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Elizabeth Spiers: Step Down, Joanne

0821spierslipman.jpgDamn. FishbowlNY alum Elizabeth Spiers, writing in The New Republic, argues that Condé Nast should kick Joanne Lipman out of Portfolio… and bring in Tina Brown. The ex-Gawker and ex-Dealbreaker spends much of the piece playing armchair editor, but brings up some important points:

  • “That Portfolio hasn’t taken advantage of its opportunity is probably a reflection of editor-in-chief Joanne Lipman’s background, which most famously consists of launching The Wall Street Journal‘s “Weekend Journal,” a lifestyle-oriented section that had little to do with covering hard business stories. And Portfolio‘s flaws seem to be rooted in its editor’s entrenched habits from doing a very different sort of journalism.”

  • “There’s still the dumbing down, some of which is impossible to distinguish from the editorial staff’s inability to parse the issue themselves. Take the first essay, by Kevin Maney, “Bipolar Nation.” [...] “Both coasts are hot at the same time, which is weird,” says Maney. Weird to whom, exactly? Anyone besides the editors at Portfolio?”

  • “Inasmuch as Portfolio is able to generate original stories, they’re unimportant–i.e., the story about a contract dispute between Dick Snyder (who hasn’t done anything of note since he got pushed out of Simon & Schuster) and Edgar Bronfman Jr. (a living, breathing example of the dangers of nepotism who will be forever walking around with Barry Diller‘s tire tracks on his forehead) that basically boils down to this: there was no actual contract, and the dispute affects no one except the two aforementioned parties.”

  • Portfolio doesn’t add value to existing stories: Reviewing Mitt Romney‘s business background is useless if you can’t get him to tell you where he’s going to come down on controversial economic issues. What’s more, it over-explains things that would only need explaining to readers who consume no other business news, have no business background, and possibly, double-digit IQs.”

    But why Tina Brown? According to Spiers, “if you’re going to do a Vanity Fair for business, maybe you need an ex-Vanity Fair editor.”

    — Neal Ungerleider

  • …And The Dow Jones Exodus Begins

    0821ingrassia.jpgThe much-speculated on exodus of Dow Jones vets from the post-News Corp. outfit is underway. VP Paul Ingrassia is retiring. Although he told Reuters in an interview that his depature was unrelated to Rupert Murdoch‘s purchase, it might have something to do with it anyway:

    “I will be leaving probably after the first of the year,” Ingrassia said in a brief phone interview. “There just didn’t seem to be an appropriate place for me in the company.” He also said he did not see “any role that really excited me” at Dow Jones.

    Ingrassia, a Wall Street Journal veteran who formerly headed up Dow Jones Newswires, has been serving as Dow Jones’ VP for News Strategy since 2006.

    — Neal Ungerleider

    Gossip Item Of The Day

    0820huffington.jpgIf the Daily News is right, Arianna Huffington and Cory Booker are dating. From Rush & Molloy:

    “Tough-minded pundit Arianna Huffington may have found a politician she approves of. Word is that the Huffington Post founder has been quietly dating Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Huffington didn’t respond to several e-mails. Hizzoner’s spokeswoman told us, “We don’t comment on his personal life.”… One person bound to take an interest in the talk is TV reporter (and Oprah pal) Gayle King, who has regularly turned up on Booker’s arm at events where Huffington is also a guest.

    — Neal Ungerleider

    Camping… With A Butler? The State Of The Trend Piece

    0820tent.jpgThe trend of “glamping” (glamorous camping) was the subject of a story in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times. Several resorts in the United States and Canada offer what’s variously called “luxury camping” or “soft adventure.” The piece by reporter Kimi Yoshino focuses on The Resort at Paws Up, a Montana resort that offers luxury tents with electricity, linen beddings and the services of a “camping butler.” It’s also one of the best pieces of trend journalism we’ve seen in a while—several widespread tricks of the trade we’ve seen in the New York Times, Washington Post and other newspapers all converge here.

    So let’s take a look at this article and find out exactly what we can learn from it.

    Read more

    Time Inc., Essence Launch Internet Television

    0820essence.jpgWhile noone was looking, Essence and parent company Time Inc. pulled off a move that could have major ramifications down the line. Essence is launching an internet television division headed up by former MTV VP Lesley Pinckney and magazine vet Jen Doman. It appears their agenda is based around creating long form internet tv content, starting with a reality show, 30 Dates in 30 Days (pictured):

    As the industry’s first interactive, online reality dating show, 30 Dates in 30 Days pairs five single women with six eligible bachelors each, for a week’s worth of dates. Viewers will watch the dates and select who they think each woman should choose. The show culminates with a group-date event featuring the viewer-matched couples.

    A few things to note here. This follows right on the heels of Hearst deciding to create video shorts for Essence, one of the lower-profile properties in the Time Inc. stable, essentially just beat Cosmo at the internet video game. If these new shows can be turned into a profit- and click-generating venture, EIC Angela Burt-Murray will have significantly increased pull at Time Inc. In addition, the company will have a template for creating upgraded internet tv content at, among others, Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and People.


    — Neal Ungerleider

    Jack Shafer Vs. Keith J. Kelly

    0820shafer.jpgIt’s a battle royale of the media reporter stars. In Slate, Jack Shafer accuses Post media reporter Keith J. Kelly of pulling punches on coverage of labor issues at the Wall Street Journal ever since News Corp. launched their takeover bid:

    In the old days, the Post would have commemorated the union’s agitprop with a headline such as “WSJ Staffers Take a Hike, Send Love Letter.” But the paper ignored the demo. This was in keeping with the blind eye the paper turned on a June 29 union protest, in which Wall Street Journal reporters skipped work in the morning to oppose Murdoch’s bid for Dow Jones and demand a better contract. It’s tough for any publication to report on itself or about its owners, yet Murdoch’s ownership of the Post didn’t discourage the tabloid from covering in detail the progress of the Dow Jones deal. That the New York Post no longer wishes to kick the union anthill now that the ants work for Murdoch should come as no surprise.

    In other Jack Shafer news, his review of Robert Novak‘s memoir for the Times is well worth a look.

    — Neal Ungerleider

    Leona Helmsley Dead At 87

    0820helmsley.jpgLeona Helmsley has passed away at the age of 87 from heart failure. Over at the New York Times/City Room, Sewell Chan (with assistance from Roja Heydarpour) was the first out of the gate with a proper obituary within an hour of Howard Rubinstein‘s formal announcement. At press time, the Daily News is running with an AP Wire story (and the Post only opted for a one sentence blurb).

    From Rubinstein’s statement:

    “Leona was a great businesswoman in her own right who created a tremendous brand and success with Helmsley Hotels and was a wonderful partner and wife to Harry Helmsley,” Mr. Rubenstein said in a statement. “She was extremely generous as a philanthropist and she gave tens of millions of dollars to charity right up until the last months of her life. I was very proud to represent her for so many years. Her family and many friends and business associates are deeply saddened by her death and will miss her greatly.”

    — Neal Ungerleider

    Col Allan’s Aussie Stripper Adventure

    0820scores.jpgPerfect. It’s not every day that Post EIC Col Allan sets off an international scandal, complete with strippers and born-again Christian politicians. Back in 2003, Allan went to strip club Scores with Australian shadow foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd, a religious Christian who’s tipped to become the country’s next prime minister. All well and good… It’s understandable that Rupert Murdoch would have an interest in Allan wining and dining an influential Aussie politician; it’s also understandable that Allan, an Australian, would want to spend time with Rudd.

    Then Syndey’s Sunday Telegraph broke the story that Rudd got a bit too excited at the club. In fact, Scores management kicked Rudd and fellow guest MP Warren Snowdon out for “inappropriate behavior” which apparently included being a bit too grabby with the dancers. Now the Australian press is having a field day with the story. Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer is suspected of leaking the story to the Telegraph.

    — Neal Ungerleider

    Tennis Magazine Used Sockpuppets On Blogs?

    0820ethicist.jpgIn this week’s edition of The Ethicist, a college student who interned at a national magazine asked Randy Cohen for advice. Nick McCarvel wrote that “my editor asked me to post comments on one of the magazine’s online blogs, being sure not to mention my working for the magazine but to write in a style that suggests I’m a reader. That felt dirty to me. Advice?”

    Of course, Cohen was aghast that a magazine would make an intern work in sockpuppetry and used Whole Foods’ John Mackey as an example of when the practice goes wrong. But what was the publication?

    A quick turn on Google indicated it was Tennis magazine, which was later confirmed by McCarvel via e-mail.

    Judging by the writing on McCarvel’s blog, he has a bright career in sports journalism ahead of him. Meanwhile, Cohen reports that the editor in question at Tennis no longer works at the magazine.

    — Neal Ungerleider

    Seth MacFarlane, Google Ink Deal

    0817familyguy.pngHere’s something with wide ramifications for the (many) publications that rely on Google AdSense for online ad sales. Google has inked a deal to run internet videos over AdSense. The initial roster for Google’s online advertising videos: Original cartoons from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and live action shorts from That’s So Raven star Raven-Symone.

    The shorts will appear in a video box that users would click on to start and would be bundled with banner advertising and video ad. Meanwhile, the choice of websites these would appear on is up to AdSense and financiers Media Rights Capital.

    No word on launch date or on the terms of the deal just yet.

    — Neal Ungerleider

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