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4:30 PM ET, July 8, 2024


 Top News: 
Dawn Chmielewski / Reuters:
Paramount Global and Skydance Media announce a merger of the two companies, ending months of chaotic talks; a memo says the deal is expected to close in H1 2025  —  Skydance Media and Paramount Global (PARA.O) agreed to merge, the companies announced late Sunday evening, opening a new chapter for one of Hollywood's oldest studios.
Brian Steinberg / Variety:
Jeff Shell, set to become “New Paramount” president, says Skydance executives have identified $2B+ in cost cuts, much of it from its linear media operations  —  To help Paramount Global to grow, its new owner needs to make cuts.  —  Skydance executives who are set to take over the owner of CBS …
Matt Donnelly / Variety:
A look at Skydance's vision for “New Paramount”, of which David Ellison will be the CEO: a $1.5B cash infusion to help woo creatives, a focus on tech, and more  —  Now that Shari Redstone has signed on the dotted line to sell her father's media empire to Skydance and RedBird Capital, what future awaits?
Todd Spangler / Variety:
Memo: Shari Redstone says Skydance “have a clear strategic vision for the future”; Paramount co-CEOs say “it's business as usual” until the deal closes in 2025  —  Cheeks, McCarthy and Robbins say they will continue carrying out their restructuring plan, including layoffs and asset sales
Discussion: IF Magazine, Deadline and The Wrap
Alex Weprin / The Hollywood Reporter:
The Paramount-Skydance deal has a “go shop” policy, where Paramount would pay Skydance a $400M breakup fee if Paramount finds another buyer within 45 days
Sherin Shibu / Entrepreneur:
OpenAI last week requested NYT documents, including reporters' notes and interview memos, to show that its articles are original; NYT calls it harassment  —  Key Takeaways … Now OpenAI is asking for proof that NYT articles are actually original — and the NYT is calling the request “irrelevant, improper, and harassing.”
Nikita Mazurov / The Intercept:   Leaked code: NYT tested using OpenAI tech to generate article headlines and help apply its styleguide; NYT says the “experiment was not taken beyond testing”
Calum Jaspan / Sydney Morning Herald:
Memo: Nine's Pedestrian Group restructures as CEO departs, staff faces cuts, and licensing deals to publish Vice, Gizmodo, Kotaku, others in Australia get axed  —  The chief executive of Nine-owned Pedestrian Group, Matt Rowley, will leave the youth publisher as part of a major restructure …
Financial Times:
How Saudi media group MBC's Shahid has become the biggest streaming service in MENA with a 22% share, ahead of Starz Play Arabia at 18% and Netflix at 17%  —  Wide range of Arabic-language shows and films helps media group compete with Netflix  —  Media group MBC is competing hard with Netflix …
Leila Abboud / Financial Times:
A profile of French TV presenter Cyril Hanouna, who has played an important role in boosting billionaire Vincent Bolloré's Fox News-like media empire in France  —  Cyril Hanouna is a key player in Vincent Bolloré's Fox News-like media empire  —  One way to understand …
Michael D. Shear / New York Times:
Biden aides provided questions for radio interviews on The Source on Philadelphia's WURD, on July 3, and The Earl Ingram Show on Wisconsin's WAUK, on July 4  —  The host of “The Source” on WURD in Philadelphia said officials provided her with a list of eight questions to choose from.
Gillian McGoldrick / The Philadelphia Inquirer:
WURD says Biden's interview, with questions provided by his aides, was conducted without management knowledge and is parting ways with Andrea Lawful-Sanders
Todd Spangler / Variety:
Nielsen hires former HuffPost CEO Jared Grusd as the CEO of its content-solutions division Gracenote; he will report to Nielsen CEO Karthik Rao  —  Grusd's first official day at Gracenote is Monday, July 8.  He reports to Nielsen CEO Karthik Rao.  With Grusd taking on the role of CEO …
Discussion: The Desk
Ben Church / CNN:
A look at concerns about Saudi Arabia “sportswashing”, as the country hosts the Esports World Cup; Saudi Arabia's PIF owns some of the biggest gaming companies  —  In the heart of Saudi Arabia's capital, a seismic moment for esports is underway; one which has triggered both excitement and concern across the industry.
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 More News: 
Jeremy Scahill / Drop Site News:
The Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill and DC bureau chief Ryan Grim leave the outlet to launch Drop Site News, an investigative news site on Substack
 Earlier Picks: 
Mario Koran / New York Times:
A reporter describes how college journalism classes helped him go from being in jail to becoming a NYT Local Investigations Fellow and Wisconsin Watch reporter
Li Yuan / New York Times:
How xenophobic content on Chinese social media, directed towards Japan, the US, Jews, and others, became the subject of a debate and spreads despite censorship