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5:45 PM ET, October 19, 2020

Mediagazer

 Top News: 
New York Times:
A look at a pay-for-play network of ~1,300 sites and some papers that fills a local news void in the US with propaganda ordered by GOP and corporate PR groups  —  A nationwide operation of 1,300 local sites publishes coverage that is ordered up by Republican groups and corporate P.R. firms.
Katie Robertson / New York Times:
Sources: NY Post's article about Hunter Biden was written mostly by Bruce Golding, who did not allow his byline to be used amid doubts in the tabloid's newsroom  —  Some reporters withheld their bylines and questioned the credibility of an article that made the tabloid's front page on Wednesday.
RELATED:
Colby Hall / Mediaite:
Sources: Fox News was first approached by Rudy Giuliani about the Hunter Biden story but passed on it over credibility concerns  —  Mediaite has learned that Fox News was first approached by Rudy Giuliani to report on a tranche of files alleged to have come from Hunter Biden's unclaimed laptop left …
Laura Wagner / VICE:
The New Yorker suspends reporter Jeffrey Toobin, sources say after he masturbated during a Zoom call; Toobin says he did not realize his video was on  —  In a statement to VICE, Jeffrey Toobin apologized for the “embarrassingly stupid mistake.”  —  Laura Wagner  —  The New Yorker has suspended reporter Jeffrey Toobin.
Ted Johnson / Deadline:
Trump campaign wants Thursday's debate to focus on foreign policy, protests possible rule changes like muting candidate's mics, it claims by an “unnamed person”  —  Donald Trump and Joe Biden are scheduled to meet again on Thursday for the second and presumably last debate …
Jem Aswad / Variety:
Apple launches Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated livestream of popular music videos, available in the US on Apple's Music and TV apps  —  Apple has launched Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated livestream of popular music videos that will also include “exclusive new music videos and premiers …
The Markup:
The Markup announces The Citizen Browser Project, an initiative with The NYT to analyze how the algorithms of Facebook and YouTube serve content to users  —  The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates how the world's most powerful institutions use technology to reshape society …
@sacbeeguild:
In a letter, Sacramento Bee News Guild asks McClatchy's new CEO to reconsider a proposal to tie journalists' annual performance reviews and raises to page views  —  We have alarming news. The owner of The Sacramento Bee is trying to tie journalists' pay to the number of clicks their stories get. We're urging the company to reconsider. Here's our letter to McClatchy's new CEO about how this could hurt our community. #NoPayForClicks 1/9 https://twitter.com/...
Online Journalism Awards:
2020 Online Journalism Awards announced: winners include South China Morning Post, The 1619 Project, Reuters, Star Tribune for coverage of George Floyd's death  —  Finalists for the 2020 OJAs have been announced and are listed below!  Winners will be announced at virtual awards events throughout ONA20 Everywhere, Oct. 1-16.
Ben Smith / New York Times:
Mark Burnett, the TV producer behind Survivor, Trump's The Apprentice, and The Voice, is facing his own string of flops and a cultural disconnect, for now  —  Mark Burnett helped turn Donald Trump into a national figure with “The Apprentice.”  But since 2016, his impact “has kind of gone bust.”
Kerry Flynn / CNN:
About 205 staffers at pubs owned by Bustle Digital Group, which includes Bustle, Romper, and Mic, announce plans to form a union with WGAE  —  New York (CNN Business)The staffs at publications owned by Bustle Digital Group, which includes Bustle, Romper, Mic, Nylon and Elite Daily among others …
 
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 More News: 
Jem Aswad / Variety:
Warner Music raises $250M through a private offering, source says for catalog acquisitions
Rick Porter / Hollywood Reporter:
Channing Dungey, most recently VP of original series at Netflix, will succeed Peter Roth as chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group
Georg Szalai / Hollywood Reporter:
UK-based ITV says it will restructure, creating a new media and entertainment division with broadcast and on-demand business units, amid the rise of streaming
Discussion: The Guardian
Matthew Ball / MatthewBall.vc:
Audio, which struggled for decades as a media category, is breaking out now, as tech enables new content formats as well as new monetization and delivery models
 Earlier Picks: 
Dave McNary / Variety:
Study: women made up 38% of directors and 35% of writers of indie narrative features and docs from 2019-2020, with female directors doubling in the last decade
Daniel Cooper / Engadget:
Virtual studios, where the filmmaking takes place in front of a halo of flat screen displays connected to PCs, are offering a real alternative to green screens
Reese Oxner / NPR:
Disney+ has updated the disclaimer appearing before some of its classic films with stronger language acknowledging the “harmful impact” of racist stereotypes
Katherine Jacobsen / Committee to Protect Journalists:
Interviews with three foreign reporters on their experiences covering the US now, visa issues, safety concerns they have when going out into the field, and more