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6:10 PM ET, August 20, 2019

Mediagazer

 Top News: 
Max Willens / Digiday:
Facebook to hire a small team of journalists to curate a Top News section in its upcoming news tab, which it will begin testing in the US by end of October  —  Facebook famously got rid of its “trending topics” editorial team back in 2018.  Now, it's again hiring editors — just don't expect “trending 2.0.”
Sara Fischer / Axios:
Facebook releases first findings from a conservative bias audit, says initial findings influenced policy changes like creation of a content oversight board  —  Facebook will release the findings of a roughly year-long conservative bias audit Tuesday, along with changes to its advertising policies as a result, executives tell Axios.
NBC News:
How The Epoch Times, driven by ties to Falun Gong, became a part of Trump's 2020 strategy by spending big on pro-Trump Facebook ads and peddling conspiracies  —  Started almost two decades ago with a stated mission to “provide information to Chinese communities to help immigrants assimilate …
Pat Caldwell / Malheur Enterprise:
Malheur County officials in Oregon request a criminal investigation into The Malheur Enterprise reporters over after-hours phone calls and emails to officials  —  The calls come after investigative reports about county economic development projects  —  UPDATE: A comment from a sheriff's commander …
David Yaffe-Bellany / New York Times:
How companies like McDonald's and Facebook use podcasts, such as Gizmodo-produced The Sauce, as subtle brand-building efforts meant to entertain and persuade  —  With podcasts rising in popularity, it's no surprise that companies are producing their own.  What's more surprising is that people are actually listening to them.
Discussion: @yaffebellany
Ira Boudway / Bloomberg:
Profile of The Athletic, which now has 400+ editorial staffers and expects to have ~1M subscribers by 2020; source: a funding in May valued it at about $500M  —  Alex Mather would like you to know that he loves newspapers.  He's loved them since he was a kid growing up in Philadelphia.
Daniel Frankel / Multichannel News:
Pluto TV partners with NFL to create The NFL Channel, which will show highlights and full reels of classic games and recaps of old seasons  —  The NFL Channel will “celebrate seasons past” with season recaps, classic games and archival episodes of “Hard Knocks”
Molly Conger / The Guardian:
Freelance reporter Molly Conger on losing her column with a weekly paper in Charlottesville after a police association complained about her reporting  —  Naively, I assumed the publication I worked for was as committed to unashamed truth-telling as I was.  I was wrong
@pinboard:
[Thread] Twitter has been running ads from Chinese state news agency Xinhua that aim to discredit protesters in Hong Kong  —  Every day I go out and see stuff with my own eyes, and then I go to report it on Twitter and see promoted tweets saying the opposite of what I saw. Twitter is taking money from Chinese propaganda outfits and running these promoted tweets against the top Hong Kong protest hashtags pic.twitter.com/6Wb0Km6GOb
RELATED:
Twitter:
Twitter says it will no longer accept advertising from state-controlled news media entities, but the rule does not apply to “taxpayer-funded entities”
Jacob Granger / Journalism.co.uk:
Chris Duncan, managing director of The Times, on how the paper patiently grows digital subscriber numbers using free trials, samples, and key usage data  —  In a world of Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime, how does a publisher convince readers to pay £26 a month for a digital news subscription?
Kate Irby / The Fresno Bee:
Four months after announcing a lawsuit, Rep. Devin Nunes serves McClatchy with paperwork, suing in Virginia; McClatchy does not publish a paper in Virginia  —  WASHINGTON - Rep. Devin Nunes on Monday served the McClatchy company with a lawsuit he announced four months ago alleging …
Discussion: @marekthebee
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Apple Music launches a new chart, the Shazam Discovery Top 50, powered by Shazam data and featuring songs trending in the US and 10+ other countries  —  Apple continues to make use of Shazam, the music recognition app it acquired for $400 million in 2018.  Earlier this month …
Bloomberg:
Sources: Apple is planning to roll out Apple TV+, its subscription service, by November and is considering $9.99/month pricing after a free trial  —  - Company builds array of new services to augment hardware sales  —  Apple Inc. plans to roll out the Apple TV+ movie and TV subscription service …
RELATED:
Financial Times:
Sources: Apple has committed $6B+ for original shows and movies, many featuring huge names, ahead of Apple TV+'s launch, expected within the next two months
 
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 More News: 
Cynthia Littleton / Variety:
Altice USA partners with CuriosityStream to bring its science- and history-focused subscription streaming service to all 4.9M Altice customers in 21 states
Richard Winton / Los Angeles Times:
After retrial, former LAT columnist T.J. Simers wins $15.45M in damages over age and disability bias claims against LAT, doubling the $7.1M award voided in 2016
Joshua Benton / Nieman Lab:
Youngstown, OH newspaper The Vindicator to continue publication as an edition of nearby Tribune Chronicle, which has acquired its name, URL, and subscriber list
 Earlier Picks: 
Marc Tracy / New York Times:
A look back at Pacific Standard and Topic, publications that produced robust journalism but folded this summer, as cautionary tales of relying on a rich patron
Jay Rosen / PressThink:
Despite NYT's hesitance to rethink its Trump coverage, a younger, more diverse generation of journalists and a more vocal readership have spurred small changes