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Ujala Sehgal

Staying Out of Trouble | Meta Hacking | Space Invaders

  • TVNewser: How is Fox News (owned by News Corp.) covering the scandal of the moment involving News of the World (also owned by News Corp.)? They aren’t touching it.
  • UnBeige: The Tech Museum in the Bay Area, devoted to telling the history of technology, has been attacked by hackers. Perhaps they will turn it into a new exhibit!
  • AllTwitter: There’s a new game “DataSift Invaders” that combines the classic video game Space Invaders with Twitter. You power your “ship” with positive sentiment tweets and shoot down avatars when users with high Klout scores tweet. Yeah, that seems perfectly clear to us.

HuffPo Faces Criticism After ‘Indefinitely’ Suspending Writer for Over-Aggregating a Post

Earlier today, we aggregated curated an Ad Age post by Simon Dumenco, where he described how Huffington Post’s aggregation of his article gave it only a meager bump in traffic, calling into question HuffPo’s rationale that aggregation drives major traffic to smaller sites. FishbowlNY itself noted that HuffPo’s aggregated version of Dumenco’s piece was around 250 words long — and the original article was about 676 words — so we weren’t surprised that HuffPo’s near full-on rewriting enticed only a few to check out the original piece.

HuffPo took notice. Poynter has posted an email to Dumenco from HuffPo Executive Business Editor Peter Goodman, in which Goodman apologizes for this “unacceptable” occurrence (great!) and adds that “the writer of the offending post has been suspended indefinitely” (what?!) The full email is below the jump.

This has struck some as an extreme, even aggravating reaction. For one, many who might want to speak publicly about their experiences with HuffPo may now prefer to hold back out of fear of getting a writer — who seems to have just been doing her  job — fired.  Choire Sicha writes at The Awl, “This is along the lines of arresting hookers instead of johns, or drug users instead of drug importers, or something.” He goes on to write:

The writer, who seems to be Yale class of (something fairly recent), Amy Lee, was doing pretty much what she’d been trained to do, either overtly or covertly, and she took the fall for the HuffPo, which is so obviously baloney… So the Huffington Post thinks it gets off clean from these entrenched practices by temporarily canning a smart young person who’s doing one of their terrible jobs as a way to get into writing and as a way to pay bills. It shouldn’t.

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Courteney Cox Is the New ‘Home Editor’ of Jane Pratt’s Website

Curbed is reporting that Courteney Cox has been named the new “Home Editor” of Jane Pratt‘s new website, xoJane.com, where, according to the press release, she “will be giving xoJane.com readers decorating advice and beauty tips.” Celebrities, what’s ours is yours. Including our jobs. Go on and take them!

Pratt has not only written often about her glittering circle of celebrity friends on her website, she has also been taking them on as contributors in various capacities. Courtney Love has a diary! David Arquette designed a shirt just for the site! And now Courteney Cox is an editor and a columnist! Gosh! In all seriousness though, loading up her site with celebrities doesn’t strike us as a bad move, although she may find it impossible to withstand the competition from Gwyneth Paltrow, who is turning into a media tidal wave and may be launching her own magazine. Pratt’s glory days were in the 1990s, and her celebrity friends represent that: while she’s gushing about hanging out with Michael Stipe, Paltrow, an A-List celebrity herself, is busy interviewing Jay-Z. But there is plenty of lingering 90s nostalgia, so perhaps Pratt has a niche.

Cox’s first post is on the site, in which she recommends a few beauty products that she uses, including a $9 dollar at-home hair dye, which is a nice suggestion because it’s cheap. Unlike, for example, Gwyneth Paltrow’s recommendation of giving someone a $1,400 leather weekend-getaway bag for Christmas on Goop.com.  In her author profile, Cox also answers a few hard-hitting questions like “I smell like: Orange Blossom meets Vanilla meets Coconut” and “I Have Faked An Orgasm (Yes/No): Not in as many years as I can remember.” (Cox did not choose these questions.) We don’t know how much work she’ll put into the site as “Home Editor,” but we wish her luck. Editing a website can be brutal.

HuffPo May Not Be Driving As Much Traffic By Aggregating Your Articles As You’d Like to Think

The Huffington Post defends its use of aggregation in part by claiming that it drives major traffic to the sites featuring the original stories, so it’s in a happy, symbiotic relationship with the media at large. But is this really true? At Ad Age, Simon Dumenco presents his personal case study on the dark arts of aggregation. He wrote a post last month titled “Poor Steve Jobs Had to Go Head to Head With Weinergate in the Twitter Buzzstakes. And the Weiner Is …” His post was picked up by Techmeme, a site that takes a sparse approach to amassing content from around the web (usually gives just a headline and a couple of sentences) and The Huffington Post, which gave a “short but thorough paraphrasing/rewriting” of the original post.

Did HuffPo cause a traffic explosion for his post? Not quite.

So what does Google Analytics for AdAge.com tell us? Techmeme drove 746 page views to our original item. HuffPo — which of course is vastly bigger than Techmeme — drove 57 page views.

57 page views hardly seems like enough traffic to keep writers from getting grumpy that their work is being aggregated. Moreover, the low traffic drive doesn’t seem particularly surprising. His original post is not very lengthy, coming in at around 676 words without the charts. The Huffington Post version is around 250 words, more than enough space to adequately cover all the major points. So what would be the purpose of clicking through to read the original piece? With Techmeme, however, if the article seems interesting, the user must click through to the original post.

We’d be interested to hear from other writers about traffic bumps from HuffPo to determine if Arianna Huffington‘s traffic defense is something of a myth.

Newsweek.com Is Officially Folding Into The Daily Beast on July 19

Since the Daily Beast and Newsweek‘s merger, the death of newsweek.com has been steadily approaching. Now Daily Intel is reporting that they hear that starting July 19, newsweek.com will no longer exist. The website will instead redirect people to a Newsweek channel on the Daily Beast site instead. This Newsweek channel will have all of the archived magazine content, and will be updated once a day to rotate features. All new non-magazine content, however, will appear on the Daily Beast homepage.

We’ve known the end was near. But it’s still the end of an era! As Daily Intel writes, “that’s how the system has been working for some weeks now, but the death of the newsweek.com URL marks the official end of what was once a fully staffed and hugely trafficked site in its own right.”

R.I.P. And check out newsweek.com while you still can. There’s a major profile on Sarah Palin, if you’re into that sort of thing.

FishbowlNY Newsstand: Your Morning at a Glance

Anthony De Rosa Named Reuters’ New Social Media Editor

Anthony De Rosa, currently a product manager and technologist at Reuters, has been named the new social media editor for Reuters.com, Poynter reports. De Rosa has been called “The undisputed King of Tumblr” by the New York Times, and is one of the 20 people to follow on Twitter according to NBC New York.

According to a Reuters memo from Jim Impoco, De Rosa will, in his new role at Reuters, “help our journalists and editors use social media tools to monitor news, report news, and find leads. Under Anthony’s direction, social media will extend our brand, bring more people to Reuters.com, and make Reuters the most recognizable name in news.”

De Rosa will report to Reuters.com global editor Kenneth Li.

Top Five Quotes from Jack Shafer’s Takedown of Rupert Murdoch over the Phone-Hacking Scandal

If you haven’t heard, News Corp. has been deeply mired in a phone-hacking scandal that came to a head earlier this week when Guardian‘s Nick Davies and Amelia Hill reported that News Corp.’s News of the World journalists may have hacked into the voicemail of a 13-year-old girl who went missing in March 2002. Jack Shafer at Slate pens an entertaining column that provides a big picture look at the scandal for those who want to catch up, and makes Shafer’s feelings toward Rupert Murdoch, the beleaguered head of News Corp., very, very clear.

If you’re no Murdoch fan yourself, here are our favorite of Shafer’s gleeful takedowns of the media mogul for your reading pleasure:

1. If Rupert Murdoch could be slain by a mere scandal, he would have been embalmed and entombed long ago.

2. We expect the worst from Murdoch, and he lives up to our expectations.

3. The genocidal tyrant has successfully swept away every scandal—major and minor—he has ever faced because of his special skill at normalizing his malefactions.

4. Murdoch’s instinct, of course, will be to sacrifice [Rebekah Brooks], but I doubt that the mob that is gathering will be satisfied with one body. They’ll want strong, tough, old meat, too. Something that’s fit for grilling on the barbie.

5. Send recipes for grilled Murdoch to slate.pressbox@gmail.com and monitor my Twitter feed for a prayer for Rupert’s soul.

Newsweek’s Creepy Princess Diana Issue Only Had 13 Ad Pages

Remember the recent Newsweek cover featuring a photoshopped Princess Diana at 50? How could you forget? It haunts us to this day. But if you thought the cover was a strike out, there was even more bad news inside. As Folio reports, the issue had only 13 ad pages:

The issue had just 13.8 ad pages, making it the weakest advertising issue for Newsweek since May 16, according to MagazineRadar, which points out that the low number is especially hurtful because it’s a double issue. Newsweek‘s last double issue (June 13) boasted 27.3 ad pages.

Because everyone loves to comment on Tina Brown and her endeavors at every possible opportunity, much has been made of Newsweek‘s lackluster ad sales performance since she took the helm. The low point was the issue that had only six (six!) ad pages in total. But then it seemed like things had turned around. Just last month, Adweek reported that for the first time in a year, Newsweek’s ad pages were flat. It was like a new beginning! We were so full of hope and optimism! And then things had to fall apart again.

Reporting on Newsweek‘s ad pages has been something of an emotional roller coaster for us. For the magazine’s sake, we hope the ensuing controversy over the creepy Princess Diana at least helped it sell a lot of issues off the newsstand.

 

 

Ashton Kutcher vs. the Village Voice

Sure, the Village Voice may have just avoided a strike — but is it any match for celebrities on Twitter? CNN is reporting that the Voice is engaging in some serious Twitter warfare with Ashton Kutcher, likely to the delight of his more than seven million followers. It began with the Voice‘s derogatory article accusing Kutcher for getting facts about sex trafficking wrong with his (admittedly oddly conceived, but no doubt well-intentioned) “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” campaign.

As we’ve covered in the past, there is an existing controversy over the fact that Village Voice Media generates a significant revenue from escort ads on its classified site Backpage. So if they call out anyone over sex trade concerns, in fairness they should be prepared for that all to come up. Which it did.

Kutcher fired off a number of tweets, including: “Hey @villagevoice speaking of data, maybe you can help me… How much $ did your ‘escorts’ in you classifieds on backpage make last year?” and “REAL MEN DON’T BUY GIRLS and REAL NEWS PUBLICATIONS DON’T SELL THEM.”

The Voice responded, “Wow, @aplusk having a Twitter meltdown! Hey Ashton, which part this story is inaccurate?… we’ll bite. Tell us the hard facts you have collected. We’ll fact-check for you.” Later, when it seemed like Kutcher wasn’t responding, the publication added: “Where’s your fight now, @aplusk? Did you sleep in, or are you just tuckered out from last night’s Twitter tirade?”

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