Reynolds Business Weekly: Monday, October 29

by October 29, 2018

Looking for story ideas? We’ve taken recent headlines and put together a list of resources and angles you can use for your local coverage. (Photo credit to Pixabay user Startup-Stock-Photos)

Facebook and Privacy

In Facebook’s continuing problems of data breaches, the company decided to do something about it — or is at least mulling it over. According to The Information, Facebook is meeting with potential candidates to better protect user data and prevent future hacking attempts. They are hoping to finalize a deal by the end of this year.  

Facebook was also in the world spotlight at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Concerns in Brussels. Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, announced that the company will support “comprehensive federal privacy regulation.” CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who attended via video call, was somewhat at odds with this statement, asking for trust on the privacy of user data and consideration of “gray areas,” such as working with law enforcement.

How to localize:

Here are the numbers of current Facebook users. (It lost 1 million European users over the summer over privacy concerns.) How many people in your area use Facebook and in which demographics?

This deal comes after the recent breach that affected 30 million users, the biggest in Facebook’s history. Does the potential deal affect the level of confidence in Facebook users in your area? How many (if known) were affected by the breaches? Have people deleted or adjusted their security or privacy settings?

What are the local cybersecurity companies in your area? Have they increased in customers? Have they experienced data breaches?  Compare to the national statistics of the number of data breaches in the U.S. Here are also the numbers by industry in 2018.

Middle Class Tax Cut?

The 10 percent tax cut for middle classes is presumably on hold until after the midterms.

Trump announced the plan at a campaign rally in Texas on Sunday, claiming the vote will take place next week and that Kevin Brady, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, is “working on it.” Brady represents the state of Texas and helped develop the $1.5 trillion tax cut Congress past last year.

Brady released a statement on October 23, saying that the White House and Treasury will be working towards Trump’s plan. He also expressed confidence that the Republican Party will maintain control of both the House and the Senate during the midterms.

How to localize:

Pew Research Center has done a lot of studies on the subject of the American middle class. For example, it states middle-income households have not increased in number since 2011.

There is also an income calculator to determine if you’re part of the 52 percent of those who identify themselves as middle class. Its factors are in geography, person per household and calculated income before taxes. How many in your area fall under the middle class bracket? How does it compare with people from certain locations, jobs or demographics?

Talk to middle-income households. The unemployment rate is low, but pay raises aren’t growing, according to The New York Times. (This means that people are working longer hours but with less pay.) The U.S. Census claims income levels are at its highest, while poverty level is at its lowest, according to the Washington Post. However, income inequality and Americans without health insurance are still problems.  

So, are Americans better off? Or do they think they are?

Lastly, this announcement may spur on decisions in the local midterms. Does Trump’s plan embolden midterm turnout, and for which demographics?

Fox News’s New Streaming Service

Netflix and Amazon aren’t the only ones with a subscription service; Fox News is dipping its toes in, too. The company announced a launch of what it calls Fox Nation on Thursday. Subscribers will pay about $65 a year, or nearly $6 a month. This doesn’t include a standard cable package but provides bonus content of sorts, such as new series that include true crime and a “First Family” reality show. (They are only accessible through a subscription.)

Fox Nation also will feature headliners such as Tomi Lahren and highlights from various Fox News productions, as well as political commentary and a book club.

The corporation stated that they want to capitalize on the increased demand for digital content. Early subscribers will receive Fox News-themed gifts from the network. Fox Nation is set to start near the end of November.

How to localize:

Fox News already has a long history of being the first in most-watched cable news.

Will typical Fox News watchers in your area pay for this service? (The median age of Fox News consumers is 65.) What do they expect?

Other networks have “bonus” subscription services similar to this, such as CBS and ESPN. For news stations, CNN has a three-year CNNgo service, and NBC is also launching a 24-hour newscast streaming service, Signal, next year. Which other stations have subscription plans?  Are local news stations already using these or are thinking about it?