Media Insider: Wired Union Threatens to Strike, Trump Media Company Subpoenaed, NPR Looks to Podcasts

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

Magazine Stand 

Wired’s union threatens to strike
Axios | Sara Fischer

The union representing roughly 65 editorial workers at Wired, the tech publisher owned by Condé Nast, is threatening to strike for two days if it can’t reach a contract agreement with Condé Nast management by July 12, the first of two digital shopping holidays known collectively as “Amazon Prime Days.” The employees argue they aren’t being paid equitably despite the fact that their work helps drive some of the company’s most lucrative traffic days. They also want management to recognize staffers that work on the company’s “Gear” product reviews section as part of the union. High-profile writers are joining the union’s push, arguing Wired workers should be treated equally to those at other Condé Nast-owned publications, especially when it comes to rights over their work.

Also from Axios: Peter Chernin forms new content studio with $800 million investment.

Mark Zuckerberg Prepares Meta Employees for a Tougher 2022
New York Times | Mike Isaac and Sheera Frenkel

Mark Zuckerberg has a message for Meta employees: Buckle up for tough times ahead. At an internal meeting last week, Zuckerberg said the company was facing one of the “worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history,” according to copies of his comments. He told Meta’s 77,800 workers that they should prepare to do more work with fewer resources and that their performances would be graded more intensely than previously. Zuckerberg added that the company — which owns Facebook, Instagram and other apps — was lowering its hiring targets. Meta now plans to bring on 6,000 to 7,000 new engineers this year, down from a previous goal of around 10,000, he said. In some areas, hiring will pause entirely, especially of junior engineers, though the head count will increase in other parts of the business.

In more Big Tech news: Apple plans a new feature to protect journalists and human rights workers from spyware.

Black-Owned Media Venture Eyes Big Acquisitions, Including Bustle Parent
Wall Street Journal | Alexandra Bruell, Keach Hagey and Suzanne Vranica

Group Black, a company that aims to invest in and develop Black-owned media firms, is pursuing big potential acquisitions in the digital media space, according to people familiar with the matter. The company, co-founded last year by Black entrepreneurs Travis Montaque, Richelieu Dennis and Bonin Bough, is in talks to buy a large or majority stake in Bustle owner BDG Media Inc. and is exploring how to finance a deal as the two sides talk. Group Black also has been exploring other potential deals, including an acquisition of Vice Media, people familiar with the matter said. 

ICYMI: House of Highlights’ creator-led content triples revenue.

Trump media company subpoenaed in federal criminal probe of SPAC deal
CNBC | Mike Calia

Donald Trump’s media company was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in connection with a criminal probe, according to the company with which the former president’s firm plans to merge. Digital World Acquisition Corp. said in a filing that Trump Media and Technology Group received a subpoena from the grand jury in Manhattan last week. The Trump company also received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a civil probe on Monday, DWAC said, adding that some current and former TMTG employees have also recently received grand jury subpoenas. Later Friday, TMTG said it would comply with the subpoenas, and that none of them were directed at its chairman, Trump, or CEO, former U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes. The filing came days after DWAC said the government investigations could delay or even prevent its merger with Trump’s newly formed company, which includes Truth Social, a social media app intended to be an alternative to Twitter.

Related: Election fraud claims from 2020 are still widespread on talk radio.

NPR board passes ambitious plan to expand digital fundraising, podcast subscriptions
Current | Tyler Falk

The NPR board of directors approved an ambitious plan for the network and its member stations to work together on a host of new digital initiatives, including a forthcoming podcast subscription bundle tied to station membership. The plan, titled the “NPR Network,” directs NPR to use its digital properties to funnel donations and donor leads to member stations and implement new collaborative initiatives around branding and sponsorship. The goal of the plan is to double station membership and total revenue for NPR and participating member stations by 2030. NPR sees opportunity for donor growth, especially on digital platforms. Of the 53 million people who engage with NPR’s platforms each week, only about 5% donate to local stations. Meanwhile, less than 1% of NPR’s 20 million weekly digital users give, said NPR CDO Leora Hanser.

Another interesting read: Creators will play a crucial role in the metaverse, according to a new study.

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Maria Perez is director of web operations at Cision. In her spare time, she enjoys gaming, watching too much TV, and chasing squirrels with her dog Molly.

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