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Archives: June 2005

Blogs are so yesterday. No, really, they’re yesterday.

…at least for blogs that want to report on elections and accept political ads. Before yesterday, they were blogs and hence not eligible for the Federal Election Commission’s “media exempton.” But now they are “Online Magazines” and the world will never be the same, as evidenced by The Talent Show blog-now-magazine:

In order to avoid any potential pitfalls, let me use this opportunity to announce that this post will be the last one on The Talent Show blog. Starting either late today or tomorrow, I will relaunch (without any fanfare whatsoever) my new web magazine, The Talent Show. I will still be the primary writer around here, but the traditional blog posts will be replaced with articles of varying lengths and topics. I will also be replacing the comments with article specific message boards. The look of the site, the writing style, the subject matter, the content, and the technological back-end will be identical to what I’m using now, but the change (as least as far as the FEC is concerned) will be drastic. Starting tomorrow, my days as a blogger are ending and my days as a writer begin.

And, from Atrios: “The Blog is Dead. Long Live the Online Magazine.”

(NB I heard about this on CNN’s “Inside Politics” where “Inside The Blogs” signed off as “Inside The Online Magazines”)

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Time Inc. is now less popular than Robert Novak

Time Inc. caved, and nobody respects that: Not NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. , who said that he was “deeply disappointed” by the move, pointing out that when NYT had been in the same position it hadn’t revealed a damn thing.

From the Time Inc. statement: “Although we shall comply with the order to turn over the subpoenaed records, we shall continue to support the protection of confidential sources.”

Atrios says, credibility issue much?

When it comes to defending the supposed principles they were fighting for, this seems like a rather bad outcome. The whole point was that to protect the freedom of the press you had to protect the identity of confidential sources. From this perspective Time taints their entire publication — you can’t rely on anyone working for that magazine to protect their sources because the publishers/editors will sell out all of their journalist’s sources.

America Is A Liberal Concept wonders “how Time might have betrayed the trust of historically important whistleblowers, such as Daniel Ellsberg, Mark ‘Deep Throat’ Felt or even Jeffrey Wigand, the tobacco executive who bravely revealed the industry’s duplicity, as dramatized in ‘The Insider.’”

And, on the Huffington Post, Tom Watson boils blogosphere outrage to the simple “Pearlstine = Wuss”

It should be noted that Time is, in fact, complying with the law; and whoever the source is who is being protected did, in fact, commit a crime. But, would you want to be an anonymous source for Time, Inc. right now?

New Media: New and Improved!

Remember all those well-funded internet companies back in 2000 that flamed out by trying to stream content over the internet before anyone had broadband? You know, the Iceboxes and their ilk? Well, maybe they could establish themselves as cool retro brands now, like the Converses and RayBans of the internet content world, because as the LAT notes today, internet media is finally a thriving business:

Five years ago, at the height of the dot-com boom, entrepreneurs and visionaries predicted that new online venues would overtake traditional media as viewers like Finn enjoyed shows and other content tailored to their tastes and schedules.

It didn’t happen.

High-speed Internet connections were rare, and few people were willing to wait hours for a 10-minute video clip to download. Plus, most people’s idea of on-demand entertainment was a drive to the local video store. The brutal tech bust seemed to close the book on the aspirations of those who envisioned the Internet transforming the way news and entertainment were produced and consumed.

But it turns out the dot-com crash may just have been the prologue. After licking their wounds, a rash of companies — including small players such as ManiaTV, Web giants such as Yahoo Inc. and traditional media titans such as Walt Disney Co. — are again investing heavily to bring more audio and video to the Internet.

Relatedly, L.A. Observed notes that KCRW podcast traffic jumped ten-fold on Tuesday, when Apple released the Itunes upgrade which allowed for easy podcast integration.

None of this is really that surprising, of course. Look for a FishbowlLA podcast coming soon, once I learn to enunciate.

WotW: The Aftermath

Turns out ‘War of the Worlds’ did just fine on its opening night, grossing $34.6 million globally. Locally, I’ll say there were a lot of people in line when I passed the Vista this afternoon, and only a few of them looked like Scientologists.

Along with ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’, that’s two big movies this season which avoided the perhaps-mythical ‘Gigli Effect’– an oversaturation of tabloid-ish publicity that diminishes audience curiosity about the actual movie. Maybe Lee Anne Devette will start poaching PMK clients she’s not related to! Wouldn’t that be cool?

Media Miscellany: 06.30.2005

Happy Canada Day, Village Voice staffers! The deadline looms for Village Voice staff and management to reach an agreement on a new contract. Management’s proposed version involves compromised benefits and a chump-change wage increase of $15/week. The staff is ready to strike “for the first time in the newspaper’s 50-year history,” starting at what everyone keeps on describing as midnight tonight but I prefer to call “the stroke of Canada Day.” [NYT]

Susan Ungaro not welcome in Meredith’s Family Circle: Meredith Corporation, who last month bought Parents, Child, Fitness, and Family Circle magazines from G+J for $350 million, will be leaving behind 150 staffers in the acquisition – including Family Circle editor Susan Ungaro. Ungaro has been editor of Family Circle for 11 years and at the magazine 25 years. She is also a past ASME editor. But, according to Meredith president Jack Griffin, Family Circle needs a “fresh set of eyes.” Those eyes belong to Linda Fears, former YM and Parents editor and current acting editor in chief of business development at G+J. Pretty classless move, but at least they didn’t do it the day before your 80th birthday. [MediaWeek]

A reader just proposed to me! In response to this morning’s item on Fox News ogling wet bridezillas, an anonymous tipster writes: “I think you are safe from ever having to worry about getting married. You have a face made for the Internet.” Whatever, mean tipster, you’ve obviously never seen me. I have a face made for radio.

No puns, please, we’re Cumming

Cumming.jpgThe L Magazine blog, “The Local” notes an evocative lede in the NYT’s Thursday Styles:

“WHAT does Alan Cumming smell like? Hmm. A manly, tasty blend of black pepper and bergamot with just a hint of Scotch pine, whiskey and – could it be? – rubber.”

We’re above making the obvious puns and so is The Local, instead electing to imagine other celebrity scents and their taglines. Our favorite was “Jonathan Safran-Foer: Extremely subtle and incredibly sexy.” Our only quibble with The Local’s post was not enough media-inspired fragrances; where is our Eau-de-Remnick or Smells Like Isikoff? Send us your ideas and we’ll publish the lot of them in honor of Canada Day. Which is tomorrow. Mmm, smells Canada-licious!

There Goes the ‘Neighborhood’

wttn.jpgABC has pulled its reality show ‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’ after various civil rights groups complained that the premise– white suburban families deciding what minority group to exclude from their community– just might be a little offensive. Although at least one representative of one of the protesting groups seemed a little conflicted, as quoted in the NYT:

As for the show, “It’s hilarious and had me in stitches,” said John C. Brittain, chief counsel for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonprofit civil rights organization. “If it weren’t so discriminatory, it would be great.”

I’m kind of sorry I won’t get to see it.

Who Will Be the New Wasserman?

Publishers Weekly discusses the LAT‘s search to replace Steve Wasserman at the Book Review. Leading non-internal candidates are said to include: David Kipen from the SF Chronicle and NPR, LA literary type David Ulin, and the Atlantic‘s Benjamin Schwarz. All respectable choices.

I vote for Schwarz, not that anyone asked. The Atlantic does a great job of covering non-obvious but non-esoteric books that don’t get over-exposed elsewhere in the book-reviewing industry.

(Link via TEV.)

Matt and Judy: Update

  • Time Inc. announced this morning that they will, in fact, turn over Matt Cooper’s notes to the court pursuant to a court order. This highlights a very interesting and heretofore unexplored angle: the conflict between the idividual journalist and the agenda of its corporate employer. The WSJ looks into it here. If they didn’t hand it over, Cooper would face jail time; Time would face “a very large fine“. So while we debate whether the state has the right to compel violation of [still murkily-defined and not constitutionally protected] journalistic privilege, there is the completely different question of whether a corporation can or should do so itself (well, clearly it can but should it? And what would happen if Cooper turned around and sued Time Inc., or if the source did?). These are interesting questions. I guess Cooper can have a go at them from the outside.
  • Judith Miller and the New York Times, meanwhile, “won’t crack.” But, to be fair, the New York Times isn’t implicated and has no outstanding court orders against it. Nothing new on, either.
  • Judge Thomas F. Hogan has run out of patience, and said bluntly that testify or jail, according to the NYT. He also quoted from Lewis Carroll, saying “the time has come, the Walrus said.” Which means arguments will be limited to jail: where and for how long, and fines: how much. Which means that Floyd Abrams will have to shelve his brief on why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings. In other news, you remember what happened to those oysters.
  • Robert Novak is taking heat from his fellow journos for staying silent (and bloggers, natch). The NYT‘s Jacques Steinberg makes the rounds of Novak’s contemporaries like the now-defunct Capital Gang colleague Al Hunt (“It’s just so confusing to citizens and people in our business. If Bob could provide some context, I think it would be helpful”), San Diego Union-Tribune (which runs his column) reader representative Gina Lubrano (on his zipped lips: “As a journalist, he would find that response unacceptable from others”) and (as mentioned) William Safire (“Mr. Novak should finally write the column he owes readers and colleagues”). Novak says he’ll tell all when he can, and in the meantime he’s got no problems doing his job, but apparently he’s “showing some strain.” I will say this for him, he’s one hell of a stoic 74-year old.

My Favorite Weekend in Prison

lvh.jpgThe John Waters edition of ‘My Favorite Weekend’ is pretty rote– Chateau Marmont, Pane e Vino, a couple bookstores– until he gets to Sunday:

On Sunday I always go to the California Institution for Women [in Corona]. My friend has been there for 30-some years. Her name is [former Manson Family member] Leslie Van Houten.

I taught in prison for a long time and I believe in rehabilitation, and she’s the poster girl for the California prison system. She met one of the most notorious madmen in our country when she was 17, and if anyone deserves parole, it’s her. I’m serious about this and I’m saying it with no irony. This is someone’s life we’re talking about here. Then, after I spend the morning there, I’m back to the airport and flying home.

Also in the LAT Thursday Calendar section: hacky-Martha-Stewart humor meets hacky-dating-in-LA humor.