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2:40 AM ET, January 29, 2020


 Top News: 
Dylan Byers / NBC News:
EIC Ben Smith is leaving BuzzFeed in early March to join NYT to write the Media Equation column made famous by David Carr  —  Smith will serve as the writer of the publication's “Media Equation” column, which became a must-read for media industry insiders under the David Carr, who died in 2015.
Margaret Sullivan / Washington Post:
Ben Smith turned BuzzFeed News, once seen as a clickbait factory, into an outlet that was twice a Pulitzer finalist and a winner of the George Polk Award  —  His name is so closely associated with BuzzFeed News that his Twitter handle is BuzzFeedBen.  —  But Ben Smith — who turned …
Mary Louise Kelly / New York Times:
Journalists don't interview senior government officials to score political points, but rather to share the answers to tough questions when the stakes are high  —  Journalists are supposed to ask tough questions, then share the answers — or lack thereof — with the world.
Ted Johnson / Deadline:
Trump praises Pompeo for his behavior with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly: “That was very impressive....I think you did a good job on her, actually.”  —  At a White House ceremony with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump noted the presence of Pompeo and said, “That was very impressive.
Bill Chappell / NPR:
NPR's CEO announces the outlet is asking the State Department to explain why it denied credentials for an NPR reporter to travel with Mike Pompeo to Europe  —  NPR is asking the State Department to explain its decision to deny an NPR reporter press credentials to travel with Secretary …
Brian Stelter / CNN:
NPR's Michele Kelemen has been removed from Mike Pompeo's press pool for a trip to UK and Ukraine, a few days after Pompeo responded angrily to an NPR interview
Ted Johnson / Deadline:
WaPo reinstates reporter Felicia Sonmez after her suspension following her tweets about a rape allegation against Kobe Bryant and her response to backlash  —  The Washington Post said it has reinstated political reporter Felicia Sonmez, who was suspended for a series of tweets about Kobe Bryant …
Peter Kafka / Vox:25 minutes ago
Casino operator Penn National Gaming buying 36% stake in Barstool Sports; deal values Barstool at $450M and lets Penn National buy a controlling stake later  —  Barstool Sports co-founder Dave Portnoy in 2018 |  Penn National Gaming is buying the online publisher — which can thank sports betting, and the Supreme Court for the deal.
Hollywood Reporter:
Sources: Netflix is expected to lay off 15+ people from its marketing department this week, a small portion of its overall employee count of around 6,900  —  Sources say at least 15 people are expected to exit this week as the company moves to better advertise the service rather than its individual shows.
Jennifer Elias / CNBC:
Chair of US House climate committee sends Sundar Pichai letter requesting a plan by February 7 to address climate misinformation, specifically on YouTube  —  - Climate Committee Chair Kathy Castor penned a letter to Google, requesting the company take action against disinformation related to climate change.
Keith J. Kelly / New York Post:
Xana Antunes, a top editor at Quartz and former editor at NY Post, Fortune/CNN Money, Crain's New York Business, and CNBC, has died at 55 after cancer battle  —  Former New York Post chief Xana Antunes, who was an executive editor at Quartz for the past six years, passed away on Monday following a battle with pancreatic career.
Anthony Ha / TechCrunch:
News startup Scroll debuts today with ad-free access to ~300 partners, including BuzzFeed News, BI, and Vox, for $2.49/mo. for first six months then $4.99/mo.  —  After a long period of invite-only beta testing, Scroll is officially launching today, offering ad-free access to sites like BuzzFeed News …
Geoffrey Fowler / Washington Post:
Facebook says its Off-Facebook Activity tool, which lets users clear all the data passed onto Facebook by other apps and sites, is now available globally  —  The new ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ tool reminds us we're living in a reality TV program where the cameras are always on.
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 More News: 
Salvador Rodriguez / CNBC:
Facebook shares proposed bylaws for its oversight board, which some have called a content moderation “supreme court”, that leave Facebook firmly in control
Kayleigh Barber / Digiday:
Vox Media Podcast Network generates $10M+ a year in revenue from its 200+ shows; Vox Media president says the goal is to double podcast revenue in 2020
Nicholas Quah / Nieman Lab:
Podcast analytics group Podsights raises $1.5M; it helps advertisers track the impact of their buys on podcasts, and its clients include NYT, NPR, and Wondery
Knight Foundation:
CUNY Center for Community Media announces national expansion to support outlets providing coverage of underrepresented people and issues with $1.45M in funding
Craig Newmark Philanthropies donates $1M to ProPublica for its Electionland collaboration and related reporting on voting issues around the 2020 US elections
Discussion: @jessicashortall
Charlotte Tobitt / Press Gazette:
The Times and Sunday Times to launch digital ad-free talk radio station in partnership with radio group Wireless, which is also owned by News UK
Dylan Byers / @dylanbyers:
Former Fox News executive producer Jennifer Williams named head of editorial video strategy for Facebook News
 Earlier Picks: 
The Citizen Lab:
A link to a site with NSO Group's Pegasus spyware was sent to NYT journalist Ben Hubbard by an operator tied to Saudi Arabia who also targeted Saudi dissidents
Sara Fischer / Axios:
Facebook is investing $700K in news orgs, hosting a second Local News Summit in March, expanding its Instagram news fellowships to ~20 outlets
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Flipboard will now feature local news coverage in 23 cities in US and Canada and start recommending stories based on IP address
David Bauder / Associated Press:
AP held “townhall” meetings on racial sensitivity in its journalism after it was slammed for mistakenly cropping out an African climate activist on Friday