Reynolds Weekly: Monday, October 22

by October 22, 2018
Sears Files for Bankruptcy Protection; Announces Store Closings

Sears Holdings Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection last Monday. The former retail giant announced that it would close 142 of its 687 Sears and Kmart stores by the end of the year, in addition to 46 other stores expected to close at the end of next month.

Start Your Reporting

The 142 stores that will close by the end of the year are listed on the company’s website. Which stores are in your regional area?

How will this affect shopping in the areas of store closures? Are there go-to department stores that people will shop at instead? Will local stores pick up any of the slack? Or will it simply make it more difficult for people in those areas to buy certain types of products that they want or need?

How are other brick-and-mortar stores impacted? This depends on the cost of real estate, the rise of online shopping, and other factors. Businesses that are thriving locally may regularly assess their sales and look into various ideas to stay in the black.

Some websites have begun covering the way that Sears stores’ closings affect everything from retail rents to gift cards and warranties. What are people concerned about most in your area? Finding the answers for them would be a great place to start.

Advertisers Allege that Facebook Misled Advertisers with Inflated Video Metrics

Facebook is accused of attempting to hide its inflated advertising metrics. A lawsuit alleges that the social media conglomerate was aware that it was inflating a key metric, the total time spent watching a video divided by the number of views, for two years.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Facebook denied the charges.

Start Your Reporting

Have any local brick-and-mortar stores changed their marketing strategy to include more video and less blogging, or other types of content? How has this affected them?

How are local businesses and content marketing firms responding to the lawsuit? Has this affected their level of trust for Facebook?

Facebook’s miscalculated video metrics also affect media companies. Although journalists typically shy away from becoming a part of the story, newspapers that have laid off print reporters in favor of videographers, for example, may have something to add to a local story.

Getting back to local businesses, did any local companies ignore media’s pivot to video based on their personal experience interacting with customers and potential customers? Are there types of businesses in your area that were more impacted than others?

Spilled Milk: Low Prices and Changing Tastes Leads Dairy Farmers to Dump Millions of Pounds of Milk

A Bloomberg article delved into the history of how the Greek yogurt boom led New York governor Cuomo to ease environmental laws in order to encourage dairy farmers to grow their herd. Unfortunately, dairy farmers face a litany of challenges, including the fact that Americans are drinking less milk. As supplies outgrow manufacturing capacity, these farmers have been dumping millions of pounds of milk. Even sales, drying, and donations don’t account for all of the excess.

Start Your Reporting

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service is a good place to start, because it provides up-to-date information and data on dairy markets, including supply and demand, prices, and more.

Find your local dairy council, which can lead you to the website and spokesperson to speak to in your state.

And, of course, researching local laws and regulations and reaching out to dairy farmers in your area will help round out your coverage.