March’s Baker’s Dozen

A revolt at NBC News, Reddit goes public after growing up, and more.


The Newhouses

The wildly popular Reddit social site, best known for its lively message boards on just about every topic imaginable, went public, a move few could have imagined a decade ago when it was firmly entrenched as one of the darker corners of the internet. An aggressive push for content moderation paid off: shares rose 48% on their first day of trading, putting Reddit’s market capitalization at $9.5 billion–and restoring confidence to an IPO scene made anemic by rising interest rates. 

Among the winners are the Newhouse family, which owns Conde Nast and enjoyed a $1.4 billion windfall from the deal after investing $10 million in the site in 2006. 

RedBird IMI

The British government imposed strict restrictions on foreign ownership of UK newspapers, a move spurred by the US-Abu Dhabi joint venture RedBird IMI’s proposed takeover of Telegraph Media Group. The rules are tough and expansive, applying to ownership, control or influence of newspapers and news magazines not just by foreign states, but people associated with foreign heads of state, and ministers investing their own wealth. It’s a big move, and is especially timely given talk of applying similar restrictions to foreign ownership of social media companies as they become major news sources. 

Elon Musk

Don Lemon

Don Lemon’s interview with Elon Musk was meant to be an auspicious start to the former CNN star’s show on X and a redemption story for the anchor a year after his very public firing by the cable network. Things panned out differently when Musk canceled Lemon’s contract immediately after the interview, which included questions about Musk’s widely rumored substance abuse. Were that not weird enough, X claims that Lemon never formally inked a deal, despite having had the contract in hand for weeks. Lemon’s camp has vowed to go to court over money owed if necessary, and insists that the full interview will be broadcast on YouTube. 

The exposure may end up being a win for Lemon after all. It already proved yet another opportunity for Musk to play online provocateur when he wrote, on X, of Lemon’s show, “it was basically just ‘CNN, but on social media,’ which doesn’t work, as evidenced by the fact that CNN is dying.” 

Warner Bros Discovery


WBD will roll out its Max streaming platform across much of Europe this spring and summer as the media giant looks to streaming growth to offset massive debt ($44 billion) from the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger and crumbling profits from traditional TV. Will expansion to markets less saturated with streamers than the US redefine the streaming wars? Max’s European launch should provide some answers. 

The AP



Two of America’s biggest newspaper chains made the startling announcement that they would be cutting all ties with the Associated Press, the wire service that provides just-the-facts breaking news reporting and photos to media outlets across the world. The papers made the eyebrow-raising claim that they’d found replacements in “most cases” for content that served just a miniscule portion of their readers. But this is a money-saving move–licenses with the AP cost Gannett and McClatchy millions–that also illustrates the declining importance of fact-based journalism even among big league publishers. 

NBC News


Weeks of frustration and anger within NBC News over its hiring of former RNC spokesperson Ronna McDaniel extended beyond the newsroom when, on the March 24 edition of Meet the Press, former host Chuck Todd told his successor, Kristen Welker, on-air, “Our bosses owe you an apology for putting you in this situation,” in regard to her interview with McDaniel. Rachel Maddow’s dramatic criticism of the hire soon followed, and McDaniel was let go by the network three days after joining it. 

McDaniel was hardly blazing a new path from politics to broadcast news. But her alignment with Trump on the January 6 assault on the Capitol, and refusal until the Welker interview to concede that Joe Biden had fairly won the 2020 election, exposes more than recent similar hires the risks they carry of journalistic conflict of interest, perceived or real. And it’s surely a preview of the criticism and skepticism that will greet this year’s election coverage as it kicks into high gear. News orgs are under pressure to showcase ideological diversity, a depressingly tall order given the current widespread animus.