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The Menu

Today on the Menu: Babble Founder Sees Growth in Adv. Resources

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Today’s guest was Babble co-founder Rufus Griscom, who with the help of his wife Alisa Volkman has grown the alternative parenting site into a 3.5 million unique visitor per month behemoth that attracts advertisers from Proctor & Gamble to Bugaboo Strollers.

Griscom’s Web presence started with Nerve.com in the late 90s &#151 the site’s revenue became the start-up funding for Babble. But the idea for Babble, as Griscom put it, may have had something to do with the couple’s recently born child. Today you’ll find stories of parenting taboo, how-to, and much more.

With growth comes advertising. What once was home to niche brands like Bugaboo &#151 a pre-recession perk &#151 is now the landing pad for more of your everyday products like diapers, batteries and the like. Griscom thinks this is in part due to the recession. Click play to hear how he and his wife turned an idea into a career they’ve both found success with.

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Today on the Menu: Tiger’s PR Claws Itself, Jim Lehrer Steps Aside, DVRs Are Killing Leno, Nook Selling on eBay

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It’s the first day back from a balmy Thanksgiving, and I had no idea about Tiger Woods‘ so-far-scandal-free car crash. Much to the dismay of my colleagues, I managed to stay far away from the story. But in case you hadn’t heard, he crashed his SUV after 2 a.m. this weekend, near his home. Rumors of infidelity are afoot.

Jim Lehrer has been anchoring the PBS Newshour for 25 years, and now it’s time to step aside.

Jay Leno is losing his audience to the DVR, not unlike when live entertainers lost their audiences to the squawk box.

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Today on the Menu: Gossip!

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(by Jason Boog)

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was former Page Six reporter Corynne Steindler, talking about 21st Century gossip reporting and her new senior reporting job at Bonnie Fuller’s Hollywood Life.

“I think it’s a bit of a misconception that all gossip stories come from publicists. That’s something that I’ve been trying to fight down for awhile now,” she explained. “At Hollywood Life we don’t have a quota or a column to fill, we post continuously all day. So our stories can come from anyplace–a celebrity Twitter account, a news story that’s already breaking … we can do it in real time. I don’t think there’s anybody who just talks to the Post or just talks to the Daily News.”

She also talked about her time at Page Six, the center of the gossip universe: “I learned so much from working at the Post. I don’t know what to say about old guard/new guard, I think everyone has sort of a different take on what they think is interesting, what they think is news. If anything, the Post is an institution in itself and how it operates. I wish that everyone in their 20s can go and learn from that staff. It was such an amazing experience,” she concluded.

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Today on the Menu: ‘New Moon’ FTW, Rupert’s Plan Emerges, Al Roker Kills TODAY Staff (in new book)

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It’s a couple days before Thanksgiving and things are heating up as America prepares to put on 10 pounds. Need proof? Rupert Murdoch‘s seemingly incoherent ramblings appear were assuaged by news that News Corp. and Microsoft may be in discussions to pen a deal that would pay the newser to pull out of Google.

Al Roker is a weatherman, TV personality, loser of weight and now an author. The ‘TODAY’ (NBC) and ‘Wake up with Al’ (Weather Channel) host has written the first in a series of murder mystery books. The first installment is entitled The Morning Show Murders: A Novel and is set on the set of ‘TODAY’. This simple twist could prove hilarious, and as Menu host Jason Boog points out, may provide a nice segue for Roker’s eventual departure from weathermandom.

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Today on the Menu: Talent is Overrated, Which Means You Should Practice More

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Today’s guest was author and Fortune Editor-at-large Geoff Colvin, whose book ‘Talent is Overrated‘ leans on 30 years of scientific evidence to show that our belief that talent is inherent is misplaced. According to Colvin (and aforementioned research) talent tends to be fleeting whereas true skill is honed over hours and hours of training. The best example of this is probably Tiger Woods.

Practically speaking this means we can all aspire to greatness, with enough training. How much? If you believe Malcolm Gladwell, 1,000 hours a year (or about 3 hours per day) for 10 years. Sounds daunting because it is &#151 and ultimately it means most of us will only be marginally proficient despite our aspirations for greatness. Moral of the story, says Colvin: practice.

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Today on the Menu: Rupert Murdoch’s Gaffes Explained

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Today we’re joined by PRNewser Editor Joe Ciarallo who helps explain which of Rupert Murdoch‘s latest gaffes have been the most hurtful. If you hadn’t heard, Murdoch said of New York Governor David Patterson “With a governor who’s a very nice, honest man who’s blind and can’t read braille and doesn’t really know what’s going on. It’s not a joke, it’s a tragedy we’re facing at the moment.”

Ciarallo, formerly of New York based digital communications agency Horn Group, says this more personal comment (and another where he agrees with Glenn Beck‘s notions that President Obama has at times demonstrated racist behavior) are less problematic than his more recent interview with Australian Sky News, wherein he claims that News Corp. will pull its titles out of Google. Ciarallo alleges that the departure of Murdoch’s lead publicist Gary Ginsberg could tie in to the News Corp. leader’s slate of off-putting commentary.

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Today on the Menu: Scary Movie Writer Lady Talks Horror, Infrustructur(ist)

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Not only is America’s infrastructure in ruins, but we’re also in the midst of a horror film pandemic! Who better to discuss this volatile juxtaposition than Melissa Lafsky, horror-movie-lover-and-reviewer slash (heh) Editor in Chief of Infrastructurist, America’s first news source dedicated to America’s infrastructure.

At the Awl, Lafsky famously pens reviews of films like “The Fourth Kind” &#151 a Milla Jovovich alien-abduction flick that plays on the mysterious state of Alaska (Paliens!). Read her kick-ass write-up, here.

Infrastructurist is not a word, but it is a Web site where things like “why America sorta sucks at bridges, trains, et al” are discussed. Sound boring? It probably could be, if not penned by the likes of Lafsky. Let’s be honest &#151 anyone who can tie Malcolm Gladwell into a horror film review is best suited for making other, less obviously worthwhile subjects, worth reading. Anyone living or who has lived in New York (America’s only city that could ban cars and do just fine) knows what we’re talking about.

Also, without counting, how many times did I write “America” in this post?

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The Menu: Levi Johnston’s Back Inside his Shell, Printing Presses are Now, YouTube Opens Citizen Journo Page (Eh hem, Crowdsourcing)

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So Levi Johnston‘s genitalia will not be on display via Playgirl.com. We didn’t know that as of 9 a.m. this morning when The Menu went live, but the topic of Johnston and Sarah Palin‘s new book dominated the conversation. If those things don’t interest you, move right along. We did, however, have FishbowlNY Editor Amanda Ernst on &#151 she had the only interview with the Playgirl editor whose job it was to, um, warm Johnston up before the shoot. Using conversation, sick-o’s.

But there is a larger question here about how semi-celebs who happen to be a hot topic and presumed-dead-publications can help one another. Without a doubt, Johnston’s most recent “work” will attract attention from certain portions of our community who enjoy young shirtless dudes laying on a bed of roses or hockey pucks or whatever. That said, does Johnston’s brand belong to the gays? For his future’s sake, we hope so. Look what they did for Kathy Griffin. Humor > Sex Appeal?

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Today on the Menu: 26/11 Attacks Put to Paper

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November 26th of this year marks the one year anniversary of the attacks on Mumbai that killed some 173 people and all but one attacker. In the 12 months that have followed the plot has been unraveled and a trial aiming to punish the guilty is all but complete. The Virginia Quarterly Review will, over the next few days, publish a serialized version of the story by freelance border-crossing reporter Jason Motlagh, who penned a nearly 20,000 word story on the year that followed the attacks.

Normally working out of southern Afghanistan, Motlagh siphoned through rumor, innuendo and plethora reports on the matter &#151 hoping to gain a clear picture of the net effect. From dehumanizing attackers to the very human outcome, Motlagh’s piece is a return to long form that has been all but lost in today’s sound-byte-happy world. Listen to Motlagh discuss his tactics, challenges and accomplishments in this conversation with GalleyCat Editor Jason Boog and AgencySpy’s Matt Van Hoven.

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Today on the Menu: Business Expands Abroad, Bloomberg Covers the Growth

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Today we had as a guest Ron Henkoff, a guy you probably didn’t know was portrayed in the recent Matt Damon film, “The Informant!” Henkoff somewhat famously was the first reporter to interview Damon’s character during a price-fixing scandal that landed his peers (and later, himself) in prison for various white collar crimes. Though he was writing for Fortune then (he spent 10 years there), he’s now the Editor of Bloomberg Markets, whose parent company just absorbed BusinessWeek.

Henkoff discusses the nature of business coverage during a recession, the need for in-depth reporting and how that strengthens his publication’s editorial fortitude. Having uncovered business-misbehavior in public and private scenarios, Bloomberg’s ability to effect change is well known. But to stay ahead of the curve they cover the events and people who push the financial world forward. Listen as Galleycat’s Editor Jason Boog and I get an education on the business of finance.

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