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1:25 PM ET, October 29, 2019


 Top News: 
Mike Isaac / New York Times:
Sources: over 250 Facebook employees have signed a letter visible on an internal forum that says letting politicians lie in ads is “a threat” to the company  —  In an open letter, the social network's employees said letting politicians post false claims in ads was “a threat” to the company.
Joe Pompeo / Vanity Fair:
The Recount, John Heilemann and John Battelle's short-form video political news outlet, has raised ~$10M seed from investors including Jay-Z and Kevin Durant  —  A-List investors (Fred Wilson, Jay-Z, Robert Wolf, Kevin Durant) are pouring millions into the journalist's new business.
Maxwell Tani / The Daily Beast:
G/O Media memo to staff says “Deadspin will write only about sports” and to focus 100% of resources on sports; the site also covered politics, culture, and more  —  Sports—and sports alone—must be “the sole focus” of the website, new management said Monday in a memo obtained by The Daily Beast.
Kelsey Mckinney / @mckinneykelsey:
Deadspin writer says G/O Media management removed a letter to the readers from Deadspin staff that criticised the recent addition of autoplay videos to the site
Jessica Davies / Digiday:
FT says it is testing subscriber-only podcasts, deviating from its audio strategy of ad-supported open-access podcasts, hires its first global head of audio  —  The Financial Times has expanded its audio strategy to include subscriber-only podcasts, a first for the publisher.
Alex Weprin / Hollywood Reporter:
National Amusements has voted to approve the CBS-Viacom merger, which is now expected to close by early December; the merged company will be called ViacomCBS  —  National Amusements, the company controlled by the Redstone family, has voted to approve the merger.
Discussion: Variety, The Wrap, Deadline and
Judd Legum / Popular Information:
How Ben Shapiro's massively popular right-wing site The Daily Wire gets promoted in an inauthentic, coordinated manner by 14 Facebook pages followed by millions  —  This is the online version of the Popular Information newsletter.  You can get independent accountability journalism in your inbox every week.
Michael Calderone / Politico:
The RedState reporter who published the Katie Hill photo has since promoted GOP candidates for her seat, a blurring of roles unacceptable in mainstream outlets  —  Shortly after Rep. Katie Hill announced her resignation from Congress on Sunday night, the RedState reporter …
Capital Gazette shooter Jarrod Ramos pleads guilty to all 23 counts, including killing five employees, in a mass shooting at the Annapolis office in June 2018  —  The man who blasted his way into the Capital Gazette newsroom more than a year ago, armed with a shotgun, smoke bombs and a device …
Paul Farhi / Washington Post:
Federal judge reinstates libel lawsuit by Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann against WaPo, narrowing its scope from 33 published statements to three  —  A federal judge reinstated part of a lawsuit against The Washington Post filed by the family of a Kentucky teenager that alleged …
Sara Fischer / Axios:
Sources: NBC News Digital is expanding its staff by 20% over the next year, amounting to ~70 new jobs, and shutting down its digital video studio NBC Left Field  —  NBC News Digital is expanding its staff by 20% over the next year, an addition of roughly 70 jobs across multiple departments …
Todd Spangler / Variety:
AT&T says it will spend $1.5B-$2B on HBO Max in 2020 and $1B per year in both 2021 and 2022, expects profitability in year four  —  AT&T is telling investors it has the intestinal fortitude to win in the streaming wars — even as its traditional TV business continues to crumble.
Wall Street Journal:
AT&T reaches a truce with activist investor Elliott Management, agrees to regular share buybacks, new directors, no more major M&A, and more in three year plan
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The Media Roundup:
Posh news for posh people?  —  Today we're taking a look at the problems with paid news, ecommerce strategies and the Taliban's latest attack on women in media.  —  Today's newsletter is brought to you by Peter.
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 More News: 
Matthew De Silva / Quartz:
Spotify says 14% of MAUs listen to podcasts, podcast hours streamed grew 39% QoQ, and podcast engagement is driving increases in free to paid conversion
Piya Sinha-Roy / Hollywood Reporter:
Netflix says it's testing a feature to allow users to speed up or slow down content on their phones, attracting criticism from filmmakers, including Judd Apatow
 Earlier Picks: 
Reeves Wiedeman / New York Magazine:
Deep dive inside Condé Nast amid years of drama, downsizing, and shakeups sheds light on Anna Wintour and others' struggle to revert falling influence and sales