incentives to spend money. The organization will offer content available solely to NPR+ subscribers. The new show “The Limits With Jay Williams,” for instance, will offer a separate content release in its feed. NPR will also launch a subscription podcast bundle in the second half of 2022 that gives station members wider access to an on-demand podcast library and other content. The company is also adding more shows to NPR+, and might test perks like unedited interviews and member-only events.

Read next: Tech news site Protocol is expanding with 25 new positions, bringing its total employee count to approximately 80 by the end of the year.

Media Reps Say 45 Reporters, Staffers Died at Work in 2021

A total of 45 reporters and media workers were killed doing their jobs over the last year, the highest number among them in strife-torn Afghanistan, according to the International Federation of Journalists. The figure represents one of the lowest death tolls in 30 years, since the IFJ first began publishing annual reports in 1991 on journalists killed in incidents related to their work. Sixty-five deaths were recorded in 2020. The IFJ said the numbers in 2021 confirm a trend showing that media staff are most often killed for exposing corruption, crime and abuse of power in their communities, cities and countries.

IFJ also reported that 365 journalists worldwide remained in prison in 2021.

Univision Pulls Plug on Fusion TV

Univision has pulled the plug on Fusion TV, the cable network it initially conceptualized as an English-language news and lifestyle channel targeting millennial Latinos. It ended up being a mish-mash with no true identity and was a convoluted money-losing mess. In a statement about Fusion’s demise, Univision said the company’s “sole focus” in 2022 will be on Spanish-language audiences and the launch of its new streaming service.

ICYMI: The Institute for Nonprofit News raised a record $12 million to support the NewsMatch program, which benefits nonprofit news organizations across North America. 

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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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