Around The Dial: Broadcast & Media News Today

The grim reaper: The following memo was sent to Star Media Group staff on Aug. 9, 2016, from David Holland, Acting Publisher, Toronto Star, and Acting President, Star Media Group

To All Star Media Group Staff

Star Media Group is facing an unprecedented pace of change as the news industry evolves and pressures on print advertising revenue continue. In the face of this change, we are committed to continuing to adapt our operations, while at the same time making the necessary investments to position ourselves as a multi-platform and increasingly digitally-focused organization.    

In this context, we have continued to undertake a range of cost-reduction initiatives in 2016, including outsourcing of printing as well as staff reductions in Circulation, IT and other areas. We are today announcing further staff reductions affecting 22 regular employees, including 19 in the Toronto Star newsroom. In addition, 26 temporary staff will depart over the next couple of months, mostly in the Star’s tablet operations.   

These changes are another important step in the Star’s strategic evolution along a path towards the multi-platform news media organization of the future. Along with these staff reductions, the Star newsroom is also evolving its structure to place greater emphasis on key content areas such as breaking news, investigations and special projects.  

As we move forward with these changes, I want to re-affirm our continued commitment to Star Touch as an integral part of the Star’s multi-platform future.  While our current audience size is not yet what we had initially anticipated, we are pleased that Star Touch has developed a highly engaged and loyal audience of committed readers. Continuing to grow from this core audience base is a key priority.  As we move past the initial launch year for Star Touch, we are embarking on the next phase of refinements to the offering and the related internal resources that publish Star Touch each day. These product refinements will further enhance the reading experience and ensure that we continue to build on Star Touch as an innovative and engaging advertising vehicle for our valued clients.  

We take this opportunity to thank those affected by these staffing changes for their contributions. While change is never easy, it is essential that we continue to adapt, including evolving the organization and investing in those areas critical to our future.  

David Holland

Acting Publisher, Toronto Star

Acting President, Star Media Group


-- Scott Borchetta, the man behind Taylor Swift and Big Machine Records, is announced as RAIN Nashville Summit keynoter. The event takes place at the Hilton Downtown on Sept. 20. – Details here.

-- Through Sunday, according to NBC, the Rio Olympics have had 532m live streaming minutes, that’s up 186% from 2012. As for the broadcast, NBC has averaged 26.7m viewers and a 7.8 rating among the 18-49s over the first three-days of the Rio coverage. On Sunday, the network pulled in a 9.0 rating among the coveted demo, compared with the three other major networks all averaging less than a 1.0 for the night.

-- The first website went live this week 25 years ago. UK computer scientist Berners Lee, now Sir Tim Berners-Lee, used a NEXT computer with a web page containing basic instructions for how the web worked, including how to access documents and set up your own server. – The Telegraph UK

Worth Noting

Toronto Star lays off 52 amid news media's seemingly endless decline -- Huffington Post

5 of 6 most valuable companies in world are tech -- Digital Music News

The world of ‘social music’ startups backed by mountains of money is having a bumpy ride: Bkstg digs in after execs exit-- MBW

Why every iPhone 7 spec and rumor points to virtual reality: Is it part of an integrated system that is part VR machine? – ZD Net

Inside the Fox News bunker: In the subterranean newsroom, fear is everywhere. “Hacking was bad,” says one person familiar with the internal investigation. “This is arguably worse.” – Vanity Fair

Intellectuals are freaks: Why professors, pundits, and policy wonks misunderstand the world – The Smart Set

Researchers suggest being lazy is a sign of high intelligence: Study reveals thinking group less active than non-thinkers -- Independent

What media companies are doing wrong: Relying on social media is akin to shooting one’s self in the foot – Fortune

How Google took over the DoJ’s Antitrust Division: Renata Hesse’s timeline – Music Tech Policy



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