Media Insider: Gawker shuts down (again), Instagram founders launch personalized news app

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

Gawker Is Shutting Down (Again)
Variety | Todd Spangler

Gawker, the gossipy and snarky pop-culture site rebooted in mid-2021, is shutting down — for a second time — as the CEO of parent company Bustle Digital Group cites the need to prioritize “better-monetizing sites.” In addition to Gawker’s shutdown, BDG chief Bryan Goldberg announced a layoff of 8% of staff across the company. The original Gawker went dormant in 2016, when Gawker’s previous parent company went belly-up after losing a legal battle with wrestler Hulk Hogan. In a memo sent to company staffers Wednesday, Goldberg wrote, “Gawker published a lot of brilliant pieces in these nearly two years. But in this new reality, we have to prioritize our better-monetized sites. It’s a business decision, and one that, reluctantly, must be made.”

Also shutting down: The BBC’s Arabic Radio, which aired its final broadcast after 85 years. 

Instagram’s co-founders are back with Artifact, a kind of TikTok for text
The Verge | Casey Newton

Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have formed a new venture to explore ideas for next-gen social apps. Their first product is Artifact, a personalized newsfeed that uses machine learning to understand your interests and will soon let you discuss those articles with friends. The app opens to a feed of popular articles chosen from a curated list of publishers ranging from leading news organizations like The New York Times to small-scale blogs about niche topics. Tap on articles that interest you, and Artifact will serve you similar posts and stories in the future, just as watching videos on TikTok’s For You page tunes its algorithm over time. Artifact beta users are currently testing two more features that Systrom expects to become core pillars of the app: a feed showing articles posted by users that you have chosen to follow, along with their commentary on those posts, and a direct message inbox so you can discuss the posts you read privately with friends.

Have you heard The New York Times is now on TikTok? 

Social video startup The News Movement acquires The Recount
Axios | Kerry Flynn

The News Movement, a video news startup with offices in London and New York, has acquired The Recount for an undisclosed amount of equity. The deal expands the acquirer’s presence in the U.S. and rescues The Recount, which had laid off a large portion of its staff last year and was prepared to shutter. The News Movement was founded in 2020 by former Dow Jones CEO William Lewis, former BBC News editorial director Kamal Ahmed, and other former Dow Jones executives. Lewis said that in addition to the shared purpose, he was interested in acquiring The Recount due to the caliber of its staff, its specialization and expertise in political news, and its significant social media reach. The Recount will remain a separate brand.

Also from Axios: The DOJ’s new lawsuit puts Google’s ad business at risk. 

BuzzFeed says it will use AI to help create content, stock jumps 150%
CNN | Oliver Darcy

BuzzFeed will work with ChatGPT creator OpenAI to use artificial intelligence to help create content for its audience, marking a milestone in how media companies implement the new technology into their businesses. Jonah Peretti, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, told employees in a memo that they can expect “AI inspired content” to “move from an R&D stage to part of our core business.” Peretti elaborated that the technology will be used to create quizzes, help with brainstorming, and assist in personalizing content to its audience. BuzzFeed, for now, will not use artificial intelligence to help write news stories. The news sent BuzzFeed’s sagging stock skyrocketing more than 150% in trading last Thursday to more than $2 a share.

In related news, HuffPost union members reached a deal with parent company BuzzFeed, averting a threatened strike.

Twitter will soon let news outlets lay visual claim to their staffers’ accounts
NiemanLab | Joshua Benton

Who owns a journalist’s Twitter account: the journalist or their employer? A Twitter feature now in testing would visually tie journalists’ accounts to their employers more clearly than before. Several staffers of the UK tabloid The Daily Mirror are the media industry’s guinea pigs. On these journalists’ personal Twitter accounts, there is now a small Mirror icon to indicate the affiliation with their employer. The icon, when clicked, takes you to the Mirror’s main Twitter account. The feature is part of what was previously Twitter Blue for Business and is now known as Twitter Verification for Organizations. 

ICYMI: Ralph Nader (yes, that Ralph Nader) has launched a local newspaper, The Winsted Citizen.

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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 Cece.

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