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Non-Profit Launches New Legal Protection Program for Reporters

“Journalists around the world are facing increased legal harassment, and now they don’t have to go it alone.”

Maddy Troy

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Reporters Shield, a new non-profit membership program designed to protect investigative journalism against strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs), has been launched to address the increasing threat of vexatious lawsuits aimed at silencing independent media worldwide. 

SLAPPs are often used to intimidate, and financially burden journalists, requiring them to seek the services of expensive attorneys and causing significant emotional stress. In many cases, media outlets are forced to avoid reporting on litigious subjects and may even take down stories preemptively when faced with legal threats. Reporters Shield seeks to help its members limit their litigation risk, respond to legal threats, and defend themselves against SLAPPs.

“Journalists around the world are facing increased legal harassment, and now they don’t have to go it alone,” said Reporters Shield’s startup director, Peter Noorlander. “Reporters Shield is a coordinated global solution that will counter SLAPP threats and work to support press freedom, democracy, and the free flow of information that the public needs to make decisions.” 

According to Editor and Publisher, in order to become a Reporters Shield member, media organizations must meet certain criteria and pay an annual fee to ensure the program’s sustainability.

Applications are being accepted worldwide, with Phase I reviewing applicants from South America, North America, Europe, and Central Asia. Other regions will become eligible later in the year and in 2024. Interested parties can visit the Reporters Shield website for more information on membership.

Reporters Shield was developed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, with assistance and support from insurance specialists. Two law firms, Proskauer and Weil, and Gotshal & Manges, provided pro bono legal support. 

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is contributing up to $9 million in seed funding for Reporters Shield to support non-U.S. media, while private donors will fund support for U.S. media.

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Media Business

Curtis LeGeyt: NAB ‘Depend on AM’ Radio Campaign ‘Played Crucial Role’ in Support for Congressional Bill

“We are making significant progress, but our work is far from over.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of Curtis LeGeyt
(Photo: Jay Mallin NAB)

The AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act continues to wait to be voted on by both houses of Congress. NAB President/CEO Curtis LeGeyt believes an initiative from the organization played a paramount role in garnering support for the legislation.

In a story authored by the executive for Radio Ink, he made the case that the “Depend on AM” campaign released by the organization was pivotal for Congressional support for the industry.

“The NAB’s Depend on AM campaign has played a crucial role in rallying this support. We’ve emphasized the importance of AM radio not just as a cultural, news and sports hub, but also as the resilient lifeline during emergencies, offering unmatched reach and reliability,” LeGeyt wrote. “This legislation ensures that AM radio remains accessible to all Americans, especially during public safety crises. We are making significant progress, but our work is far from over.”

Curtis LeGeyt claimed more than 250 members of the House of Representatives and 62 Senators have backed the bill that would require automakers to include AM radios in new and electric vehicle models or require manufacturers to inform customers the new model was not equipped with the band.

The NAB has been a vocal proponent of the bill’s passage, with LeGeyt testifying in front of Congress in support of the legislation.

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Media Business

Local News Becoming Less Prevalent on Radio, New RTDNA Study Shows

68.4% of locally-owned operations air local news updates, while 54.1% of non-locally owned outlets do the same.

Barrett News Media

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RTDNA logo

Local news has been a focal point for radio stations for decades. But that may be fading away, a new RTDNA study shows.

65% of commercial stations still air local news in 2024, down slightly from 66.2% in 2023. Non-commercial stations have dropped 12% points in the past two years, down to just 60.7% airing local news.

However, the disconnect appears to come from locally owned stations versus non-locally owned. 68.4% of locally-owned operations air local news updates, while 54.1% of non-locally owned outlets do the same.

Not only are there drops in the number of stations broadcasting local news, but the airtime those updates occupy has also shrunk, according to the RTDNA study.

“The biggest drop in average minutes came in large markets, suggesting that fewer all news or news/talk stations there filled out the Survey this year,” the study states. “Medium markets are down a bit; small markets dropped an average of over 20 minutes per weekday.”

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Media Business

YouTube Largest Podcast Discovery Platform By Wide Margin, Westwood One Study Shows

Not only is the Google-owned video platform the most used among podcast newcomers, but it also holds that distinction for heavy podcast consumers and longtime podcast listeners.

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the YouTube logo displayed on a phone

In the span of three years, YouTube has gone from the third most popular podcast discovery platform to the top spot, a Westwood One study suggests.

In a study of more than 600 weekly podcast listeners, 31% say YouTube is the most utilized podcast listening platform. 21% say they use Spotify most frequently, while 12% claimed Apple Podcasts was their go-to destination.

Not only is the Google-owned video platform the most used among podcast newcomers, but it also holds that distinction for heavy podcast consumers and longtime podcast listeners.

YouTube’s podcast listening profile is slightly more male-dominated and also younger than the typical Apple Podcasts audience, according to the results from Westwood One Audio Active Group.

Naturally, the majority of Apple and Spotify users utilize smartphones to access their favorite podcasts, while 38% of YouTube’s audience uses computers and televisions for their favorite shows.

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