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Archives: November 2011

Reporter Rummages Through Church of Scientology Celebrity PR Artifact

The biggest thorn in the media side of the Church of Scientology remains Village Voice editor-in-chief Tony Ortega. Every other day, or so it seems, he is sharing another arcane or shocking aspect of the religion’s operations.

This morning, Ortega passes on a document sent in from a reader. The five-page, June 1977 “Executive Directive” is now long-outdated, but this “Celebrity Media Handling Checksheet” still provides a fascinating window into the disco era mindset of the organization. Per Ortega:

About 50 individual steps. Involving the writing of essays, summarizing of books, using specific words in sentences. And the steps must be done, the document says, in sequence. No exceptions. One of the steps has the celebrity solving a PR problem by modeling it in clay. Hey, Tom? Tom Cruise? Um, did you learn how to talk to reporters by first modeling it in clay?

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Socially Troubling | Worth a Try | RIP Maybach

  • SocialTimes: Teens are using social media to organize criminal conduct. This is a good thing for them because before Twitter they used pagers, and the codes could get pretty confusing. “911411420!” could mean “Bro, hurry up and call me because I know where to get some pot,” or “Bro, the cops know where we keep our pot!”
  • UnBeige: Banksy tries, but he can’t get people to say that his art is terrible.
  • PRNewser: Daimler has announced that it is discontinuing its Maybach luxury car line. However, rappers who have never even seen one will continue to rhyme about riding around in them.

Rolling Stone, Us Weekly Coming to iPad

Jann Wenner is finally breaking down and joining the rest of the free world publishing companies by launching iPad apps. According to mocoNews, Rolling Stone and Us Weekly will be coming to Apple’s tablet in early 2012.

Up first though is “The Beatles: The Ultimate Album-by-Album Guide,” an app that will accompany the Rolling Stone book by the same name. The app will be available for $9.99 and feature interviews with musicians, over 60 pictures and — this is completely unconfirmed — a lengthy report on the socio-economical ramifications of naming your child Ringo.

The foray into the tablet world is some rather shocking news, considering that just a few months ago Wenner said magazines launching on the iPad was “crazy.” Perhaps when he heard that the iPad is boosting magazine sales he realized that being a little insane can be quite lucrative.

Happy 84th Birthday, Vin Scully

Happy 84th birthday to the greatest play-by-play announcer of all-time, Vin Scully.

See you in four months.

Mogulite Relaunching as ‘The Jane Dough’

When FishbowlNY first heard about Mogulite — an addition to the Dan Abrams empire — we wondered if more ink dedicated to rich people and CEOs was necessary, since people tend to talk about them quite a bit already.

Turns out it wasn’t, because the site is getting tossed to the side and replaced with something called “The Jane Dough.” The site carries the tagline “The Business News We Knead,” and will “explore the world of business through the female prism.”

Amy Tennery and Hilary Reinsberg, the same editors who ran Mogulite, will continue to steer the ship at Jane Dough. Here’s hoping they direct it away from anymore puns.

EXCLUSIVE: Director Who Worked with Wagner, Walken Finalizing Release Deal

Last week, we told you about Life’s a Beach, the only film to have co-starred Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken. Today, we were able to connect with the movie’s writer-director Tony Vitale, who explains that big things are about to happen with his never-released, beach resort-set R-rated comedy.

“The Canadian rights were recently sold first, but after further review of the film, someone wants to buy worldwide rights,” Vitale tells FishbowlLA via telephone from Los Angeles, where he has been based for the past 15 years. “So it’s a matter of us reacquiring the Canadian rights and then doing this new deal. I’m hoping it will be done by the end of the year.”

In the film, Walken plays Roy Callahan, the father of a bride (Rebecca, Christine Lakin) who stands up husband-to-be Darren (Darren Geare) at the altar. Distraught, the passed-over groom heads down to a Club Med type resort with a friend to try and recover. Among the more prominent guests at the resort are a married swinger couple, Tom and Felicia Wald (Wagner, Morgan Fairchild).

Wagner and Walken have no scenes together in the film, although they each worked on the project for about two weeks. That is not entirely by accident. “We were sensitive to that [their real-life connection] going in,” Vitale explains. “In the movie, Fairchild’s character eventually seduces Darren; she and Wagner have both been married multiple times. There’s also a big twist involving Wagner’s character.”

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Comic Patrice O’Neal Dead at 41

Stand-up comic Patrice O’Neal passed away this morning from complications due to a stroke he suffered in October. O’Neal had been battling diabetes for years.

O’Neal’s manager Matt Frost said in a statement:

Many of us have lost a close and loved friend; all of us have lost a true comic genius. His mother, who was also his best friend, was at his side. Patrice is survived by his wife, Vondecarlo; his step daughter Aymilyon, sister Zinder, and his mother Georgia. The family wishes to thank all of the fans and friends who have expressed an outpouring of love and support for Patrice these past weeks. We ask that you please respect the family’s request for privacy at this difficult time.

O’Neal was a frequent guest on The Opie and Anthony Show on Sirius XM radio, and it was the radio show that first broke the news of his stroke last month. O’Neal had guest roles on several TV shows including The Office, Arrested Development and Chappelle’s Show. He was a regular on Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn. Just recently he had appeared on Comedy Central’s roast of Charlie Sheen.

O’Neal starred in his first hour-long Comedy Central special just this past February. The network will re-air the special, called Elephant in the Room, twice tomorrow in his memory.

 

November Sweeps Indicate WNYW/Channel 5 Owns 10 p.m.

It was a powerful November sweeps period for WNYW/Channel 5. The Fox outlet, which battles Tribune-owned WPIX at 10 p.m., was the clear victor for the month, and year-to-year.

Delving into the numbers, obtained by WNYW, Ernie Anastos and Dari Alexander outdistanced Jodi Applegate‘s late newscast on Channel 11.

For November, Channel 5 had a 74-percent win in the Households (3.3 for WNYW, 1.9 for WPIX), a 78-percent advantage among total viewers (1.6, 0.9), a 73-percent lead in total Adults 18+ (1.9, 1.1), and a 78-percent bulge among Adults 25 to 54 (1.6, 0.9).

Comparing this sweeps period to November 2010, Channel 5 once again flexed its muscle.

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IRS Not Fond of Nonprofit Status for News Orgs

Columbia Journalism Review‘s Ryan Chittum has an interesting piece about the glacial pace non-profit news orgs are seeing their tax exempt status considered by the IRS.

A few examples:

[San Francisco Public Press] doesn’t accept advertising. It’s run by volunteers and has no salaried employees. It covers local public policy issues and eschews sports, entertainment news, and restaurant reviews. It loses money and is subsidized by donations and foundation grants.

But the IRS got the paper’s application nearly two years ago and still hasn’t given it an answer….

As Steve Beatty, managing editor of New Orleans investigative startup The Lens, which applied more than a year ago, puts it, “We’ve been told our application will be reviewed up to the right hand of God.”

Meanwhile, James O’Keefe‘s Project Veritas recently had its application approved. This despite O’Keefe picking pleading guilty to a misdemeanor while on the job, for entering Senator Mary Landrieu‘s office, pretending to be a phone company employee.

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Creative Direction of Tablets Gives Publishers Pause

When designing a magazine app for a tablet, is it best for it to be simple or complicated? The answer to that question is giving companies plenty to think about. Adweek reports that while some publishing houses claimed readers want their apps pared down, others felt that would be a step in the wrong direction.

Authorities at Time and Hearst explained that the KISS principle is the best approach. Steve Sachs, Time’s Executive Vice President of Consumer Marketing and Sales, said, “Interactive elements are valuable to [readers], but they’re a secondary benefit.” Chris Wilkes, the Vice President of Hearst’s App Lab agreed, and added that if an app has too many extras they could end up annoying readers.

Scott Dadich, the Executive Director of Digital Magazine Development at Condé Nast, didn’t see it that way at all. “It’s more effort, it’s more expense, but it does bear out in engagement,” said Dadich. “Something like a GQ, seeing models on a fashion shoot, or seeing the clothes move — there’s definitely value in that.” In line with Dadich’s thinking, the highest rated apps are often those that are also thoroughly enhanced.

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