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Monday, July 25th
by The Fix Team

Greatly exaggerated reports

Hello and a big welcome to our new subscribers from Ringier Axel Springer Polska, Solomon, BeyondWords, La Liberté, EUObserver, La Vanguardia and many more.

European outlets have long loved to cover Vladimir Putin’s illnesses and (mis)reportedly imminent death. According to the count by Ukrainian Detector Media, the media has been diagnosing the Russian autocrat with cancer since as early as 2003. 

In 2022, as Putin had ordered a deadly war against Ukraine, killing many thousands of innocent people and displacing millions, reports of the dictator being on the verge of death have abounded – mostly, it seems, out of wishful thinking rather than real changes in Putin’s health.

The speculations about Putin’s health have so far mostly been relegated to tabloids and low-quality outlets. When reputable publications like The Guardian cover them, the focus is on the spread of rumours rather than on their content. 

Still, it’s worth looking at a cautionary story offered by the coverage of another dictatorial regime – North Korea. A new study by Soomin Seo in Journalism demonstrates how news media fail at covering the country by mistakenly reporting “that generals, diplomats, and artists have been shot, poisoned, or even fed to dogs”, only to see them later alive and well.

Dear Respected Leader Kim Jong-un himself has also been reported to be close to death by major outlets – reports that generated a lot of clicks but were disproven later. Soomin Seo says that journalists wrongly relax standards when covering North Korea because of how closed the country is. “Even after such stories were proven erroneous, corrections were rarely issued, with journalists conceding they do not think of North Korea as a subject worthy of clarification”, Seo observes.

As Russia is growing increasingly isolated from the world – and more similar to North Korea – it’s important both journalists and readers keep Seo’s findings in mind and avoid similar mistakes.
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This week's newsletter is supported by Arc XP, a cloud-native digital experience platform for publishers and broadcast media to create and distribute content, drive subscriptions and reach audiences across channels.
Arc XP offers everything publishers need to efficiently create, manage and deliver content at scale in one solution. A division of the Washington Post, Arc XP was built to meet the complex needs of a media organization with over a thousand content creators and editors across the globe. Some of the world’s largest media organizations – including El Pais, MADSACK Mediengruppe  and Le Parisien  – now rely on Arc XP as the backbone of their digital business. 
Learn more
What we are following 
There are many ways in which you can learn about your audience. Getting feedback from readers is always an effective way. Swedish public broadcaster SVT went even further and decided to build a personal connection with the audience through a series of small meet-ups held all over Sweden with the members of their community. looks into how these meetings became the foundation of the channel’s digital transformation.

For many media, it’s hard to be successful without a presence on social platforms like Facebook. Giornale di Brescia, one of Italy’s most popular local newspapers, showed that quitting some of the social media might benefit the team and audience alike. With trolls and disinformation on Facebook, the Italian news outlet decided to put the platform “on lockdown” for one year. NiemanLab covers what happened with the newspaper after this move. 

Is it possible to be successful on YouTube for publishers? Vox proves it is. With 10.7 million subscribers and an average of 2 million views per video, the US media outlet is way ahead of others. An early move to YouTube and a special format is a part of this success. The Press Gazette dives into Vox’s YouTube strategy. 

Industry news
TV Rain (Dozhd TV), the largest Russian independent TV channel, is relaunching from abroad. Founded in 2010, the channel gained renown during the 2011-2012 democratic protests in Russia. It was forced to suspend operations in 2022 in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent media crackdown by the Russian government, soon after Russian authorities blocked the channel. The team had left Russia at the time.

Now, the channel is renewing work from Europe. TV Rain received a European Union broadcasting licence and will be operating from Georgia, Latvia, France, and the Netherlands. The main studio is based in Riga, Latvia. TV Rain also streams on YouTube, the only major way to reach the audience inside Russia.
Swedish podcast company Acast announced the purchase of Podchaser, an American platform that serves as a podcast database tracking over 4.5 million podcasts. The deal’s value is $34 million. “Together, Acast and Podchaser will deliver the industry’s richest metadata set for podcasters and advertisers,” the company’s statement promises.

“As the podcast landscape matures, more startups across the industry are being consolidated by bigger players,” Axios reminds. Over the past several years, Acast purchased two other podcast companies, and other podcasting players like Spotify and Amazon have been making big acquisitions as well.
Facebook is shifting resources from news, deprioritising the News tab and the Bulletin newsletter platform, so the company can concentrate on the creator economy, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Three years ago, the company struck deals with publishers to pay for their content used for a dedicated news section. In 2021, Facebook launched its own newsletter platform to profit from the newsletter boom. Recently, however, Meta’s leadership grew less interested in growing news as part of Facebook’s roster of products. As The Wall Street Journal notes, “reallocating resources from News and Bulletin is part of a broader shift within the company toward the metaverse and short-form video content creators that can compete with… TikTok”.
Opportunities and deadlines
The KoneKtor – Philanthropy East Forum. The KoneKtor – Philanthropy East Forum will host its annual meeting in Warsaw, Poland. The theme is “Resilience in times of crises”.
More info:
When: September 27-29

The Sustainable Development Goals Media Camp. The Camp invites 25 journalists from five countries to gain expertise in sustainable development. Participants will work in groups to create a research plan for further funding. The workshop will take place online and in Berlin and is open to journalists from Belarus, Germany, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. Travel and accommodation are covered by the organisers. 
More info:
Deadline: July 31

The Gender Equality Grant. The Pulitzer Center is inviting applications for the Gender Equality Grants Program. It is designed to help investigative data-driven projects, reporting on gender and women empowerment. The funding size is 5,000 dollars on average depending on the project. 
More info:
Deadline: Ongoing

Job Openings

Media Planning & Campaign Executive. Bloomberg Media is looking for a professional to lead ad products and capabilities. Strong analytical and data skills are a must. The position is based in London. 
More info:
Deadline: Open till filled 

Head of Programming and Development. If you want to lead digital video and audio growth in the publishing industry, then this position at Condé Nast is for you. You will be responsible for Condé Nast Entertainment’s operations across the German sector. The position is based in Munich, Germany.
More info:
Deadline: Open till filled 

Head of Audience Insight, Euronews. You will be responsible for delivering insight to the commercial teams, for Euronews and Africanews, TV, digital and social media properties. The position is based in London. 
More info:
Deadline: Open till filled 

The Fix Hiring 
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