OFF THE TOP
You might have heard: After LA Times layoffs, questions about diversity and seniority swirl (Nieman Lab)
But did you know: Los Angeles Times owner clashed with top editor over unpublished article (The New York Times)
The Los Angeles Times has seen huge layoffs and the departure of executive editor Kevin Merida in recent weeks. Merida’s exit apparently followed clashes with owner Patrick Soon-Shiong over the newsroom’s pursuit of a story involving a wealthy friend of Soon-Shiong and his dog. Soon-Shiong had apparently tried to discourage the newsroom from reporting the story, which he felt would interfere in an ongoing dispute between his friend and a woman who claimed the friend’s dog had bitten her. The story was never ready for publication, but reports say Merida was willing to resign if Soon-Shiong blocked the story.
+ Related: Dog bites man (Columbia Journalism Review)
+ Noted: Sports Illustrated union files labor grievance over mass layoffs (The Washington Post); CUNY’s Craig Newmark Journalism School will cover full tuition by 2026 (Nieman Lab)
From surviving to thriving: 8 ways you can prioritize your well-being this year (RTDNA)
One thing that’s important for journalists to know — just as other first-responder industries such as medical professionals, public safety and the military have known for quite some time — is that it’s impossible to be exposed to trauma and not be impacted by it. Several well-being habits arose during conversations at our American Press Institute Local News Summit on Mental Health and Sustainability, where RTDNA was a sponsor.
Here are some ways to take care of yourself as a news leader in TV and radio:
- Close your door: Managers pride themselves on having “open-door policies” without acknowledging the boundaries needed for those policies to be helpful without causing burnout for the manager.
- Set your OOO: You use your “out of office” email notice as a “slow to respond” notice. This will protect deep thinking time. This will also help you manage your expectations of yourself — especially regarding response time and self-distraction.
- Know your value: Your value goes beyond your investment (or sacrifice) of time: Your perspective is valuable. Your character is valuable. Your news judgment is valuable. Your ability to ask questions, admit mistakes and take a good joke are valuable.
- Model the behavior: If you’re asking your team to take PTO, you should take PTO. If you ask them to leave on time, you should leave on time (and be loud about it). If you encourage them to pace their work, show how you have redistributed your workload.
Journalists are burned out. Some newsrooms are fighting back. (Nieman Lab)
Burnout is affecting journalists across the industry, but a few newsrooms are taking systemic approaches to preventing burnout. “It’s uncomfortable to go against the grain of the culture of your institution, but it’s absolutely imperative if your goal is to sustain the work,” Samantha Ragland, API’s vice president of journalism programs, told Nieman Lab. “You’re not just challenging the [news] industry, but you’re challenging the core values of people who say, ‘I’m most valuable when I work hard.’”
TRY THIS AT HOME
Here is why we are asking for your email address to read 404 Media (404 Media)
In a letter to readers, 404 Media explains why it has started requiring readers to sign up with their email addresses before they read most stories on the website. As social media fractures and AI threatens to disrupt search engines, the website’s editors write, “we need to be able to reach our readers directly using a platform that we own and control. To do that, we need your email address.” They also write that AI had begun scraping and republishing their articles nearly verbatim — a practice that has, so far, stopped now that email addresses are required.
CNN Philippines to close down, with 300 job losses (Variety)
CNN Philippines, which launched in 2015 as a joint effort between Turner and a local network, will discontinue operations on Wednesday. The station had racked up more than $89 million in losses. The decision raises questions about the future of free media in the country, which currently ranks 132nd in Reporters Without Borders’ ranking of media freedom. CNN International will continue to be available in the country.
Germany unearths pro-Russia disinformation campaign on X (The Guardian)
Tens of thousands of fake accounts on X, formerly Twitter, were created as part of a pro-Russia disinformation campaign. German researchers discovered the campaign sent more than 1 million German-language posts from 50,000 fake accounts in the course of one month, all in opposition to Berlin’s support for Ukraine. The campaign suggested that Chancellor Olaf Scholz was neglecting the needs of Germans because of its support for Ukraine as well as the government’s decision to take in refugees.
+ Related: X plans to create a content moderation ‘headquarters’ in Austin (The Verge)
The death of the Washington bureau (Columbia Journalism Review)
Recent cuts at the Los Angeles Times means there are only eight print reporters covering the federal government from California-based newspapers, and many states don’t have any reporters on the ground in Washington anymore. This means politicians aren’t being held accountable to their constituents, and it means that Americans are more likely to only hear about national news — often through a partisan lens.