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Archives: August 2007

Hardball: Apple Responds to NBC

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Apple, in response to NBC’s increasingly aggressive negotiating tactics, is not going to offer NBC TV shows for the upcoming Fall TV season on iTunes. This ratcheting of tensions could conceivably evaporate if the two companies come to some sort of agreement. NBC accounts for 40 percent of Apple’s iTunes downloads. From John Shinal of MarketWatch:

”The Apple-NBC story in a nutshell is that NBC Universal executives did a bad impersonation of Marlon Brando and made Jobs an offer that he couldn’t accept.

”According to the release from Apple, NBC’s offer would have forced the Cupertino, Calif.-based company to raise the price of an episode to $4.99 from $1.99. Rather than wait until December, when the current agreement ends, Jobs slammed the door on the relationship.
The question now is who will be more hurt by the split.”

Three of the10 best-selling shows on iTunes last season were NBC properties.

(image via clipart)

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Sundown on Sunset: Missing in Action

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That Sam Zell video? Missing from the TimesLink page and even staffers can’t view it. Makes ya think.

Also lost in cyberspace: Theresa Duncan’s post about art world ingenue Anna Gaskell. Scrubbing by a chum?

Dooce is in town, but no sightings yet.

Winkle Paw–no proof of political hanky-panky. But Dimple Paw? Whole ‘nother story.

Augusten Burroughs admits that Running With Scissors is not a memoir. It’s a book.

Is Oprah More Powerful Than Queen Elizabeth?

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Forbes’ annual list of The World’s Most Powerful Women contains, to be sure, many of the usual suspects. New York Times Chief Executive Janet Robinson makes the list, as do Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira. Martha Stewart and Barbara Walters, however, do not make the list. From Stephanie D. Smith of WWD:

”Other media power hitters include Oprah Winfrey (21st, dropping from 14th last year); Judy McGrath, chief executive, MTV Networks (31st; 52nd last year) Time Inc. chief executive Ann Moore (57th; 53rd in 2006); CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour (74th; 79th in 2006); Playboy chief executive Christie Hefner (85th; 80th in 2006), and Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black (94th; 92nd last year).”

The Queen of England, by means of contrast, is rated the 23rd Most Powerful, according to Forbes. Draw your own inferences.

(image via clipart)

LA Times Names Web Deputies, Promises Stronger Web News

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Russ Stanton is taking that Innovation Editor title a little too literally–the web version is going to be a ’round the clock effort. Also, the dismal video section is getting some camera operators and an editor, but the same clueless people are still involved. (Hint: hire some producers who know what to do, and ditch the Multimedia drones.)

Here’s a recent memo to the Times’ troops:

Last week, we created a new category of employee in the print newsroom: web deputy. These key people will serve as the glue between the two mediums, helping reporters and editors at the paper develop more and better content for latimes.com.

They are:

* Foreign/National: Diana Swartz, formerly projects editor at latimes.com.
* California: Mary MacVean, formerly morning assignment editor in California.
* Orange County/Inland Empire: Laura Nott, formerly copy desk chief in Orange County.
* Business: Michelle Maltais, formerly a producer in Editorial Multimedia.
* Sports: Dan Loumena, formerly an assistant sports editor.
* Calendar: Rene Lynch, formerly deputy entertainment editor in Calendar.
* Science/Health/Environment/Medicine: Martin Beck, formerly a technology editor in News Operations.
* Travel and Books: Mary Forgione, formerly a deputy editor in Travel.
* Real Estate: Annette Haddad, formerly residential real estate reporter in Business.

We are still looking to fill openings in California, Image, Food, Home and Highway 1.

These appointments follow a host of others across the newsroom this summer, underscoring our commitment to make the website the best it can be. Deputy Managing Editor Melissa McCoy set up a morning copy-editing desk to serve the website, staffing it with five of her best folks and led by Henry Fuhrmann. Melissa also ponied up copy editor Marc Olson and designer Sue Timmons, who are now the site’s overnight editors.

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JR Moehringer On FBLA, Dana Parsons And The Movies

champ3.jpgJR Moehringer, the former LAT reporter whose story is the basis of Resurrecting The Champ, took issue with one of our posts (Actually, he called it “wrong, dead wrong, and libelous”). The post in question took issue with Dana Parsons.

Since everyone has issues, we asked Moehringer to air some of his. Instead, he send us some thoughtful responses:

Q. Did you have any say in the how the film portrays the journalist character? And did you worry that people would mix you up with the fictional journalist?

A: I had no say in how the film portrays anyone. Zero. Which was fitting, because this film isn’t my story. It uses my story as a starting point, a framework, to tell a very different story, about a very different kind of reporter.

Of course I initially hoped to have lots of say. When I first sold the story 10 years ago, I asked to write the screenplay. Studio execs said no. They already had a screenwriter in mind. Also, they knew I’d be wedded to the facts, which they felt were not conducive to high drama. Maybe they were right. Reporter on the phone for five hours? Reporter reading a book about boxing? Such scenes might please journalists, but for a movie, I guess, you need a little more pizazz. The studio felt the reporter character needed to be juiced up, and I sympathize. Ask my friends. I’m boring.

I never worried about a mix-up, because whenever I watch a film I know that “based on a true story” can mean anything. Not long ago I saw that Adam Sandler comedy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Someone told me it was based on a true story. I thought that claim was the funniest thing about the movie.

Also, so much about Resurrecting the Champ is obviously fictionalized. It’s based on a story by J.R. Moehringer—but the protagonist isn’t named J.R. Moehringer. I trust that sends a loud and clear message to audiences right off the bat: License has been taken, facts have been altered. Also, the newspaper where I worked, the names of my bosses and coworkers, the essentials of my bio (I don’t have a wife and son), the location of the story, even the real name of the homeless boxer —- it’s all changed. So I assume audiences understand: Hollywood equals fiction.

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Does Larry Ingrassia Have a Conflict of Interest?

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The New York Post’s Media Ink columnist Keith Kelly reports that New York Times business editor Larry Ingrassia is shopping a book proposal to publishers on the $5 billion Murdoch takeover of Dow Jones. Joseph Nocera — a business columnist for The Times — was originally involved, but pulled out, leading Kelly to wonder if the book will ever even get off the ground.

The low six-figure advance figure that was to be divided two ways between Nocera and Ingrassia has been met with a ”cool” response from publishers, according to kelly. Contrast that with Michael Wolff’s significantly larger high six figure deal from Doubleday. Despite the monetary difference, Wolff and Nocera-Ingrassia were both represented by Andrew “The Jackal” Wylie.

The Times newsroom, Kelly also notes, is not happy about an editor negotiating an outside business deal with ”someone who reports directly to him in his day job.” Oy veh. And did we happen to mention Ingrassia’s brother is an executive at Dow Jones about to exit? From The Post:

”’It is fraught with conflicts of interest,’ said one insider. ‘Larry was supervising coverage of the deal and he never told the newsroom he was working on a book. Presumably, he knew who all their confidential sources were.”’

Conflict of interest?

(image via illinimedia)

Is iTunes In Trouble?

jos.jpegFirst Vivendi shifted its weight away from Mr. Jobs, and now NBC is following suit. Rivals from MTV and Amazon.com, EMI and Wal-Mart are also nipping at the digital music titan’s heels.

Per Reuters: NBC decided not to renew its contract with iTunes, pulling Battlestar Gallactica and Heroes from the teeny-tiny screen and becoming the second major media company to challenge Apple.

Per the The New York Times: MTV last week said it was going to fold its digital music service into a venture with the owners of the Rhapsody, “as part of a renewed challenge to Apple’s market-leading iTunes store.”

Per the Financial Times: “NBC appears to be embracing a rival. The media group, owned by General Electric, has begun to sell digital downloads through Amazon.com, the online retailer that is gearing up to challenge iTunes.”

HowStuffWorks Takes On the Emmys, Fails To Explain Ryan Seacrest

staemstuff.jpgOne of our favorite sites on the Web, HowStuffWorks.com, takes on Emmy coverage with nary a mention of what the hell E! is going to do for its red carpet coverage now that Ryan Seacrest is hosting the show.

Instead, the site takes a high-school-science-text-book approach to the awards, letting readers know that the statuette was designed by a TV engineer who modeled it after his wife, and that it weighs 4 3/4 pounds, made of an amalgam of copper, nickel and silver, covered in 18 karat gold.

So, if you’re feeling particularly geeky, check out the story here.

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Anna Wintour Helps Roger Federer Get Chic

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Anna Wintour has been in the front row for at least two of Roger Federer’s US Open matches so far. Wintour seems to be interested in shepherding the number-one seeded tennis player into the world of chic, where she reigns supreme. Says the Post:

”Imperious Vogue editrix Anna Wintour is apparently crushing like a Teen Vogue intern over hunky tennis star Roger Federer.

”She’s been dressing him up. She threw a fancy party for him at the Gramercy Park Hotel after she got him on the cover of Men’s Vogue.

”And on Wednesday night, the hardboiled magazine mistress was front and center at his U.S. Open first-round match, flashing a schoolgirl-like smile as he easily beat Chilean Paul Capdeville.”

As power couples go, they do make for compelling copy. He’s going after his 12th Grand Slam title and fourth US Open crown in a row while she’s about to preside over her umpteenth Fashion Week.

(image via style)

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