Media Insider: Rupert Murdoch Steps Down, Musk Wants to Charge All X Users

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

Rupert Murdoch is stepping down
AP | David Bauder

Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as leader of both Fox’s parent company and his News Corp. media holdings. He will become chairman emeritus of both companies, effective at board meetings in November. His son, Lachlan, will become News Corp. chairman and continue as chief executive officer of Fox Corp. “Our companies are communities, and I will be an active member of our community. I will be watching our broadcasts with a critical eye, reading our newspapers and websites and books with much interest,” Murdoch wrote. The 92-year-old Australian media magnate’s creation of Fox News made him a force in American politics, an influence that made him a hero to some and pariah to others. He also started the Fox broadcast network and is owner of The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.

Read more about how Murdoch amassed his wealth over the course of his career.

Musk says X will charge everyone to use the platform
Axios | Sara Fischer

During a livestreamed event on X with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Elon Musk said he’s planning to implement a monthly fee for all users of X, formerly known as Twitter. The announcement comes as Twitter’s U.S. ad revenue is down 60%, which Musk attributes to civil rights and consumer groups putting pressure on big brands. During the livestream, Musk said the fee will be used to combat the large armies of bots on the platform. Each bot would need to register with a new credit card, making it more difficult for them to create accounts. He said the company is developing “a lower tier pricing” than what it currently charges for its X Premium subscribers, which is around $8 monthly.

Read next: Instead of a paywall, NPR’s new pop-up aims to turn its national audience into donors.

After a year of chaos, CNN bets on new CEO Thompson to focus on long-term viability
CNBC | Alex Sherman

CNN’s incoming CEO, Mark Thompson, will begin on Oct. 9. Although he’s reportedly had meetings with Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and network leadership, Thompson won’t make any decisions about CNN’s operations until he’s met with the staff and learned the business. But sources say two clear areas of focus for Thompson will be developing subscriptions around and creating programming for a younger audience on CNN Max, the live news service on the “Max” streaming platform. Thompson replaces Chris Licht, who overhauled CNN’s linear shows but was ultimately fired after a short period when he lost the confidence of employees and failed to deliver ratings winners.

ICYMI: Walt Disney Co. has reportedly held exploratory talks about selling its ABC network and TV stations to local broadcaster Nexstar Media Group Inc.

TIME doubles down on Opinion content
Axios | Sara Fischer

TIME has launched a new editorial platform, TIME100 Voices, dedicated to elevating perspectives from global thought leaders. The new vertical combines TIME Ideas, its opinion section and most-read vertical, and TIME100, its events and editorial platform. The website’s new TIME100 Voices section will feature opinion pieces, essays, and book excerpts from people who have been highlighted in any of the various TIME100 lists. The initial launch featured opinion pieces from Oprah Winfrey, José Andrés, Richard Branson, and others. The Ideas section currently publishes around 70 pieces per month and Voices aims to double that within the next six months. Despite opinion sections becoming more controversial during the Trump era, “We think that TIME can help to decrease polarization by being a publication that connects with readers around the world,” TIME editor-in-chief Sam Jacobs said.

Also from Axios: A new report finds that the same forces pushing book bans around the country are also pushing for more digital parental control legislation.

As AI enters newsrooms, unions push for worker protections
Poynter | Angela Fu

The topic of artificial intelligence has made its way into bargaining sessions of labor unions across a variety of industries, including journalism. While executives work to develop AI guidelines for their newsrooms and experiment with the technology, workers are fighting to ensure AI doesn’t replace the work they do and that anything created by AI meets journalistic standards. Unions representing staff at The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times have proposed contract language addressing AI this summer. At least one outlet has gone back on its pledge not to replace workers with AI, so unions are pushing companies to commit to protections against AI by enshrining them in contracts. “We’re kind of setting the stage for everybody,” News Media Guild president Vin Cherwoo said. “The language that we get, that we bargain for, is going to be the standard, most likely, that other news unions are going to be presenting to their companies.”

Read next: Amazon will require publishers on Kindle to disclose when any of their content is generated by AI.

News aggregator app SmartNews’ latest feature aims to tackle doomscrolling
TechCrunch | Sarah Perez

News aggregator SmartNews launched a new feature that it hopes will help combat the anxiety associated with regularly consuming negative news — something often referred to as “doomscrolling.” The app’s new feature, SmartTake, claims to offer a selection of uplifting stories, editor’s picks, useful articles, and calming graphics. “By giving SmartNews users an opportunity to experience newsfeeds in a new, unique way that balances the day’s news with a dash of mindfulness and uplifting stories, we are taking our first steps to address this pervasive problem,” said Ken Suzuki, chief executive officer of SmartNews. TechCrunch tested the feature and found that although not all the SmartTake stories were positive or uplifting, its location in its own tab meant users could read through them without being pulled into other more negative news elsewhere on the app.

ICYMI: The New York Times officially closed its standalone sports desk this week.

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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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