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7:45 PM ET, December 29, 2020

Mediagazer

 Top News: 
Anna Wiener / New Yorker:
While the durability of Substack's model remains to be seen, a cultural turn toward journalistic individualism might not be in the interests of a democracy  —  The newsletter service is a software company that, by mimicking some of the functions of newsrooms, has made itself difficult to categorize.
RELATED:
Ben Smith / New York Times:
Profile of Heather Cox Richardson, a Boston College professor whose hit newsletter on Substack goes out to ~350K and adds historical context to current news  —  She is the breakout star of the newsletter platform Substack, doing the opposite of most media as she calmly situates the news of the day in the long sweep of American history.
Lukas I. Alpert / Wall Street Journal:
Politico announces it is acquiring E&E News, a high-price subscription trade publication focused on the energy industry and environmental news  —  Purchase comes as Politico looks to expand its overall professional news business  —  Politico is adding some energy to its game.
Brooks Barnes / New York Times:
Profile of Walter Hamada, who runs DC Films and is aiming to release comics-based movies like Batman and Wonder Woman at a much faster pace  —  Walter Hamada, who runs DC Films, is overseeing a dizzying number of projects, part of a swarm of comics-based stories coming from Hollywood.
RELATED:
Rebecca Rubin / Variety:
AT&T says that nearly half of HBO Max's retail subscribers viewed Wonder Woman 1984 on Friday alone, the same day the movie debuted in theaters
McKay Coppins / The Atlantic:
Washington reporters, including Olivia Nuzzi, Jim Acosta, and Yamiche Alcindor, on being recast as “resistance heroes” during the Trump era and what comes next  —  The day after the 2016 election, I got a phone call from an old friend.  Neither of us had slept much …
Will Thorne / Variety:
First ever NFL game streamed exclusively had an average minute audience of 4.8M on Prime, Twitch, and others, almost as much as traditional TV viewership  —  The first ever NFL game to be shown exclusively on streaming platforms scored solid numbers, showing encouraging signs for future streaming-only games.
Vivian Wang / New York Times:
A Chinese court sentences citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who documented the early COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, to four years in prison  —  Zhang Zhan, a former lawyer, is the first known person to be tried for challenging the Chinese government's narrative about the coronavirus pandemic.
RELATED:
Emily Birnbaum / Protocol:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is tying the fate of $2,000 stimulus checks to the repeal of Section 230  —  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is tying the fate of $2,000 stimulus checks to the repeal of Section 230, an effort that will likely doom both pieces of legislation in the Senate.
Kristin Robinson / Variety:
A loophole in Spotify's copyright infringement detection tactics is allowing unauthorized remixes and bootlegs of songs to be uploaded as podcasts  —  Spotify has joined the ranks of streaming services like SoundCloud and YouTube as a hub for bootlegs of popular songs.
Discussion: Engadget and @delgotloud
Andrew Donohue / Nieman Lab:
Efforts to undermine the 2020 election show the necessity of a democracy beat, focused not on partisan politics but on voter suppression and other threats  —  “These reporters won't see their work in terms of politics or parties, but instead through the lens of honesty, fairness, and transparency.”
Gregor Stuart Hunter / Bloomberg:
Filing: Jimmy Lai, who was charged earlier this month with Hong Kong's new national security law, resigned as chairman of Next Digital  —  Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who was charged earlier this month with colluding with foreign forces under the city's new national security law …
Discussion: @gregorhunter
Mark Sweney / The Guardian:
Ampere: UK streaming subscribers grew 34% YoY in 2020, with a combined 32.4M for Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+, the top three services  —  Britons spent 40% of their waking hours watching TV during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, fuelling the biggest year for new subscribers to streaming services.
Discussion: Matt on Audio
 
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 More News: 
Todd Spangler / Variety:
Verizon is telling Fios TV customers that nine local Hearst stations may go dark on Fios on Jan. 1, saying Hearst is demanding carriage fee hikes of 45%+
Committee to Protect Journalists:
Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Moroccan authorities to release journalist Maati Monjib, arrested amid a money laundering probe
 Earlier Picks: 
Axios:
The New Yorker devotes almost an entire issue to The Plague Year, a 40-page account of how America botched its virus response, a rare step for the magazine
Tim Ingham / Rolling Stone:
A look at music sample marketplaces like Beatport, Splice, BeatStars, and LANDR, which could soon become acquisition targets for major record companies
Mike Ananny / Nieman Lab:
For 2021, technology journalism could improve if reporters examine their use of sources, work to understand academic research, and question their assumptions
Discussion: @ananny, @ananny, @ananny, @sivavaid and @ananny