Weekly Digest

The Fix Weekly Digest: Future of Podcasting and German BuzzFeed for Sale

Welcome to The Fix’s new weekly news digest! Every Friday, we will gather five interesting and important pieces of news and stories about media in Europe and across the globe.


1. The coronavirus pandemic continues to be the biggest story the world over. But apart from public health issues, misinformation also has people worried.

This week the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism issued a report on COVID-19 misinformation. Among other findings, the report shows that fact-checking efforts have kept pace with exponentially growing misinformation.

Interestingly, misleading claims produced by public authorities and celebrities have led the charge in misinformation spread (they account for 20% of misleading claims but 69% of social media engagement).

Fighting misinformation is a joint burden for governments and platforms. This week, WhatsApp has imposed new limits on forwarding viral messages, and India — the biggest democracy on Earth — has asked TikTok and Facebook to step up their measures on fighting misleading information.


2. News traffic might be roaring ahead, but the story for podcasts is mixed. Some publishers have seen a considerable boom, particularly for coronavirus-related podcasts. CNN‘s “Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction” got 1 million downloads in just a week.

At the same time, the global quarantine has reshaped people’s weekly routines, and eliminated daily commutes for millions of people staying at home. Early reports show this is taking a toll on podcast consumption.

For a deeper analysis of the future of podcasting, check our article back from January.


3. Are you looking to buy a media organization? If so, BuzzFeed Germany is up for sale

Its American-based parent company is looking to sell the branch as it cuts costs amid the COVID-driven crisis (salaries for US staff have already been trimmed).

This shows just how deep of an impact the coronavirus will have on the media landscape – BuzzFeed had been on track to becoming profitable before the outbreak hit.


4. On a non-coronavirus note, France has become the latest EU country to rule that Google has to pay media organizations for using their content in search results. 

Google already announced it would comply; now we’re watching to see how this plays out within a larger European context.


5. Finally, some opportunities. The European Journalism Centre and the Facebook Journalism Project has launched a new fund worth $3 million to support European news organizations. The project focuses on local media and prioritises small and mid-sized organizations 

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