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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Digital-first local websites are starting to partially fill the void left by the slow death of local newspapers.
Why it matters: About a third of large U.S. newspapers have suffered layoffs since 2017, according to a new study from Pew Research Center.
"Our membership has doubled in the past two years. So we have 225 members. The Institute for Nonprofit News has experienced similar growth."— Matt DeRienzo, executive director, Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION)
On top of that, DeRienzo says that the trade group has a database of 600+ of local online news sites that would qualify for membership to LION, meeting their requirements of doing real journalism and being independent — and they come across new ones every day.
The Local Media Consortium — which represents dozens of local papers and media companies, like The Seattle Times, The McClatchy Company and Cox Media Group — also says that it's seeing record growth for digital websites of newspapers, some of which are downsizing in print.
The rise of niche, local sites: LMC CEO Fran Wills says there are also a lot of websites creating hyper-local news around certain interest areas, like sports and entertainment.
The bottom line: While these efforts can't fully replace the thousands of journalists being displaced across the country, they are helping small communities access local news and information. In some cases, they are able to take coverage of certain small topic areas or communities to the next level.
Go deeper: Read the full story.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Experts argue Facebook could do a number of things to reduce fake news, but almost every option could hit its bottom line or would challenge CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s long-term vision for the company.
The most drastic changes Facebook could make to its policies include:
Some experts suggest more realistic options:
Go deeper: Read the full story.
Messaging apps are becoming increasingly popular across the globe, often outpacing even the most popular social media apps in growth.
Why it matters: Experts worry they could pose an even bigger threat to fake news and misinformation than social networks because end to end communication is encrypted, and thus impossible to track.
Most of the world’s biggest tech companies have a stake in messaging apps, or are building one.
Debate around misinformation within encrypted messaging apps, particularly in developing countries, has increased over the past year.
Researchers expressed concern last week on a conference call with reporters about being able to study misinformation on Facebook messaging apps because of its encrypted nature.
Jennifer Grygiel, assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University, argues that small product changes could be helpful in reducing fake news in densely populated, developing countries. She says:
"Facebook Inc. only recently added a label for WhatsApp forwards. This change is so simple and obvious that one has to wonder why it wasn’t in place already ... Facebook Inc. also needs to seriously consider reducing the WhatsApp group audience size... [Facebook] claims that WhatsApp was designed as a private messaging app, but the current group limit is 256 people..."
Silicon Valley's tech companies have a new argument in the unfolding debate over their size and power: We're better than the Chinese competition, Axios' David McCabe writes.
The big question: How long will those companies remain second to American ones?
Driving the news: The China Internet Report, co-authored by South China Morning Post, Abacus News and 500 Startups, shows how China's big three companies — Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba — have grown across all industries. This includes ad-based media and communication industries, like social apps, messaging and video.
Takeaways from the report:
Go deeper: The report lets you filter through every investment, acquisition and self-made app being built by the "Big Three" in China.
A new Pew Research Center study finds that after the 2016 election, Democrats in Congress posted on Facebook more often than Republicans, which is a startling difference from prior to the 2016 election.
Why it matters: The same Pew study from 2017 found that before Donald Trump became president, Republicans were much more likely to leverage social distribution networks, like Facebook, to communicate with their constituencies over press releases.
Between the lines: Some political experts Axios has spoken to — including high-level Democratic Hill staffers during the Obama years — argue that Democrats during at that time were more focused on message substance over delivery, which is why they often took to traditional modes of communication, like press releases.
Comcast has given up on pursuing 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets, nearly guaranteeing that Disney will acquire most of Fox barring any regulatory concerns.
Why it matters: The combined company will nearly double Disney's size, giving it enough content and international assets to take on Netflix, which has quickly become a dominant force in the American entertainment industry.
The big picture: The new mega-media company will bring together two of Hollywood's "Big 6" movie studios, Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox. Combined, the company will own 7 of the 10 highest-grossing films.
On the TV side, the deal will also give Disney access to a slew of new cable channels, like National Geographic and FX, that can be used to populate its own streaming service. Disney already owns several cable channels, like ESPN, Disney, and Freeform.
When it comes to streaming, some experts worry that the combined company could be problematic for Hulu, the streaming service that's jointly owned by Comcast, Fox, Disney and Turner (now owned by AT&T).
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Move over, telecom and big tech. Mass market retailers and grocers are developing their own content and advertising businesses to compete with legacy media.
Go deeper: Read the full piece in the Axios stream.
Cord cutters will outpace previous projections and grow more than 30% this year, analysis from eMarketer shows. This is the second time eMarketer has increased projections for cord cutting in less than a year, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reports.
There still is progress from satellite companies, including Dish’s Sling TV and AT&T’s DirecTV Now. Though growth is a sliver of the 92 million people who still pay for satellite and cable.
What's next: Earnings reports from the major cable and satellite providers this week and next will show how far streaming cut into traditional TV services.