Daily Herald Back to Normal Production After Cyberattack
The Daily Herald (Arlington, Illinois) says it’s back to normal production after suffering a “sophisticated cyberattack” that the paper’s editor said started July 21. In a July 22 note to readers, Editor John Lampinen said the paper was working with several cyber security experts to resolve the issue. Paddock Publications owns the paper.
“Our staff worked exhaustively and collaboratively to return operating systems to full functionality, which has enabled us to restore normal communications, deadlines, delivery and design,” said an August 2 note to readers from Lampinen. The paper has also restored all functions of its e-edition. The attack had prevented readers from clicking on individual stories in the e-edition.
The attack had also stopped the paper from accessing stored articles, advertisements and page designs or using its pagination system. The attack forced the paper to change its normal design and employ make-dos, putting the printed paper into two sections, with Neighbor and Food placed in the front section. The cyberattack also shut down the paper’s phone system, including the line to customer service, the paper said.
“In all the many years I’ve worked here, I’ve never witnessed a ‘technical difficulty’ as severe as this one, and I am so proud of the innovative and tireless staff that worked through all those problems to create the miracle of today’s newspaper,” said Lampinen in his July 22 note to readers.
Pew: Americans Who Get News Mostly on Social Media Less Knowledgeable
A new Pew Research Center analysis of recent surveys finds that U.S. adults who rely mostly on social media for political news tend to be less likely than other news consumers to closely follow major news stories, such as the coronavirus outbreak and the 2020 presidential election. And this group also tends to be less knowledgeable about these topics.
As of late last year, 18% of U.S. adults say they turn most to social media for political and election news. That’s lower than the share who use news websites and apps (25%), but about on par with the percent who say their primary pathway is cable television (16%) or local television (16%), and higher than the shares who turn to three other pathways mentioned in the survey (network TV, radio and print). Three percent said they most often turn to print for political news. The surveys were conducted between October 2019 and June 2020.
Seattle Times Partners with LMA on Funding Lab
Local Media Association has formed a partnership with The Seattle Times to oversee curriculum for a lab being developed as part of the association’s new Center for Journalism Funding. Fifteen publishers will be invited to join the lab, which will focus on strategies to fund journalism through philanthropy. Applications will open in early August. The lab will launch in mid-September and operate through the end of March. It will involve a diverse mix of publishers including newspapers, broadcasters, digital news outlets, for-profit, non-profit and public, says a LMA press release.
Joaquin Alvarado, executive director of Project Accelerate at The Seattle Times, will lead the effort. LMA and lab faculty will measure success by the incremental revenue raised by the group, says the release. The initial goal is $2.25 million raised by June 30, 2021, an average of $150,000 per media organization. “We’re thrilled to partner with Joaquin and the team at The Seattle Times on this important initiative,” said Nancy Lane, chief executive officer of LMA. “When it comes to funding journalism through philanthropy, no for-profit media company does it better than The Seattle Times. They’ve been at it the longest and have the best track record of success.”
Google News Initiative is providing funding to launch the lab. LMA will hire a managing director for the center who will work with lab participants on their execution strategies. The managing director will also oversee LMA’s fundraising efforts for the Fund for Local Journalism and the Fund for Black Journalism. Local Media Association “is the only organization that brings all media together for the purpose of sharing, networking, collaborating and more,” says the organization. More than 3,000 newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, directories, pure plays and research and development partners are active members, says LMA.
Australian Regulators Target Google, Facebook
There are several news items of note concerning Google and Australia.
• Australian media will be able to bargain with Google and Facebook to quickly secure fair payment for news content if a draft mandatory code released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on July 31 is adopted, says the ACCC. The draft code is aimed at addressing acute bargaining power imbalances between Australian news businesses and Google and Facebook, including through a binding “final offer” arbitration process, says the ACCC. Google was not enthusiastic about the draft, CMO reported.
“While other countries are talking about the tech giants’ unfair and damaging behavior, the Australian Government and the ACCC are taking world-first action,” said a statement from Michael Miller, executive chairman, News Corp Australasia, Australia’s largest news publisher. “The ACCC’s draft Code of Conduct is a watershed moment; it can force the platforms to play by the same rules other companies willingly follow and it ultimately means they will no longer be able to use their power to walk away from negotiations with news creators.”
• The ACCC has launched federal court proceedings against Google, alleging the tech giant misled the nation’s consumers to get their consent to expand the scope of personal info that Google could collect and combine about consumers’ internet activity, for use by Google, including for targeted advertising.
The ACCC alleges Google misled consumers when it failed to properly inform consumers and did not gain their explicit informed consent about its move in 2016 to start combining personal info in consumers’ Google accounts with info about those individuals’ activities on non-Google sites that used Google tech, formerly DoubleClick tech, to display ads. This meant this data about users’ non-Google online activity became linked to their names and other identifying information held by Google. Previously, this information had been kept separately from users’ Google accounts. Google says it asked users for consent about the 2016 change with “prominent and easy-to-understand notifications,” Financial Review reported.
LMC Launches Matchup Sports Platform
The Local Media Consortium has launched The Matchup, a collaborative online sports platform. Supported by funding from the Google News Initiative, The Matchup provides fans with access to high quality, locally produced sports stories and coast-to-coast content, giving local media organizations a means to broaden their audience and compete with top sports hubs for advertising revenue, says the consortium.
“With a combined audience of 78 million unique sports enthusiasts and journalists covering the lion’s share of college and professional sports team markets, our members are uniquely positioned to compete with the likes of top sports platforms like The Athletic, Bleacher Report, and ESPN for eyeballs and ad dollars right out of the starting gate,” said Fran Wills, CEO of the LMC.
Phase one of The Matchup will enable content sharing between local news sites. During the coming NFL season, LMC members will share sports news and commentary between their sites via a feature that allows subscribers of one site to consume content regardless of which member site originated it, without any additional fees. Full coverage is expected by January 2021. Later in 2021, The Matchup will launch a destination sports site with content from all members. Subscribers to member media outlets will have free access to The Matchup. Any reader who wants to access the platform will need to subscribe to a participating local media outlet. The Local Media Consortium says it’s a “strategic alliance of local media companies whose members produce more than 90% of local news and sports journalism in the United States.”
Paxton Media Buys Indiana Paper
Paxton Media has bought The Herald (Jasper, Indiana) from the Rumbach family, the paper reported. Paxton Media assumed ownership on Aug. 1. Paducah, Kentucky-based Paxton Media Group publishes more than 70 papers across the Midwest and Southwest, including 12 dailies in Indiana. With the purchase, page dimensions for the paper have gone to a broadsheet format. The paper’s production is now happening in Owensboro, Kentucky, the paper says. The paper’s print publication schedule has also changed to five days, Tuesday through Saturday. The Herald will no longer publish a print paper on Mondays.
Tribune Publishing’s Poison Pill
On July 28, Tribune Publishing’s board launched a “poison pill” strategy to block any potential hostile takeover, the Chicago Tribune reported. The company put out a press release saying the board has approved the adoption of a limited duration stockholder rights agreement and declared a dividend distribution of one right for each outstanding share of common stock outstanding as of the record date. The record date for such dividend distribution is August 7, 2020. The rights expire, without any further action being required to be taken by the board, on July 27, 2021.
The adoption of the rights agreement is intended to “to protect the interests of the company and its stockholders by reducing the likelihood that any person or group gains control of Tribune Publishing through acquisitions from other stockholders, open market accumulation or other tactics (especially in current volatile markets) without paying an appropriate control premium,” said the release.
The move comes on the heels of Alden Global Capital co-founder Randall Smith being added to the newspaper company’s board in July. The hedge fund now has three of seven seats on the board. Alden is Tribune Publishing’s largest shareholder, at 32%. Poynter’s Rick Edmonds has an analysis here in which he says the motive behind the poison pill is not entirely clear. Meanwhile Tribune Publishing says it will report its financial results for the second quarter on Aug. 5. The company will host a conference call to discuss its business and financial results at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.
Lee Enterprises Shifting Copy Desk Work
The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Virginia) is cutting its four-person copy desk in October, a memo that went to impacted employees said, according to Virginia Business. Page design for the Daily Progress and sister paper the News Virginian in Waynesboro will be handled by consolidated desks in Indiana or Wisconsin. There will be one copy editing role remaining and the four who are being cut will be considered, the memo said, according to Virginia Business. Lee Enterprises owns the papers. Copy editing and page design positions may be cut at all Lee Enterprises Virginia papers, the business publication reported. Meanwhile Iowa-based Lee plans to issue a news release before market open Aug. 6 with preliminary results for its third fiscal quarter, which ended June 28. Lee has scheduled an audio webcast and conference call on the results for Aug. 6 at 10 a.m. Eastern time.
News & Tech is the premier resource for insight, analysis and technology integration in newspaper, magazine, digital and hybrid operations and production. News & Tech is written by industry experts and read by publishers and executive decision-makers.