Lauren Fisher is the Chief Legal Officer at Vox Media, where she oversees the company’s legal and business affairs. Fisher is a member of the Board of Directors of the News/Media Alliance.
Journalism is foundational to our democracy. The stories we tell and the voices we amplify across Vox Media’s newsrooms and newsrooms across the country are vital sources of information. We’re at a pivotal moment in journalism and tech, as misinformation and conspiracy theories have gained traction across social platforms and, increasingly, mainstream news outlets. Our audiences are looking for and rely on us as sources of truth.
We’ve seen the industry change, along with the way that we all consume our news: from the nightly news broadcasts and local print newspapers that defined my childhood to the growth of digital news sites and social media platforms. Like many media organizations, Vox Media’s brands have been agile in the wake of this change: our brands such as Vox and The Verge were among the first to be truly successful digital-only news sites, and NowThis, for example, was developed with social media platforms in mind.
Although we’ve adapted our business to keep up with consumer preferences, Big Tech platforms such as Google and Facebook continue to benefit tremendously from quality publisher content, but don’t pay fairly for it based on the value the content drives to their platforms – including audiences and advertising dollars. Publishers have little choice but to play by Big Tech’s rules: their ever-changing algorithms are designed to keep audiences consuming content on their proprietary platforms instead of ours, and they sell ads against our content without fairly sharing revenue. Journalism should be an industry that is compensated for the value created and provided. This is in the public interest.
The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), introduced in both the House and the Senate, seeks to ensure that publishers will be compensated fairly for their content. It will require that the platforms negotiate with the publishers and establish an equitable compensation model for how media companies are compensated for their work. Recently-enacted laws in Australia and the European Union have begun to balance the scales for publications of varying size, strengthening the industry. Canada and the United Kingdom are also considering legislation to support journalism and bring Big Tech to the negotiating table.
The JCPA was favorably reported out of Committee in the Senate in September with bipartisan support. While some have voiced legitimate critiques of this legislation, we believe it’s an important step toward leveling the playing field and bringing tech companies to the negotiating table. For this reason, as a media company and major publisher, we support this critical legislation and ask that it be brought to the floor for a vote. We’re in a dynamic industry and find ourselves at yet another inflection point – in this case, there’s a path forward that bolsters journalism, content creation, and our democracy.
About Vox Media
Vox Media is the leading modern media company, reaching audiences everywhere they are.
Known for editorial properties including Vox, SB Nation, New York Magazine, The Dodo, and NowThis, the company’s portfolio features the most relevant, respected, and engaging editorial properties and voices. The company is also home to award-winning storytelling businesses such as Vox Media Studios and the Vox Media Podcast Network, as well as innovative technologies that support the entire media industry, including the Concert advertising marketplace.
Vox Media proves that quality can scale.