Media Insider: Deep Cuts at Twitter, Insider Moves Away From Paywall, NPR+ Launches

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

Nearly every top Twitter exec is gone days after Musk takeover
Axios | Sara Fischer

Less than a week after Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, nearly every major C-suite executive is out at the company. The exits include Twitter’s former CEO, CFO, general counsel, policy chief, and chief customer officer. Sarah Personette, the former chief customer officer, was widely respected and trusted among marketers. “Her departure leaves a major void at Twitter for brands, some of which have expressed concern over the direction of the platform under Musk’s control,” Sara Fischer reports for Axios. After meeting with Personette last week, Musk tweeted an open letter to the advertising community assuring them Twitter wouldn’t become a “free-for-all hellscape.”

Read more Twitter news from the week, including:

Subscription struggles force Insider to reorganize its newsroom
Semafor | Max Tani

Digital news outlet Insider is removing much of its paywall, a major shift from its subscription model. The change means about half of the journalists on the subscription team will now be in front of the paywall. “Ultimately, our adjustments just haven’t been big or fast enough and we are not getting enough new subscriptions per journalist behind the paywall,” editor in chief Nich Carlson said. Instead of focusing on creating a bundle of trade publications, “Now we’re focusing more on juicy, detailed, reported stories about big names across business and beyond…,” he added. While Carlson said there will be no layoffs, it’s understood that these reassignments and shifts in responsibilities could result in staffers seeking out other jobs.

Also on the topic of subscriptions, The New York Times is no longer only relying on its news product to drive subscriber growth.

NPR launches a paid podcast bundle, hoping to convert a national audience into local donors
NiemanLab | Sarah Scire

NPR’s new paid podcast bundle, NPR+, will give subscribers access to bonus content, ad-free episodes, and other perks from nearly a dozen NPR podcasts. NPR+ bonus content has included extended interviews, listener Q&As, and show-specific tidbits. To access the bundle, listeners will need to make a new recurring contribution to their local member station starting at $8/month or $96/year. To start, NPR+ will only be available in the 34 locations where a member station is participating in the program. “Asking a national podcast audience to become donors to their local radio stations might seem like a convoluted way to generate subscription revenue. But NPR — for reasons institutional, journalistic, and financial — wants to prioritize local support,” NiemanLab’s Sarah Scire says.

Read next: News and entertainment newsletter publisher Puck has accrued nearly 200,000 email subscribers in its first year.

CVC eyes Group Black’s bid for Bustle-owner BDG
Axios | Sara Fischer

CVC Capital Partners is looking to partner with Group Black on its bid to buy BDG Media, formerly known as Bustle Media Group. The reports follow BDG’s abandoned efforts to go public via a SPAC last year. Interest from CVC as well as Blackstone adds weight to the acquisition effort. Group Black is a media collective that wants marketers and ad agencies to shift more of their ad spending to Black-owned media outlets. Group Black is also looking to acquire other digital media assets. The potential acquisition is the latest in the trend of digital media consolidation, which is rampant as more startups look to return venture investments to investors.

Also from Axios: ESPN is exploring a brand licensing deal with DraftKings.

CNN’s New Morning Show Launches With Emphasis On Conversation And Chemistry
Deadline | Ted Johnson

CNN’s new morning show CNN This Morning launched Tuesday. The news-heavy three hours nevertheless played up an essential element of rival morning shows: conversation and chemistry. The three hosts, Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow, and Kaitlan Collins, quipped about their new gigs and chatted about Halloween, but were mindful to find a balance between small talk and seriousness. The revitalized morning hours are a focus of CNN Worldwide chairman and CEO Chris Licht, who also helped launch MSNBC’s Morning Joe and CBS’ morning show earlier in his career. The new show faces the challenge of luring habit-driven viewers from its competitors, but hopes to “distinguish itself with a wider focus beyond the coasts, with a scope of stories beyond the latest partisan upheavals.”

Politics were front and center on the CNN This Morning debut. Digiday has a look at how news apps and aggregators are gearing up for the U.S. midterm elections.

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Rocky Parker is the Manager of Audience and Journalist Engagement at Cision PR Newswire. She's been with the company since 2010 and has worked with journalists and bloggers as well as PR and comms professionals. Outside of work, she can be found trying a new recipe, binging a new show, or cuddling with her pitbull, Hudson.

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