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5:30 PM ET, March 18, 2020


 Top News: 
Janelle Irwin Taylor / Florida Politics:
Layoffs hit the Tampa Bay Times, including longtime environmental reporter Craig Pittman; source says 11 employees were laid off  —  Tuesday saw the Tampa Bay Times newsroom gutted of essential staff in a series of layoffs that rocked the Tampa Bay media landscape.  Wednesday followed with another gut punch.
Sarah Scire / Nieman Lab:
Google News Initiative teams up with LION Publishers, UNC, others to launch Project Oasis, with the aim of helping local news startups at key stages of growth  —  So you want to start a digital news organization for your community.  Where would you go to look up the ownership structure of your favorite local outlet?
Freddy Mayhew / Press Gazette:
BBC announces new COVID-19 measures including making local radio stations hubs for helping the elderly, more educational content, pausing cuts to CBBC, more  —  The BBC has set out new changes to its output during the coronavirus pandemic, which include turning the One Show into a consumer programme for “all aspects of the crisis”.
Jay Peters / The Verge:
Facebook says it has fixed a bug in its anti-spam system that marked some legitimate COVID-19 news articles and information as spam on Tuesday  —  The company is fixing the posts and bringing them back  —  Facebook started marking some posts linking to information and articles about the coronavirus …
Margaret Harding McGill / Axios:
TikTok announces the first members of its US content moderation committee, including experts in child safety, hate speech, and misinformation  —  TikTok on Wednesday unveiled a group of outside advisers with expertise in child safety, hate speech, misinformation and other areas that will help guide its content moderation policies.
Sources: Gray Television withdrew its $8.5B offer to acquire Tegna because of concerns about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on US regional TV station operators  —  (Reuters) - Gray Television Inc (GTN.N) has withdrawn its offer to acquire larger peer Tegna Inc (TGNA.N) …
Discussion: The Streamable
Jeff vonKaenel / SN&R Extra:
The Sacramento News & Review will suspend publication of its print edition next week and lay off nearly all of its staff, but will continue to post online  —  Over the last 30 years, we have financed SN&R with advertising, mainly from local businesses promoting social gatherings at concerts …
Karlene Lukovitz / MediaPost:
Sling introduces Stay in & Sling!, a free service with access to streaming news channel ABC News Live alongside movies and shows for kids and families  —  Sling TV is looking to win some goodwill and attract new prospects for its paid streaming services by introducing a free …
Discussion: Broadcasting & Cable
Ty Pendlebury / CNET:
Digital locker service Movies Anywhere to launch Screen Pass, which will let customers share up to three movies a month with others, but without Roku support  —  Movies Anywhere users will soon be able to share three movies a month with loved ones, but the feature won't come in time for current ‘social distancing’ requirements.
Elizabeth Dwoskin / Washington Post:
Facebook says it is rolling out a COVID-19 information center placed atop all users' feeds to help surface news and resources  —  The portal aims to be a one-stop shop for its more than 2.5 billion users to find news and resources about the pandemic.  —  Facebook on Wednesday announced …
Brent Lang / Variety:
Elisabeth Murdoch and Stacey Snider's Sister Global invested in AWA Studios, a new comic book company founded by Marvel alumni and ex-News Corp exec Jon Miller  —  Sister has invested in AWA (Artists, Writers & Artisans) Studios, a new comic book and digital media publisher, Variety has learned.
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 More News: 
Katie Kilkenny / Hollywood Reporter:
Netflix postpones Netflix is a Joke Fest, its weeklong comedy festival, which was scheduled to begin in LA on April 27
Abner Li / 9to5Google:
Google Discover users will now be able to report content as misleading or sensational, violent or repulsive, or hateful; the action isn't a removal request
Hanaa' Tameez / Nieman Lab:
With no sports to cover, sports journalists consider ideas like starting podcasts, while some reporters temporarily join news teams to help cover the pandemic
 Earlier Picks: 
New York Times:
The pandemic means a short-term bump in TV viewers even amid a pause in live sports and shows, but experts say consumers will soon cut costs and subscriptions
Tim Baysinger / The Wrap:
Fox is buying ad-supported streaming service Tubi in a $440M cash deal; Tubi will remain a separate company with founder and CEO Farhad Massoudi staying on
Marc Tracy / New York Times:
China requires American NYT, WSJ, and WaPo reporters whose press passes expire in 2020 to return them, bans them from working as journalists in China, HK, Macau