Media Insider: Twitter Sues Musk, Publishers are Hiring, News Engagement Nosedives

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

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Twitter Sues Musk After He Tries Backing Out of $44 Billion Deal
The New York Times | Kate Conger and Lauren Hirsch

After Elon Musk said he would back out of the $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter, the company announced this week that it is suing him to complete the acquisition. A Delaware court will determine if Musk is required to go through with the deal or if the company failed to provide him with the spam bot data he requested, which would allow him to walk away from the purchase. Twitter is seeking a four-day trial this September. The deal has a deadline of Oct. 24 to be completed. Possible outcomes include Musk buying Twitter for a lower price or paying a $1 billion breakup fee to walk away entirely – which could be financially disastrous for Twitter since its stock has fallen more than 35% below his offer of $54.20 per share.

Speaking of Twitter, new features announced this week include the abilities to let users “unmention” themselves in others’ tweets and co-author tweets to gain visibility.

While some publishers are slowing hiring plans, publishers like BuzzFeed and The Washington Post are not
Digiday | Sara Guaglione

While the tech and media industries have seen sweeping layoffs and hiring slowdowns, some publishers are pushing forward with their hiring plans. BuzzFeed News, for one, is “in various stages of recruitment” for a tech editor, lead curation editor, photo editor and more as it works to reinvest in the newsroom. The Washington Post continues to hire as normal, according to a spokesperson. It’s adding more than 70 positions this year to grow coverage of tech, health and wellness, climate and weather, political and social issues, international investigative work and breaking international news. But the good news doesn’t apply to the entire industry – outlets like Vox, Vice and Insider have slowed their hiring plans. Despite strong data in the latest Labor Department jobs report, some experts believe financial conditions and softening demand might finally be hitting the U.S. labor market.

In other media job news, Emily Atkin is bringing back her HEATED climate newsletter after a brief hiatus and will be hiring an enterprise reporter.

News engagement plummets as Americans tune out
Axios | Neal Rothschild and Sara Fischer

New data shows that news content engagement has plunged during the first half of this year compared to the first half of 2021 as Americans grew exhausted with a seemingly neverending cycle of bad news. The trend furthers the nosedive following historic readership highs in 2020. The drop in engagement spans platforms, including cable news, news apps, website visits and social media. In some cases, engagement has even fallen below pre-pandemic levels. Readers appear to be desparate for diversions and are turning to sports and celebrity news instead.

Also from Axios this week: A new digital media company will focus on climate change content and eco-friendly goods.

How global media are covering the Uber law-breaking revelations
The Guardian | Martin Farrer

This week, more than 180 journalists at 40 media outlets released the Uber files, a series of investigative reports about Uber’s tactics to help it gain a foothold in crucial cities around the world. The Guardian reported how the company “broke rules, duped police and put pressure on politicians to allow its regulation-busting service to flourish.” The Washington Post covered the company’s “kill switch” that disabled devices and blocked regulatory work. Le Monde reported on then economy minister Emmanuel Macron’s “secret deal” with Uber to pave the way for the company in France. Other outlets in Canada, Spain, Belgium and more added to the investigative reports.

Read next: The Center for Investigative Reporting announced it would cut 10 positions due to financial concerns.

‘The Atlantic’ Launches Digital Archive
MediaPost | Ray Schultz

All of The Atlantic’s journalism, dating back 165 years, is now available to subscribers in a digital archive. Previously, only 6% of its content had been published online. The collection includes early works by such authors as Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Louisa May Alcott, Sylvia Plath and James Baldwin. The archive contains all monthly issues, comprising nearly 30,000 articles, essays, original fiction, and poetry, and every cover in the magazine’s history. Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, says the archive includes “the good, the bad, the brilliant, the offensive, the ridiculous. We knew from the start that we would engage in no censorship, trimming, or dodging … As journalists, we felt it important to share our archive in full, for reasons of transparency and historical accuracy.”

Read next: The U.S. leads the world, by a large margin, in philanthropic support for journalism.

Subscribe to Beyond Bylines to get media trends, journalist interviews, blogger profiles, and more sent right to your inbox.

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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