Equal Pride

Pride Media, which owns Out, Advocate, Plus and Pride.com, is acquired by production company Equal Entertainment and rebrands as Equal Pride. The company says it will now become “the leading LGBTQ+ owned and certified voice to the LGBTQ+ community.” Since 2017, Pride Media was owned by Adam Levine, CEO of Los Angeles-based investment firm Orevea, who acquired it via a management-backed buyout of Here Publishing. Equal Pride will be helmed by Equal Entertainment founder Mark Berryhill, who was also president and senior executive producer at Celebrity Page TV & Network. Celebrity Page, along with the Reelz and Ovation cable channels, will be part of Equal Pride.

Higher Ground

Higher Ground, the production company founded in 2018 by Barack and Michelle Obama, signed on with Amazon’s Audible following its decision not to renew its contract with Spotify. One key reason behind the move may be that Audible offers some of its original material on other platforms, while Higher Ground’s content on Spotify was exclusive to the platform. In a June 21 statement, former First Lady Michelle Obama said that the new relationship with Audible will allow Higher Ground to “keep striving to tell compelling, provocative, and soulful stories — while doing everything we can to make sure they reach the folks who need to hear them.” Higher Ground’s contract with Spotify runs through October. The company also has an exclusive film and TV production deal with Netflix.

Mark Shields
Mark Shields

Mark Shields, the political columnist, advisor and commentator who was perhaps best known for his face-offs with David Brooks on the PBS NewsHour from 2001 to 2020, passed away on June 18. The pairing with Brooks was the capstone of a career that included stints on the campaign staffs of presidential candidates Edmund Muskie, Morris Udall, Sargent Shriver and Robert F. Kennedy, as well as working as an editorial writer for the Washington Post and an on-air contributor to Inside Washington and Capital Gang. While he was highly opinionated and would often hold to his beliefs with a bulldog-like tenacity, Shields was also known for something that is increasingly rare in the news media: an open mind. “He was interested in, not appalled by, encounters with people who saw the world through different lenses from the ones he used,” Michael Sean Winters wrote in the National Catholic Reporter. And Brooks, in a New York Times column written to mark Shields’ retirement from the NewsHour in 2020, wrote: “After decades in journalism, Mark still puts the character lens before the partisan lens. He has been quick to criticize Democrats when they are snobbish, dishonest or fail to live up to the standards of basic decency.”