The new ‘Succession’ trailer, along with media news and must-read links for your weekend

  • I’m starting today with what I think is my favorite TV show of all time: HBO’s “Succession.” Well, it’s now official. This will be the last season of the brilliant series about a media mogul and his family. HBO put out another trailer Thursday for the final season, which begins March 26. Go ahead and watch it. Watch it now. I’ll wait.
  • And now on to the real-life “Succession” … Politico senior media writer Jack Shafer’s latest column: “Rupert Murdoch Rides the Trump Tiger — and Gets Eaten.” Shafer writes, “… Murdoch isn’t always the master puppeteer he’s reputed to be. In Murdoch’s own words, delivered in Dominion suit depositions, he describes himself as frightened by the power Donald Trump holds over the Fox audience. He portrays himself, accurately in this case, as the supreme authority at his network but unable to control his prime-time anchors who endorsed Trump’s lie of a stolen election.”
  • In her column for The Bulwark, Mona Charen writes, “Getting the truth from a news source is more analogous to getting the straight story from your doctor or financial adviser or home inspector. If your financial adviser told you what you wanted to hear rather than the truth, you’d have a legal case. He or she has a professional responsibility not to mislead you. If your doctor assured you that your skin lesion was benign because he thought this would be more welcome than the news that it was melanoma requiring immediate treatment, the doctor would be guilty of malpractice and you wouldn’t thank him. When Fox News and its competitors lie to viewers, they are endangering not their physical health but their civic health and the good of the nation.”
  • Speaking of Fox News and Murdoch, it looks like they might have a new favorite. New York Times media correspondent Michael M. Grynbaum writes, “Ron DeSantis Usually Avoids the Press. For Murdoch, He’ll Make an Exception.” But there is an exception to the exception. Grynbaum writes, “While the governor is willing to appear with Fox News’s conservative hosts, he has not been interviewed recently by Bret Baier, Fox News’s chief political anchor, or Shannon Bream, host of “Fox News Sunday,” anchors who would be more inclined to ask him tough questions.”
  • Here’s a big media move. John Carreyrou, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who worked at The Wall Street Journal from 1999 to 2019, has joined The New York Times as a business investigative reporter. Aside from being a part of two Pulitzer Prizes at the Journal, Carreyrou is also known for his breaking news and in-depth investigation into the blood-testing company Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes. He also wrote a critically-acclaimed book about Theranos called “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup.” The book sold so well that Carreyrou became a much-sought-after speaker on the book circuit, but the Journal had a policy that forbade its reporters from taking money for speaking engagements. So Carreyrou left the paper.
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Colleen Schrappen with “Parents push back on allegations against St. Louis transgender center. ‘I’m baffled.’”
  • Jazz saxophone legend Wayne Shorter has died. He was 89. The New York Times’ Nate Chinen has a good obit and writes, “Mr. Shorter had a sly, confiding style on the tenor saxophone, instantly identifiable by his low-gloss tone and elliptical sense of phrase. His sound was brighter on soprano, an instrument on which he left an incalculable influence; he could be inquisitive, teasing or elusive, but always with a pinpoint intonation and clarity of attack.”
  • A 13-year-old girl heard a classmate say “Don’t come to school tomorrow.” The Dallas Morning News’ Talia Richman writes what happens next in “How a Texas girl scared of school shootings was punished.”
  • The Wrap’s Joseph Kapsch with “How Spectrum News’ LA Station Is — and Isn’t — Addressing Reporter Safety After Fatal Orlando Shooting.”
  • Vox’s Sara Morrison with “TikTok isn’t really limiting kids’ time on its app.”
  • The New York Times’ Elizabeth Paton with “How to Run a Fashion Magazine in China in 2023.”
  • Tonight’s “20/20” on ABC goes deep into the Alex Murdaugh trial, featuring new interviews and exclusive analysis. The two-hour special starts at 9 p.m. Eastern.
  • Earlier this week, NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo went on “The Daily Show” with guest host Hasan Minhaj and did a fake roast of other NBA stars, including Kevin Durant. It clearly was a comedy bit — the bit being that Antetokounmpo is so nice and humble that he can’t really talk trash, even when it’s written out for him. But the awful sports debate show “Undisputed” on FSI featuring Skip Bayless cherry-picked only the part where Antetokounmpo was poking fun at Durant. Bayless made it seem like Antetokounmpo was really blasting Durant. In “The Daily Show” after-show posted online, Minhaj takes this incident and uses it to exquisitely explain what it is he hates about the media, and everything that’s wrong with someone like Bayless.

And, finally today, here’s an update from my Poynter colleague Angela Fu:

Despite uncertain market conditions, Lee Enterprises grew its digital revenue and subscriptions during the first quarter of the fiscal year, vice president and chief financial officer Tim Millage said Thursday.

The company, which owns 77 daily newspapers, generated a profit of $2 million in the quarter ending on Dec. 25. Lee generated $65 million in digital revenue, an increase of 17% compared to the same period last year. Digital-only subscriptions grew to 564,000, representing a 25% increase, while revenue from those subscriptions grew 56%. Total revenue, however, decreased 8% compared to the same period last year.

Citing “cyclical headwinds,” Millage said on an earnings call that Lee had made cuts to its print business over the past year. Those reductions include layoffs. The company ended fiscal year 2022 with 4,365 employees, down from 5,130 employees the previous year, according to its annual Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

“While we remain focused on operational excellence in reducing the cost structure of our legacy print business and growing profits, our main priority is to drive long term, sustainable, digital revenue growth,” Millage said.

In response to a shareholder question about whether Lee would decrease print days to cut costs, Millage said the company was looking at “all options.”

Lee stock closed at $17.70 Thursday, down from $18.65 the previous day.

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