Jan 24, 2019

2. More than 1,000 media jobs lost in one day

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The media industry's current round of cuts and consolidation is accelerating. Sizable layoffs at Buzzfeed, Gannett and Verizon Media (home of AOL, Yahoo, HuffPost and others) were announced Wednesday, totaling over 1,000 jobs cut.

Why it matters: If the headlines signal anything, it's that the news media will continue to struggle to find a sustainable business model in an advertising and attention ecosystem dominated by tech companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix.

By the numbers:

  • Verizon Media will cut roughly 800 jobs, or 7% of its global workforce across the organization, as well as certain brands and products. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told Axios earlier this month that each of the company's three units, including the media business, needed to be able to stand on their own. (A company spokesperson later clarified to Axios that Verizon Media Group will still have access to Verizon customer data when customers opt in to provide such information.)
  • Buzzfeed will cut roughly 250 jobs, or roughly 15% of its workforce, including jobs within its news division.
  • Gannett cut over 20 jobs Wednesday, per Poynter, with more expected as the company tries to shed costs amid buyout talks.

The big picture: The struggle to create businesses that can support a healthy news environment is universal across the information ecosystem. It exists at the local, national and global levels, and across digital, print and television operations.

Events in the past year that underscore this reality:

  • the cheap sales of websites that had raised tons of money, like Mic.com and Mashable
  • big layoffs at digital properties like Vox and Refinery29
  • Massive write-downs of media properties owned by bigger companies, like Vice and Verizon Media

Be smart: Policymakers around the world want to address the problem, but most are still struggling to find workable solutions.

  • In Europe, lawmakers have proposed a copyright directive that would force tech giants to pay publishers for linking to their content, but the directive experienced a setback five days ago after member states failed to agree on some rules.
  • In the U.S., regulators at the FCC has rolled back decades-old broadcast ownership rules to allow local news companies to more easily merger to be better able to scale and potentially compete with some of their tech counterparts.
  • The U.S. newspaper industry is still waiting on Congress for a proposed temporary safe harbor that would allow it to bargain as a group against big tech companies.

Bottom line: Many news companies are struggling to find sustainable business models in the digital era. There's no sign it's getting any easier.

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Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson / Staff

Joe Biden said he's spoken to Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama about selecting a running mate — and that he wants to build "a bench of younger, really qualified people" who can lead the nation over the course of the next four presidential cycles.

Driving the news: Biden spoke about the state of the 2020 race during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night that was opened to pooled coverage.

Trump ousting intelligence community inspector general

Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Photo: Bill Clark / Getty Images

President Trump notified key lawmakers on Friday that he’s firing Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, who first alerted Congress last September of an "urgent" complaint from an official involving Trump's correspondence with the Ukrainian president.

Why it matters: The move, to take effect in 30 days, comes amid a broader initiative to purge the administration of officials seen as disloyal to the president.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,097,909 — Total deaths: 59,131 — Total recoveries: 226,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 277,828 — Total deaths: 7,406 — Total recoveries: 9,772Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primary elections by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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