News & Tech: Members of Congress May Introduce Bill Aimed at Smaller Outlets

February 22, 2021

Article by: News & Tech

Members of Congress May Introduce Bill Aimed at Smaller Outlets

Bipartisan members of Congress plan to introduce a bill soon aimed at making it less difficult for smaller news outlets to together negotiate deals with Facebook and other Big Tech companies, Reuters reported.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law is holding a series of hearings starting this week to consider legislative proposals to address the rise and abuse of market power online and to modernize the antitrust laws, says a press release from Ken Buck, the ranking Republican on the committee. The first hearing, entitled, “Reviving Competition, Part 1: Proposals to Address Gatekeeper Power and Lower Barriers to Entry Online,” will take place on Feb. 25 at 10 a.m. E.T.

Among topics: addressing the rise, entrenchment, and abuse of gatekeeper power; lowering barriers to entry; and ensuring the survival of trustworthy sources of news online, according to the press release.

Vote on Australia’s Pay-For-News Bill Expected Tuesday

Australia continues to wrangle with Big Tech over paying for news content. Proposed legislation in that country would have Facebook and Google pay news outlets for material. It’s a case that’s being closely watched around the world. The final vote on the bill is expected tomorrow. The laws would allow the government to name an arbitrator to determine content licensing fees if private negotiations get nowhere, says Reuters.

In response to the Australian effort, Facebook banned Australian news outlets from adding links to their material on Facebook. Google, for its part, has made content deals with News Corp, Nine, Seven West Media and Guardian Australia and smaller outlets, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post that his company endorses the Australian proposal to require tech gatekeepers to share revenue with local independent news organizations and would support a similar proposal in the U.S., Canada, the EU and other places.

News Corp, Google Strike Deal

News Corp has agreed to a multi-year partnership with Google to provide journalism from its news sites around the world in return for significant payments by Google, News Corp announced Feb. 17. Among the News Corp publications joining Google News Showcase will be The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch, and the New York Post; in the UK: The Times and The Sunday Times, and The Sun; and in Australia a range of news platforms, including The Australian, news.com.au, Sky News, and multiple metropolitan and local titles.

The three-year agreement also includes the development of a subscription platform, the sharing of ad revenue via Google’s ad technology services, the cultivation of audio journalism and meaningful investments in innovative video journalism by YouTube.
Reactions to the news were mixed.

LA Times Owner Not Looking To Sell

Patrick Soon-Shiong “reaffirmed his commitment” to the LA Times last week, the paper reported, after a Wall Street journal report that claimed he’s looking at selling the paper. The billionaire investor bought the paper in 2018 for $500 million.

“WSJ article inaccurate. We are committed to the @LATimes,” read a tweet from Soon-Shiong. A spokeswoman for the paper said Soon-Shiong and his family “continue to invest in and plan for the future of the Los Angeles Times, and do not plan to sell.” WSJ updated its story with that info.

Soon-Shiong is also in news as he owns 24% of Tribune Publishing and would need to give his support for Alden Global Capital’s buy of Tribune Publishing for that deal to go through. There’s been no public word on whether he’ll approve the deal.

Lee Launches Feast and Field

Lee Enterprises has launched Feast and Field, a new food-focused digital magazine exploring farming, food production, culinary history and cooking. “Food is deeper than the dish from your favorite restaurant and broader than a go-to recipe,” said Cat Neville, executive editor of Feast and Field, in a press release. “Food touches every one of us and Feast and Field will give readers the full story of how it all happens, from the field to the plate.”

Feastandfield.net is set to launch nationwide and across all Lee markets on March 15, 2021.

More news

  • Public notice startup Column has new partnerships with McClatchy, Wick Communications and Ogden Newspapers, Nieman Lab reported.
  • Journalists at The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California) voted to unionize the newsroom, the paper reported. Gannett owns the paper.
  • Gannett is selling the Hot Springs Village Voice (Arkansas) to former publisher Jennifer Allen, the paper reported.
  •  The Rockford Register Star (Illinois) is making some articles “subscribers only,” the paper announced. Gannett owns the paper.
  • The only newsprint manufacturer in the Philippines aims to reboot operations in the second half of 2021, the country’s BusinessWorld reported.

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