Reynolds Weekly: Monday, September 17, 2018

by September 17, 2018
Must Read Money Stories

The Food and Drug Administration gave e-cigarette companies “60 days to prove they can keep their devices away from minors,” according to The New York Times. (Photo: “E-Cigarette/Electronic Cigarette/E-Cigs/E-Liquid/Vaping/Cloud Chasing” by flickr user Vaping360.

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E-Cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration gave e-cigarette companies “60 days to prove they can keep their devices away from minors,” according to The New York Times. If the companies fail to comply, they could have their flavored products removed from the market. The FDA also sent letters about this new policy to more than a thousand retailers.

Even though it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors, millions of teenagers still get their hands on them. Now, the FDA claims youth vaping has reached “an epidemic proportion.” Traditional cigarettes are supposed to contain more toxic chemicals than e-cigarettes. Many e-cigarette companies market them as an alternative or to help tobacco users quit smoking.

However, there is still a danger of addiction and health risks. In particular, the fruit-flavored vaping products that are popular among young people contain high levels of carcinogens, according to WebMD.

One of the main targets of FDA’s warning is the Juul, which is one of the largest e-cigarette companies and currently valued at $15 billion, according to CNBC. It has been criticized recently for its marketing to teenagers.

Juul pointed out that it has pledged money to youth addiction awareness programs and explained some of their safety measures, such as random checks of retailers who sell their products. The company also has a paged dedicated to youth education and prevention on their website.

Start your reporting:

One of the biggest concerns with vaping is that companies are targeting teenagers, pushing e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative to smoking. Are more young people in your area vaping? Check with local parents, educators and youth leaders. Have they noticed an increase? What’s being done locally for prevention?

Also, consider the impact on local businesses. Vaping retailers continue to pop up in cities across the country. Is the changing perception of vaping affecting their business? Are they concerned about the FDA regulations?

Check out our previous posts on this subject as well, including “Politics and the Vaping Industry” and “3 Timely Stories to Report Now on Vaping.” Find out the regulations in your state and try to talk to local legislators. Will regulations become an issue in the future?

Apple’s Unveiling

Apple announced three new iPhones at an unveiling on Wednesday. These models will include a starter replacement for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus known as iPhone XR, a newer version of iPhone X, and an unveiling of Apple’s “biggest-ever” phone with a “6.5-inch display,” according to the New York Times.

As always, the new products are expected to cost more than previous models. The least expensive is the iPhone XR, estimated at $749, while the iPhone XS Max will come in at about $1,049, according to the same New York Times article.

Start your reporting:

Will these new phones be a success? What are stores anticipating after the announcement?

Not everyone is enthusiastic about buying a new phone with every big release. Retailers and carriers have set up special deals and programs to trade in old phones. Are customers participating in these programs?

The New York Times recommends selling or trading in to save money and offers a list of carriers that do this. Trade-in programs include Apple, AT&T, Best Buy, Gazelle, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

With the price of new phones so high, repair shops have popped up to service customers who need everything from a new screen to faster operating speeds. Talking to a phone repair shop owner could make for a fun business profile. What are the most common thing people need repaired? What’s the best way for customers to extend the longevity of their phones?

You can also check out some of our previous posts on covering retail and technology for ideas:

“Covering Retailing: A Reporter’s Toolbox

“Covering Retailing: What the Economic Data Means”

“Covering Technology: Core Concepts and Terms”

CBS Executive Ousting

CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves resigned due to sexual harassment claims by multiple women that were published in The New Yorker. This is the first Fortune 500 CEO to resign in the wake of the #MeToo movement, according to CNN.

Moonves denied these allegations in a statement released Sunday. He will immediately vacate the company and be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello until the position can be permanently filled.

Moonves and CBS will also donate $20 million to organizations that support #MeToo and gender equality, according to the Los Angeles Times. This amount will be deducted from Moonves’s severance package, which totaled $180 million in his contract, which was set to expire in 2021.

Start your reporting:

Sexual harassment has become a major issue and, unfortunately, affects many people in the workplace. Over the years, this has been true in newsrooms, with a number of high profile cases of sexual harassment at numerous national outlets, as well as instances at regional news organizations.

Has the #MeToo movement affected your local outlets or news stations? How are readers and viewers reacting? Do audiences take this into consideration when choosing their source of news?

Now may be a good time to ask TV reporters and other journalists about sexual harassment and #MeToo. Do they see this as a problem in the industry, even in local and regional newsrooms?

The #MeToo movement also affects everyday industries. Check out our latest post about reporting on this important topic from the business desk. Are any businesses in your coverage area investing in special trainings or programs to combat workplace sexual harassment?