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Archives: February 2013

Mika Brzezinski, Miss USA and a Mysterious Stephen Baldwin Sighting

1003_mockup.gifMaybe it was today’s dreadful weather (Will this winter from hell ever end?) or perhaps some boldface names can’t bring themselves to leave the sunny West Coast after the Oscars, but the scene at Michael’s today was pretty much a celebrity-free zone unless you count the random sighting of Stephen Baldwin. The more low-key Baldwin made a curiously brief appearance in the dining room (he didn’t even sit down) before leaving, so we never got the chance to ask him what he thinks about brother Alec Baldwin‘s war with The New York Post, but we did try. There was, however, an interesting mix of bold faced names including police commissioner Ray Kelly and the newly crowed Miss USA Nana Meriwether who, despite leaving her sash and crown at home, looked every inch the pageant winner. Being almost six feet tall certainly helps stand out in a crowd.

I was joined today by Woman’s Day editor-in-chief Susan Spencer and Hearst executive director of public relations Mimi Crume Sterling. Having never met these smart, savvy gals before, we bonded over a talk about our daughters. Susan, like me, is mother to an elementary-school-aged daughter adopted from China; Mimi has a little girl and is about to give birth to her first son any minute (we had our fingers crossed she’d make it through lunch!). We all agreed parenthood is an unending source of material.

Susan Spencer and Diane Clehane

Since joining the magazine in February of last year from Time Inc.’s All You, Susan has made some interesting changes to the magazine. “I’ve fallen in love with the reader,” she says. This is not your mother’s Woman’s Day, although Susan is mindful of the generational connection between readers of the 75-year-old Hearst title. “Some readers have been reading the magazine for 60 years, and now their daughters and their daughters’ daughters are reading it,” she explained. When asked just who is the Woman’s Day reader, Susan told me: “She’s the ‘Average Josephine’ — the receptionist, the administrative assistant, the teacher, the nurse. These are the women who I consider to be the backbone of America.” That doesn’t mean, however, these women (more than half work outside the home) are not interested in fashion and the good things in life. Just the opposite. “These women have a lot of joy in their life. They embrace positivity,” says Susan. “That’s why the title of the magazine is so perfect for them. It’s about her day and the joy she gets out of it.” To tap into that, Susan retooled the fashion pages focusing more on value in all its iterations. “Our reader doesn’t want to see a great shoe and then find out it’s $300 or even $150. It has to make sense for her life.” In fact, “Value Tags” appear throughout the magazine to highlight steals, deals and all-around great ideas.

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Brian Steinberg Joins Variety

Brian Steinberg is leaving Ad Age to join Variety as its new senior TV editor. Steinberg was Ad Age’s TV editor, and had been with the publication since 2007. Prior to his time at Ad Age, he had worked at the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswire.

“As one of the most respected reporters in television today, Brian Steinberg adds depth to Variety’s editorial team and will greatly expand our coverage of marketing and advertising,” said Jay Penske, chairman and CEO of Variety’s parent, Penske Media, in a statement. “He’ll play a crucial role in the revitalization of Variety online and the relaunch of the weekly print publication starting March 26.”

Steinberg will be based in New York.

Ashley Morrison Returns to WCBS as MoneyWatch Anchor

It’s been 10 days since Rob Morrison was arrested for allegedly choking his wife, CBS Money Watch anchor Ashley Morrison. One week ago, Rob resigned from WCBS as the scandal grew.

Ashley returned to her post yesterday on CBS 2 This Morning, formerly opposite her husband. Now occupied by Chris Wragge on a fill-in basis alongside Mary Calvi.

Last week, Rob took to social media and spoke to other outlets, including FishbowlNY, professing his innocence. Morrison’s attorney, Robert Skovgaard says the couple won’t be granting interviews for the foreseeable future.

“We have no further comment to make regarding Mr. Morrison.  The media need to let the Morrisons handle this personal, family matter privately.”

Rob Morrison faces a felony charge of strangulation. His next appearance in Stamford Superior Court is due on March 26.

David Brooks and Gail Collins Support Media Reporting

Each Wednesday, the New York Times’ David Brooks and Gail Collins do a Q & A. Today’s topic was newspaper journalism. Aside from making themselves feel better about their chosen profession (Do you feel safe? Yes I feel safe. Do you?) they also took some time to express support for what FishbowlNY and many other sites/people do: Report on the reporters.

Here is their exchange, which will hopefully warm the hearts of media reporters everywhere:

David: I used to tell young journalists to start out writing crime stories somewhere. Now I tell them to produce Web pages that link and comment on the best pieces in the national press. The big editors will look to your site if you write obsessively about them. Eventually they’ll hire you.

Gail: That’s a good career strategy, I suppose. Instead of covering the news, you cover the people covering the news.

Former Boss Comes to the Defense of Embattled BuzzFeed Reporter

Before Tessa Stuart joined BuzzFeed, she worked at LA Weekly. Today, that publication’s editor-in-chief Sarah Fenske has done what very few elsewhere in the media have dared to up to this point: firmly take Stuart’s side.

The crux of Fenske’s argument is that she feels there’s no way, under any circumstances (logged by the CPB or not logged), that Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat could have been detained for the amount of time Michael Moore first claimed (1.5 hours). From her op ed:

The Atlantic revealed that Burnat’s plane arrived at LAX at 4:59 p.m. , fourteen minutes behind schedule. Even if the plane was blessed with a relatively quick deboarding, it’s hard to imagine that Burnat could have possibly first encountered federal agents any earlier than 5:20 p.m.

Weirdly, The Atlantic lets Moore suggest otherwise: “In the half-hour between Burnat’s arrival and the first log entry cited in BuzzFeed’s post, Moore says Burnat and his family had already been taken to two other holding areas.” Oh really? So the plane landed at 4:59, and somehow magically everyone was ushered into various holding areas within just a few minutes, only to be detained and shuffled to room after room in just 29 minutes?

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John Cusack Talks Freedom of the Press, Hunter S. Thompson on Reddit

Actor John Cusack has teamed up with Pentagon Paper whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, writers Glenn Greenwald and Xeni Jardin, documentarian Laura Poitras and Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow to launch a new First Amendment and investigative journalism advocacy foundation called Freedom of the Press. He’s currently fielding an AMA on Reddit about the endeavor… and his new film Rampart.

Plenty of info on Freedom of the Press (whose website appears to be slow/down under the traffic burden) but Cusack also had some interesting things to say about his friendship with the late Hunter S. Thompson:

I spent many many late nights on phone with Hunter through Clinton and Bush years…

Here were his thoughts on the Iraq war Bush & company started:

“We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world — a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us. No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we’ll kill you. “Well, shit on that dumbness, George W. Bush does not speak for me or my son or my mother or my friends or the people I respect in this world. We didn’t vote for these cheap, greedy little killers who speak for America today — and we will not vote for them again in 2002. Or 2004. Or ever. “Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid rich kids like George Bush? “They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us — they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them.”

HST didn’t mince words.

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Writing Advice from Producer of The Tudors, History Channel’s Vikings

Just in time for the upcoming premier of Vikings on the History Channel, Michael Hirst, the show’s writer and producer, talks about his writing process in the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do? series.

“The key for me with historical characters is they’re interesting because they’re human beings,” he said. “A little bit of Hemingway goes a long way here, but journalists and writers should honestly look at their material and have a real interest, a real passion in what they want to write, and they should also have a lot of knowledge, as well. You don’t write police procedural stuff unless you really know that beat, but it’s ultimately not the procedure that makes the show work — it’s the people. The more real they are, the better.”

Read more in So What Do You Do, Michael Hirst, Creator of The Tudors and Vikings?

New York Times Offers 15 Free Articles if You Can Just Stomach Starbucks’ Terrible Coffee

Bad coffee enthusiasts rejoice! The New York Times has announced a partnerhsip with Starbucks that gives those using Starbucks’ wifi free access to 15 articles per day.

Under the plan, those visiting Starbucks who navigate to the Times’ site can read three articles per day from the paper’s Business, News, Most Emailed and Technology sections. A fifth, rotating option will align with that day’s special section. So for example, Friday customers could access Weekend and Saturday they could read articles from the Times Magazine.

All you have to do to take part in this deal is be able to drink Starbucks coffee. Is it worth it? Well, that depends on if your stomach is made of iron and your tastebuds have been dulled to the point of no return. If that’s the case, then yes, it is worth it.

[Image via Flickr - ArdenStreet]

Tony Pierce No Longer at KPCC

It’s been a tumultuous 12 months over at KPCC, what with the departure of Madeleine Brand, demotion of Patt Morrison and – most recently – exit of program director Craig Curtis. Unfortunately, another name can be added to the list: Tony Pierce.

When we first heard about Pierce’s KPCC layoff, it was as much of a surprise to us as his 2011 exit from the LA Times. FishbowlLA contacted Pierce and he was kind enough to give us the following statement:

Yes, it’s true. I was relieved of my duties at KPCC recently. It was quite a shock as I thought I was providing an important and useful service to the Take Two show during the week and to the KPCC website on Saturdays.

But in the ultimate “it’s not you, it’s me” reasoning, I was told it was due to a budget shortfall, and not the quality of my work, that I was being shown the door.

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Shuffling the Deck at 92.3 NOW FM

WNOW/92.3 NOW FM is making changes to its weekday lineup. Program director Rick Gillette is switching everyone with the exception of morning host Ty Bentli.

After that you need a scorecard to keep track. Micki Gamez is back in the midday slot, which she temporarily relinquished for afternoons when former Nick Cannon got ill.

“She’s the perfect foil to go up against the Seacrest syndicated debacle in middays across the street,” Gillette tells FishbowlNY.

Zann moves into the afternoon drive spot. He had been on evenings since last June.

“We moved Zann because she’s a breath of fresh air, and New York needs some fresh air in afternoons,” Gillette says.  “She’s the obnoxious chick who’s going to bully her way on the already packed number 2 train headed for Brooklyn every late afternoon.”

The station’s reworked 6 to 10 p.m. shift is led by Toro, previously on  from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Toro is a Nuyorican born in the projects overlooking Coney Island.

“Renowned and well paid in the tri-state for his amazing DJ/mixing skills, [Toro] has no future in radio outside of New York because he is just SO New York,” Gillette says. “92.3 NOW is so all about New York [so] we had to let this native son out of his cage a little earlier every day, allowing him to entertain the masses in the early evening and then prowl the late night club scene after his show every night.”

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