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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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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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Media Business

AM/FM Radio Still Largest Medium for Spoken Word Audio, Podcasting Closing Gap

 “Podcasting’s share of spoken word will almost surely surpass that of AM/FM within a few more years.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of a podcast user's cell phone

AM/FM Radio has long been well-served by the news/talk format. That remains true in 2024, but podcasting has narrowed the gap.

According to the latest Edison Research Share of Ear study, 43% of spoken word audio listening is done on terrestrial radio. 36% is now done with on-demand podcasts, up from 13% in 2017.

 “Podcasting’s share of spoken word will almost surely surpass that of AM/FM within a few more years,” the company forecasts.

In the study, it also revealed that the broadcast radio advantage still rests with listeners older than 65, but has already been surpassed by younger demographics.

From respondents 13-64, 41% listen to spoken word in podcast form compared to 39% for AM/FM radio. But for those 65+, it’s still a 66%-13% advantage for broadcasting.

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