Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Morning Brief: MySpace set to reduce staff by half; waiting on Verizon; press moves quickly from news to speculation

While Tuesday will include the Verizon-iPhone event this morning, it may also include a mass layoff at News Corp. owned MySpace, according to a report in the WSJ.

Liz Gannes reports that between 550 and 600 employees are expected to lose their positions today at the Beverly Hills based company -- that represents about half the staff.

News Corp. is widely reported to be trying to sell MySpace, which News Corp. originally acquired in July of 2005 for $580 million.

The Verizon/iPhone event is scheduled for 11 EST. A few websites will live blog the event such as Engadget and ZDNet.

It would be nice if there was some sort of surprise announcement this morning -- like Verizon will pay any early cancellation fees for AT&T customers wishing to switch (I can dream, can't I?). But don't expect any.

The inevitable backlash has begun: members of the Tea Party and the right wing are accusing the press and those on the left of using the recent Tucson shooting as an excuse to go after their movement. Unfortunately, they have a point.

One thing I noticed on Saturday, while watching the television coverage and reading the news reports online, was how easily journalists (should that be in quotes) moved from reading the news to relaying speculation. Everything was instant analysis as if the press was made up of people who are OCD.

The American public is often accused of having a short memory and a short attention span -- but the press is far worse. As a result, the story moved quickly from the shooting itself, the victims and the perpetrator to the political arena. Couldn't members of the press treat this story as straight news for at least one 24 hour news cycle? No.

As a result, I fear this story will quickly become about the "news" instead of about the event itself. Again, the US media will have only themselves to blame when this happens.