The five biggest media reports of 2021

It has been a busy year for the news media in 2021, as the industry passed the Trump era without escaping the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most news agencies have faced declining audiences and traffic after Trump, while a few have seen their fortunes soar.

It was also a busy year in terms of media deals and mergers.

Here are the five biggest stories.

Fox navigates a post-Trump world

Fox News ended the year as the nation’s most watched and influential cable news network despite the absence of alumni. President TrumpDonald Trump Biden Says Chile is “Powerful Example” to the World in First Call with President-Elect Historians Jon Meacham and Doris Kearns Goodwin to Speak at House Event on January 6 Pentagon Streamlines Application Process national guard at DC PLUS in the White House and a constant stream of controversy surrounding the work of its main prime-time host.

As Trump deteriorated in Fox’s news division near the end of the 2020 election cycle, alternative conservative media One America News and Newsmax briefly emerged as a hotbed for Trump’s most loyal supporters.

Yet at the end of the year, little has changed. Fox celebrated 1.3 million total viewers in the industry in 2021, leading all cable news for a sixth consecutive year.

A defining moment for Fox’s editorial leadership in the post-Trump media ecosystem came this fall when Tucker carlsonTucker Carlson In an era of evolving threats, the military needs diversity more than ever Can France reverse the nationalist trend? Who will drop out of Fox News next? FOLLOWING, the network’s top-rated prime-time host, released a three-part miniseries for its streaming service focusing on the Jan.6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters from Trump.

The series, which features at least one story suggesting that the attack could have been a so-called “false flag” operation orchestrated by the US government, has come under heavy criticism from media watchdogs, lawmakers on both sides, and lawmakers on both sides. Fox’s own ranks.

Carlson’s special project resulted in the resignation of two longtime network contributors, Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg, who argued that the project had crossed an editorial line they did not want to be associated with. Fox said they had no plans to renew Hayes and Goldberg’s contracts when they were in place.

Bret Baier anchors and Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) The WallaceNews networks see their audience drop in 2021 Who will then abandon Fox News? Newsweek Editor-in-Chief: Wallace’s departure from Fox appears to lean into media polarization MORE Also reportedly shared their objections to Carlson’s “Patriot Purge” documentary series with Suzanne Scott, CEO of Fox News Media and Jay Wallace, chairman of the news company.

Wallace announced in December that he was leaving Fox News on Sunday. The veteran broadcaster didn’t say anything about Carlson or the editorial direction of Fox’s opinion programming when he announced his departure, but he is joining CNN’s streaming service.

CNN fires Chris cuomoChris Cuomo’s departureWallace from Fox seen as loss to the network Wider implications of Chris Cuomo’s departure from CNN Kate McKinnon takes over as Fauci on ‘Saturday Night Live’ with advice on the holiday pandemic MORE

Cuomo’s ouster from CNN came after months of criticism over his friendly talks with his brother, the former governor of New York, and subsequent explosive revelations detailing how he helped defend Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCuomo will not face charges in Westchester despite ‘credible’ allegations combat accusations of sexual misconduct.

CNN fired Cuomo last month after saying the prime-time presenter misled them about the extent to which he helped his brother’s aides protect him from the allegations.

Documents from the New York State Attorney General revealed that Cuomo had used his contacts in the national press to find out if other accusers were speaking to reporters or considering going public against his brothers, a serious violation of the law. journalistic ethics.

CNN’s firing of Cuomo also came just days after the network learned of an allegation of sexual misconduct against the presenter by a former colleague at another network, an accusation that Cuomo denied.

CNN did not announce a full-time replacement for Cuomo, whose show occupied the 9 p.m. network time and had seen slow-motion audiences prior to his departure.

Ozy Media crashes

An explosive September report in the New York Times by columnist Ben Smith sparked one of the fastest shutdowns of a digital media company.

Ozy Media announced it was shutting down in October after The Times revealed that a senior executive at the company tried to deceive potential investors. The company’s chief operating officer, Samir Rao, allegedly impersonated a YouTube employee during a conference call with potential Goldman Sachs investors. Co-founder Carlos Watson then apologized to Goldman Sachs and said Rao had been going through a mental health crisis.

But the backlash for the Times report was swift and prompted the resignation of several members of Ozy’s board and renowned journalist Katty Kay, who said she was “looking forward to working with the young reporters. talented “Ozy” but I did not expect it.! “

Last month, The Times reported that Ozy is currently the subject of a federal investigation over the scandal.

Politico and The Hill are sold

Politico and The Hill, two major news outlets covering politics and politics in Washington, DC, were sold in the third quarter of 2021.

German publisher Axel Springer announced in August that it had acquired former Politico owner Robert Allbritton. Politico acquired E&E News last December. Axel Springer did not disclose the sale price, but several reports suggested the deal was worth more than $ 1 billion.

“As I have said many times, I would only welcome a new investor who reflects my values ​​and the distinctive values ​​of the Politico company,” Allbritton said at the time of the sale.

A week earlier, it was reported that Nexstar Media Group, which owns and operates dozens of TV stations in major markets across the country, had bought The Hill from former owner Jimmy Finkelstein for $ 130 million.

Axios reported this week that Finkelstein plans to launch a new media company in the coming months.

Newsrooms struggle to come back from COVID-19

Since the start of the pandemic, national newsrooms have been largely closed to most employees who do not need to be in the office to perform their duties.

Several outlets such as the Washington Post, CNN and the New York Times have considered so-called ‘soft’ reopening of their offices during 2021, or offered a hybrid approach to employees that allowed them to work part of the week from home. and other days. in the office.

As vaccines became more widely available and local governments relaxed restrictions on local businesses and public places, it emerged that many of the country’s top newsrooms may be on the verge of resuming normal operations. .

But variants of the coronavirus have complicated reopening efforts, with CNN announcing over the weekend that it is closing its offices to employees who do not need to be in person to do their jobs, regardless of their immunization status.

Fox Corporation announced this week that it is requiring all employees who work at its New York headquarters to receive at least one coronavirus vaccine by December 27, and is removing the option of regular testing for employees who wish not to be vaccinated.

“Even though the overwhelming majority of Post employees have already provided proof of vaccination, I am not taking this decision lightly,” Washington Post editor Fred Ryan wrote to employees in September, announcing that all employees de Post will need to provide proof that they have been vaccinated if they plan to return to the newspaper’s editorial office. “However, given the serious health concerns and real safety concerns of so many postal workers, I think the plan is the right one.”

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