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Archives: August 2011

JibJab Diversifies With Interactive Children’s Books

The Venice outfit that made a name for itself with animated political parodies is extending its reach into a most unlikely domain: the children’s book world. Sort of like The Onion publishing cookbooks.

Be that as it may, the initial iPad product options from JibJab Jr. are The Biggest Pizza Ever, about a kid who causes major pizza pie problems in his hometown, and The Alphabet Wrangler, which charts the attempts of a youngster to round up letters that have escaped from a book. And here’s the really cool part:

With a few taps and swipes, parents can easily create a JibJab Jr. book with their child’s face, name, gender and skin color, then drop them into the center of the action of a beautifully illustrated and animated tale.

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A Shame | Someone New | Different Route, Same Result

  • TVSpy: If you’re into feeling better about yourself by laughing at others, here is Snooki as a news anchor.
  • FishbowlLA: There is a new Features Editor at Out magazine.
  • FishbowlDC: Politico is implementing a new commenting feature, hoping that it will reduce the number of crazy commenters out there. To quote Seinfeld, “Good luck with all that.”

Scientologists Ape The New Yorker

A group of Scientologists staked out the Conde Nast building this morning and handed out an issue of the organization’s magazine Freedom, which was a parody of The New Yorker. Animal New York says that the issue is jam packed with articles attacking the Scientology piece by Lawrence Wright that appeared in the New Yorker in February. If you haven’t read that yet, please do, it’s fantastic.

Aside from some nice art work, it looks like Freedom has awhile to go to catch up to the quality of The New Yorker, but you have to give them credit for trying.

No seriously, you have to. If you don’t Tom Cruise will personally come to your apartment and jump on your couch. Trust us, it’s awkward.

Twitter Trend of the Day: Replace Book Titles With Bacon

A recent study claimed to show that surfing the internet improves worker productivity. Today’s Twitter trend makes us wonder if that’s entirely true…

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LA Weekly Chronicles Sunset Junction Festival Fallout

It wasn’t just ticket holders feeling burned by the Sunset Junction Street Fair’s cancellation. The LA Weekly reports that musical acts and local businesses are smarting from lost revenue. And the festival’s would-be vendors are feeling downright shafted:

Carols Guillen, who was planning to sell smoothies at the festival, says Sunset Junction owes him $1400 for the cost of his booth and a deposit. That comes in addition to the $1000 he spent on supplies.

“I got a voicemail the day before the festival letting us know it was cancelled,” Guillen says, adding that this would have been the first year his family-run Lacuma Smoothies had a stand at Sunset Junction. “I trusted the festival because they’ve been around for over thirty years. We still haven’t heard anything about getting our money back.”

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Michelle Obama Graces The Cover of October Essence

According to Essence, Michelle Obama is one of the most influential black women in 2011, and we couldn’t agree more. The First Lady is featured on the cover of the magazine’s upcoming October issue (all by herself Oprah! Imagine that!), and inside she delivers a great message to young girls and women everywhere: That life is as good as the work you put into it.

“My story to young people around this country and around the world is, don’t look at me as the First Lady first; look at me as Michelle Obama, a girl who grew up on the South Side of Chicago,” she tells Essence. “Because I was there, and this is attainable.”

C’mon! How could you ever say anything bad about this woman? We love her. If you’ve got a problem with her then you’ve got a problem with us.

Mrs. Obama also provides the magazine with exclusive photos from her trip to Africa and gives other insights on her journey to as part of its diary feature.

Constance C.R. White, Essence’s Editor-in-Chief, said, “Michelle Obama is the quintessential Essence woman; impressively defining herself on her own terms.”

The issue hits newsstands September 12.

Former Redbook Editor-in-Chief Will Nurture, the female-focused aggregator launched in 2005 by a trio of women, has become an Internet force to be reckoned with. The site’s most recent stats peg monthly uniques at upwards of 26 million (!) and investors include GE/NBC’s Peacock Equity Fund.

Today, the Belmont, California based company announced it has hired author and former Redbook magazine editor-in-chief Stacy Morrison to head up, a spinoff that will focus on “what moms are thinking, saying and doing on the web.” The site launched with a major sponsor, County Crock, already in place. From today’s press release:

“This is a thrilling conversation to join and shape, in the best women’s community on the web,” says Morrison. “Women bloggers have always led the way with their funny, frank, honest and brave voices, and I’m so thrilled to work with BlogHer in a space dedicated to so much of what BlogHer has always stood for: self-discovery, community and helping women continually define and reach for their best vision of who they can be.”

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Tribune Co. Hits Up Bankruptcy Court for $42.5 Million in Bonuses

How much incentive do you need to do your job? A living wage and a strong work ethic is enough for most of us. Not Tribune Co. management, who apparently need millions of dollars, in addition to their huge salaries.

Tribune executives have asked the bankruptcy court to approve continuation of their management incentive plan, which could pay up to $42.5 million in bonuses to 640 employees. This comes just weeks after another round of newsroom layoffs at the Tribune-owned LA Times. Further layoffs in the paper’s Operations departments are coming any day now.

The company told the court that the plan is “critically important to maintain proper incentives for the management team.” Because simply doing a good job for a good salary isn’t motive enough?

Via Reuters, Bloomberg

Gary Starr Named New CFO of Newsweek/The Daily Beast

Adweek is reporting that Gary Starr — previously with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, as its Senior Vice President of Finance — is replacing Jennie Tse Wang as the CFO of Newsweek/The Daily Beast. Prior to Martha Stewart, Starr was at Time Inc. for 10 years.

Wang is reportedly moving on from Newsweek/The Daily Beast.


FishbowlNY hears that Newsweek/The Daily Beast has also hired Anne Levin from MSLO to be its new Marketing Manager.

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There’s pizza at the end of every class. The teachers are hot. Classes begin and end in bars. Well, not exactly, but our classes are pretty awesome.

We caught up with some of our equally awesome teachers at our recent Meet the Teachers party at the Empire Room to find out why they signed up for an mb course.

“You can always refresh your skills,” says Derek Scheips, instructor of Copywriting for the Web (pictured left with Julia Dahl, the instructor of Boot Camp for Journalists). James Fuerst of Novel Writing adds, “We take writers of all experience levels and help them finish their manuscripts.”

Check out our full course list here, and remember to sign up now while seats are still open.