- Insider Makes Strategic Shift – As the co-founder steps down, the publication moves its focus to business and technology news and reverts to its original name, Business Insider.
- News Organizations Take Action for Coverage – A group of 11 news organizations request greater access to cover the ongoing war.
- YouTube Sets Guardrails on AI – The video platform is capitalizing on generative AI technology but also putting new rules in place.
Henry Blodget, digital media pioneer and co-founder of Insider, is stepping down as CEO. Along with Blodget stepping down, the publication is also shifting its focus back to business and technology news, reverting to its original name, Business Insider. Barbara Peng, who previously served as president of Insider, will step in as CEO, where she plans to prioritize direct platform engagement over social media, aiming to attract more subscribers. The strategic shift underscores a return to the publication’s roots in business journalism, signaling a commitment to quality reporting and audience interaction.
A coalition of 11 news organizations sent a letter on Monday to the leaders of Israel and Egypt asking for access for international journalists to enter the Gaza Strip to cover the ongoing war. CNN, BBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the AP, CBS News and ABC News were among the news outlets who signed the letter. The news outlets noted that while they have been able to see images and read accounts from inside Gaza, the only reliable reporting has come from a “small number of incredibly brave journalists who are working to document events there.” The letter also notes that as the crisis enters its sixth week, the need for more journalists to document events on the ground is more important than ever. The letter was addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sis.
A new book is putting Fox News in the spotlight. Brian Stelter’s “Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy” dives deep into the inner workings of Fox. As The New York Times details, Stelter’s book recounts the 2020 elections, the attack on the Capital, Tucker Carlson’s defenestration and more. Stelter provides an insider’s perspective revealing Fox News’ role in shaping public opinion. The book comes on the heels of Michael Wolff’s book, “The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty“, which also details Fox News innerworkings. As these narratives put Fox in the spotlight, a lawsuit has also been filed by former Fox News reporter Jason Donner further underscoring allegations of discrimination and false reporting.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman revealed he is seeking further financial support from Microsoft, the company’s top investor, as it pushes ahead with research into “superintelligence”, or computer software as intelligent as humans. In an interview with the Financial Times, Altman said the partnership with Microsoft was “working really well” and that he expects “to raise a lot more over time” from the tech giant among other investors. Microsoft is already investing as much as $10 billion into OpenAI. In the interview with the FT, Altman said that he is focused on researching “how to build superintelligence” and acquiring the computing power to do so.
The media industry is grappling with more layoffs this month as several major companies, including Vice Media, Vox Media, and CNBC, announced staff reductions. Tough economic conditions and an unsteady advertising market have led to over 19,000 job losses in 2023, a significant jump from 3,000 in 2022. These layoffs are affecting both large and small media firms. Despite hopes for a better fourth quarter, many publishers remain uncertain about the future, resulting in ongoing job cuts. Experts warn that additional layoffs might occur even after the holidays as companies strive to stabilize their finances, presenting a challenging and uncertain period for media professionals.
After Hollywood’s labor stoppage, CBS sets the stage for a revival. The network announced on Monday that new episodes of scripted series would return in mid-February. CBS becomes the first network to lay out scheduling plans since a tentative agreement was reached to end the longest labor crisis in Hollywood in decades. Using the Super Bowl, which is being broadcast on CBS this year, as a jumping off point, the network said it will launch new series immediately following the conclusion of the game’s trophy celebration. The new shows are arriving about five months later than usual.
- Emmy-nominated journalist Elizabeth Wagmeister has joined CNN as an LA-based entertainment correspondent. Wagmeister has a background at Variety, HollywoodLife.com, and as a former co-host of Page Six TV.
- Bo Hee Kim has recently joined The New York Times International desk as the Director for audience, strategy, and operations. Kim has a diverse background spanning roles at Vox Media and The New York Times.
- Clifford McKinney has been appointed Vice President, Head of Sales at The Hill by Nexstar Media Group, Inc. McKinney’s return to The Hill signifies a move in the brand’s evolution, as he aims to expand its audience reach and client solutions in alignment with Nexstar’s influential platforms.
- The Wall Street Journal promoted Cara Lombard and Dave Benoite, to deputy Wall Street Bureau Chiefs, reporting to Dana Cimilluca, the Deals Editor.
Video platform YouTube is capitalizing on generative AI technology, but also placing new guardrails on the technology’s use. The company announced new rules on content created with the help of generative AI, including rules that crack down on videos that use someone else’s likeness. In a blog post, the company said “generative AI has the potential to unlock creativity on YouTube and transform the experience for viewers and creators on our platform. But just as important, these opportunities must be balanced with our responsibility to protect the YouTube community.” The post went on to add that not all content will be removed and that leaders will consider a variety of factors when evaluating requests. They said this could include “whether the content is a parody or a satire, whether the person making the request can be uniquely identified, or whether it features a public official or well-known individual, in which case there may be a higher bar.” YouTube is also rolling out new disclosure requirements and content labels for generative AI-created content, particularly if it touches on complicated or heated geopolitical events, elections, or other issues of public concern.