Inside Media - November 8th, 2019

Inside Media (Nov 8th, 2019)

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Bustle cut 10 people from its roster Thursday, and announced it will soon be touting some "marquee hires" in preparation for a 2020 relaunch. The women's lifestyle site no longer has a dedicated news team with the recent departure of senior news editor Celia Darrough, and Thursday's layoffs included six staffers and four freelance contributors. Bustle is part of the Bustle Digital Group, founded in 2013 by Bryan Goldberg, which has acquired the assets of the former Gawker, as well as The Outline, Nylon and The Zoe Report over the past several months. -- VARIETY

Former Gawker scribe Alex Pareene writes that with the shuttering of sites like Splinter and the demise of Deadspin, the rude press is dying. He notes the long tradition of the rude press included journalists like H.L. Mencken and Dorothy Parker, and storied publications like the late Village Voice and Mad magazine. Rudeness and the inclination to challenge power are critical, Pareene says, lamenting that "Alt-weeklies are dead. Blogs are dead. Bootlickers and the civility police won." (although shoutout to my city of Pittsburgh where the alt-weekly City Paper is chugging along). -- NEW REPUBLIC

Poynter has a great piece on the origins of the Texas Tribune, the lodestar of nonprofit local journalism, which is marking its tenth anniversary. Editor in chief Emily Ramshaw, venture capitalist John Thornton and editor Evan Smith decided on a model for news based on their experience with coverage of Texas politics. "Basically the idea was, in baseball terms, hit ‘em where they ain’t," Smith said. "(Don’t) do what everybody else is doing. Focus on what nobody else is doing." --POYNTER

The national news media and lawmakers in Congress continue to fret about TikTok, its rapid growth, its pattern of censorship, and the liability of allowing a Chinese app access to U.S. user data. TikTok now boasts 122 million downloads in the U.S. (compared to 1.5 billion globally), and while it is a private company without direct ties to the Communist regime, the New York Times notes that the success of parent company ByteDance in China has been largely due to "its ability to navigate Beijing’s political currents, as well as its skills in delivering harmless fluff that could pass muster with censors." But in catering to the politically sensitive Chinese market, the company reportedly built a system of self-censorship that bothered some of its U.S. employees. As the Washington Post reports, bosses in Beijing regularly objected to content on the American app that included "heavy kissing" and angry political debate. Hoping to continue their growth in the U.S. market, ByteDance is now insisting that its U.S. staff doesn't take censorship instruction from the Beijing office, but they are still trying to sell Americans on the idea that TikTok is (so far) free of "contentious content" like what's found on Facebook and Twitter. – WASHINGTON POST

A version of this story first appeared in our daily Inside Social newsletter.


Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has been battling in court with international charity Planet Aid. The organization sued Reveal after the outlet published stories about the charity's funding from multiple governments. --REVEAL

Paul Maidment, the executive from Deadspin's parent company who penned the now-infamous stick to sports memo that prompted a staff exodus, resigned. Maidment said in an email to staff that he would be pursuing an entrepreneurial opportunity. -- NYT

After the Citrus County (Fla.) Board of Commissioners declined to provide funding for the local library's subscription to the New York Times calling it "fake news," offers of financial support poured in. The former owner of the New York Mets, Sandy Alderson, was among those dismayed by the board's decision; he offered to pay the $2700 price tag, adding he was "outraged by the attempt to censor responsible journalism." --TAMPA BAY TIMES

The Blaze is shutting down its cable channel at the end of the year. --THR

This newsletter was curated by Inside Managing Editor and Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist Kim Lyons.  

Edited by Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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