Media Insider: Bari Weiss’s New Media Startup, WSJ’s New Editor, BBC’s Plans to go Online-Only

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

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Bari Weiss reveals business plan for buzzy new media startup
Axios | Sara Fischer

Former NYT columnist Bari Weiss has reportedly hired 10 full-time employees and over a dozen contractors to help build The Free Press, her new media company that debuted last week. The launch coincided with the coverage around Weiss’s “Twitter Files” reporting and The Free Press is already off to a strong start. The company has accrued more than 105,000 Twitter followers and 25,000 paid and free subscribers for its flagship newsletter. Weiss created The Free Press with her wife, Nellie Bowles, a former NYT correspondent. The company plans to launch a slate of email newsletters and podcasts, as well as more products for paid subscribers like events and discussion threads.

Axios and Sara Fischer also reported this week that crypto news company The Block has been secretly funded by the disgraced Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency trading firm.

Wall Street Journal Names a New Editor
New York Times | Katie Robertson, Edmund Lee, and Benjamin Mullin

Emma Tucker, a longtime editor of Rupert Murdoch-owned newspapers in Britain, will be the new top editor for The Wall Street Journal. She will begin her new role on Feb. 1, replacing Matt Murray, who has led the paper for the last four years. Ms. Tucker, who has been the editor of The Sunday Times in London since 2020, will be the first woman to run the WSJ newsroom. “She will take over at a time of unprecedented volatility in the world on virtually every front — a time for The Journal to continue to double down on our core and on our unique role in society: delivering in-depth, insightful coverage of the business world and beyond,” said The Journal’s publisher, Almar Latour.

In other personnel news, former CNN president Jeff Zucker will lead RedBird, an investment company focused on large-scale media, entertainment, and sports content properties.

67 journalists, media workers killed on the job this year
AP | Staff

The number of journalists killed while doing their jobs in 2022 spiked, according to a new report from The International Federation of Journalists. In addition to the 67 journalists and media staff killed this year – up from 47 last year – there are currently 375 journalists imprisoned for their work, with the highest figures in China, Myanmar, and Turkey. The war in Ukraine resulted in 12 media workers’ deaths, making it the most deadly country for journalists this year. Mexico is now considered the most dangerous country for reporters outside a war zone. “The failure to act will only embolden those who seek to suppress the free flow of information and undermine the ability of people to hold their leaders to account,” IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said in a statement.

Read next, a tribute to Grant Wahl, the celebrated soccer journalist who died suddenly at the World Cup in Qatar.

BBC preparing to go online-only over next decade, says director general
The Guardian | Jim Waterson

BBC director general Tim Davie says the company is preparing to shut down its traditional TV and radio broadcasts over the next decade as it moves to an online-only model. “Imagine a world that is internet-only, where broadcast TV and radio are being switched off and choice is infinite,” he said. “A switch-off of broadcast will and should happen over time, and we should be active in planning for it.” The BBC’s radio and TV channels reach tens of millions of Britons each month, but almost all of them are seeing long-term declines in live audiences. The average BBC One viewer is in their 60s and the challenge will be to reach older, poorer, and more rural audiences who don’t have strong internet connections.

In other digital media news, a recent study found that digital media revenues fell at publicly traded U.S. companies in Q3 compared to Q2 levels.

How The Wall Street Journal hopes to reach young news consumers on TikTok
Digiday | Sara Guaglione

The Wall Street Journal recently launched its TikTok channel, joining other legacy publishers as they attempt to reach Gen Z and young millennial audiences with their news. The channel launched on Oct. 3 with three content pillars: careers, personal finance, and tech. Since then, it’s gained 37,000 followers and 600,000 likes. “We need to introduce The Wall Street Journal brand to audiences that might not otherwise engage with it,” said Ann McGowan, svp of New Ventures. “If we’re only reporting in text, we miss that opportunity.” Videos are posted on the platform about twice a day on weekdays and once a day on weekends. The Journal has plans to create more videos from its live events, get more involved in the comments sections, and expand to more coverage areas.

More social media news: This week, Twitter relaunched its subscription service, which offers users verified status for $8/month or $11/month for iPhone users.

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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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