Media Insider: Media Reacts to Roe v. Wade Decision, MSNBC Names Maddow’s Successor

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

Protest outside the Supreme Court building

Reliable Sources | Roe’s Demise
CNN | Oliver Darcy

Nearly two months after POLITICO’s massive scoop about the leaked SCOTUS opinion against abortion, the court announced its decision on Friday, June 24, overturning Roe v. Wade and ending 50 years of national abortion rights. Networks and cable channels interrupted regular programming with the news. When asked if the source of the leak will ever be revealed, POLITICO reporter Josh Gerstein said, “…I do think in most of the situations, that part of the story does get told. In most of these types of stories, Watergate or what have you. But we shall see.” Several media giants, including Conde Nast, BuzzFeed and Warner Bros. Discovery, worked to ensure employees and their family members that access to abortion will still be covered. Some newsrooms also reminded employees of social media guidelines and asked them to avoid taking political stances online to uphold the outlets’ objectivity.

In other SCOTUS news, the Court has declined to revisit the decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, leaving a higher bar for libel in place.

Alex Wagner to Succeed Rachel Maddow at MSNBC
The New York Times | Benjamin Mullin

Alex Wagner, a fixture of Washington journalism with roots in progressive news and opinion outlets, will succeed Rachel Maddow as the host of MSNBC’s 9 p.m. hour four days a week (Maddow will continue to host on Mondays). MSNBC president Rashida Jones said Ms. Wagner’s experience covering politics would be crucial as the network prepares to cover this fall’s midterm elections. MSNBC said she is the only Asian American to host a prime-time cable news program. The show will still be called “The Rachel Maddow Show.” on Mondays, while the name of Ms. Wagner’s program has not been decided. The new show will begin on August 16.

More personnel news: Tech and media veteran Paul Bascobert was named the new president of Reuters News.

Standard General’s $8.6B Bid Would Strengthen Local Newsrooms In Streaming Age
Forbes | Roslyn Layton

The pending acquisition of TEGNA by Standard General would create the nation’s largest minority-owned, women-led broadcasting company. The deal has been accepted by shareholders but it still requires FCC approval. Standard General Founding Partner and Chief Investment Officer, Soo Kim, has a winning record of buying struggling TV stations and turning them around. Kim is betting that news delivery can be improved through technology like streaming and multi-platform content distribution. Kim also plans to increase employee numbers, raise salaries, add field journalists, expand training in news production and investigation, and partner with local universities for a pipeline of journalists. “The demand for professional local news has only increased in the era of pandemics, crises, and disasters,” Forbes’ Layton explains. “Investments in people and technology will preserve local newsrooms.”

Read next: Roku is adding eight NBC local news channels to the Roku Channel — available to stream live for free.

Top 25 US newspaper circulations: Print sales fall another 12% in 2022
Press Gazette | William Turvill

According to new figures from the Alliance for Audited Media, the largest U.S. newspaper circulations fell 12% in the year to March 2022. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times have the largest daily print circulations in the U.S. USA Today, currently in third place, is close to losing its spot to the Washington Post after its circulation fell 13% over the period. Florida’s Villages Daily Sun made the top 25 for the first time after its circulation increased 3% in the six months to March 2022. Its success can be attributed to several factors, including the rapid growth of its potential audience – The Villages is a retirement community and the print-first approach is working well there. It’s worth noting, however, that the Daily Sun’s circulation fluctuates through the year and the newspaper generally performs better in the winter months.

More newspaper business news: The U.S. is averaging two newspaper closures per week — over 360 have closed since just before the pandemic.

Ethnic media was devastated by Covid. Now publishers are struggling to self-fund.
NBC News | Anuz Thapa

The pandemic has dealt a blow to the entire journalism industry but it’s been especially tough on small, ethnic news outlets that may not have the resources to stay afloat. For example, all four Nepalese newspapers in New York City were forced to go completely digital. Veteran journalist and founder of the nonprofit Ethnic Media Services, Sandy Close, said print is particularly important in ethnic media. “There is a very real importance of that physical print publication. In a cafe, people will read the newspapers as a social activity, and I think the importance of print runs very deep,” she says. Research suggests that even though digital subscriptions and advertisements have increased, ethnic news outlets have not benefited much.

ICYMI: Newsletter start-up Substack is laying off 14% of its staff.

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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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