Hundreds of Journalists Are Being Laid Off When The Public Needs Them Most

Yes, this is, in fact, another coronavirus article–but unfortunately, it’s imperative to talk about this pandemic and the way we receive information about it.

With the Coronavirus pandemic well underway, the economic state of our country is steadily plummeting it seems. To combat the spread of the virus, our governments (both federal and state) have implemented initiatives to keep people at home and stop them from coming into work where they could potentially contract the virus and further spread it to individuals they encounter. Although in theory, this may sound like a great plan, it has been at the expense of many hardworking peoples’ livelihoods. For people who have to support themselves, their children, and/or their families during this pandemic and have gotten laid off for the sake of the virus’ spread is extremely unfortunate and upsetting.

In this specific case, I am talking about journalists who are now unemployed due to Covid-19. According to CNN,

On Sunday at least 100 people in local newsrooms in the US lost their jobs in March. By Friday, that number shot up to at least 300 people as the impact of coronavirus continues to roil newspapers and digital media companies.

While some companies, like Buzzfeed, are implementing salary reductions instead, this is not the case for many news sources/companies. And the sad, most unfortunate part about these layoffs and restructuring is that they have come at the most inconvenient time–when the public is hungry for information about the pandemic. But because of these layoffs, there are now fewer journalists to provide vital information about it. Traffic is up for many sites and TV ratings have increased as people are stuck at home watching the news, however we lack the adequate resources of journalists to provide us with accurate information on the virus. Unfortunately, all we can do is hope that our country gets back to normal in time.














What happens in the wake of sports death?

An article from discusses how the NBA postponing their season and the NCAA canceling much of their season and tournaments, including all of March Madness, much of the network advertisements are seeing declines on sports channels that are now mainly showing re-runs or older sports highlights.

The ads seeing the highest impressions are from airs during cable dramas such as ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit’ and ‘NCIS’ delivered over a billion ad impressions, across over 18 hours of advertising over the weekend. This is the first time that has happened in nearly two decades. Broadcast-network delivery of ad impressions went from 15 percent down to 11 percent. Big money still went to sports though, and while basketball reruns on sports networks didn’t draw the most eyeballs, they did still result in more estimated TV ad spend than anything else on TV over the weekend. 

College basketball topped the list in terms of estimated spend at $26.1 million. Food shows such as “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” had over 300 minutes of ads and delivered almost 465 million TV ad impressions. Airlines and cruise lines pulled their ads off the air amidst travel bans, online booking sites continued to spend, and health insurance companies are switching to creative coronavirus-awareness campaigns. While the big networks are bringing in the higher ad spends, it’s the cable news and lifestyle networks, such as HGTV, and family-friendly networks, like Nickelodeon, that are delivering more reach for the dollar right now.

The disruption of live sports is having a huge impact on brands that depend on college sports programming for massive reach. These are the marketer categories and brands that heavily bankrolled NCAA broadcasts last year: Vehicles: Automakers (est. $155 million), Insurance: Auto & General (est. $99.1 million), Electronics & Communications: Wireless (est. $78.1 million), Restaurants: Quick Serve (est. $58.3 million), Electronics & Communications (est. $49.2 million), AT&T Wireless (est. $68 million), Buick (est. $42.5 million), Geico (est. $36.4 million), Capital One Credit Card (est. $31.6 million), Progressive (est. $27.9 million).

NBA Season Cancellation Spells Trouble for Networks

In his article for ‘CNN Business’, Frank Pallotta covers the recent announcement that the NBA will be suspending games this season due to the coronavirus outbreak.  The news comes after an unnamed player tested positive for the virus ultimately resulting in the leagues temporary hiatus.  Pallotta in his analysis makes evident the huge blow this will result in regarding television partners and networks who heavily rely on sports ratings for advertising revenue.  NBA viewership is especially crucial for many networks as the league still manages to bring in solid ratings across the board.  With audiences jumping ship from cable to streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, this news will be an especially hard pill to swallow for television networks.  Another factor in this debacle is what will happen to advertising revenue that has already been booked? Will the networks be required to give the money back?  Some analysts have placed the estimates of lost advertising revenue for individual networks to be in the ballpark of 75 to 100 million dollars.  The NBA is not the only league who has suspended their season; with the NHL and Major League Soccer also cancelling games as a result of the pandemic. 

This article for me put into perspective how far reaching and impactful the coronavirus has been globally.  No avenue of business or entertainment will remain unaffected by the virus quarantine currently underway; the likes of which have not been seen in modern times.  In regard to this article and the implications of the NBA season being cancelled; it will be interesting if the playoff games in April will commence and potentially help alleviate some of the lost revenue woes networks are currently dealing with.

Burger King’s New Moldy Burger

In a time when breaking the norm is becoming the norm, Burger King has just released an ad showing the ugly side of food advertisement. In promoting their new stance on removing artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, Burger King has caught the attention of millions by advertising a moldy old burger. Founder of drinks brand Tenzing Natural Energy, Huib van Bockel, said, “I love it. It’s about time. It’s so important to be open and honest. Of course, food perishes what is controversial about that? Only thing that worries me is: were there actually artificial preservatives in there?” It’s a step into marketing real product.

Not only does this promote realism, but it also has attracted a lot of attention towards Burger King. Conversations on social media platforms have almost doubled about Burger King. A divide between people who praised and criticised the advertisements has also formed. There are just as many critics and people who like the real advertisement.

Johnny Shaw, chief strategy officer at VCCP New York, thinks the advertisement has gotten the target audience all wrong. The people who are talking about it are people who wouldn’t step foot in a Burger King to begin with. The advertisement has reached an audience past it’s normal target audience.

Redbox Enters the Streaming Market

Redbox recently kicked off their brand new online streaming service this past month, joining an ever growing list of competing services in the market.  The article by Eli Blumenthal on Cnet dives into the rental chains latest endeavor called ‘Free Live TV’ which offers consumers as the name suggests, complimentary access to television shows and certain movies.  The article compared the new service to Amazon’s ‘IMDb TV’ which similarly offers free advertisement based content in favor of a traditional subscriptions model. The service comes after years of decline in the popularity of the companies traditional disk based rental service that are common among grocery stores and shopping malls.  The article makes a point of mentioning the serious lack of content currently offered on the platform which may explain why the service does not require users to make an account to access shows and movies.  

At the time of this article, the service is only accessible to limited test markets and the company has stated that the platform will be going live nationally soon.  The service has publicized its partnerships with channels such as ‘USA Today’ and ‘TMZ’. I find it odd that Redbox has launched their new service early in select markets despite the serious lack of content currently found on the platform; resulting in what appears to be rather lukewarm reception by users.  With the market already flooded with streaming services and showing no signs of slowing down, it’s interesting that Redbox has decided to throw their hat in the ring with almost nothing to differentiate their product from the rest. Perhaps there will be a market for a service like this as it is completely free at the moment which may entice people searching for streaming option that doesn’t require a subscription like Netflix and Disney Plus.

Cancel Culture–Harmful or Effective in Holding Our Fellow Celebrities Accountable?


For those who aren’t as familiar with what cancel culture is, canceling and cancel culture have to do with the removal of support for public figures in response to their objectionable behavior or opinions (which can include boycotts or refusal to promote their work.)

In late 2018, comedian Kevin Hart publicly stated he would be hosting the 2019 Oscars; an announcement that triggered intense public scrutiny regarding homophobic jokes and tweets he had previously put forth. While the backlash against Hart came from many different directions, a majority derived from the social media platform, Twitter. Although ‘cancel culture’ is not a new phenomenon, it is evident that it was brought to the forefront of American pop culture after Hart’s “canceling,” and has continued since.

With this idea of “canceling” in mind, the question many have is whether or not canceling is harmful or effective in holding these celebrities and public figures accountable.

Last night during the Oscars, Joaquin Phoenix gave a discursive speech in which he both criticized “cancel” culture and advocated for social justice while accepting the Oscar for best actor for his performance in “The Joker.” In his speech he said,

“I have been a scoundrel all my life, I’ve been selfish. I’ve been cruel at times, hard to work with, and I’m grateful that so many of you in this room have given me a second chance,” Phoenix said. “I think that’s when we’re at our best: when we support each other. Not when we cancel each other out for our past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow. When we educate each other; when we guide each other to redemption.”

Like Joaquin, many believe that cancel culture is merely harmful to society and those individuals being “canceled,” but, according to the article on Daily Toreador, many also feel that it’s unfair that celebrities can seemingly “get away” with hurting other people or making damaging and harmful statements, even after being canceled for a little while. At the same time, however, it is both concerning and detrimental that as a society, we perpetuate a culture of simply canceling someone instead of encouraging them to be better and holding them accountable in a constructive way (similar to what Joaquin said.)

I think we can all agree that public outrage against celebrities is expected and sometimes even justified in some cases, but is it possible that sometimes cancel culture can go too far? What do you think?



The Commercial That Stole The Show On Football’s Biggest Night


It’s quite evident that football’s biggest night is the perfect opportunity for companies to persuade all who are watching to utilize/buy their products through the use of captivating commercials. In saying that, this year’s Superbowl had commercials that ranged from happy, to humorous, to serious/emotional, to completely strange and seemingly pointless.

To get a professional opinion on these commercials, KDKA sat down with Shannon Baker–the president of a local ad agency to get her opinion on which spots were the winners and the losers on football’s biggest night. Baker is president of the Gatesman Agency in Pittsburgh and has 18 years of experience in the ad business (so she knows a good bit about how companies and clients can accurately convey a message that resonates with audiences and further persuades them to either adopt an idea, utilize a software, or buy a product.)

According to Baker, she believes that if you craft a story that is short, tight, and memorable, it is going to make people feel something–which is critical to the success of the commercial.

She says Google set the bar very high with its emotional “Loretta” ad, and many others would agree. Millions of people were raving about the heartfelt tearjerking ad that was based on a true story. For those who didn’t get to see the commercial, it begins with a man typing into Google “how to not forget,” and then asking his Google Assistant device to show him photos of his late wife named Loretta. The man continues to ask Google to remember certain things about her, like the fact that she hated his mustache, loved going to Alaska, and always snorted when she laughed. In the end, Google recites all of the things the man had asked the device to remember. It closed out with the man saying, “remember I’m the luckiest man in the world.”

Overall, Baker and many others believe that Google set the bar very high with their ‘Loretta’ ad because not only did it tug on the emotional heartstrings of audiences, but it also marketed the product in a simple yet compelling way.


Pittsburgh Ad Agency Says Which Super Bowl Commercials Were The Most And Least Impressive