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In today’s email:

  • Media: Bad economy or existential crisis?
  • Chart: When railroads press pause.
  • Used undies: Can you compost them?
  • Around the web: Memory tricks, productivity browsers, Neanderthal food, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Jacob and Mark discuss an especially cold winter for media companies, the Swifties coming for Ticketmaster, an AI news roundup, and more.

The big idea
media logos

Media winter is coming

A prerequisite for working in media in the 21st century is tolerance for turmoil: Owners change at the drop of a hat, politicians and CEOs like Elon Musk start fights over coverage, AI is threatening to replace writers, and the pay — unless you’re a famous TV host — usually sucks.

Yet, even by those chaotic standards, the end of 2022 is shaping up to be a scary time for the industry.

Year-end layoffs are heating up

As former CNN personality Brian Stelter put it in an essay for The Atlantic, “Media Winter is here once more, and it is getting ugly.”

Last week:

  • CNN slashed 200+ jobs. 
  • Gannett, owner of USA Today and dozens of local newspapers, cut ~200 jobs, ~6% of news staff.
  • Paramount Global laid off ~30 employees.

Other media companies are just being stingy. NPR is cutting $10m+ from its budget and freezing hiring. New York Times reporters have threatened to strike if management doesn’t offer a contract with better wages by Dec. 8.

  • What’s behind the austerity? As usual, loss of ad revenue in an economic downturn.

But it’s not the only thing to blame

Many media companies got caught in the streaming bubble, per WSJ, investing billions in programming that’s not profitable and no longer popular with Wall Street.

There’s also an existential crisis at hand. Among the casualties of last week’s cuts were staffers of The Washington Post’s Sunday magazine, which will no longer publish, and CNN’s “Headline News.”

According to Stelter, we’ve witnessed a long obsolescence with these forms of traditional media. For products like “Headline News,” which specialized in “companion TV” coverage (a mix of live news and “Today” show-style features) — death has finally come.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

Oxford’s Word of the Year: Goblin mode — “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy” behavior that rejects social norms. “Metaverse” came in second. (Read our previous goblin coverage here.)

SNIPPETS

Warner Bros. Discovery execs are reportedly leaning toward the name “Max” for their upcoming merged streaming service.

The Swifties are suing: Following November’s ticketing mess, 26 Taylor Swift fans are suing Ticketmaster for “anticompetitive conduct.”

India is looking to make iPads. Apple recently began building iPhones there, and is increasingly diversifying production away from China.

Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield is leaving Salesforce, which bought Slack for $27.7B in 2021. One of many reasons: “I fantasize about gardening,” Butterfield explained.

On the AI front: Facebook Dating is testing face-scanning age verification, Adobe will sell AI-made stock images, and Stack Overflow has temporarily banned ChatGPT-generated content, which we discussed on yesterday’s pod.

Homeland Security has once again extended Real ID requirements for US travelers, this time to May 7, 2025.

Zenly, a French social mapping app that Snap acquired for $213m in 2017, will shut down in February.

TikTok influencer Katie Sigmond, once booted from a bowling alley for bowling with a pumpkin, was fined $285 for hitting a golf ball into the Grand Canyon.

Up your productivity: These tips and templates will help you purge procrastination and punch the metaphorical workplace clock with pride.

From the blog
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We broke down how to make a master budget for your business so you can spend less time on spreadsheets and more time making $$$.

Share The Hustle 🤠 →
chart
rail embargoes
Singdhi Sokpo Tweet this Image

We narrowly avoided a rail strike. Now what?

On Friday, President Biden signed a bill narrowly preventing a rail worker strike.

The US economy may be breathing a sigh of relief — such a strike could cost the country $2B+ a day — but many rail workers aren’t exactly pleased with the outcome.

For context, the rail industry operates under a system known as “precision-scheduled railroading” — PSR, for short. One aspect of PSR is driving efficiencies by transporting cargo on fewer but longer trains, which requires fewer workers.

  • In practice, this system leaves little to no room for things like flexible schedules and paid sick leave. That’s especially true for an industry that’s shed 29% of its workforce since 2016, and has seen embargoes skyrocket as a result.

The new deal was able to secure workers raises, among some other benefits, but not the paid sick leave workers were hoping for. “That fight isn’t over,” Biden said.

For more on how a rail strike would impact the economy, read our previous coverage.

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Free Resource

The rise of TRT and momternships

They are two niches of almost inverse interests, united by the legend known as Sam Parr, founder of The Hustle and Trends.

Here’s the quick on two upswingin’ industries:

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT): Sam has been a fervent fan, touting the outstanding quality of life perks since 2019. It’s less about getting swole, and more about staying whole.

Moms copping internships: Sam hired Edie (who still runs The Hustle’s ops today) because “she had a chip on her shoulder to kick ass + inspire her daughter.” Which inspired us to brainstorm startups serving working moms.

Trends is where 15k+ people go for exclusive market insights and growth-based discussions.

Get the content and community that helps you boost your business.

First week’s a buck →
Innovative Undies
compostable underwear

Can compostable undies prevent waste?

Clothes are often difficult to recycle and fill up landfills because they contain blended fabrics and plastics.

Some you can at least donate, repurpose, or swap — but typically not used underwear, ~11m pounds of which wind up in landfills daily.

So, what can be done?

Old underwear can be repurposed as padding, which D2C brands Knickey and Parade do with their takebacks.

But because demand for such materials is low, some companies are turning to compostable unmentionables, per Bloomberg.

LA-based Kent has sold 17.5k pairs since 2020.

  • They’re made from long-lasting pima cotton, and retail for ~$25 per pair.
  • You can compost them yourself or mail them to Kent to compost them for you. Research found they break down in ~90 days.

Sounds great, but…

… there are a few hurdles.

While not the most expensive underwear out there, eco-conscious brands are pricier than ~$11 six-packs from Amazon.

Those who’ll splurge for the environment may not have a compost bin, and many facilities don’t take clothes.

Alden Wicker, author of To Dye For: How Toxic Fashion is Making Us Sick, told Discover magazine she wouldn’t recommend composting fabric for food-growing soil until there are universal compost standards for textiles.

Those without bins can still use takeback programs, however, like Kent’s or The Big Favorite’s, whose ~$16-$32 undies are turned into yarn.

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AROUND THE WEB

🇺🇸 On this day: In 1884, workers completed the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, in honor of President George Washington.

🧠 That’s cool: Researchers found you may be able to improve your memory by playing crossword puzzles.

⏲️ Useful: LifeAt turns your browser into a workspace with backgrounds, white noise and ambient music, timers, to-do lists, and more.

🔥 That’s interesting: What Neanderthals cooked 70k years ago was surprisingly complex and included a variety of techniques.

👅 Aww: Hey, you got any treats?

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Metaverse goblin” Dent.

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