March 29, 2017 Last Updated 8:36 am

Article 50 triggered as Britain heads into the unknown; Gannett cuts again, this time in Memphis

Morning Brief: The Independent, which went digital-only a year ago, is launching a new editorial feature called ‘In Fact” designed to combat fake news

The Twitter timeline on my iPhone sounded like the attendees at a funeral this morning. UK Prime Minister Theresa May had signed the letter triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and today Britain’s ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, hand-delivered over the letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels, thus beginning the formal process of separation.

Now, in Parliament, the prime minister laid out her vision of Britain outside the EU:

We all want to see a Britain that is stronger than it is today. We all want a country that is fairer so that everyone has the chance to succeed.

We all want a nation that is safe and secure for our children and grandchildren.

We all want to live in a truly global Britain that gets out and builds relationships with old friends and new allies around the world.

These are the ambitions of this government’s plan for Britain. Ambitions that unite us, so that we are no longer defined by the vote we cast, but by our determination to make a success of the result.

No one I know in the UK sees this as a possibility outside the EU, which is why they voted remain. Still, Britain voted Leave and the process has begun. This morning the pound is valued at $1.245 to the dollar. It was at $1.45 last summer just before the Brexit vote.

The Telegraph, Helena Horton:

‘We miss you already’: how newspapers around the world are reacting to Article 50

The decision the UK made to leave the EU is already being felt by countries around the world as well as our own.

People are trying to understand what will happen next – and some papers appear to think or hope there is a way back to Europe for us.

Many UK papers are celebrating Brexit today, and are looking forward to when Article 50 is finally triggered and negotiations can begin.

(Note from TNM: The Telegraph has been a strong supporter of Brexit.)

Just what is happening at Gannett is historic. Historic as in Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, a hurricane, or the plague.

Memphis Daily News, Andy Meek:

Gannett Cuts 30 Percent of Commercial Appeal Newsroom

The Commercial Appeal newsroom got around 30 percent smaller Tuesday, March 28, as a result of cuts made by the newspaper’s still relatively new corporate parent, Gannett Co. Inc.

The cuts – involving 20 positions out of a newsroom of 64, according to one staffer’s figure – were part of a reduction in newsrooms essentially statewide that Gannett implemented Tuesday, including cuts at the Knoxville News-Sentinel, The Tennessean and Murfreesboro’s The Daily News Journal.

Memphis Flyer, Toby Sells:

New Plan for Commercial Appeal To Be Unveiled Wednesday

Gannett Co., Inc. will unveil a new plan for its Tennessee newsrooms Wednesday in a town hall meeting with employees one day after several newsroom employees were let go at papers in Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville…

…Laura Hollingsworth, president of The Tennessean and of the USA Today Network – Tennessee, said in a Tuesday email to employees that reductions in the company’s newsrooms across Tennessee “was the first step as we re-secure and level-set our economic vitality to support our journalism.”

“We recognize that this has been a tough day, and we respect and appreciate the work of all our colleagues, especially those who have been impacted by these actions — through no fault of their own,” Hollingsworth said, calling the move a part of a “transformative strategy for the USA Today Network —Tennessee.”

The UK newspaper, The Independent, now digital-only, is launching a new feature designed to debunk fake news. “In Fact” will go live next month.

“Fake news can mean many things, from spin to outright lies and, in a certain world leader’s vocabulary, perfectly correct information that makes him look bad. Whichever way you define it, fake news is bad news,” said editor Christian Broughton. “It propagates ignorance and allows voters to be conned and manipulated. With its huge social media reach and reputation for independent assessment of the facts, The Independent is in a unique position to confront the phenomenon head-on. We’re calling on our readers and social media followers to help us on this one and flag any abuses of the truth they see – we’ll investigate as many of them as we can. It’s the natural next step after a year when we proved our doubters wrong and took The Independent to a position of global reach and influence.”

The newspaper also said that since its move to digital-only a year ago, the Indy’s digital audience has grown 71 percent to 96.5 million global uniques per month.

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