Out of Scope Issue 92: The News IS the News
Plus: An American star is freed, and Ukraine's president was named Time's person of the year.
The news (as in the media industry itself) had quite a week. From showdowns with tech giants to employee walkouts and massive layoffs, Hirsch Leatherwood delves into what happened, the state of journalism, and how accessible, trusted news is crucial for not only the communications industry but the entire world.
💡ON OUR MINDS: The News IS the News
The media industry has had quite a time lately. Earlier this week, Meta threatened to pull news stories from its Facebook platform if Congress passed the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would compel Meta and Google to share ad revenues with media publishers. Lawmakers shelved the journalism bargaining bill for now. But questions remain - can small, local journalism outlets survive long-term? Is there a happy medium? Trust in the media is at an all-time low, and when there's little public trust in news, everyone is affected.
If a massive showdown with Big Tech wasn't enough, there's discord from the inside. Over 1,000 New York Times union members walked out on the job after more than a year of stalled contract negotiations with management. Wage increases are the stickiest point, but other issues include pension plans and other benefits.
Times staffers rallied public support for their cause with the tried-and-true method of knowing their audience — namely, the millions of people who play Wordle each day. The union’s Twitter account asked players to break their winning streaks in solidarity. Throughout the day of the walkout, Wordle players filled Twitter feeds with promises not to cross the digital picket line.
The Times walkout arrived amid widespread budget cuts in news media. CNN, Gannett, BuzzFeed, and The Washington Post are just the latest organizations to slash their workforces, continuing over a decade of steady decline in newsroom staffing. As fewer and fewer people remain on the payroll to write and report on politics, business, and culture, we’re left to consider which important stories will be left untold.
📡 ON OUR RADAR
After being wrongfully detained in Russia for ten months, U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner is back on U.S. soil. It’s hard to believe the persistent tweets, letters, donations, apparel, and many other modes of communication from influential sports stars, political leaders, and celebrities were not the driving factor for the Biden administration to negotiate a prisoner exchange with Russia. Amidst backlash for exchanging Griner with the “Merchant of Death,” the pressure remains to bring home wrongfully detailed former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.
Haven’t finished last night’s homework? No need to feed it to the dog – increasingly effective AI is helping young writers craft assignments, including college essays. As talking heads wring their hands over the impact of AI on society, many have singled out academia as a source of concern. It raises the question– if a machine can write a good college essay in seconds, what purpose does it serve? Will college essays soon go the way of standardized tests?
TIME named Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky its 2022 Person of the Year, marking the latest in a series of strikingly high-profile media appearances for a leader under siege. From Vogue to the Grammys, Zelensky has maintained a steady cultural presence amid Russia’s nearly yearlong invasion of the country he leads. These carefully choreographed moments allow Zelensky to hold fast in the information war and keep the Ukrainian plight at the forefront of global consciousness.
Amid mass layoffs, economic uncertainty, and shrinking revenue, comms budgets often are the first slashed. However, strategic comms and marketing are more vital in downtimes than ever. Internally to bring clarity, maintain trust, and minimize confusion. Externally, to inform and reassure stakeholders and the public.
In case you missed these stories this week.
Amazon swipes TikTok's endless scroll feature for their new Inspire feature to accelerate social shopping.
With its first Christmas Anthology film series, Coca-Cola goes Hollywood to expand its audience during the holidays.
The EU's $400,000 metaverse celebration to engage youngsters became a pity party this week when six people showed up.
We’ll see you here next week! 👋
This week's newsletter is brought to you by the Good Morning America off-air showmance, reminding us that classic tabloid gossip isn't dead.