News & Insights

The Deadline: Twitter’s Bias & Media’s Struggles: Social & News Update

By Rebecca Epps

The Deadline - Media Intelligence Newsletter.

Fired FOX Producer Speaks Out, AdWeek Takes a Look at the Anchor-Producer Relationship at CNBC, and Twitter Continues to Cause Big Stirs Under Musk’s Leadership

Key Highlights:

  • The Future of Social Media: Twitter’s new verification system and image have raised concerns about the platform’s impartiality and reliability.
  • Financial Instability and Layoffs: The media industry continues to face turnovers and reshuffling as organizations struggle to adapt to the digital age and find sustainable business models.
  • Broadcast Straight Talk: TV newsrooms strategize to get “back to basics” with restructures around breaking news and emphasis on more straight news reporting.

Industry News

Twitter Removes Verified Badges from Some Accounts, Tightens Guidelines

On April Fool’s Day, Twitter’s new verification process was launched in one of the latest moves by Elon Musk around the company. The move, dubbed the “verification purge,” involved the removal of all legacy verification badges previously awarded to notable accounts such as celebrities, politicians, and journalists, unless the individuals or companies paid the new cost for verification. Under the new protocol, individuals are required to pay $8 per month, while companies must pay $1,000 for the coveted blue check. The purge could pose a severe issue for the credibility of the source as it mitigates imposters and raises questions about the reliability of information disseminated on the platform.

NPR Cuts Staff and Pauses Four Popular Podcasts

At the end of March, long-time and widely beloved media platform NPR announced it will be laying off 10-percent of its staff. The cuts were widespread across different departments and included producers, hosts, audience researchers and designers. The move comes after the public media platform announced last month it would have to make cuts after eliminating open positions, restricting non-essential travel, and suspending internship programs. The company said the moves saved only $14 million. As part of this latest round of cuts, podcasts “Invisibilia”, “Louder Than a Riot”, “Rough Translation” and “Everyone & Their Mom” will stop production. The layoffs also include members of the popular “All Things Considered” team. The changes are meant to make up for a $30 million gap in its budget.

“The Producer I Can’t Live Without.” AdWeek Series Dives into the Broadcast Newsroom Dynamics

Adweek, the popular and well-known marketing publication, ventures into unexpected territory with a new series that spotlights the TV newsroom dynamics and the relationships between on-air talent and their producers behind-the-scenes. In one of its latest installments, the series spotlights CNBC Squawk Box co-host Becky Quick and her producer Katie Kramer. In a two-part profile, Quick and Kramer detail their working relationship, journeys in news reporting, and the largely unknown details of how a broadcast newsroom operates. Other prominent on-air hosts featured in the Adweek series include Wolf Blitzer, Andrea Mitchell, Lesley Stahl and Lester Holt.

The Economist Dives Deep into How TikTok Broke Social Media

Following the CEO of the social media app being grilled before Congress, the Economist dove deep into the impact the widely popular platform has made, claiming it has changed social media for good. The story discusses how TikTok weaned the world off so-called old fashioned social media in less than six years and instead got people hooked on algorithmically developed short videos. The article also discusses the impact the social media app has had on advertising. TikTok says it has made big investments in its direct-response ads, including new tools for measuring their effectiveness. The Economist says social apps will not be the only losers in this new, trickier ad environment.

FOX News Fires Leading Booker & Producer Amidst Dominion Case

Fox News cuts ties with producer Abby Grossberg amidst the $1.6 billion defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox Corporation. According to Variety, Grossberg alleged in court filings that she was coerced by executives into providing misleading testimony. Grossberg had worked as a Senior booking producer for Maria Bartiromo and head of booking for Tucker Carlson. According to court filings, Grossberg said Fox attorneys worked to “coach, manipulate, and coerce her to deliver shaded and/or incomplete answers during her sworn deposition testimony, which answers were clearly to her reputational detriment but greatly benefitted Fox News”. Fox cited disclosure of privileged corporate information in cutting ties with Grossberg. The former employee spoke out about the pressure from network lawyers in an exclusive interview with MSNBC seen here.

Elon Musk’s Twitter Profile Picture Sparks Speculation of New Dogecoin Initiative

In a move that sent buzz through the cryptocurrency community, Elon Musk changed his Twitter profile picture to a new design that features a combination of the Twitter logo and the Dogecoin meme. The image sparked speculation that Musk may be planning to launch a new initiative related to Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that he has long championed. Others believe that this could be a marketing ploy aimed at boosting the popularity of both Twitter and Dogecoin. Regardless of the reasoning, the new profile picture generated significant buzz on social media and once again put Musk’s influence on the cryptocurrency and social media market in the spotlight.

Bloomberg Announces Staff Reshuffling

Under the theme of “getting back to basics”, Bloomberg announces moves and shuffles amongst staff. Editor in Chief John Micklethwait said in a note that breaking news coverage of the issues of the day is where our clients expect us to lead and where we want to own stories all the way. Micklethwait stated that the way Bloomberg covered the Silicon Valley Bank collapse was a perfect example that illustrated the value of this reporting. As part of the shuffling, Bloomberg will create a new “this just in” group under anchor Matt Miller which will consist of the current Breaking News team, Eco Data and the Today / Daybreak and Weekend teams.

ABC News Restructuring & Cuts Staff in Disney’s Ongoing Cost-Cutting Efforts

ABC News, which is owned by Disney, announced a major restructuring which includes a round of layoffs. The company said it will cut 50 roles as part of the larger Disney cuts. ABC News president Kim Goodwin is also restructuring her senior leadership team. The cuts are a continuation of the layoffs announced by Disney CEO Bob Iger who said a larger round will be coming in April and a third round before the summer begins. ABC News is just the latest to feel the impact of ramifications from Disney. The entertainment company also cut its TV production and acquisitions teams, closed the company’s “metaverse” division and folded Marvel Entertainment into other parts of the company.

Career Moves

Former CNN Anchor Joins MSNBC as Network Emphasizes Straight News Reporting

Ana Cabrera has joined MSNBC as the news channel reshapes its daytime lineup to focus on straight-news reporting instead of opinion and analysis. Cabrera’s new show, “Ana Cabrera Reports” will debut April 10 and air in the coveted 10 a.m. morning hour – which drew in over 675,000 viewers according to Nielsen (in comparison, CNN drew 620,000 in the same time slot while FOX News drew 1.6 million). Both CNN and MSNBC have experienced significant changes to their programming over the past year. Cabrera previously worked at CNN as an anchor and national correspondent. She left late last year after nearly a decade at the network.

Paul Volpe to Rejoin The New York Times Political Desk

Paul Volpe will be returning to The New York Times politics desk. Volpe previously served as Deputy Political Editor and Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for Digital at The Times for several years. In 2016, he left the outlet to become Executive Editor at Politico, where he worked for over four years before deciding to return to The Times. Since his return in 2021, Mr. Volpe has been leading the cross-departmental Trust team as an editor. (

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