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5:50 PM ET, November 17, 2017

Mediagazer

 Top News: 
Bloomberg:
With ads hard to sell and VC funds hard to raise, sources say media startups like Defy Media and Uproxx consider following Mashable, selling to bigger companies  —  Defy Media, Uproxx also weigh sale as capital to grow dries up  —  Web publishers that made ‘pivot to video’ struggle to sell ads
RELATED:
Dylan Byers / CNNMoney:
Sources: IAC is exploring selling The Daily Beast, but the company has no formal sales effort in place  —  Digital media is facing a reckoning.  —  The start-ups that were once the darlings of the industry are facing budget shortfalls and revenue declines as they struggle to survive …
Benjamin Mullin / Wall Street Journal:
Axios raises $20M to fund newsroom expansion, plans to increase staffing to 150 by the end of 2018  —  The 10-month-old media startup plans to increase staffing to 150 by the end of 2018, develop new coverage areas, and expand its data analysis and product offerings
Natalie Jarvey / Hollywood Reporter:
Sources: Vice Media suspends Jason Mojica, head of documentary film unit, as part of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations  —  Jason Mojica has been head of Vice's documentary film unit since August 2016.  —  Vice Media has suspended Jason Mojica, head of its documentary film unit …
Tom Turula / Business Insider:
Spotify announces it has acquired Soundtrap, a collaborative online music recording startup, reportedly for at least $30M  —  Spotify is buying Swedish music tech startup Soundtrap for an undisclosed amount.  —  Soundtrap is a collaborative online recording studio that was valued at $25 million (SEK 207 million) last year.
Amanda Robb / Rolling Stone:
An investigation into the roots of Pizzagate: the real people behind some of the social accounts that later were amplified by bots  —  Inside the web of conspiracy theorists, Russian operatives, Trump campaigners and Twitter bots who manufactured the ‘news’ that Hillary Clinton ran a pizza-restaurant child-sex ring
Sean Illing / Vox:
New study finds China uses “cheerleading”, or flooding the internet with positive news in order to eclipse bad news, as a method to manipulate its population  —  Now Russia is following China's blueprint.  —  The art of suppressing dissent has been perfected over the years by authoritarian governments.
Anthony D'Alessandro / Deadline:
MoviePass launches a one-year subscription plan for $89.95  —  For a limited time, MoviePass is offering a one-year subscription plan for a flat fee of $89.95, which translates to $7.50 a month (that price already includes a $6.55 processing fee).  That price is under this year's 3Q average movie ticket …
The Daily Beast:
Freedom of the Press Foundation plans to stop routing funds to WikiLeaks after funneling $500K in donations over 5 years; Xeni Jardin left group in December  —  In the heat of the presidential election campaign last year, Xeni Jardin, a journalist and free speech advocate, developed a sickening feeling about WikiLeaks.
Keith J. Kelly / New York Post:
Forbes says it is reducing print frequency from 14 issues/year to 10 and also cutting 20 people from payroll  —  Forbes, which in its glory days published its flagship print magazine every other week, is going to cut back to only 10 issues in 2018 as it sliced 20 more people from its payroll.
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Twitter confirms it is testing a feature that will make it easier to publish tweetstorms  —  Twitter confirms it's testing a feature that allows users to more easily create “tweetstorms” - those series of connected tweets that have grown to be a popular workaround for Twitter's character count limitations.
Josh Constine / TechCrunch:
Facebook rebrands Mentions, which was only available for verified accounts, as Creator app, opens it to all; app available on iOS now, and Android within months  —  Facebook wants to turn mindless, passive video consumption into “time well spent,” and now it's giving social media stars …
 
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 More News: 
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
YouTube takes down Toy Freaks, a kid-focused channel that had over 8.5M subscribers, as it tightens enforcement of child endangerment policies
Maxwell Tani / Business Insider:
Vox Media editorial and video staffers announce plans to join Writers Guild of America East
The Guardian:
At News Corp AGM, Murdoch says “our hands are...full making our existing papers viable”, and that digital advertising has been “tremendously damaging to print”
 Earlier Picks: 
CNBC:
Sources: Comcast has approached 21st Century Fox to express interest in buying some major assets
Marc Fisher / Washington Post:
Executive editor Martin Baron says the response to Washington Post's Roy Moore story has reached a “stunning level of deceit, deception and dirty tricks”