Media Insider: BuzzFeed News Makes Cuts, Trump Jr. Launches News App

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

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Three BuzzFeed News Top Editors Resign, as Digital Media Company Plans More Job Cuts
Variety | Todd Spangler

In a memo to staff this week, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said, “BuzzFeed News will need to get smaller.” The first exits came almost immediately. BuzzFeed News editor-in-chief Mark Schoofs, deputy editor-in-chief Tom Namako and executive editor of investigations Ariel Kaminer announced their departures. The company plans to reduce headcount overall by 1.7% going forward and will reduce staff on the BuzzFeed video team, Complex Networks’ editorial team, and the business and admin teams. BuzzFeed plans to reduce its size via voluntary buyouts rather than layoffs and said it’s working with the union to negotiate.

Read next: Gannett is closing 19 print weeklies serving communities in Massachusetts and combining nine others into four.

Donald Trump Jr. launches news aggregation app
Axios | Sara Fischer

Former Trump staffers, including Donald Trump Jr., are launching a news aggregation app. “MxM News,” which stands for “minute by minute,” hopes to compete with Apple News and Google News by filling the gap left by the Drudge Report’s waning influence. About eight staffers will curate stories “from a variety of publishers across the ideological spectrum” for the app, which is free for now. “We created the MxM News app to help people cut through that clutter and get trustworthy news and information about topics that matter and impact their lives,” Trump Jr. said. “We view it as an important public service and also believe it will be a great business.”

For The Hill, Joe Ferullo discusses the post-Trump media world taking shape and its focus on straight news.

Justin and Ben Smith pick a name for their media startup.
The New York Times | Michael M. Grynbaum

Justin Smith and Ben Smith revealed the name for their new media startup: Semafor. The name is a variation on the word “semaphore,” a visual signaling apparatus often used in a nautical context. The word is the same across a number of languages, a reflection of the company’s global ambitions. The Smiths (who are not related) plan to hire English-speaking journalists around the world and expect the site to launch in the second half of the year.

In other startup news, newsletter startup 6AM City says it has 1 million subscribers. It plans to be in at least 30 cities across the U.S. by the end of 2022 and expects to generate revenues of $10 million this year.

Jan. 6 committee plans to use key video evidence and hire a writer to build a compelling narrative for the public
CNN | Annie Grayer, Ryan Nobles, Gloria Borger, Paula Reid and Jamie Gangel

The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection plans to hire a writer to help turn its largely secretive work into a compelling narrative. The written report would be in addition to a multimedia presentation with key video evidence. “We don’t want it to read like a clunky committee effort,” Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin told CNN. “We want it to have an authorial voice that tells the story of what happened.” According to a source familiar with the matter, the committee has reached out to at least one journalist.

Trying to write a climate change narrative that resonates? Being a bummer can help, according to new research from Journalism Practice.

‘The Root’ Announces Staff Expansion, New Spinoff Franchises
MediaPost | Tony Silber

The Root, one of the largest sites covering Black news, politics, culture and opinion, announced it’s made six new hires. The brand has hired a video lead, senior writer and four staff writers. “The Root’s mission of providing unflinching news commentary and analysis with its own unique point of view is more critical than ever,” Editor in Chief Vanessa De Luca said. “Our growing team will help build upon this mission in 2022 with a series of content initiatives that swerve to extend the brand into events and awards, as well as more business coverage and a focus on Black women.” De Luca plans to revamp the 14-year-old brand by relaunching The Root 100, adding features like a Small Business Spotlight and more.

Read next: The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism analyzed the percentage of non-white top editors at 100 major online and offline news outlets in five different markets across four continents.

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Rocky Parker is the Digital Content Lead at Cision PR Newswire. She’s worked with journalists, bloggers, and content creators to create their targeted newsfeeds from PR Newswire for Journalists. Rocky has also counseled on content writing best practices. Check out her previous posts for Beyond Bylines. In her free time, Rocky can usually be found cooking, binge-watching a new show, or playing with her puppy, Hudson. 

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