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Rick Sanchez: My Online Presence Has Been Hijacked by a Cartoon

The former CNN host spoke about a cartoon character he believes he helped create during his time with the Turner-founded news channel.

Eduardo Razo

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Former CNN host Rick Sanchez spoke about a cartoon character he believes he helped create during his time with the Turner-founded news channel. 

On his “Rick Sanchez News” show, Sanchez states his likeness inspired the cartoon Rick Sanchez on the highly popular Adult Swim show “Rick and Morty.” 

He says that although his name is common among Hispanics, the podcast host shared a clip of Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty Creator) riffing on his character for a new animated series for Adult Swim, which is also under the Turner umbrella. 

While Sanchez admits it’s a pretty cool homage, he says it’s been tough to compete against the animated character on Google search engine rankings, especially after CNN let him go and he tried to parlay his name into an online precence is now behind a cartoon character.

“My online presence didn’t exist. You see, Rick Sanchez, the person, had been replaced by Rick Sanchez the cartoon,” Sanchez said. 

“It sounds weird, right? That Turner Broadcasting would fire me and then give or allow my name to be placed on a cartoon character on one of their shows. I guess it’s kinda cool and maybe flattering—but most of all—really frustrating. My name was kinda hi-jacked.”

Furthermore, Sanchez says it’s the reason why he has to put “News” in his podcast title to help distinguish it from the cartoon character that he now shares a name.

“So now, when I say my name, or I hand people my credit card or try to book a flight. I get this—really, Rick Sanchez. Then I wait, and often what I hear is – wow, just like the cartoon character – yes, just like the cartoon character,” 

“And that is why we can’t call this podcast Rick Sanchez. We have to call it Rick Sanchez News. Because Rick Sanchez doesn’t belong to me anymore—even it was my brand name, and I had it first.”

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Media Business

Hundreds of Gannett Journalists Walkout During Shareholder Meeting

The union criticized the company CEO’s substantial compensation, which amounted to $7.7 million in 2021 and $3.4 million in 2022.

Maddy Troy

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A significant number of journalists employed by Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the United States, staged a walkout on Monday, alleging that the company’s CEO has severely weakened its local newsrooms.

According to The New York Times, this walkout marked the largest labor action in Gannett’s century-long history. Employees from approximately two dozen newsrooms, including The Palm Beach Post, The Arizona Republic, and The Austin American-Statesman, participated in the demonstrations. Some newsrooms were expected to continue their protests on Tuesday.

The collective action was strategically timed to coincide with Gannett’s annual shareholder meeting on Monday morning. The NewsGuild, representing over 1,000 journalists from Gannett, sent a letter to Gannett shareholders in May, urging a vote of no confidence against CEO and chairman Mike Reed.

In the letter, NewsGuild criticized Gannett’s 2019 merger with GateHouse Media, stating that it had burdened the company with debt, jeopardizing its future. The letter also targeted Mr. Reed, previously the CEO of GateHouse Media, who assumed leadership of Gannett following the merger.

The union criticized his substantial compensation, which amounted to $7.7 million in 2021 and $3.4 million in 2022, deeming it excessive for a company that was cutting jobs and allegedly paying “depressed wages” to remaining journalists. Since the merger with GateHouse, Gannett’s share price has plummeted by approximately 70 percent.

Peter D. Kramer, a reporter for the USA Today Network, expressed his concerns, stating, “Gannett has created news deserts everywhere you look. That’s Mike Reed’s Gannett.” Kramer, based in Westchester County, revealed that some Gannett reporters had to seek second jobs or exit the profession due to inadequate salaries.

In response, Lark-Marie Anton, a Gannett spokeswoman issued a statement in response,“During a very challenging time for our industry and economy, Gannett strives to provide competitive wages, benefits and meaningful opportunities for all our valued employees,” Ms. Anton said. “Our leadership is focused on investing in local newsrooms and monetizing our content as we continue to negotiate fairly and in good faith with the NewsGuild.”

Anton said there would be no disruption to Gannett’s news coverage during the work stoppage this week.

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Byron Allen: ‘I’m Building One of the Largest Media Companies, And I Happen to Be Black’

“Most people who deal with me know who I am. I’m very clear. I’m very loud. I’m very proud.”

Maddy Troy

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On Sunday’s episode of NPR’s Consider This podcast, host Eric Deggans spoke with Allen Media Group Founder, Chairman, and CEO Byron Allen about the future of Black ownership in American media.

Earlier this year, there were indications that Paramount Global, the owner of BET (Black Entertainment Television), might consider selling the network. This news caught the attention of prominent African American entrepreneurs who expressed their interest in acquiring it.

Allen was among the interested parties — as were Diddy and Tyler Perry. He has been actively acquiring various broadcast and online outlets in recent years. While Allen’s portfolio includes media platforms targeting Black audiences, such as the Black News Channel, he has also made acquisitions that cater to a broader demographic, such as The Weather Channel.

“In building my company, it was real simple. I’m building one of the world’s largest media companies, if not the world’s largest media company, and I happen to be Black,” Allen stated.

Allen has also made a name for himself as an activist for the Black community, generating polarizing litigation against McDonald’s for predatory advertising practices. “McDonald’s takes in about a hundred billion a year out of 39,000 stores, and a lot of it is out of the Black community. McDonald’s is spending approximately, we believe, a billion dollars a year in advertising – a billion. And Black-owned media, when I filed the lawsuit, was getting less than $5 million when we believe they’re pulling about 40 billion in sales out of the Black community. So I filed a $10 billion lawsuit against them using the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Section 1881.”

Deggans then brought up the response issued by McDonalds quoting from the company’s public statement, “Byron Allen files baseless lawsuits as part of a public smear campaign against our company to try to line his pockets. We will not be coerced by these tactics and will defend ourselves vigorously.”

Allen responded, referencing California Civil Code of 1711 that says if a company makes a pledge, you have to live up to it, then he noted the pledge made by “white corporate America” during the Black Lives Matter movement, specifically citing a Washington Post article where a number of organizations pledged over $50 billion to Black America. Allen claims less than 1 billion of that has been lived up to, making an argument for rightful legal action.

Deggans then asked Allen about his recent appearance on Bloomberg, referencing comments about Allen purchasing Tegna, a media company that manages 64 TV stations across the country.

Deggans said,”You own lots of non-, you know, Black-focused media platforms. How do you make sure that the companies that you own are fair and free from racism and prejudice? And in particular, if you’re going to buy a bunch of Tegna stations, will you be able to ensure that their local news coverage, for example, is free from these problems?”

“Absolutely. I mean, that goes without saying. Most people who deal with me know who I am. I’m very clear, I’m very loud, I’m very proud, and they know that I take action, and I take immediate action when I see something that I believe is not right.” Allen stated.

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Internal Twitter Data Shows Major Ad Decline

Twitter has projected a decline of at least 56 percent each week in its U.S. ad revenue for the current month, compared to the previous year.

Maddy Troy

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Elon Musk recently expressed optimism about the future of advertising on Twitter, stating that “almost all advertisers have come back” and suggesting that the company could soon achieve profitability. However, internal documents obtained by The New York Times paint a different picture.

According to these documents, Twitter’s U.S. advertising revenue for the period between April 1st and the first week of May was $88 million, a significant decline of 59 percent compared to the same period the previous year. The company has consistently fallen short of its weekly sales projections, sometimes by as much as 30 percent.

The challenges facing Twitter’s ad sales staff seem unlikely to be resolved in the near future, as highlighted by the internal documents and insights from current and former Twitter employees.

One concern raised by the ad sales staff is the presence of hate speech, pornography, and ads promoting online gambling and marijuana products on the platform. Twitter has projected a decline of at least 56 percent each week in its U.S. ad revenue for the current month, compared to the previous year.

Linda Yaccarino, who was recently appointed as Twitter’s CEO by Elon Musk, has inherited the declining ad sales and other related issues. Both Musk and Yaccarino declined to comment on the matter.

Twitter heavily relies on advertising, accounting for 90 percent of its revenue. Since Elon Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion in October and took the company private, he had aimed to build a respected ad platform. Though some of his recent actions, including firing key sales executives, opening up speech regulation, and welcoming back barred users, alienated advertisers. As a result, several major brands and ad agencies, such as General Motors and Volkswagen, paused their ad spending on Twitter.

The New York Times also reports the company’s valuation has also suffered as a consequence. Musk previously estimated Twitter’s worth at $20 billion, down more than 50 percent from his acquisition price. Fidelity, a mutual funds giant with shares in Twitter, valued the company at $15 billion. This downward trend in valuation aligns with the company’s declining ad revenue.

While Twitter is exploring ways to make ad buying easier, including testing an automated system for deals outside the United States, it continues to face challenges. The company has seen growth in ad categories it previously avoided or prohibited, such as online gambling and marijuana products, though adult content and the presence of explicit material have become points of concern for the sales staff.

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