#41 — Jessica Lessin (The Information)
Hello! And welcome to another edition of the Inside The Newsroom podcast newsletter. Today’s guest is Jessica Lessin, founder and editor-in-chief of The Information. Jessica was a technology reporter at the Wall Street Journal for almost a decade before she launched her new platform in 2013, which focuses on covering solely technology companies. Below are links and post-game analyses of everything we talked about. Enjoy!
The News Is About to Get Real Expensive
How much are you spending per month for your news? Add Spotify and Netflix on top of that and times it by 12. That takes me to around $400 a year, and I’m probably on the low end. If you’re the New York Times and Washington Post you’ll be fine, but the fact that only 16 percent of Americans are willing to pay for any online news spells disaster for local outlets.
The UK Isn’t Safe Either
It’s not just stateside where local journalism has been ravaged. An independent report on the future of British media concluded that local news coverage could “disappear entirely” unless the government didn’t provide direct financial support.
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U.S. vs The World
As some British dude who studied in America, I’ve wondered why it’s so hard to curtail hate speech on social media platforms. It essentially comes down to the First Amendment, but that’s where the simplicity stops and the U.S. becomes isolated. American law and judges are united in protecting freedom of speech, but all the cultural and social pressures around the world are in the opposite direction.
Breaking Facebook Up Won’t Be Easy
The prospect of breaking up Facebook has never felt so real. Elizabeth Warren’s groundbreaking proposal to break up any tech company with annual global revenue of $25 billion or more has been adopted at least in part by Bernie Sanders, as well as Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. BUT, and it’s a big but, several hurdles stand in the way that might limit or even prevent any breakup of a tech giant.
Yeah, But There is A Way Right?
Like I said, breaking up any large tech company won’t be easy, but it’s possible and imo, even likely. The Ringer do a nice job of breaking down why each company — Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google — has a target on their backs in the first place, and suggests possible solutions to their monopolistic dominance.
For Your Viewing Pleasure…
How Did Netflix Change Everything?
I’m just about old enough to have experienced a Friday night carefully perusing every aisle in Blockbusters looking for the exact movie to match my mood. Now I painfully scroll through dozens (sometimes hundreds) of titles on Netflix to pick something out. So much damn choice! Anyway, Netflix is 21 years old, and has changed the movie and TV industry forever.
Disney Could Spend Billions To Fight Netflix
Disney was often behind many of the titles I used to scan back on my lonely Friday nights, and it’s now come full circle to start a war with its nemesis Netflix. Disney + will launch in November, adding another $7 a month to our growing subscription bills. But that’s not all. Netflix’s competition is also growing and includes Amazon Prime, Apple TV+ and YouTube Red. This could get interesting… (and even more expensive).
Tech Organizational Charts
I’m enamoured with a cool feature on The Information’s website that visualizes the organizational structures of the biggest tech companies in the world. Headlines often only mention the likes of Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos, but it’s below them where a ton of decision making is made. It’s cool to see who else is responsible for the negatives (and positives) of these powerful companies. Only problem is you may have to subscribe and pay to see them all.
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