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BallotcountElection day? Week? Month?

Whatever the future holds for President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the news media has been all over the bout and, more importantly, the count of some seriously tight margins that could decide the 2020 Presidential Election.

While this Friday linkfest mostly includes election reflection, take note of the digital theme here and more news about news, such as ESPN layoffs, questions about Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, and financials from Meredith Corp.

  1. Walt Disney-owned ESPN announced layoffs. The internal memo from President Jimmy Pitaro is on Twitter. It impacts 300 people and 200 open positions.
    1. Poynter has an extensive list of cutbacks here.
  2. A petition supporting an investigation of Murdoch’s media empire gained traction in Australia.
  3. Meredith reported a 2021 fiscal 1Q earnings drop, but a gain in digital advertising and licensing.

Election Reflection

  1. The New York Times’ Ben Smith writes that Trump made legacy media great again, and talks about what’s next for the stalwarts.
  2. Social media had a plan to combat disinformation after election day, with Google pausing ads related to the election and Reddit taking a more stringent approach. The plan extended to Facebook using “break glass” measures, while TikTok is banning some hashtags. Then you have Twitter having to deal with actual fake news (accounts).
  3. The Washington Post highlighted the media’s failures when it came to predicting 2020 election results.
  4. Influencers: It’s not just employees of the majors attracting viewers or offering information. Take this massive thread attempting to debunk voter fraud by Isaac Saul, who like so many has moved to substack.

Election Ratings

  1. Nielsen data shows TV viewership was down about 20% from 2016, with Fox News taking the top spot.
  2. Of course, this election has run for days with the influx of mail in ballots. Combine that with progress on digital fronts and you get traction elsewhere. CNN Digital EIC and SVP Meredith Artley said the site had its biggest day in history on Nov. 4, with 116 million visitors.
  3. And note that The New York Times now has more digital subscribers than print ones, with 3Q numbers showing 7 million subs.
  4. LA Times reports the CNN live stream coverage had a peak 1.1 million concurrent viewers streaming at its peak on election night over a number of digital platforms; while CBSN, the digital stream of CBS News, had 19.5 million unique visitors on election day, a new record for the service.
  5. South Florida had a surprise, with viewership of WSVN Miami among adults 25 to 54 surpassing national news networks on election night.

There’s a lot to digest out there. It helps to be critical of information, and to combine news from trusted names in journalism. There’s also the lighter side of the election, from meming Nevada‘s election count and impressions of Steve Kornacki‘s feverish coverage to fielding questions from the general public:

While all eyes are on Pennsylvania, possible recounts and anything that will push the finality of this saga into December or to the Supreme Court; don’t forget to get some shuteye.


— Megan Kashtan and Wayne McKenzie contributed to this report.

Baz Hiralal

Baz Hiralal

Managing Editor, Thought Leadership