Sky News chief to step down as channel adapts to post-TV future

Sky News chief to step down as channel adapts to post-TV future
Sky News source: Investment in several new studios would be paused. (AFP/Files)
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Updated 05 December 2022

Sky News chief to step down as channel adapts to post-TV future

Sky News chief to step down as channel adapts to post-TV future
  • John Ryley departing operation after 17 years

LONDON: Sky News chief John Ryley announced on Sunday that he will step down after 17 years in charge as the channel faces the challenges of a post-television future.

Ryley, 60, assumed his role as head of the news outlet in 2006, when Sky News was almost fully dedicated to producing its flagship live television channel. He led the channel’s transformation into a multimedia operation with a large online audience.

Sky News, however, continues to spend a substantial part of its budget on traditional broadcasting.

Sources at the channel told the Guardian that Ryley’s departure will be announced to staff in a call on Dec. 5. Details are yet to be confirmed, but the call is also expected to reveal new hires for Sky News’ data, podcasts and original journalism teams.

The sources added that investment in several new studios would be paused.

Across almost two decades, Ryley won many journalism awards as he faced the challenge of running a news outlet in an era of media decline.

He said in recent years that he believed television news, instead of relying on patrician presenters, should increasingly feature reporters offering expert analysis and context. “The age of the all-powerful anchor is gone — instead they share the stage with journalists in the field, providing the audience with the high-fiber news they demand,” he wrote.

The announcements, according to The Guardian, suggest that Sky News’ leadership is preparing for a future where the channel’s focus shifts away from its live news operation.

While figures show that some 10.2 million people across Britain watched Sky News in November, audience figures for individual shows came in below 100,000 viewers in some cases. The channel is increasingly turning to platforms such as TikTok to reach the younger generations.

Sky News’ financial backing is wrapped up in corporate politics. When founder Rupert Murdoch sold Sky in 2018 to US media giant Comcast, the new owners pledged to maintain Sky News’ funding for a decade.

However, that agreement has yet to be honored, and decisions will be made soon about the outlet’s long-term future and funding model. Comcast is thought to be exploring ways to integrate Sky News into its US-based NBC News operation.

The wider Sky business has faced many challenges in recent years, with revenues slumping as consumers and advertisers cut back on spending in the face of tough economic conditions. The company is already looking beyond its satellite dish model toward a future where its subscription service is delivered over the internet.


Twitter scrambles to fix meltdown as many unable to tweet

Twitter scrambles to fix meltdown as many unable to tweet
Updated 1 min 3 sec ago

Twitter scrambles to fix meltdown as many unable to tweet

Twitter scrambles to fix meltdown as many unable to tweet
  • Users first noticed the problem when they tried to send tweets and received a message saying they had reached their “tweet limit”

Many Twitter users found themselves unable to tweet, follow accounts or access their direct messages on Wednesday as the Elon Musk-owned platform experienced a slew of widespread technical problems.
“Twitter may not be working as expected for some of you. Sorry for the trouble. We’re aware and working to get this fixed,” the company tweeted from its “support” account.
Further details were unavailable Wednesday afternoon and an email seeking comment from the company’s press account went unanswered. Twitter has dissolved its media relations team.
Users first noticed the problem when they tried to send tweets and received a message saying they had reached their “tweet limit.”
While Twitter has for years limited the number of tweets an account can send, it is 2,400 per day — or 100 an hour — far more than most regular, human-run accounts send on the platform.
Accounts also had trouble when they tried to follow another Twitter user, getting a message “You are unable to follow more people at this time” with a link to the company’s policy on follow limits.
Twitter’s long-standing limit on how many accounts a single user can follow in a single day is 400 — again, more than a regular Twitter user would generally reach on any given day.
It is not clear what caused Wednesday’s meltdown, but Twitter engineers and experts have been warning that the platform is at an increased risk of fraying since Musk fired most of the people who worked on keeping it running.
Already in November, engineers who left Twitter described for The Associated Press why they expect considerable unpleasantness for Twitter’s more than 230 million users now that well over two-thirds of Twitter’s pre-Musk core services engineers are apparently gone.
While they don’t anticipate near-term collapse, the engineers said Twitter could get very rough at the edges — especially if Musk makes major changes without much off-platform testing.
One Twitter engineer, who had worked in core services, told the AP in November that engineering team clusters were down from about 15 people pre-Musk — not including team leaders, who were all laid off — to three or four before even more resignations.
Then more institutional knowledge that can’t be replaced overnight walked out the door.
“Everything could break,” the programmer said.


Backlash for Charlie Hebdo cartoon mocking Turkiye earthquake

Backlash for Charlie Hebdo cartoon mocking Turkiye earthquake
Updated 09 February 2023

Backlash for Charlie Hebdo cartoon mocking Turkiye earthquake

Backlash for Charlie Hebdo cartoon mocking Turkiye earthquake
  • The magazine shared on the day of the quake a drawing gloating over the death of thousands
  • Commentators described the cartoon as "racist" and "vile"

LONDON: A cartoon scoffing at the deadly earthquake that has killed more than 11,000 people in Turkiye and Syria has received a severe backlash online for its insensitivity.

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon captioned “drawing of the day” and showing collapsed buildings and piles of rubble with “earthquake in Turkiye” written on top and “no need to send tanks” at the bottom, sparking outrage on social media as well as criticism from journalists.

Many deemed the cartoon “racist” and “vile,” condemning it for mocking the pain of thousands of innocent victims.

“Just vile, racist, and immensely insensitive,” tweeted Islamophobia scholar Khaled Beydoun.

“It is really disgusting to make fun of the suffering of others and far from the ethics of journalism, assuming it sticks to it, and I doubt it,” wrote Abdulla Al-Amadi in a tweet.

Lebanese journalist Giselle Khoury described the cartoon as “shameful,” demanding the magazine explain how this constituted “freedom of expression.”

Rana Abi Jomaa, also a Lebanese journalist, wrote that “there are no limits to Charlie Hebdo’s racism,” wondering “who would defend this abhorrent satirical French magazine after today?”

“Charlie Hebdo is faithful to its famous hate speech, bigotry, mediocre unethical journalism and colonialist scorn,” wrote Tunisian journalist Mourad Teyeb. “Nothing to do with press freedom!”

Khalil Rammal, on social media, denounced the magazine’s “racist” cartoon, namely for “gloating over” the tragedy of thousands.

Challenging the outrageous cartoon, Ouissal Harize shared a video of a rescued toddler who lost his family in the catastrophe, and wrote: “This is the tragedy you are mocking.” 

Another user, Shireen Mazari, wrote: “Hatred and Islamophobia at its peak when a natural disaster draws this kind of reaction from Charlie Hebdo! Sickening to the core.”

Commentators recounted the Jan. 7, 2015, attack on Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters in Paris, reminding the magazine of its demand for global support under the slogan “Je suis Charlie.”

“Mocking a natural disaster with the death of thousands and the complete destruction of infrastructure in an already fragile state with ‘didn't even need to send tanks’ is everything I need to know about ‘Je suis Charlie.’ Inhumane,” wrote Twitter user Yasmeen.

Political analyst Oznur Sirene reminded the magazine of how many Turks showed solidarity following the 2015 attack, only to be rewarded with mockery.

“Today you dare mock the suffering of an entire people,” she wrote. “One must really have some nerve to do this while there are still babies waiting to be rescued.”

Others condemned the magazine for “having a history of mocking victims of catastrophe,” with several resharing the cartoon that made fun of Italy’s earthquake in 2016.

Charlie Hebdo received a backlash for a cartoon it shared in September 2016 mocking the victims of the 6.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Italy at the time. Shortly after, the magazine shared another cartoon demonizing critics.

In January 2016 the magazine published a cartoon making fun of Alan Kurdi, the Syrian child whose body was found on a Greek beach in 2015. 

People in Turkiye and Syria woke up on Monday to a deadly magnitude 7.8 earthquake, which killed more than 11,000 people, according to CNN, and destroyed thousands of buildings.

Syria’s devastated infrastructure and freezing weather conditions are obstructing rescue operations, which have been ongoing since the disaster struck.


Twitter restricted in quake-hit Turkiye

Twitter restricted in quake-hit Turkiye
Updated 08 February 2023

Twitter restricted in quake-hit Turkiye

Twitter restricted in quake-hit Turkiye
  • Platform has been widely used to seek help and establish personal contact
  • Turkish authorities have limited access to social media during previous national emergencies

LONDON: Twitter is facing restrictions in Turkiye as the country struggles to deal with the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, sources reported.

Independent global internet monitor NetBlocks confirmed that the social media platform has been restricted on multiple network providers, including TTNet and Turkcell, on Wednesday.

“Real-time network data show Twitter has been restricted in Turkiye,” Netblocks said in a tweet.

“The filtering is applied on major internet providers and comes as the public come to rely on the service in the aftermath of a series of deadly earthquakes.”

Twitter is widely adopted in the country and its restriction disrupts critical communication for rescue efforts.

NetBlocks Director Alp Toker said that this is the first time the company detected social media restrictions during a natural disaster.

“Twitter has been in use extensively in the aftermath of the earthquakes, both to seek assistance and rescue equipment and by those trying to get back in touch with loved ones,” Toker said.

Turkish authorities have not given any formal explanations, but NetBlocks said that Turkiye often acts to prevent alleged disinformation during national emergencies.

In November, following a terrorist attack in central Istanbul that killed six people and injured more than 80, authorities imposed a 10-hour social media ban.

Some users also reported that TikTok might have been affected by the restrictions.

In a statement, the video-sharing app said it was aware of the technical difficulties and is “investigating the matter and hope access is restored as soon as possible as platforms like TikTok remain a critical way to stay in touch during crises.”

NetBlocks and some Twitter users have reported that users in Turkiye can still access the platforms through VPNs.


Dubai Lynx launches Young Lynx Academy in partnership with Publicis Groupe

Dubai Lynx launches Young Lynx Academy in partnership with Publicis Groupe
Updated 08 February 2023

Dubai Lynx launches Young Lynx Academy in partnership with Publicis Groupe

Dubai Lynx launches Young Lynx Academy in partnership with Publicis Groupe
  • Hosted over 3 days, program will feature keynote talks, workshops, competition
  • Dubai Lynx festival director Thea Skelton: We are seeing an increasing number of agencies from KSA enter and win at Dubai Lynx

DUBAI: The Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity has launched the Young Lynx Academy in partnership with multinational advertising company Publicis Groupe.

Aimed at mentoring young professionals in the Middle East and North Africa region, the academy will run from March 12 to 14.

Thea Skelton, festival director of Dubai Lynx, told Arab News: “As we know, the region is using creativity as a driving force for growth.

“We are seeing an increasing number of agencies from KSA enter and win at Dubai Lynx and it’s very exciting for us to watch young talent from the Kingdom grow.”

The academy is designed to support young talent within the creative communications sector by offering them a free mentorship opportunity.

Hosted over three days, the program will include keynote talks, workshops, and a 24-hour hack competition involving participants working on a charity brief.

Skelton said: “Creativity is a key part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, and the training and development of young people in this sector is very much a part of this.

“We’re excited to see how young creatives from Saudi Arabia will perform this year and pave the way for many more people from the region to excel,” she added.

The academy will be open to professionals aged 30 or younger who have worked for a minimum of one year in the creative, media, digital, or social sectors in the MENA region. Successful applicants will also receive tickets to attend the festival and Lynx party on March 14.

The deadline for entries is Feb. 27. More details are available on the Young Lynx Academy website at https://www.dubailynx.com/talent-and-training/young-lynx-academy


Meta, nonprofit end US lawsuit over infinity-logo trademark

Meta, nonprofit end US lawsuit over infinity-logo trademark
Updated 08 February 2023

Meta, nonprofit end US lawsuit over infinity-logo trademark

Meta, nonprofit end US lawsuit over infinity-logo trademark
  • Lawsuit by Dfinity Foundation said Meta would cause confusion with its infinity logo

LONDON: Meta Platforms Inc and blockchain nonprofit Dfinity Foundation have resolved Dfinity’s trademark lawsuit against Meta over its infinity-symbol logo, according to a joint filing in San Francisco federal court.

Meta and Dfinity asked the court Monday to dismiss the case with prejudice, which means it cannot be revived.

A Meta spokesperson said Tuesday that the company was “pleased with the outcome of the case.” It said Dfinity had dropped the lawsuit after Meta “pointed out the defects” in its revised complaint.

Representatives for Dfinity did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Switzerland-based Dfinity’s Internet Computer is an “infinite” public blockchain network designed to host smart contracts. Dfinity sued Meta last year, alleging the logo Meta adopted after changing its name from Facebook would cause confusion with Dfinity’s infinity-symbol trademarks.

Meta has described its logo as a “continuous loop” that resembles both the letter ‘M’ and an infinity sign to symbolize “infinite horizons in the metaverse.”

US District Judge Charles Breyer dismissed Dfinity’s original complaint in November but allowed the company to amend the lawsuit. Breyer said Meta’s logo was unlikely to cause consumer confusion, citing differences in the logos’ designs and the fact that Dfinity’s customers are “tech-savvy developers.”

Dfinity filed an amended complaint in December.

Meta is still facing trademark lawsuits from virtual-reality company MetaX and investment firm Metacapital over its name change.