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Report: As a Manager, Matt Taibbi Made a Loud and Unwelcome Racket

MTaibbiTwitterPicThis afternoon, by way of an entirely unpredictable “second look” from First Look Media, we have an internal item bylined to Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill and John Cook. It’s all about what led to the shocking exit of Matt Taibbi and while some elements of the narrative are in dispute, the overall picture painted is one of – primarily – a talented rogue journalist having a hard time adapting to the broader intricacies of a managerial position.

According to the item, the tipping point occurred earlier this month. While Taibbi insists the following accusations led him to be told he would be stripped of all managerial responsibilities pending investigation, First Look says that’s not the case:

These simmering problems came to a head this month when a Racket staffer complained to senior management that Taibbi had been verbally abusive and unprofessionally hostile, and that she felt the conduct may have been motivated, at least in part, by her gender. [First Look president John] Temple conducted an investigation, and First Look determined that while none of the alleged conduct rose to the level of legal liability, the grievance bolstered their case that Taibbi should not be the manager of Racket.

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Condé Nast Cuts 50 Staffers

CondeNastLogoThe pink slips we mentioned the other day are starting to fly at Condé Nast. According to WWD, the company cut 50 from the business side. The result is 25 percent decrease of the company’s media department.

As expected, the layoffs came under the watch of relatively new CMO Edward Menicheschi. The former Vanity Fair publisher has only been on the job for three months, but he wasted no time getting his hands dirty via what are obviously cost-cutting moves.

Unfortunately for Condé staffers, the layoffs probably aren’t over. Magazine publishers are meeting with president Bob Sauerberg on Tuesday. If the publishers aren’t hitting their budgets, more cuts are likely on their way.

Condé Nast to Cut Between 70 and 80 Staffers

CondeNastLogoThe next few weeks are going to be a little tense at Condé Nast. According to the Wall Street Journal, 70 to 80 staffers — mostly on the publishing house’s ad side — are getting pink slips between now and the end of October.

The cuts are coming as Edward Menicheschi — who was named CMO and president in August — tries to tighten Condé’s belt. Menicheschi had previously served as Vanity Fair’s VP and publisher.

Menicheschi sure knows how to make his mark. This many layoffs would be the biggest round of cuts to hit Condé since 2012.

Time Inc. Staffers Reject Contract

time-inc-logo1The labor negotiations between Time Inc. and its staffers are not going well. More than 200 unionized Time Inc. employees have rejected Time Inc.’s “last, best and final” offer, according to the Newspaper Guild of New York.

In a rather bold statement, Bill O’Meara, president of the Guild, described some of Time Inc’s offer as “not only outrageous, but illegal.” The union claims that the contract would cut benefits and pay, as well as outsource 60 full-time jobs and 100 part-time jobs.

“Time Inc.’s proposal to hollow out its own company was voted down by its employees in a nearly unanimous vote because it is simply not acceptable,” said O’Meara. “Management wants the ability to send 160 editorial jobs overseas, which would be a massive blow to some of the nation’s most important and respected magazines. Many of Time Inc.’s proposals are not only outrageous, but illegal.”

Last month, Time Inc. stated that the union needed to recognize ”the new realities of the media industry, which has changed dramatically and continues to rapidly evolve.”

Former Time Warner Cable Retention Agent Details Fuzzy Practices

Under the cloak of a South Park animation still, a former Time Warner Cable retention agent spoke with YouTube talk show host David Pakman about his one-time duties.

“Jackie Keaton” revisits the training he received, the disconnect from sales agent promises and some of the retention routines. Techniques included “de-escalation,” e.g. calming down angry customers, and a kind of in-sickness-and-in-health professional vow:

“If a customer dies, someone has to take a death certificate into the local payment center. [But] If they’re sick or something, we can definitely upsell…”

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Kickstarter CEO Applauds South Park Parody

The latest installment of Billboard‘s Q&A series “Corner Office” catches up with an executive watching over many new corners: Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler. In January, the 35-year-old Strickler and co. moved into a huge 29,000-square-foot space in Brooklyn, taking over what was once a pencil factory.

KickstarterTeamMembers

As Strickler told Dorothy Hong, the office aspect of things also played a part in a recent media parody of Kickstarter:

“We’ve been parodied by The Daily Show, Portlandia, The New Yorker… But South Park is an honor. I like to think it’s a ­signifier of our cultural relevance. Also, they had startlingly realistic ­interpretations of our office, so I commend them on their research.”

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AOL Expands Partnership with Publicis

AOL logo GThere’s a lot of money in video advertising, and so AOL has decided to expand its advertising partnership with Publicis. The deal will give VivaKi — part of Publicis — more access to premium video ad space across AOL’s brands.

According to a release, eMarketer reports digital video ad spending is increasing by a whopping 30 to 40 percent a year. EMarketer expects spending to hit $7.77 billion next year, up from $5.96 billion this year. Those kind of numbers were enough to convince AOL’s CEO, Tim Armstong, to go big.

“Video is fundamentally changing the Internet into sight, sound, and motion and the Publicis Groupe/AOL partnership is the start of enabling global video advertising to scale to global consumers — offline or online,” said Armstrong, in a statement. “AOL is transforming as a company and as a partner into a programmatic advertising platform, and today’s announcement is another big step in our strategy.”

Time Inc. Labor Negotiations Break Down [Updated]

time-inc-logo1The Newspaper Guild of New York, which represents about 600 200 Time Inc. staffers, has announced that labor negotiations with the publishing giant have broken down.

The main sticking point? Time Inc. wants to outsource more than 100 jobs. Bill O’Meara, the Guild’s president, issued a strong statement attacking Time Inc.’s plans.

“Time Inc.’s proposal to hollow out its own company is simply not acceptable,” said O’Meara. “Management wants the ability to send 160 editorial jobs overseas, which would be a massive blow to some of the nation’s most important and respected magazines. Many of Time Inc.’s proposals are not only outrageous, we believe they’re illegal. We are filing charges over these labor law violations to force management to return to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith.”

According to the Guild, Time Inc. is claiming that negotiations have now reached a legal impasse, which the Guild disputes.

Update (6:30 pm):
Time Inc. has issued the following statement:

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Gawker Media Moving to Flatiron District

GawkerOn the heels of Nick Denton scoring the #7 spot on Joe Pompeo‘s list for The Advocate of “The 50 Most Influential People in LGBT Media,” there is a larger and much more significant multiple-of-seven Gawker number: 114.

That’s the address on Fifth Avenue where the company will soon relocate. From Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke‘s report:

“We will be moving out of the walk-up Nolita loft space that has been our home since 2008. Earlier today, we signed a lease for three floors of 114 Fifth Avenue,” Denton wrote in a staff memo that will go out this afternoon. Gawker Media signed a 15-year lease on three floors of the building, with plans to sublet one floor for the time being.

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Forbes Deal Finalized

forbes_logo_mainForbes Media officially has a lot less Forbes involved in it. In late July, a deal was struck with Hong Kong-based Asset Management (the number being thrown around was $475 million) and now it is done.

Asset Management now owns a majority of the company, officially pushing the Forbes family aside for the first time since the publisher was founded in 1917. The Forbes family still owns a minority stake that some are placing at around 20 percent.

For now, Forbes staffers can breathe easy, as no changes are planned. Until October 8, at least. The New York Post reports that’s when Forbes CEO Mike Perlis will hold a meeting with everyone to discuss what — if any — alterations are coming. Perlis is now in Hong Kong meeting with Forbes’ new owners.

Elevation Partners, which previously held about 44 percent stake in Forbes Media, has been bought out.

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