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Alex Weprin

Alex Weprin is a senior editor at Mediabistro. He has written about television for Broadcasting & Cable magazine, Cynopsis: Weekender and other outlets, and is a big New York Mets fan. You can follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/alexweprin

Larry Kramer: No Plans For a ‘USA Today’ Paywall

USA Today publisher Larry Kramer says that the company has no plans to institute a paywall at the national paper’s website, even as the company continues to examine future revenue models. Kramer made the comments during a conversation with Washington Post CEO Don Graham at the Business Insider Ignition conference in New York.

“I don’t want to charge [online] for USA Today right now, I don’t think it is the right thing to do, and there is so much national news out there,” Kramer said. “I think we would lose more than we would gain.”

Kramer also talked about efforts he has taken to change the business and culture of the Gannett paper since taking over as publisher in May.

“The best of our work had been in the newspaper, and I had to change the structure of the staff so they were producing for the digital platform first, and then the newspaper,” Kramer said.

He also mentioned the innovative strategy the paper was taken with its sports coverage.

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Jill Abramson: NY Times CEO Mark Thompson ‘Full Of Energy And Ideas’

New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson says she and new Times CEO Mark Thompson have a strong relationship, and that in meetings, Thompson “seems full of energy and ideas.” She added that she has “every confidence [in Thompson] as CEO.” Abramson made the comments at the Business Insider Ignite conference in New York.

Thompson has only been at the helm of the Times for two weeks, but he is under intense scrutiny due to a scandal that erupted at his former employer, the BBC. Thompson was the director general of the BBC when an investigative report that would reveal a major pedophilia scandal at the company was quashed. Thompson maintained that he had no involvement in killing the story.

“The people who have been saying he perhaps isn’t the best choice for the best job are the public editor, who does not actually work in the newsroom, and one of our columnists, who work for the editorial page,” Abramson said, adding ” I don’t think the public editor looked at our coverage.

I certainly have had a team of reporters in New York and London reporting on this story, and we have done a number of lengthy enterprise pieces on the unfolding issues in the BBC investigation,” Abramson added.

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The New York Times Wants To Keep Nate Silver, ‘Expand On What He Does’

At the Business Insider Ignite media summit in New York, New York Times editor Jill Abramson said that she “would love” to keep FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver in the company through at least the next election.

“He got huge, huge readership. Half the people coming [to NYTimes.com] searched for Nate, they weren’t coming for the rest of the Times, they came for him,” Abramson said. “You hope they will be tantalized by other things on the buffet table.”

Abramson says that the Times could help Silver expand beyond the data-based political reporting for which he has become a household name:

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Spike Lee: My First Big Break

In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “My First Big Break,” we talk to legendary filmmaker Spike Lee.

While Lee is well-known for his movies, did you know that if it wasn’t for NBA superstar Michael Jordan and a pair of Nike Air Jordan sneakers, Lee–and Nike–might not be the icons they have become today? It all came down to a risky commercial shoot.

“So Michael Jordan could easily have said, ‘I can’t take a chance on this young gun, this young boy, just give me the reels of the top guys on Madison Avenue.’ But Michael Jordan didn’t do that,” the Red Hook Summer director recalls. “For some reason, he decided to give me a shot. And the commercial I did with Michael Jordan ended up being some of the greatest campaigns ever in the history of advertising and Nike took off.”

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Spike Lee: My First Big Break

In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “My First Big Break,” we talk to legendary filmmaker Spike Lee.

While Lee is well-known for his movies, did you know that if it wasn’t for NBA superstar Michael Jordan and a pair of Nike Air Jordan sneakers, Lee–and Nike–might not be the icons they have become today? It all came down to a risky commercial shoot.

“So Michael Jordan could easily have said, ‘I can’t take a chance on this young gun, this young boy, just give me the reels of the top guys on Madison Avenue.’ But Michael Jordan didn’t do that,” the Red Hook Summer director recalls. “For some reason, he decided to give me a shot. And the commercial I did with Michael Jordan ended up being some of the greatest campaigns ever in the history of advertising and Nike took off.”

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

DISH CEO Pooh Poohs Idea That AMC Shows Will be Back On DISH Anytime Soon

Eliot Spitzer, Michael Buffer and Glenn Beck

At a bizarre press conference here in New York, the CEO of satellite TV company DISH Network said that there did not appear to be an end in sight regarding the ongoing carriage feud between DISH and AMC Networks.

The CEO, Joseph Clayton, was asked point blank whether AMC programming would be on DISH anytime soon. “Not that I am aware of,” was his brief retort.

Clayton was ostensibly there to promote a debate between Current TV host Eliot Spitzer and former Fox News host Glenn Beck, but DISH’s other PR incidents were also prominently featured. The other big controversy is over “Auto-hop,” a DISH DVR service that automatically skips commercials for viewers.

“Do you want someone telling you can’t skip commercials in the privacy of your own home? Are you kidding me? Come on,” Clayton said. “I don’t know how the courts will rule on this, but I know in the court of public opinion we have already won this one.”

Beck concurred with Clayton.

“[Commercials] are important, but they don’t work the way they did in 1955, it is not the 1950’s anymore, it isn’t even the same century anymore,” Beck said. “It has to be innovative.”

The Huffington Post Fetes iPad Magazine ‘Huffington.’ At New York Shindig

Credit: Dario Cantatore

The Huffington Post held a garden party to celebrate the launch of its new iPad magazine, “Huffington,” Last night. FishbowlNY was there at the Gramercy Park Hotel rooftop bar, along with a few hundred of Arianna Huffington‘s friends, staffers and a few famous faces.

We spotted Huffington Post Media Group editorial director Howard Fineman, Huffington Post editor Roy Sekoff, HuffPost’s Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Wood and NBC News president Steve Capus in the crowd, among other well-dressed and well-heeled guests.

Huffington and Tim O’Brien, who is overseeing the venture for the company, made brief remarks:

“You may be asking ‘why a magazine?’ well the answer is that now The Huffington Post has 1,500 stories a day, about 70 to 80 of them original, and we found that we needed to pull the best, and put them in a beautiful setting like jewels, so that you could enjoy them when you had time over the weekend,” Huffington said. “It is the difference between a one-night stand and a long getaway weekend where you really get to know someone.”

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Glenn Beck Shows Off His New Dallas Studio

As we have noted, former Fox News host and GBTV founder Glenn Beck recently moved his studio from New York to Dallas, Texas.

One of the biggest benefits of being in Texas is the space. There’s lots of it. GBTV is putting that space to effective use, building out its studio in ways that could not be done in New York. Among them is a new area where Beck will promote advertisers and sponsors, taking the formula that has worked on radio for 100 years and trying to make it transfer to video.

There is also a full-size replica of the Oval Office, featuring replicas of The Resolute Desk and the Oval Office rug. Some of the props even came from the set of Oliver Stone‘s film “JFK.”

Watch Beck show off his new studio in this exclusive video:

Ever Wondered What Happened to the Prop Oval Office from the Film JFK? Glenn Beck Bought It

Former Fox News host and GBTV founder Glenn Beck recently moved his studio from New York to Dallas, Texas.

One of the biggest benefits of being in Texas is the space. There’s lots of it. GBTV is putting that space to effective use, building out its studio in ways that could not be done in New York. Case in point: there is a full-size replica of the Oval Office, featuring replicas of The Resolute Desk and the Oval Office rug. Many of the props came from the set of Oliver Stone‘s film JFK.

Watch Beck show off his new studio in this exclusive video:

Glenn Beck: My First Big Break


In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “My First Big Break,” we hear from radio personality, author, former Fox News host and GBTV founder Glenn Beck. While he has found tremendous success across many different forms of media, did you know that he almost left the business to go to cooking school? If it wasn’t for a heart-to-heart conversation with his father, he may never have found his professional voice.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

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