The Daily Scoop: Reddit users protest major updates and The Athletic changes course

Plus: More news you can use today.

Some Reddit communities are fired up over issues of exorbitant developer fees coming to the app and the CEO’s response to outcry, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The online space has over 100,000 communities, dubbed subreddits, dedicated to every subject imaginable. Members in some of these spaces vowed to “remain dark” to protest costly fees with third-party Reddit apps, according to WSJ.

According to The Guardian, at least 3,000 communities set their status to private, effectively closing the forums. Some of these subreddits have tens of millions of subscribers. Technical issues surrounding the switch to private briefly took the entire site down Monday, NBC News reported.

Reddit Chief Executive Steve Huffman said in a post last week that Reddit needs to be a “self-sustaining business” and the platform cannot “subsidize commercial entities that require large-scale data use. “We respect when you and your communities take action to highlight the things you need, including, at times, going private.”

The article added that over 90% of Reddit’s third-party apps are eligible to use the company’s API at no cost.

“The cost for those required to pay is 24 cents for every 1,000 requests for data, effective July 1,” per the article. “Huffman said that amounts to less than $1 per user a month for a typical Reddit third-party app.”

However, others dispute these numbers. Christian Selig, developer of popular Reddit-browsing app Apollo, told The Guardian it would cost about $5 per user under the new system. He plans to shut the app down.

Why it matters: Reddit users are not happy with the upheaval that the app is going through.

While the CEO attempted to share the changes taking place on Reddit, Huffman’s comments are falling flat for the most part.

Commenter Meepster23 said that he’d like Huffman to talk about what went wrong in the announcement:

u/spez (Huffman), I’d like to give you a chance to respond to some of the communication failures around the proposed API changes and the misleading statements you, and the admins have made. I have a much more full write up here as well.”

He also said that, “The admins have failed reddit.”

Jordan117 agrees. He asked in the announcement post if Reddit leaders would move differently going forward.

“Will you step back from the brink and listen to this outcry from your core users? Or will you pull a Digg and drive the site off a cliff in myopic pursuit of short-term profit?”

Communicating about price changes is never fun. Yet explaining  thoroughly how these changes will impact the typical user (or not) can help lessen the blow, too.

While Huffman explained in detail what some of these changes mean, a lot of comments under his announcement showed that more needs to be done.

Also, how can miscommunication and cost discrepancies be cleared up between what Reddit is saying the new price point will be and what Selig said he would have to pay?

Stakeholders want to trust that what a company is saying is the full truth and nothing else. Reddit should go back to the drawing board with its announcement and start over. Re-emerge with a clearer communication over the matter and let people know the full scope of what’s happening minus the confusing announcement, which could be viewed as misleading.


The Athletic to layoff some staffers and change sports reporting format


The Athletic, the New York Times-owned, subscription-based sports news website, announced they would lay off 4% of their staff, or about 20 staffers, The Washington Post reported.

An additional 20 reporters will transfer from their present team coverage areas to new assignments. Some of the cuts include beat reporter jobs covering the NBA and MLB teams.

The change-up is a “departure” from The Athletic’s plans to have a reporter cover major league players from around the country –- an expensive feat with traveling and staff costs, per the article.

The Athletic wants to take a more “nuanced approach” to coverage.

“There is no perfect formula for determining which teams to cover, but we are committing dedicated beat reporters to the ones that most consistently produce stories that appeal to both large and news-hungry fan bases, as well as leaguewide audiences,” the email noted in the story.

Why it matters: The Athletic made big promises early on with wanting to provide “deep, immersive journalism and storytelling,” Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann -– creators of The Athletic in 2016 -– told The New York Times last January. Now with some beats changed and other reporters leaving, The Athletic is taking on an “evolving approach to coverage” while making bigger investments in the NFL and the English Premier League, which remain popular among readers.

However, the layoff email discussed getting rid of some reporters who cover the NHL and MLB, which have more local audiences, the article adds. The Athletic layoffs sting a bit differently as some local sports reporters were pulled away from hometown newspapers and opted to work at a place where now some have been laid off.

The Athletic was never shy about achieving its cutthroat mission despite the impact to local sports coverage.

“We will wait every local paper out and let them continuously bleed until we are the last ones standing,” Mather said in a 2017 interview with the New York Times, which later bought the business. “We will suck them dry of their best talent at every moment. We will make business extremely difficult for them.”

Now with efforts to scale back their operations, there will be gaps in some local sports coverage with efforts being made to still continue coverage with fewer staff. It’s another blow to the local and mid-size news outlets that have continued to see death by a thousand cuts over the last few decades. And, of course, fewer chances for PR pros to tell their stories through sports media.

Editor’s Picks:

  • Thirsty? Grab a rebranded 7-Eleven Slurpee, which is part of their “Anything Flows” campaign. The new “eccentric colors and eclectic vibes” were inspired by input from the Brainfreeze Collective, 7-Eleven’s 250,000 strong customer research group.
  • PFAS, also known as forever chemicals, can stay in a person’s body for years after being exposed to foods wrapped in material containing the matter. Brands like Burger King, McDonald’s Chick-fil-A and Cava have high PFAS levels in their wrappers.
  • Summer is just a few days away and already the travel industry is taking off this year as travelers are looking to visit destinations further from home, the Morning Consult reports. Thirty-three percent of adults will travel for fun this summer, too. While the industry is ready, brands “must keep an eye on costs,” which travelers look at before booking a trip.

Sherri Kolade is a writer at Ragan Communications. When she is not with her family, she enjoys watching Alfred Hitchcock-style films, reading and building an authentically curated life that includes more than occasionally finding something deliciously fried. Follow her on LinkedIn. Have a great PR story idea? Email her at 




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