Our local TV stations all took home something from the 2021 ABBY Awards, as the Alabama Broadcasters Association announced its winners this past week.
WPMI-TV was the big winner out of the Mobile stations, taking four awards. Andrea Ramey won Best Reporter for her hurricane coverage as well as termite insurance costs exploding in the area.
Rachel Wilkerson won Best Investigation for a series of reports on the death of LeBrawn Rankin. The station also received the Award of Merit from judges for Breaking News for coverage of an apartment fire on Azalea Road, and a Franchise Award of Merit for their “Reality Check” series.
WKRG-TV took two ABBYs, one for Social Media for its “Biker Dad Blog” and another for Regularly Scheduled Newscast for “The 4 on 5” — the station’s new 4 p.m. broadcast.
WALA was awarded one ABBY for Breaking News: Severe Weather coverage for its work covering Hurricane Sally.
Fighting Big Tech
In a dramatic move last week, HD Media LLC filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Google and Facebook. HD Media runs the Charleston Gazette-Mail, among others, and says these tech giants are making it difficult for their newspapers and others to survive.
It’s the first suit of its kind in the U.S., but don’t expect it to be the last. The political and legal climate is ripe for newspapers to fight back against the giants who control online advertising and access to such a degree that thousands of papers have gone out of business or are running as mere shells of what they once were.
Both Google and Facebook recently made deals in Australia with major media outlets to provide compensation for the use of stories and media that draws billions of interactions to both social media and online search engines. In Europe there’s also been a lot of talk about coming to some sort of agreement, but in the U.S. the talk is really just kind of getting started.
But even if the big boys do decide to make payment deals of any kind, it seems likely they will mostly affect big media companies that already have millions of subscribers and have been battling back effectively over the past few years. The smaller publishers seem most likely to be left out of any such agreements, so class action suits may well be the way they get a seat at the table.
Stay tuned as this effort gains momentum. A fight between Big Tech and the newspaper industry looks like it’s coming.
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