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3:35 PM ET, January 15, 2021

Mediagazer

 Top News: 
Joe Pompeo / Vanity Fair:
Politico announces new members of its Playbook team, expanding from two writers to four: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, and Tara Palmeri  —  Facing stiffer competition, a new crew of writers—Ben Shapiro not included—is promising more scoops and scene as the O.G. political tip sheet reboots …
RELATED:
Maxwell Tani / The Daily Beast:
Some Politico staffers raised concerns internally about the decision to allow Ben Shapiro to guest-write Playbook; editor Matt Kaminski defended the move  —  Several staffers expressed dismay over handing the keys to the outlet's influential newsletter product to a pundit with a “long history of bigoted and incendiary commentary.”
Leia Idliby / Mediaite:
Politico draws criticism for having Ben Shapiro serve as a guest writer of Playbook; he wrote about “the real reasons” most Republicans opposed impeachment
Taylor Lorenz / New York Times:
As Snapchat starts competing with TikTok via its Spotlight program, some creators begin earning small fortunes and look for ways to expand  —  Top performers are raking in cash, as the company seeks to compete against TikTok and similar platforms.  —  In late November, Cam Casey …
The Information:
Sources: Apple is discussing launching a new subscription service that would charge people to listen to podcasts  —  Apple—long considered the sleeping giant in the podcast space—is waking up.  The company, which runs the most widely used podcasting app in the industry …
Jim VandeHei / Axios:
Axios publishes a new Bill of Rights: no opinion section ever, most content free for all people, staff pledge to not take public political positions, more  —  Axios is expanding into local news this month, and broadening our mission to help restore trust in fact-based news with an audience Bill of Rights.
Nathan Bomey / USA Today:
Gannett CEO says the company, which passed 1M paid digital subscriptions in Q3 2020, is aiming for 10M subscribers within five years  —  Gannett, the owner of USA TODAY and more than 260 other daily publications, is aiming for 10 million paid digital subscriptions within five years, CEO Mike Reed said Thursday.
Discussion: @niemanlab
Alex Kantrowitz / OneZero:
Smaller services like Substack, Spotify, and Clubhouse are coming under scrutiny now that the big platforms have warmed to aggressive moderation  —  Smaller services are coming under scrutiny now that the big platforms have warmed to aggressive moderation  —  Glenn Greenwald was pissed.
Charlotte Tobitt / Press Gazette:
BBC's next chairman Richard Sharp says he is not in favor of decriminalization of UK's license fee, describing it as the “least worst” option to fund the BBC  —  The BBC's next chairman, ex-banker Richard Sharp, has said its coverage of Brexit was “incredibly balanced” …
Discussion: @nogoodgods and @pressgazette
Paul Bennun / KCRW:
California public radio station KCRW drops The Daily, over concerns about NYT's handling of issues surrounding Caliphate  —  We have concerns about how the Times has handled the aftermath of the erroneous reporting in its audio series Caliphate, which was featured on The Daily …
The Daily Beast:
Sources: Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch are “disenchanted” with Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace; total viewership is down 15% YoY since Dec. 28  —  OUTFOXED  —  Amid sagging ratings, Rupert Murdoch has taken a more hands-on role at Fox, perhaps portending the end …
Discussion: Mediaite
Todd Spangler / Variety:
Group Nine, owner of Thrillist, NowThis, the Dodo and more, goes public via a SPAC to raise $200M to fund acquisitions  —  The special purpose acquisition company set up by Group Nine Media announced that it priced its initial public offering of 20 million shares at $10 per unit, for total gross proceeds of $200 million.
 
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 More News: 
Jessica Bursztynsky / CNBC:
NBCUniversal launches NBCU Academy, a journalism training program that's set to partner with 17 academic institutions across the US with $6.5M in funding
Paul Farhi / Washington Post:
VOA staffers circulate a petition seeking resignations of execs Robert Reilly and Elizabeth Robbins, saying they failed to be independent of political influence
 Earlier Picks: 
Gerry Smith / Bloomberg:
A look at Judd Legum's Popular Information newsletter, which helped push companies to suspend donations to politicians who objected to election results
Laura Poitras / Praxis Films:
Laura Poitras says she was fired from First Look Media in November 2020 after speaking to the press about The Intercept's failure to protect Reality Winner
Benjamin Mullin / Wall Street Journal:
Axios will launch AxiosHQ, its internal company communications service, starting at $10K a year with $1M already booked and Delta and AT&T among its clients