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Morning Media Newsfeed: Al Jazeera America Debut | Fox News Exec Fired | Hearst Swaps Editors


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Al Jazeera Makes Limited American Debut (NYT)
There was ample attention in journalistic circles as Al Jazeera America had its premiere on Tuesday — particularly among those who could not watch. The news channel — which replaced Current TV at 3 p.m. ET — was expected to be carried by five of the country’s 10 biggest television providers, but one of those, AT&T U-verse, dropped Current, and thus Al Jazeera, late Monday night. That decision irritated some U-verse subscribers, who complained online about the company’s move and which further limited Al Jazeera America’s potential audience on Day 1. THR / Hollywood, Esq. Al Jazeera America has filed a lawsuit against AT&T over its refusal to carry the new cable news network. “Al Jazeera America made a decision to seek judicial intervention in its dispute with AT&T,” the network said in a statement Tuesday night. TVNewser The first few minutes were hosted by anchors Richelle Carey and Antonio Mora, who introduced the channel. Clips of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator John McCain praising Al Jazeera were played, followed by clips of people on the street criticizing the existing media landscape. TheWrap / MediaAlley Al Jazeera America — the first cable news channel to launch since Fox News back in 1996 — has a lot going for it. It’s got plenty of cash, funded by the oil-rich royal family of Qatar, allowing it to hire a staff of 850, create 12 bureaus in the United States (and 70 more all over the world through Al Jazeera’s network), and it has the noble ambition to bring Americans good, solid and unbiased journalism. There’s also a lot for the nascent network to worry about. Baltimore Sun / Z on TV CNN has a lot to lose if Al Jazeera America is even a little successful. The modest ratings gains CNN has managed to make in 2013 under new president Jeff Zucker are going to disappear pretty fast if Al Jazeera America splits or even takes a bite out of the audience on big, breaking news stories. And with CNN under Zucker favoring sensational trials over coups and riots in places like Egypt, Al Jazeera could find a breaking news audience very fast.

Top Roger Ailes Adviser Fired And Escorted From Fox News Building (THR)
Brian Lewis, a Fox News Channel veteran executive considered the right-hand man to Roger Ailes, was working on his separation agreement Tuesday after having been fired and escorted from his office last month over what insiders are calling financial issues and other performance problems, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. “After an extensive internal investigation of Brian Lewis’ conduct by Fox News, it was determined that he should be terminated for cause, specifically for issues relating to financial irregularities, as well as for multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract,” a company spokesperson said Tuesday. TVNewser Lewis was FNC’s executive VP of corporate communications, managing media relations and communications for FNC, FBN, Fox TV stations and Twentieth Television. He was also a close confidant of Ailes, having worked with him at America’s Talking before joining him to help launch Fox News in 1996. Lewis was promoted to his EVP role in 2006. New York Daily News / Confidential Among media reporters who cover the Fox News Channel, Lewis — who rarely spoke to the press — was known as the “puppet master” for maintaining a list of journalists that he and his cohorts considered enemies of the right-leaning network. Getting on that blacklist is typically an honor reserved for those who dare criticize the channel — fairly or not — or the TV personalities who appear on it.

Hearst Hires BuzzFeed, Fashionista Editors (WWD / Memo Pad)
Early on Tuesday, it seemed as though a housecleaning was underway at Hearst Magazines. Amina Akhtar, the executive editor of elle.com, tweeted she’d been laid off, and it was later confirmed Abby Gardner, the digital director of cosmopolitan.com, was also out. But it seems at least the two editors were let go to make room for a pair of well-known bloggers. Amy Odell, who just launched BuzzFeed Fashion in July, is jumping to Cosmopolitan to become the new editor of its website after a year and a half at the site popular for its goofy listicles. And Leah Chernikoff, the editorial director of the blog Fashionista, is joining elle.com in a similar capacity. FishbowlNY Akhtar had been Elle’s executive online editor since May of last year. Prior to that she launched and edited FashionEtc.com, and before that spent four years as a fashion editor for New York. Gardner had been digital director at Cosmo since last October. She was a site director at Marie Claire before that. Mashable The layoffs come at a curious time for the women’s lifestyle titles: One of their busiest periods, New York Fashion Week, kicks off in just two weeks.

New Yorker‘s Jeffrey Toobin Compares Glenn Greenwald’s Partner to A ‘Drug Mule’ (The Atlantic Wire)
The New Yorker‘s Jeffrey Toobin went on CNN Tuesday to continue his defense of the NSA and the White House against Edward Snowden’s leaks and the journalists who report on them. And, well, Toobin responded to David Miranda’s nine-hour detention in the UK under a controversial terrorism law by comparing Glenn Greenwald’s partner to a drug mule. HuffPost “I don’t want to be unkind, but he was a mule,” Toobin said. “He was given something, he didn’t know what it was, from one person to pass to another at the other end of an airport. Our prisons are full of drug mules.”

Michael Hastings Autopsy Rules Death Accidental; Meth, Marijuana Found in System (TheWrap)
Michael Hastings, the journalist who sparked the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal with a 2010 Rolling Stone article and died in a Los Angeles car crash in June, had small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol — the active ingredient in marijuana — and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death, the Los Angeles coroner’s office said Tuesday. Despite the presence of drugs in Hastings’ system, the coroner ruled that the journalist’s death was accidental.

Elmore Leonard Has Died (GalleyCat)
Novelist Elmore Leonard has died. He passed away in his home in the Detroit area. He was 87 years old. According to the author’s website, “Elmore passed away [Tuesday] morning at 7:15 a.m. at home surrounded by his loving family.” The author had suffered from a stroke last month. Daily Beast / Book Beast Before he died, he had written more than three dozen novels and probably hundreds of short stories. A good many of those novels and stories were made into films that ranged from Westerns (Hombre, 3:10 to Yuma) to crime features (Get Shorty, Out of Sight). Screenwriters surely loved working on scripts based on Leonard’s lean prose. The plots came trimmed of fat, and the crisp, funny dialogue was already there on the page. The Guardian As shown by his frequent praise of plain writing, Leonard disliked the idea of style. In his way, though, he was a high stylist, able to capture in around 200 pages how American low-life looked and sounded.

San Francisco Paper Took $500,000 With Paywall Before Taking It Down (The Guardian / Greenslade Blog)
With the San Francisco Chronicle having dropped its paywall after just four months, one of its former executives has been talking about the problems of charging for content. Phil Bronstein, one-time Chronicle editor who now chairs the board of the California-based Centre for Investigative Reporting, was interviewed on Bloomberg TV. Interesting revelation: “My understanding from people who work there is that they [Hearst Corp] made probably close to $500,000 during the course of that four months.”

O.C. Register Owner Aaron Kushner Bets Heavily on Print (LA Times)
Over the last year, the Orange County Register has been furiously paddling against a riptide that has newspapers around the country laying off journalists, shrinking coverage and in some cases cutting back home delivery. The Register has doubled the number of reporters and editors to 350 and fattened the paper by adding 22 weekly sections. On a recent Tuesday, it had 72 pages while the Los Angeles Times had 42.

Washington Post Considered Using Robot Sportswriters (Poynter / MediaWire)
Last year, The Washington Post considered using automated writing to cover the region’s many highschool sports, Brook Silva-Braga reports. Currently, the paper has four reporters on that beat, and deputy highschool sports editor Matt McFarland estimates the paper would need “like 300″ to stay on top of all prep sports in the region.

The Future of Little Magazines (CJR / Behind the News )
It’s not easy being a little magazine. But The New Inquiry, an online journal and monthly magazine of culture and politics, is making it look easy. “We have no paywall, no advertisers, no benefactors, and we’re creative commons,” said 27-year-old editor-in-chief Rachel Rosenfelt. Instead, the publication relies on revenue from subscriptions, with readers signing on for as little as $2 a month.

Here’s What The New York Times Should Do: Nothing (Gawker)
The New Republic, a small magazine and chronically unsuccessful business enterprise, turned its attention Tuesday to the problems and prospects of The New York Times, a large and historically solvent newspaper. What should the Times do? Who ought to buy the Times? What does Times executive editor Jill Abramson plan to do to get things “figured out”? Those are popular sorts of questions to ask, even though the real answers are boring: “Publish the news.” “No one, or possibly someone with a lot of money.” “Publish the news.”

CNET Turns Editorial Reviews Into Ads (Digiday)
This past April, CNET senior editor Jessica Dolcourt reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone. Under the headline “The everything phone for (almost) everyone,” the CNET veteran journalist gave the device 4.5/5 stars in a detailed, mostly positive review. She did have reservations about the Galaxy S4’s dim screen and “cheaper look” compared to rivals like the iPhone. Fast forward eight months: Dolcourt’s review is now part of a new advertising product CNET sold to Samsung, which purchased the right to promote the editorial review through “CNET Replay.”

The Daily Caller Suggests Obama Is Biased Against White Dogs (NY Observer)
The Daily Caller, the conservative website founded by Tucker Carlson, is calling out the first African-American President of the United States for not having any white dogs as pets. “With the addition of Sunny, the Obamas now have two black Portuguese water dogs. The Obamas do not have any white dogs,” reporter Patrick Howley noted in a blog post about the latest canine addition to the First Family.

Daily Mail Rings Up False NYT Scoop (FishbowlNY)
In terms of Daily Mail run-on headlines, Monday night’s missive was sensationally minor. Still, the insinuation that New York Times health and lifestyles writer Julie Scelfo and her husband had grand plans of indecent exposure, via a second-floor shower stall protruding from the back of their Brooklyn townhouse, quickly reverberated through the media. Not so fast.

Review Chronicles Bloomberg Missteps on Data Use (WSJ)
An outside review of Bloomberg LP’s data compliance and news reporting revealed that the financial data and news provider didn’t curtail reporters’ access to subscriber data two years ago, when concerns about the access first emerged, due to internal “misunderstandings.” The review, by Promontory Financial Group and law firm Hogan Lovells, didn’t point to any evidence of widespread abuse of customer data by Bloomberg News. It concluded that “a number of journalists” used subscriber data in the course of their reporting, such as for looking up contact information, but it identified only two occasions where subscriber information or other sensitive data was clearly reflected in stories.

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Mediabistro Chats

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Do you think Vogue could make Google Glass fashionable? mbist.ro/17H9jH0 (via @PRNewser)

twitter chip_roberson In the end Fashion is more about design and less about marketing. I’ll wait for Rev 2 of #GoogleGlass.

twitter penandkeys It may become useful, but it’ll always be as fashionable as a bluetooth device, even on skinny models.

twitterjulietmbeverly We shall see!

twitter Jen Picard I’m always surprised by what is considered “fashionable,” so I guess anything is possible! I sure hope not, though…

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