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Ujala Sehgal

138 Magazines Were Launched So Far This Year; 74 Magazines Folded

Folio is reporting some key magazine industry statistics for the first half of 2011. The good news? 138 new magazine titles have been launched this year so far, compared to only 90 in 2010, according to online periodical database MediaFinder. Let’s hope they’re all hiring!

The bad news? Seventy-four titles closed in the first half of 2011. Still, that’s less than the 86 that closed in the first half of 2010. So the magazine industry is gaining more than its losing, and already well ahead of 2010 stats so far this year. Things are looking up!

Another couple of interesting fact from Folio: the regional interest segment tied with the food sector for adding the most magazines to the business. However, the regional interest segment is also responsible for the most folds. Finally, it’s worth pointing out that some websites, like Gilt Taste, were included in the totals.

New York Post Fires Reporter Over Leaks

When Adweek reported that the New York Post was raising its price from 50 cents to 75 cents last week, the news was accompanied by some semi-threatening emails from the paper’s editors asking for better content from the reporters. ‘The editor has already said he will be looking for bylines to see who stepped it up and who didn’t,” one memo said.

These leaks apparently sent the Post‘s editor-in-chief Col Allan “on a rampage” to ferret out the sources, and Adweek is now reporting that Allan has already “fired one of the city’s top police reporters.”

The day after the price increase broke, a handful of reporters were brought into the main office and dressed down by editors about talking to journalists outside the paper, which reportedly happens with greater frequency at the paper.

This is not the first time leaks have caused havoc for the paper. Adweek notes that “several months ago, editors believed that there was a reporter who was feeding stories to the rival New York Daily News, according to sources… The editors went so far as to post dummy stories to the list to see if they were mentioned by other reporters, sources said.”

But dummy stories and editor’s rampages aside, it looks like the leaks keep coming. So brave Post reporters, try to send some inside leaks our way next time around.

Tina Brown Speaks Out on Creepy Princess Diana Newsweek Cover

Did anyone think that the creepy “Diana at 50″ Newsweek cover, featuring a photoshopped image of what Princess Diana would look like at age 50, was a good idea? Perhaps in search of supporters, any supporters at all really, Newsweek went so far as to post a Facebook poll asking for thoughts, the New York Observer reports. Current tally is “Brilliant! Spot on” with 45 votes, a smattering of votes for “She would have looked younger,” “She would have looked older,” and “She would have changed her hairstyle” — and 324 votes for “Dislike.” So, yeah, it’s fair to say Tina Brown‘s vision did not go over well.

Nonetheless, as the Observer observed, “They’re doubling down, in fact–if you find a Photoshopped image of a tragically killed woman offensive, how will you feel when asked if her revivified body would look more youthful?”

In further evidence of doubling down, Brown went on Morning Joe, where she was asked about the bizarre feature story. “I found it really interesting to imagine what she would be doing now,” she said, by way of explanation. “What’s the response been?” Joe Scarborough politely asked. Brown responded:

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Jill Abramson Tries to Stop Defections From the New York Times

It’s not just The Daily that has been bleeding talent as of late. The New York Times has itself withstood a series of unexpected departures over the past year, notably to the Huffington Post, which swallowed up “Sunday Business” editor Tim O’Brien as well as business reporter Peter Goodman. New York magazine also had an unexpected coup by taking on Times columnist Frank Rich. So one of new Times editor-in-chief Jill Abramson‘s goals, she tells Gabriel Sherman at New York, is to put an end to all the defections, a surprising problem for the storied paper.

“Retention is becoming a challenge,” she said. “The economy has improved, whether it’s Bloomberg or the Huffington Post, I can feel on any given week that I’m playing whack-a-mole keeping our most talented people.”

Perhaps the Times will take a page out of Arianna Huffington‘s book and add a nap room in for the staff. It certainly can’t hurt.

Does Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone Piece on Michele Bachmann Qualify as Plagiarism?

According to Poynter, Matt Taibbi‘s  just-posted Rolling Stone piece on Michele Bachmann “borrowed liberally” from a 2006 City Pages cover story written by G.R. Anderson. City Pages writes that Abe Sauer at the Awl called Rolling Stone out in a “point-by-point comparison and got Rolling Stone executive editor Eric Bates to admit he had deleted several ‘according to City Pages’ references. Bates promised to add link backs into the electronic version of the story, which he did.”

But Anderson, the original author of the story, wants an apology. “I would never want to get anybody fired,” Anderson told City Pages. “But I do want credit where credit is due.” Anderson is currently a journalism professor at the University of Minnesota J-School, and he did say that while he “would not consider what the Rolling Stone contained in it to be plagiarism. That is for other people to decide… [but] I do know that if a student handed in a story with that particular lack of sourcing, not only would I give it an ‘F,’ I would probably put that student on academic fraud.”

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Gothamist Is Looking for Journalists to Write Long-Form Features

Gothamist is looking to start adding long form non-fiction features (that it pays for) to its website. Common sense in the age of aggregation tells us this may be a pipe dream. How can it possibly work? What about the page views?! It seems Gothamist itself isn’t so sure — so it’s entering the fray very slowly. It posted a call to journalists on its site explaining its plan to publish one single feature next month.

We will pay one journalist $5,000 to write a long-form non-fiction piece in the 5,000 to 15,000 word range. Subject: Something relevant to our audience of over one million 20-36 year-old readers in New York, timely but with a shelf-life longer than a week. We’re open to any topic, although we would like something that could be well-illustrated with photos or infographics.

Gothamist will in turn cover the editing, production, and advertising, and publish the piece to the various eBook singles platforms for $1 to $3. If the “experiment” makes a profit, “we’ll share them with the writer once we’ve recouped our initial costs.” We’d like to see if they can pull it off! If you’re a long-form writer yourself, the deadline for pitches is Friday, July 1 — get further details from Gothamist here.

How Poetry Magazine Is Spending Its $200 Million Donation

If you haven’t heard this story before, it’s a good one: in 2002, Ruth Lilly, an heir to a fortune built by Indianapolis pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, donated $200 million to Poetry magazine, which at the time was a modest literary publication with a circulation of 10,000 and an annual budget of $700,000. The Chicago Tribune tells the fascinating story of how this enormous gift changed the game for poetry publishing.

Today, the foundation has a budget of more than $6 million. The magazine gets $1.5 million a year, and $2.2 million goes to educational programs. Poetry’s website alone receives a hefty $1.2 million, a point of contention in literary circles. Then there’s $1.3 million for administrative costs, including salaries for the 20-person staff. “We have a guideline that forces us to never spend more than 5 percent (annually) of the total market value of the endowment,” said John Barr, president of the Poetry Foundation.

How much has this helped? By some accounts, a great deal: circulation at the magazine is up to 26,000, and last spring the magazine won a National Magazine Award over favorites like the Paris Review. At the same time, more money, more problems: Barr has met with a huge amount of criticism for overspending and other management issues aside:

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How Alec Baldwin Got an Overworked AOL Blogger Fired

Admittedly, we are a couple of days late to this story, but we still find it moving enough to share. Last week, a writer for The Faster Times, Oliver Miller, wrote a much-read article called “AOL Hell: An AOL Content Slave Speaks Out.” In it, he writes about the perils of the “AOL Way,” the grind of writing ten articles daily, keeping up a 25 minutes per article turn-around time on unfamiliar subjects, the stress and  sleepless nights, and the general misery of being a content slave for a company that doesn’t care about what you write, as long as you mention Lady Gaga in almost every headline. Then he shares the story of how he got fired:

At this point, during the course of writing my ten daily articles, I made an ironic aside about a Hollywood star — implying that he was jealous that another star had won a major award. It was meant to be a joke. It was meant to be ironic — but of course, the Internet is the place where irony goes to die…

The Hollywood star was not amused. He wrote an article bitching about the stupidity of AOL, and about the stupidity of the AOL home page, and about the stupidity of me in particular.  In fact, he said that I was an “eighth-degree black belt idiot.”

The star in question, the New York Observer first points out, is the highly popular (even Miller calls himself a fan) Alec Baldwin, potential mayoral candidate, who was a paid spokesperson of AOL.  In the words of the Observer, Baldwin “then used his vanity blog at The Huffington Post to trash AOL for taking him too literally in an unrelated end note to a post about the documentary Waiting For Superman.” There, he does indeed refer to “eighth degree, black belt idiots that compose the AOL homepage” and goes on to say “I’m still a loyal AOL user. In spite of the fact that its homepage content is written by the dumbest bastards in the world.”

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Judge Rules that Reposting an Entire Article Without Permission Is ‘Fair Use’

A federal judge ruled in favor of a defendant who reposted an entire article in a copyright case on Monday, Wired reports. The lawsuit was brought by Righthaven, a Las Vegas-based “copyright litigation factory,” according to Wired, that has sued more than 200 websites, bloggers, and commenters for copyright infringement. This particular lawsuit targeted Wayne Hoehn, who posted an entire editorial from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and its headline, “Public Employee Pensions: We Can’t Afford Them” on a website Hoehn was not an employee of the site.

The “fair use” doctrine can be used as a copyright infringement defense in a situation where a defendant has used a copyrighted work without permission. In short, it provides a defense where the work has been used for limited, noncommecial purposes, including commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, and scholarship.  Whether or not “fair use” applies is based on a balancing test. Let’s (roughly) go over the elements as applied to this case.

For one, the doctrine looks at the effect of the reproduction on the monetary value of the original piece. While Righthaven argued that Hoehn’s reposting had cost the article’s original website some eyeballs, the judge found that no evidence was presented that “the market for the work was harmed.”

Second, the doctrine considers whether the reproduction itself is intended to make money off of using the original work. In this case, the judge found that Hahn’s use was “noncommercial,” and just for the purposes of “online discussion.”

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Tom Lowry Leaves Variety for The Daily

For all of the naysaysers who say The Daily won’t make it: you’ll be saying that for a while, because it’s not giving up anytime soon. Michael Calderone at Huffington Post reports that Rupert Murdoch‘s tablet publication has nabbed Tom Lowry from Variety to be its new Business Editor. Daily editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo said in a staff memo: “Tom comes to us from Variety, where he was a senior editor, and BusinessWeek before that. He is an excellent journalist and a great guy and we’re thrilled to have him aboard.”

Calderone added, “The Daily, which hopes to build a national audience, has always had its sights set beyond the Manhattan media fishbowl.” We’re trying not to take that reference personally.