Media Insider: Fox Fires Tucker Carlson, Time Removes Paywall, Paper Magazine Lays Off Staff
Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.
Tucker Carlson out at Fox News
CNN | Oliver Darcy and Marshall Cohen
Fox News and Tucker Carlson, the right-wing extremist who used his primetime perch at the talk network to exert a firm grip over the Republican Party, have severed ties, the network said in a stunning announcement that rocked the media and political worlds Monday. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” Fox News said in a short statement that did not explain his ouster, adding only that Carlson’s last show was on Friday, April 21. The decision to part ways with Carlson was made Friday evening by Fox Corporation chief executive Lachlan Murdoch and Fox News chief executive Suzanne Scott, a person familiar with the matter said. Carlson was informed of the decision on Monday morning, a second person familiar with the matter said.
Carlson wasn’t the only high-profile media personality who got the boot this week: Don Lemon was ousted from CNN on Monday, and NBCU CEO Jeff Shell departed abruptly over a “misconduct” investigation.
Time to remove digital paywall
Axios | Sara Fischer
Time is fully removing its digital paywall beginning June 1, its CEO Jessica Sibley told Axios. The company has had some form of a digital paywall since 2011. Sibley said the shift is both a business and editorial decision. “The opportunity to reach more audiences globally, that are younger, and that are diverse, is really important to Sam and myself,” she noted, referencing Time’s newly appointed editor in chief Sam Jacobs. Time plans to produce more ad-supported digital content that will live on its website, its mobile app, and across social media. The company will still charge for the print product and still offer a paid digital version of the print magazine through retailers (like Amazon Kindle and Apple News) and through Apple’s App Store. Paid subscribers to the website will be notified of the changes immediately, and their subscription payments will expire when the paywall is removed on June 1.
Speaking of paywalls: Google is offering a subscription/paywall service to publishers.
Paper Magazine Lays Off Staff, Citing Economic Headwinds
Adweek | Mark Stenberg
The staff of Paper Magazine, the music and pop culture publisher made famous by the 2014 “Break the Internet” photo shoot with Kim Kardashian, was laid off Wednesday, according to sources familiar with the situation. The layoffs affect between 20 to 30 full-time staff; their last day will be April 28. Editor-in-chief Justin Moran will remain with the company through May, although editorial operations will cease immediately. The publisher itself is not shuttering but is instead seeking to cut costs as it looks toward alternative options to remain in operation. One potential investor has expressed interest, according to a person familiar with the matter. Publisher Tom Florio, who announced the layoffs, told staff that the advertising downturn of the last year prompted the decision.
The Arizona Daily Star also announced cuts, with nearly 25% of its staff being laid off.
Facebook, Twitter to face new EU content rules by August 25
Politico | Clothilde Goujard
The world’s largest social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and 16 other very large online platforms (VLOPs) will have to crack down on illegal and harmful content or else face hefty fines under the European Union’s Digital Services Act. The firms will face strict requirements, including swiftly removing illegal content, ensuring minors are not targeted with personalized ads, and limiting the spread of disinformation and harmful content like cyberbullying. The designated companies will have to stop displaying ads to users based on sensitive data like religion and political opinions. AI-generated content like manipulated videos and photos, known as deepfakes, will have to be labeled. Companies will also have to conduct yearly assessments of the risks their platforms pose on a range of issues like public health, kids’ safety, and freedom of expression.
More on the Twitter front: Some high-profile accounts have had their blue verified badges reinstated without having to subscribe.
California’s JCPA Bill Approved by Assembly Privacy Committee
MediaPost | Ray Schultz
A proposed state law that would force tech giants like Google and Facebook to pay a “journalism usage fee” to publishers for the use of local news content was approved by the California State Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection by a vote of 9-0. The bill, AB 886, was introduced in March by Rep. Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland). It requires that big tech platforms pay each time they use local news content and sell advertising alongside it and that publishers invest 70% of the profits from those payments in journalism jobs. Also in March, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John N. Kennedy (R-LA) reintroduced a national JCPA.
ICYMI: Amazon’s pending price hike stirs debate among media owners.
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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.