Media Insider: WSJ Launches Commerce Site, Journalists Report Passion for the Work Despite Challenges

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.

Newspaper rack with copies of New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times

WSJ debuts new commerce site “Buy Side”
Axios | Sara Fischer

This week, The Wall Street Journal launched “Buy Side from WSJ.” The commerce site features reviews for various consumer goods and personal finance products. It will be a separate section within the WSJ website but will remain free in an effort to attract new audiences and different types of revenue. Buy Side will be staffed by its own team of writers (including freelancers), editors and subject-matter experts and will focus on products of interest to the typical WSJ reader — think standing desks, coffeemakers, commuter backpacks, and credit card or insurance products. Leslie Yazel, the editor and head of content at WSJ Commerce, said the site’s products will be tightly curated and writers will explain the ROI for each item.

The Wall Street Journal this week profiled a Tokyo cafe that has a unique method to help writers beat writer’s block — fining them if they fail to meet a deadline.

Washington Post & Imagine Entertainment Form Partnership To Create Scripted & Non-Scripted Projects
Deadline | Mike Fleming Jr.

A new multi-year strategic partnership between The Washington Post and Imagine Entertainment will use The Post’s archives, current reporting and ongoing investigations to create scripted and non-scripted TV and film projects. Imagine will get an exclusive first-look to develop and produce all projects through the deal. “At The Post, we’re storytellers at heart. Whether it’s holding the powerful to account or shedding light on an exceptionally compelling narrative, we see tremendous untapped potential for extending the reach of our journalism,” said WaPo Publisher and CEO Fred Ryan. Ryan will oversee the deal with Imagine Entertainment Executive Chairman Brian Grazer and Chief Strategy Officer Justin Wilkes.

In other WaPo news, the company will not be selling its Arc XP software, according to sources.

Journalists Sense Turmoil in Their Industry Amid Continued Passion for Their Work
Pew Research Center | Jeffrey Gottfried, Amy Mitchell, Mark Jurkowitz and Jacob Liedke

A new Pew survey of nearly 12,000 journalists found several areas of concern for reporters, including the future of press freedom, widespread misinformation, political polarization and the impact of social media. But despite the challenges, 70% of journalists say they are “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their job and an even larger majority are “very” or “extremely” proud of their work. Even so, the challenges are still front of mind and nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents used negative words to describe the industry, including “struggling” and “chaos.” Survey findings also compare journalists’ and the public’s assessments of today’s news industry, how journalists view social media, and diversity in the newsroom.

ICYMI: The local journalism crisis is exacerbated by a global plunge in newsprint production, leading to soaring costs for remaining newspapers.

Joe Kahn takes over as the top editor of The New York Times
CNN | Oliver Darcy

Joe Kahn took over as executive editor of The New York Times on Tuesday. “Gossipy media types have been breathlessly gabbing about and speculating over” this day for years, according to Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo. Despite the leadership change — Kahn succeeds Dean Baquet — there won’t be any immediate major changes as Kahn plans to keep the paper moving in the same direction. Baquet’s last day featured a mock front page and a standing ovation in which staffers’ appreciation was reportedly palpable. With the transition, Kahn is now in one of the most powerful positions in American journalism.

The Times also announced new plans to reach 15 million subscribers by the end of 2027, a massive number compared to its peers’ subscriber rosters.

Facebook Rethinks News Deals, and Publishers Stand to Lose Millions in Payments
Wall Street Journal | Alexandra Bruell and Keach Hagey

Meta’s Facebook is reportedly re-examining its commitment to pay for news, causing some news orgs to prepare for a potential revenue shortfall. Past annual fees include $15 million to The Washington Post, $20 million to the New York Times and $10 million to the Wall Street Journal. The payments allow Facebook to post publishers’ stories to its News section without a paywall. Facebook agreed to three-year deals with publishers in 2019 and they are set to expire this year. The company has not indicated any plan to renew the partnerships as is, or at all. Sources say that regulatory efforts around the world to force platforms to pay for news content have disappointed Mark Zuckerberg and affected his enthusiasm for making news a bigger part of Facebook’s offerings.

More social media news: Pinterest and Tastemade struck a multimillion-dollar deal to create 50 new TV shows, live videos and events.

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Rocky Parker is the Digital Content Lead at Cision PR Newswire. She’s worked with journalists, bloggers, and content creators to create their targeted newsfeeds from PR Newswire for Journalists. Rocky has also counseled on content writing best practices. Check out her previous posts for Beyond Bylines. In her free time, Rocky can usually be found cooking, binge-watching a new show, or playing with her puppy, Hudson. 

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