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Archives: December 2007

That Was The Year That Was

Is it really New Year’s Eve? Hells yes it is. As we write this, offices around the city are emptying the hell out. You know, NYE, mid-afternoon, blah blah blah.

We’re looking forward to a low-key New Year’s Eve tonight. There’s been far too much partying lately and, damn it, we just want to chill out.

So, in commemoration of the end of the year… And the fact that Ron & I came on just in time for months of magazine foldings, firings, blog meltdowns and strikes, we thought we’d take a look back at the past 12 months.

Without much ado:

  • January: We reported on Amanda Congdon before she fell off the face of the earth.

  • February: A certain Anna Nicole Smith died, taking untold quantities of Xanax to the grave and keeping countless journalists busy for months.

  • March: Remember Bonnie Fuller joining TMZ? Oh yeah, that didn’t happen.

  • April: Don Imus gave America the gift that kept on giving. Oh, and Christopher Hitchens said something stupid.

  • May: Speaking of bats**t crazy, remember Peter Braunstein?

  • June: The first known news of the News Corp-WSJ beast leaked out and we went crazy over The Sopranos.

  • July: That whole mediabistro.com selling for $23 million thing.

  • August: As mentioned above, we had a change of editors… and we settled in by writing about Portfolio. A lot.

  • September: Mario Batali lost his flagship show and we celebrated the end of TimesSelect.

  • October: A slower month, but the news about Time Warner’s upcoming shakeup made up for it. Oh, and strike, strike, strike.

  • November: Strike! House & Garden! Norman Mailer! Gawker!

  • December: Don Imus made his awkward return, Conrad Black went to jail, Alycia Lane kept us busy and we said goodbye to Steven Florio.

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    American Magazines And The Canadian Dollar

    loonie.jpg

    The rise of the Canadian loonie against the dollar — one of the top news stories of the year — has caused tension between Canadian magazine consumers and American media companies. At issue is the growing disparity between the U.S. and Canadian cover prices as the dollar declines. The Montreal Gazette, in an editorial titled, ”A Rip-Off By Any Other Name,” says:

    ”One of the magazines the giant Hearst Corp. publishes is SmartMoney, which claims on its website to offer readers ‘practical yet highly imaginative ideas for investing, spending and saving.’

    ”Well, here’s a practical if not very imaginative saving idea for Canadian consumers, one SmartMoney’s editors won’t be suggesting: Stop buying Hearst magazines until the company stops treating us like fools.

    ”Hearst, like dozens of other U.S. companies that sell their products in Canada, has ignored the rise of the loonie against the U.S. dollar, and continues to charge inflated Canadian prices for such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar and Esquire. Cosmo, for example, sells for $4.29 in the United States, $5.99 in Canada.”

    That policy — at least in Calgary — is slowly changing, however, according to The Calgary Sun:

    ”Hearst Publications, which produces Oprah Magazine and Esquire, is one of those quietly dropping the U.S. price tag as the Canadian dollar hovers near par with the American currency.

    ”Company spokeswoman Jessica Kleiman said Hearst has become a ‘lightning rod’ for the policy, but added ‘most, if not all, U.S. magazines are doing the same.

    “‘This was done at the request of Canadian wholesalers and retailers.”’

    (image via clipart)

    The Future of Celebrity Journalism: Young Interviewer Confuses John Cusack With Kevin Spacey

    Defamer is busy trying to figure out who this YouTube nitwit is. In the meantime, please enjoy one of the worst celebrity interviews we’ve ever seen.

    We’re guessing that in newsrooms across the country, resumes with “USC Annenberg School for Communication” on them just got shifted to the bottom of the pile.

    Barron Hilton Wants Positive PR…. Bad.

    1231barron.jpgReclusive hotel zillionaire Barron Hilton just granted an interview to an unlikely publication: Germany’s Der Spiegel. But here’s the weird thing… The topic of the interview was the disappearance of adventurer Steve Fossett, who disappeared after flying on a pleasure trip from Hilton’s ranch.

    An important story, yeah. But equally important is what wasn’t mentioned in the interview: The big story that the 80-year-old Hilton just disinherited granddaughter Paris Hilton. Noted.

    Oh… and the fact that Der Spiegel‘s positive interview is coming out at the same time as an extremely unflattering book about Hilton. In David Cay Johnston‘s book Free Lunch, the news leaked out about how Barron Hilton schemed to retake his family’s fortune from a charity from the poor. Those crazy rich people… always screwing the little guy!

    Mark Riley Returns To WLIB, Coz Carson To Replace Him On Air America

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    Veteran talker Mark Riley is headed back to WBLI and Coz Carson, the former Program Director of Chicago’s urban news/talk WVON-AM, will take Riley’s place co-hosting Air America’s morning 5-9 a.m. show with Richard Bey. The announcement was made on-air this morning with all three present. Bey and Carson start on January 2nd. Carson has had a long career in radio as well as serving as the Communications Director for former Congresswoman — and current longshot Presidential candidateCynthia McKinney.

    Mark Riley was formerly Program Director at WLIB from 1992 to 1996.

    (image via timeout)

    The Newsweek Building, Sans Newsweek

    1231nweekbldg.jpgEarlier this month, the Observer reported that Newsweek wants to move out and vacate the Newsweek Building in Midtown. So what’s going to happen to the Newsweek Building?

    Rebranding. Owner Joseph Moinian is spending $60 million renovating the building. Gensler Architects have been hired to give the building a new glass exterior. Newmark Knight Frank have been hired to handle marketing. Most importantly? It won’t be the Newsweek Building for long. The new address will be 3 Columbus Circle… even though the building entrance faces onto Broadway. Ah hell, we love New York City.

    Oh… And Comedy Central is vacating the Newsweek Building soon as well.

    (Photo via New York Post)

    Bill Kristol: Controversial Times Pick

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    Bill Kristol’s new position as Op-Ed columnist at The New York Times — broken by The Huffington Post — is already polarizing anti-neoconservative sentiment online, in print and in the blogosphere. Media Matters for America, a self-described progressive information source, has compiled a list of Kristol’s errors. Katha Pollitt of The Nation, writes:

    ”What this hire demonstrates is how successfully the right has intimidated the mainstream media. Their constant demonizing of the New York Times as the tool of the liberal elite worked. (Maybe it also demonstrates that the people in charge of the decision aren’t so liberal.) I’m sure we’ll hear a lot about the need for balance at the paper — funny how the Wall Street Journal doesn’t feel the need to have even one resident liberal, but fine, let’s have balance.”

    Michael Calderone writes in Politico:

    ”But Times editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal sees things differently.

    ”Rosenthal told Politico shortly after the official announcement Saturday that he fails to understand ‘this weird fear of opposing views.’

    ”’The idea that The New York Times is giving voice to a guy who is a serious, respected conservative intellectual — and somehow that’s a bad thing,’ Rosenthal added. ‘How intolerant is that?”’

    Our colleagues at FishbowlDC ask you to vote on what you think about Kristol at The Times. Kristol begins weekly New York Times Op-Ed duties on January 7th.

    (image via foxnews)

    Jossip Editor Departs

    A year changes, a media blogger departs, it seems to have been the big damn tune everyone was whistling in late 2007. So who is it this time? Jossip editor Debbie Newman, who is leaving the House of Hauslaib for greener pastures. The blog’s current lineup is Rebecca Aronauer as editor, Andrew Belonsky as managing editor and David Hauslaib as editorial director.

    Year End Roundups

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    Tabloid Baby: Journalist of the Year: Harvey Levin

    Patterico: LA Times Dog Trainer Year in Review.

    Digg: Most Popular Stories

    Ken Levine: Favorite Quotes of the Year

    GalleyCat: Month by Month

    Unbeige: Looks Back

    Dear Prudence: Worst Advice of 2007

    Salon: Best Stories of the Year

    Netscape, RIP

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    Should auld acquaintance be forgot? Spill a little egg nog for Netscape Navigator tonight, for old times-new media’s sake. Netscape Navigator will soon be no more. From the AP via CNNMoney:

    ”Netscape Navigator, the world’s first commercial Web browser and the launch pad of the Internet boom, will be pulled off life support Feb. 1 after a 13-year run.

    ”Its current caretakers, Time Warner Inc.’s AOL, decided to kill further development and technical support to focus on growing the company as an advertising business. Netscape’s usage dwindled with Microsoft Corp.’s entry into the browser business in the 1990s, and Netscape all but faded away following the birth of its open-source cousin, Firefox.”

    Jeff Bewkes, by the way, officially takes the helm at Time Warner tomorrow. The chattering classes will be watching what he does with AOL.

    (image via mozillalinks)

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