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4:05 AM ET, December 22, 2019


 Top News: 
Davey Alba / New York Times:
Facebook and Twitter shut down a network of fake accounts using AI-generated faces to “masquerade” as Americans; Facebook links the network to Epoch Media Group  —  Researchers said the profiles, linked to the Epoch Media Group, used photos generated by artificial intelligence in a preview of an …
Stephen Gregory / The Epoch Times:
Epoch Media Group asks Facebook to withdraw claim that it is involved with The BL, which was tied to fake accounts, says Epoch Times Vietnam publishes The BL  —  Facebook claims that it has removed accounts operated by the website BL that are linked to The Epoch Media Group.
John Ourand / Sports Business Daily:
CBS says it will end its SEC football contract after 2023; sources: ESPN/ABC in final talks to take over, paying over 6x the $55M/year that CBS currently pays  —  CBS will walk away from the SEC when its contract ends after the 2023 football season, and all indications are that the package will move to ESPN/ABC.
Alan Rappeport / New York Times:
Columbia University finds Monica Crowley committed “localized instances of plagiarism” in a dissertation but concludes she did not commit research misconduct  —  An investigation concluded that the Treasury Department's top spokeswoman did not commit research misconduct, but required extensive revisions.
New York Times:
Amid a crisis in local news, eight journalists who left newsrooms in 2019 reflect on the stories left in their notebooks  —  Amid a crisis in local news, eight journalists who left newsrooms in 2019 reflect on the stories left in their notebooks.  Photographers who also lost their jobs captured them on their former beats.
Georg Szalai / Hollywood Reporter:
ViacomCBS acquires 49% stake in Miramax, which is owned by BeIN, for $375M  —  The L.A.-based company, which has been owned by Doha-based BeIN Media Group and run by CEO Bill Block, has a library with 700-plus titles, including such Oscar winners as ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Chicago.’
M. Scott Havens / Nieman Lab:
2020 predictions: global data regulation and the messy digital ad marketplace will prompt publishers to invest in first-party data, bolstering ties with readers  —  M. Scott Havens is global head of digital and media distribution for Bloomberg Media.  —  2020 will be a watershed year …
Lisa Kaplan / Lawfare:
TheSoul, a Russian web publisher with YouTube channels like 5-Minute Crafts, has the most reach among entertainment groups on YouTube, after Disney, WarnerMedia  —  What the heck is TheSoul Publishing?  I'm still honestly not sure.  —  Here's what I do know: Measured in terms of views and subscribers …
Craig Newmark / Nieman Lab:
2020 prediction: some newsrooms will adopt rules requiring tweets, headlines, and stories to never present falsities without first clearly stating the truth  —  Craig Newmark is the founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies.  —  For 2019, I predicted that news organizations …
Discussion: @kathyenglish
Bryan Curtis / The Ringer:
Profile of Josh Katzenstein, who once covered the New Orleans Saints for the Times-Picayune and who has transferred his reporting skills to CBD product sales  —  For now, at least.  The New Orleans Saints journalist who lost his job this year has made a career transition.
Deanna Ting / Digiday:
Small publishers see more traffic from mobile news aggregators like TopBuzz, News Break, and Flipboard, than Facebook and Google  —  This November, Inquisitr CEO Dominick Miserandino noticed that TopBuzz News, the news aggregator app from ByteDance, the same company behind wildly popular …
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 More News: 
Omar Rashid / The Hindu:
The Hindu's Omar Rashid recalls how police detained and threatened him before letting him go, amid a crackdown in India on protests against a citizenship bill
Alex Sherman / CNBC:
Sources: NBC's Peacock to integrate NBC News Now, have a free, limited-content tier, a limited-ads tier for $5/month, and an ad-free tier for $10/month
Business Wire:
Triton to start publishing monthly reports on top networks and podcasts ranked by weekly downloads; NPR, Stitcher,, and Cumulus have signed on
Discussion: RAIN News and @nwquah
Sara Guaglione / MediaPost:
The Atlantic's feature on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which was read for 30M+ “total engaged minutes”, is #1 in Chartbeat's Most Engaging Stories of 2019
Discussion: Chartbeat Blog
 Earlier Picks: 
Chris Eggertsen / Billboard:
Jury finds Cox Communications liable for its customers' piracy of 10,000+ musical works, awards $1B to Sony Music, EMI, Universal, and Warner Music