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James Crugnale

Morning Media Newsfeed: CNN Lays Off 40 | Yglesias Departs Slate | Businessweek Cuts Back?

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CNN Lays Off More Than 40 Journalists (The Financial Times)
CNN has laid off more than 40 senior journalists in its newsgathering operation — including a pregnant producer who was two weeks away from giving birth to twins — as part of a reorganization of the business under Jeff Zucker. The lay-offs at CNN and HLN, its sister network, were concentrated in Washington, Atlanta and Los Angeles at the end of 2013. Poynter / MediaWire The cuts “coincide with changes to the network’s programming,” Matthew Garrahan reports in the Financial Times. Zucker “has hired new presenters and diversified CNN’s output, adding documentary and reality series to its traditional live news coverage.” TVNewser At the time of the layoffs — which number in the dozens — a source told TVNewser there would be no reduction in headcount in the cities most affected. Our source says changes in Los Angeles are related to a planned expansion of the entertainment unit. In recent weeks CNN has churned out entertainment-focused specials, including an hour on Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, and has increased awards season red carpet specials. The Guardian / Greenslade Blog CNN recently hit a 20-year low in prime time ratings in the U.S., attracting an average of just 78,000 viewers across the whole day and 98,000 in prime time. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Zucker recently announced plans to dedicate more of CNN’s air time to documentaries and unscripted reality series like Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Netflix Soars | AP Bans Photoshopper | Layoffs at TiVo

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Netflix’s Momentum Continues With 2.33 Million New U.S. Customers in Q4 (The Verge)
Netflix revealed its fourth quarter earnings Wednesday, capping off a banner year that saw the streaming service surpass HBO in subscriber count and earn critical acclaim for its original programming. In Q4, the company handily beat Wall Street expectations with revenue of $1.18 billion and earnings per share of $0.79. During the same period last year (before viewers had streamed a single episode of House of Cards), Netflix earned 13 cents per share on revenue of $945 million. Bloomberg Businessweek Netflix said Wednesday that it expects to sign up another 2.25 million subscribers in the first quarter, with “years of member growth ahead of us,” according to a company letter to shareholders. Netflix shares soared nearly 18 percent in trading after the market’s close, following a 1.5 percent gain to $333.73 in the regular session. NYT The strong growth came even though the service did not add a prominent, exclusive program like the drama House of Cards. One new animated series, TurboFAST, was introduced and the quarter contained the second season of the service’s initial drama series, Lilyhammer. But Netflix did maintain much of its media momentum by being prominently mentioned in award nominations and end-of-the-year best lists. The Guardian Netflix has been experimenting with different subscriber options including different streaming offerings and a lower-priced $6.99 plan for new U.S. customers to get a single stream of standard definition video. On a call with analysts Reed Hastings, chief executive officer, said eventually he would like to have “three simple options to fit everyone’s taste”. He said the company had no plans to run advertising, as does rival Hulu.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Klein Out at WaPo | Dow Jones Chief Resigns | Newsweek Delays Print

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Ezra Klein Out at Washington Post (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
The Washington Post announced Tuesday that its star economics blogger Ezra Klein will be leaving the paper to start a new venture. “When Ezra joined us in 2009, he was a wunderkind blogger with brash confidence and a burning desire to write a column in the print newspaper,” Post editors wrote in a memo to staff. “As he leaves us, Ezra is still a brash wunderkind, but now his burning desire has a grander scope: He is looking to start his own news organization, an ambition that befits someone with uncommon gifts of perception and analysis.” FishbowlNY Also leaving are Melissa Bell, WaPo’s director of platforms, and Dylan Matthews, a Wonkblog reporter. FishbowlDC “As early as this week, Klein is expected to announce a new venture — described in a memo to Post staffers as a new ‘news organization’ — that will look to staff more than 30 people on the editorial side alone.” Politico For nearly five years, the Post has steered a bounty of financial resources to its star economics columnist and blogger. It has allowed him to have a contributor deal with MSNBC, a column with Bloomberg View, and to write long-form for The New Yorker. It has provided him with eight staffers to keep Wonkblog, his popular policy vertical, flowing with up-to-the-minute charts and analysis. The PR department has promoted him in profile upon profile. But when Klein proposed the creation of an independent, explanatory journalism website — with more than three dozen staffers and a multiyear budget north of $10 million — the Post said enough is enough. BuzzFeed A quick look at Klein’s “following” list reveals he’s quite recently followed Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff as well Vox property editors-in-chief Joshua Topolsky (The Verge) and Lockhart Steele (Curbed Network). So are Klein and Vox in talks? BuzzFeed reached out to both Klein and Bankoff, both of whom declined to offer comment on the speculation. NYT / Paul Krugman May I say respectfully to the Post: You idiots! You see, Ezra and his team filled a huge gap. That gap exists throughout the news media, although the Times has, I believe, largely closed it in other ways. But it was especially severe at the Post. CJR / Behind The News Although there had been rumblings of his departure for several weeks, news of Klein’s exit drove enough traffic to temporarily crash Poynter’s website, a fact not lost on some observers. Digiday Digital publishing executives have a message for him: Good luck — you’re going to need it. Starting a sustaining publishing venture is harder than ever. It’s easy to be seduced by the current vogue for “personal brands” and the ability of superstars like Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg to plant their own flag. But when it comes down to it, this is a roll of the dice for a 29-year-old journalist steeped in the wonkier (and less profitable) public policy parts of the media world.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Bill Simmons Apologizes | US News Buys TheRun2016 | MLK Tweets Backfire

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The Dr. V Story: A Letter From The Editor (Grantland / Bill Simmons)
“How could you guys run that?” We started hearing that question on Friday afternoon, West Coast time, right as everyone was leaving our Los Angeles office to start the weekend. We kept hearing that question on Friday night, and all day Saturday, and Sunday, too. We heard it repeatedly on Twitter and Facebook. We sifted through dozens of outraged emails from our readers. We read critiques on various blogs and message boards, an onslaught that kept coming and coming. I don’t remember the exact moment when I realized that we definitely screwed up, but it happened sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. On Sunday, ESPN apologized on our behalf. I am apologizing on our behalf right now. My condolences to Dr. V’s friends and family for any pain our mistakes may have caused. So what did we screw up? Well, that’s where it gets complicated. The Guardian In a mea culpa that stretches to almost 3,000 words, Grantland’s editor-in-chief Bill Simmons writes that despite being extensively edited by multiple people, the ESPN-affiliated website had made the “massive mistake” of failing to have its article — about the inventor of a revolutionary golf club who committed suicide while the piece was being researched, and whom it posthumously outed as transgender — read before publication by someone familiar with the transgender community. He then lists seven errors of judgment contained in the piece that would probably have been caught and corrected. “I want to apologize. I failed,” Simmons writes. THR In addition to the editor-in-chief’s very lengthy apology, Grantland also posted a response by Christina Kahrl, titled: What Grantland Got Wrong. Not only does Kahrl cover baseball for ESPN.com, she is also on the board of directors for GLAAD, making her a fitting commentator on the issue. She admitted that the fact that Dr. V was a transsexual, “wasn’t merely irrelevant to the story, it wasn’t his information to share.” Kahrl goes on to state that: “I’m trans — so what?” Grantland / Christina Kahrl When you’re a writer, you want something you create to have a long life, to be something that readers will remember and revisit for years to come. If such was Caleb Hannan’s wish, it’s been granted, because his essay on “Dr. V And The Magical Putter” figures to be a permanent exhibit of what not to do, and how not to treat a fellow human being. Deadspin This weekend, Gerri Jordan, proprietor of Yar Golf, agreed to speak with me about the chain of events that led to the October suicide of her partner, Dr. V. Monday, she declined to carry through. “I have spoken with an attorney,” she wrote in an email, “And we are gathering information for potential legal action.”

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Grantland Under Fire | BBC Host Dead | Roker Feeling The Heat?

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ESPN Responds to Criticism of Grantland’s ‘Dr. V’ Story (BuzzFeed)
ESPN issued a statement Sunday in response to continued controversy and criticism over a Jan. 15 Grantland article about a transgender physicist and golf club inventor. The story in question, “Dr. V’s Magical Putter,” profiled Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt, the inventor of the Oracle GXI smart putter club — and ultimately outed Vanderbilt as a transgender woman, against her wishes. At the end of the piece, author Caleb Hannan wrote that Vanderbilt killed herself. Slate / CultureBox Over the last few days, Twitter has bubbled over with arguments about what Hannan did and didn’t do. At one extreme are the people calling Hannan a murderer, alleging that a trans woman killed herself because she believed a reporter was about to out her. At the opposite pole are those who say Hannan did what journalists are trained to do: report out a story until he unearths the truth. Glittering Scrivener It is not the mandate of a writer to keep pursuing a private citizen’s secrets (secrets which have exactly no impact on the product you are writing about) until they kill themselves. This is not an honorable act. Jezebel It appears from the story’s tone that there was zero ethical concern whatsoever concerning the trans status. This is the sort of stuff that comes up, by the way, in 101 ethics classes: Say you’re called to cover the story of a hero who saved a drowning man from an icy river, and in the course of reporting you determine the hero is also gay, and would prefer to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. Do you report on it? The answer, of course, is no, you don’t report that detail, because the hero being gay is irrelevant to the story. But real-life scenarios are not so simple. Shakesville This is one of the most cavalier, irresponsible pieces of journalism I have read in a very long time. New Republic An inquiry to Grantland’s editors was redirected to an ESPN spokesperson. He said that Bill Simmons, who runs Grantland, will respond via Grantland soon, and wrote: “We understand and appreciate the wide range of thoughtful reaction this story has generated and to the family and friends of Essay Anne Vanderbilt, we express our deepest condolences.” Hannan did not reply to a request for comment. Nieman Storyboard I spoke to Hannan Sunday afternoon. He told me he has been following the reaction to the story, and that he is working with his editors to prepare a statement. He said he will discuss the story when he and his editors feel the time is right.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Cuts at Kushner Papers | Time Warner Sells HQ | Manjoo to NYT

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Layoffs at OC Register, Riverside Press-Enterprise (LA Times / Money & Co.)
Significant layoffs hit the newsrooms Thursday at the Orange County Register and Riverside Press-Enterprise, a troubling sign for the Aaron Kushner-owned publications. Exact numbers have not been released at the Register, although the cuts there are reported to number roughly 35 people. The paper’s editor, Ken Brusic, and most other top editorial managers have departed, according to multiple sources in the newsroom who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak. LA Times The elimination of 71 employees, many of them seasoned journalists, marks a sharp reversal by Kushner, who controls Freedom Communications Inc., which owns both papers. The former greeting card executive had spent much of the last 18 months growing his publications, acquiring additional news outlets and hiring more than 100 reporters and editors in the process. LA Observed It’s all about restructuring for the future, including the Register‘s upcoming invasion of Los Angeles County, Kushner says. The “content team,” as he puts it, is now 172 people larger than when he arrived, Kushner writes. Donna Wares, previously announced as editor-in-charge of the LA Register, will become managing editor. Poynter / MediaWire Rob Curley is the new editor of the Register. He replaces Brusic, who the Register says is “stepping down as part of a reorganization of the newspaper’s newsroom.”

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Morning Media Newsfeed: AOL Sells Patch | Yahoo! COO Out | News Corp. Ices Pensions

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AOL Unloads Controlling Interest in Patch (Capital New York)
AOL all but unloaded its embattled local news network Patch to investment firm Hale Global on Wednesday. Patch will act as a new limited liability company majority owned and operated by Hale. The hyper-local network was a pet project of AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. It hired hundreds of reporters and ad sales staff in a bid for a local advertising market that has yet to materialize, eventually leading Armstrong to promise AOL investors that it would break even by the end of 2013. That did not happen, and the company began to seek buyers. NYT Hale Global, an investment company that specializes in turning around troubled companies through technological innovation, would essentially take over the operation, AOL said. Hale’s intention for now, the companies said, is to keep operating all of Patch’s 900 sites. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Forbes / Jeff Bercovici On its bare-bones website, Hale Global describes itself this way: “We specialize in creating value operationally in businesses facing strategic, financial, product and other challenges. In addition to capital, we bring to these troubled situations extensive turnaround skills, deep operational benches, in-house software and mobile development teams, extreme transactional speed and certainty of close.” Re/code In 2012, Patch lost $35 million; by the end of last month, it was still losing money. Now it’s someone else’s problem. TechCrunch Despite whatever downsizing may have taken place, Patch is still large, possibly too unwieldy to steer into better waters as it is today. But on top of that, it’s seeing decent traffic of 16 million people monthly according to figures from comScore. So now, the plan going forward will be to focus on a few changes to convert some of that traffic into revenues: new technology for community participation; more mobile-first and social experiences; better advertising tools and more geo-targeting for ad products, according to AOL’s announcement.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Net Neutrality Invalid | Poynter Losing Money | Forbes Moves to NJ

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Court Strikes Down FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules, Agency May Appeal (GigaOM)
An appeals court in Washington on Tuesday ruled that the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules, which prevent companies like Verizon from favoring some types of Internet traffic over others, are invalid. The 81-page ruling, which was decided by a 2-1 vote with one judge dissenting in part, has big implications for content providers, consumers and the future of the Internet. Bloomberg U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel, writing for a three-judge panel, said that while the FCC has the power to regulate Verizon and other broadband companies, it chose the wrong legal framework for its open-Internet regulations. “Given that the commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the commission from nonetheless regulating them as such,” Tatel wrote. NYT Internet service providers are free to make deals with services like Netflix or Amazon, allowing those companies to pay to stream their products to online viewers through a faster, express lane on the Web, the judges ruled. Federal regulators had tried to prevent those deals, saying they would give large, rich companies an unfair edge in reaching consumers. But since the Internet is not considered a utility under federal law, the court said, it is not subject to regulations banning the arrangements. BuzzFeed For years, the net neutrality nightmare scenario was as follows: Carriers, such as Comcast, could charge different amounts for access to different tiers of the Internet. The basic tier might include email and basic browsing; the next could include Facebook and Twitter; the final tier could include Netflix, YouTube or Spotify. These tiers would be divided not by bandwidth or speed requirements, but by content type. The Internet would become a club with various VIP sections, arbitrarily laid out to benefit providers. Wired / Threat Level If the decision stands, broadband providers are likely to implement pay-to-play plans like the one AT&T announced last week — plans that many said violated, at a minimum, the spirit of net neutrality.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Cancer Column Backlash | Weather Channel Yanked | Couric Debuts on Yahoo!

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Readers Lash Out About Bill Keller’s Column on Woman With Cancer (NYT / Public Editor’s Journal)
Bill Keller’s column in The New York Times on Monday about Lisa Bonchek Adams has generated a great deal of negative response. Xeni Jardin, the well-known writer who blogs on Boing Boing, sometimes about her own experience with cancer, was outraged, calling it bullying. Adams herself responded this way on Twitter: “I don’t know why I, a person dedicated to education and personal choice by cancer patients, have been so mischaracterized.” CJR / Behind The News Before last Wednesday you probably hadn’t heard of Adams, a Connecticut mother of three who has been tweeting and blogging about her experience living with, and being treated for, stage IV breast cancer. Adams’ moderate following occupies a niche realm, consisting largely of cancer activists and those afflicted with the disease, and there would’ve been little way for her frequent updates to make their way onto the press radar — aside from a short feature on Adams in USA Today published in 2011 (the piece didn’t mention her Internet presence). Then Bill and Emma Keller took it upon themselves to chaperone her feeds to a new breed of Internet fame, in a husband wife one-two punch: Emma published a controversial piece on Adams in The Guardian Wednesday and Bill wrote an editorial on the same subject for Monday’s Times. HuffPost In a piece in the Times entitled “Heroic Measures,” Bill compared her “fierce” approach to that of his father-in-law, who he said died a “calm” death in a British hospital that emphasized palliative care. “His death seemed to me a humane and honorable alternative to the frantic medical trench warfare that often makes an expensive misery of death in America,” he wrote. NYT In The Guardian, Emma questioned Adams’ documenting her illness in a public forum. “Are her tweets a grim equivalent of deathbed selfies, one step further than funeral selfies?” Emma wrote, referring to self-taken images. A wave of online criticism developed from Adams’ followers and others, accusing Emma of mischaracterizing her. Emma was also criticized for publishing private correspondence with Adams as part of her column. Poynter / MediaWire The Guardian has removed the post. “Following an investigation by the Guardian’s independent readers’ editor, we have removed the article in question from our website because it is inconsistent with the Guardian editorial code,” spokesperson Gennady Kolker tells Poynter via email. On The Media / TLDR It’s unclear to me why Emma picked on Adams. Before Emma’s piece, Adams’ follower count was in the 7,000 range. That’s not a huge audience. I don’t know what the larger scene of writers who discuss illness online is, but I assume that there’s a lot more people than Adams, and that many people are more prominent. Medium / Zeynep Tufekci Both Kellers get the basic facts wrong. That’s quite an astonishing event in and of itself — and exactly why Adams is providing such an important educational service.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Golden Globes Awarded | NowThis News Expands | McCain Gets New Show

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Golden Globes 2014: 12 Years, Hustle, Blanchett Among Top Winners (LA Times / Movies Now)
12 Years A Slave went into the 71st Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night with seven nominations but was passed over again and again. That is, until the last award of the evening, and arguably the best of them all. The harrowing portrayal of slavery in America took home the prize for best drama of 2013. The film’s director, Steve McQueen, seemed surprised by the win. “Little bit in shock,” said the British filmmaker, clutching the award. “I wasn’t expecting it.” But the evening’s biggest victor was David O. Russell’s Abscam-inspired comedy, American Hustle. NYT The two female stars of American Hustle, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, both picked up acting awards. Lawrence beat out Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years A Slave, who was viewed as the leading contender, in the supporting actress category. USA Today Leonardo DiCaprio won for best actor in a musical/comedy for his hedonistic stockbroker in The Wolf of Wall Street. When accepting his award, DiCaprio took the time to honor the greats, including fellow nominee Bruce Dern of Nebraska. The Guardian / TV & Radio Blog One of the few genuinely shocking wins at the 2014 Golden Globes was the triumph of cop sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the best comedy series category. Having only last week aired its twelfth episode on Fox, the win — alongside a Globe for its lead actor, Andy Samberg — may have almost single-handedly saved the show from cancellation. Variety What might go down in history as the pregnant-pause, followed-by-being-played-off Golden Globe Awards proved a curiously awkward affair, even by the standards of an awards showcase with a reputation for looseness and unpredictability. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler reprised their role as hosts, but the duo failed to produce more than sporadic moments of mirth, in a show where honorary-award recipient Woody Allen looked prescient, in hindsight, by staying home. NYT It was a gender-bending Golden Globes, or at least, the hosts made an effort to celebrate gender equality. Fey and Poehler tried hard, and sometimes too hard, to top their first hosting job last year. It didn’t work so well when they aimed to be like the guys and go blue — their jokes about prosthetic penises fell flat. Deadline Hollywood First Mia Farrow tweeted she was turning off the Golden Globes on NBC when they went to the Allen tribute. Then her son and upcoming MSNBC host Ronan Farrow lashed out against his mother’s former longtime companion, also on Twitter: “Missed the Woody Allen tribute — did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?” THR / Golden Globes E!’s pre-Golden Globes show was under fire Sunday evening after the network put up a questionable “fun fact” for nominee Michael J. Fox as stars made their way down the red carpet. The “fun fact” that was displayed said: “Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991.”

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