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Morning Media Newsfeed: Angelou Dies at 86 | Williams Interviews Snowden | Amazon Talks Hatchette Dispute

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Medal of Freedom Recipient Maya Angelou Dies at 86 (FishbowlDC)
Poet and author Maya Angelou died Wednesday at the age of 86, according to her literary agent Helen Brann. Angelou received the country’s highest civilian honor — the Medal of Freedom — in 2011 from President Obama, and is most widely known for her award-winning memoir I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. NYT The cause of death was not immediately known, but Brann said Angelou had been frail for some time and had heart problems. GalleyCat In addition to writing, Angelou proved to be an accomplished Renaissance woman who worked as an activist, entertainer, streetcar conductor, magazine editor, college professor and lecturer. CNN Angelou’s legacy is twofold. She leaves behind a body of important artistic work that influenced several generations. But the 86-year-old was praised by those who knew her as a good person, a woman who pushed for justice and education and equality. In her full life, she wrote staggeringly beautiful poetry. She also wrote a cookbook and was nominated for a Tony. Reuters Literary and entertainment figures, politicians and fans mourned her passing on Wednesday. Obama said his sister, Maya, was named for the author, whom he called “a brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman.” Media mogul Oprah Winfrey, who frequently threw lavish birthday parties for Angelou and considered her a mentor, said she would remember her friend most for how she lived her life. “She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace,” Winfrey said.

Traitor or Patriot? Edward Snowden Sits Down With Brian Williams (NBC News)
In his first American television interview, Edward Snowden defended his disclosure of the American government’s use of surveillance programs to spy on its own people and described himself as a patriot for trying to stop violations of the Constitution. Snowden met for about five hours last week with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams at a hotel in Moscow, where Snowden is living in exile while facing U.S. felony charges. An hour-long special program based on the interview aired Wednesday on NBC News. KSDK.com The interview revealed Snowden’s motive for leaking the documents: He wanted to be able to sleep at night. He said he feels he did the right thing and is proud. Snowden also revealed he misses his family, home and the work he used to do. He wishes he could go home. The Washington Post / Morning Mix Asked directly by Williams whether he was looking for “clemency or amnesty,” Snowden said, “I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home. I mean, I’ve from day one said that I’m doing this to serve my country. Now, whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say.” Mediaite “This is an enigmatic guy,” Williams said of Snowden. “We’ve only seen him in video from Skype appearances and the video he did from a hotel in Hong Kong.” He added, “He is blindingly smart. Pay no attention to the fact that he only has a G.E.D. from high school. I joked about how, here we were, two guys with high school degrees, both dropouts from the otherwise great American community college system.” Baltimore Sun / Z on TV Overall, the questions Williams asked in the interview conducted in a Russian hotel room were probing, contextualized and consistently elicited revealing answers from Snowden.

Amazon Breaks Silence on Hachette Dispute (GalleyCat)
Amazon has finally come out and commented on its ongoing dispute with Hachette on a Kindle forum page. In the post, the retailer admits that it is buying less print inventory of Hachette titles and no longer taking pre-orders on Hachette books that are not out yet because of changes related to its contract and terms with the publisher. NYT / Bits The online retailer, perhaps unnerved by the way it is being denounced all over the Internet, said the dispute was blown out of proportion, misunderstood and likely to last quite a while. “We are not optimistic that this will be resolved soon,” the statement said. If people really want a new book by James Patterson or another Hachette author, Amazon suggested going to “one of our competitors,” Barnes & Noble, presumably, or an independent store. Amazon has been telling customers it will take as long as a month to ship books published by Hachette. Mashable Last week, Amazon began to block pre-orders of upcoming books from the publisher. The dispute is the most recent example of problems in the eBook industry. In 2010, Hachette supported fellow publisher Macmillan in a price dispute with Amazon. Amazon claimed that its interests align with those of customers in seeking to keep prices low. The company did seek to extend a small olive branch: a pool of funds for authors affected by the dispute that would be funded equally by Amazon and Hachette. WSJ Hachette hit back at Amazon, rebuffing the retailer’s suggestion that the two jointly compensate authors. Among the forthcoming titles from Hachette now affected by the disagreement is The Silkworm, written by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Apple Agrees to Buy Beats for $3 Billion (WSJ)
Apple Inc. said on Wednesday it is buying Beats Electronics for $3 billion to bolster a music business that has lost some of its mojo, as streaming-music services encroached on the downloads dominated by Apple’s iTunes service. Mashable Apple is buying both Beats companies, Beats Electronics and Beats Music, for a purchase price of about $2.6 billion and approximately $400 million that will vest over time. Beats cofounders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will join Apple. Rumors of the acquisition surfaced earlier this month. NYT Apple and Beats executives on Wednesday said that the companies would work together to give consumers worldwide more options to listen to music. The Beats brand will remain separate from Apple’s, and Apple will offer both Beats’ streaming music service and premium headphones. Apple said that iTunes, which sells individual songs and albums and offers a streaming radio service, would continue to be offered alongside the Beats music service. Re/code Apple says the deal will close by the end of its fiscal year, which means by the end of September. This is a deal that has confused most people outside of Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, because it is very un-Apple-like. While multi-billion dollar deals are now common for the likes of Google and Facebook, Apple has never made an acquisition of this size.

Stacey Dash Joins Fox News (TVNewser)
Fox News Channel has hired actress and activist Stacey Dash as a contributor. FNC says Dash “will offer cultural analysis and commentary” across daytime and primetime shows. Mediaite Dash is best known for playing Dionne in the 1996 film Clueless, as well as the short-lived television show that followed, but in 2012 gained attention for publicly endorsing Republican Mitt Romney on her Twitter account. THR / The Live Feed Her endorsement of Romney in 2012 landed her several television appearances — including a day as a guest panelist on The View. The time since has seen Dash move more into commentary.

May 2014 Ratings: Fox News No. 1 for 149 Straight Months (TVNewser)
Fox News marked its 149th consecutive month as the most-watched cable news network in May, beating MSNBC and CNN combined in total viewers and ranking sixth among all ad-supported cable networks in both total day and primetime. The network had the top 14 shows in total viewers and the top eight shows in the demo in all of cable news. HuffPost Despite its dominance, the network drew 264,000 viewers ages 25-54 during primetime — the lowest it has had in more than 12 years, since August 2001. Its entire primetime lineup — hosted by Greta Van Susteren, Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity — hit 12-year lows in the demo. Variety In network news, Diane Sawyer made ratings history in May when her World News became the first evening news program solely hosted by a female to win a sweep month in the industry’s most coveted demo. Even as NBC’s Nightly News opened up a bigger advantage in total viewers, it was ABC’s World News that finished on top in adults 25-54 for the May sweep — the network’s first May victory in seven years and its first in any sweep month in more than six years (both with Charles Gibson as anchor).

Forbes Names ‘100 Most Powerful Women’ (FishbowlNY)
Forbes has published yet another list — this time detailing the “100 Most Powerful Women” in the world. Some of the women from the media that made Forbes’ list: No. 9 Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook; No. 12 Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube; No. 14 Oprah Winfrey; No. 18 Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! and No. 39 Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue and artistic director of Condé Nast. FishbowlDC Greta Van Susteren, the only news anchor to be included, rounds out the list at No. 100. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, AOL is at No. 52. The No. 1 spot on the list goes to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while Hillary Clinton clocks in at No. 6, two spots above Michelle Obama at No. 8.

Chelsea Handler’s E! Talk Show Will End in August (Vulture)
Chelsea Handler let it be known weeks ago that she’d be leaving E! when her deal with the network expired later this year; now, her departure has an official timeline. E! Wednesday said Chelsea Lately will become the late Chelsea following a live, hour-long finale on Aug. 26 at 11 p.m. Deadline Hollywood Handler’s last telecast will be preceded by a month-long farewell highlighting the show’s seven-year run. Chelsea Lately’s ratings have slid lately. Between 2010, the year before Handler’s last renegotiation with E!, and 2013, the show’s viewership has dropped 32 percent to 572,000, with the declines extending into 2014.

Chicago Public Media Taking Over Distribution of This American Life (Chicago Tribune)
Chicago Public Media will begin self-distribution of its signature program, This American Life, on July 1, taking over key business functions for one of public radio’s most significant franchises. The move, announced Wednesday, will deliver the weekly show digitally to more than 500 stations using the online Public Radio Exchange (PRX), with This American Life assuming responsibility for selling sponsorships and marketing the program. NYT Five suitors came calling, including satellite radio company SiriusXM, but in the end This American Life decided to go it alone. It will distribute the show itself beginning in July when its distribution contract with Public Radio International ends.

Thai Ministry Sparks Alarm With Brief Block of Facebook (Reuters)
Thai Facebook users were alarmed on Wednesday when the Information Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry blocked access to the site at the request of the military, but the junta blamed the brief shutdown on a technical problem. AllFacebook Surachai Srisaracam, permanent secretary of the ICT, confirmed that Facebook was blocked for about 30 minutes Wednesday afternoon to quell online criticism of events in the country, adding, “We have blocked Facebook temporarily, and [Thursday] we will call a meeting with other social media, like Twitter and Instagram, to ask for cooperation from them. Right now, there’s a campaign to ask for people to stage protests against the army, so we need to ask for cooperation from social media to help us stop the spread of critical messages about the coup.”

TheHill.com Introduces Content From More Than 100 New ‘Contributors’ (FishbowlDC)
Wednesday, The Hill newspaper announced the launch of a new “Contributors” section, with content expected from more than 100 scholars, think tanks, diplomats and strategists. The new contributors will join the Hill’s current 14 regular columnists, which include James Carville and Judd Gregg. More than 200 experts have showed interest in offering their commentary, opinion and analysis on key political issues.

ITV Studios Promotes Paul Buccieri to Global Entertainment Chairman (Variety)
ITV Studios has expanded the purview of U.S. operations chief Paul Buccieri on the heels of the Brit TV giant’s spree of production company acquisitions. Buccieri, who has headed ITV Studios’ U.S. operations since 2007, has been upped to chairman of ITV Studios U.S. Group and chairman of ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

Art Garfunkel And Good Housekeeping’s Campaign to End Childhood Hunger (FishbowlNY / Lunch)
There wasn’t much that could top last week’s head-spinning celebrity scene at Michael’s, so Wednesday was pretty quiet by comparison except for the random appearance of Art Garfunkel. I guess I could have asked him about Paul Simon‘s recent trip to a Connecticut courtroom and perhaps gotten him to weigh in on his erstwhile partner’s domestic woes, but I only noticed him on the way out the door.

Nielsen Expands Sample Sizes in Top Markets (TVSpy)
Nielsen is rolling out an expansion in local market sample sizes. Dallas, Washington, D.C., Houston, Miami and Denver will see an increase of 200 homes this year. Charlotte, St. Louis, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta and Phoenix will see an increase of 200 homes in 2015, and the top two DMAs — New York and Los Angeles — will add 300 homes next year.

Newsweek Strikes Deal to Build Foreign Editions (Capital New York)
Newsweek has entered into a partnership with the global media consultancy Empirical Media to strike new foreign licensing agreements for the print magazine and its website. Empirical, which is headed up by veteran media executive and private-equity guy Jim Friedlich, will initially focus on markets in Central Europe and Asia.

Mediabistro Blogs

GalleyCat Remembering Maya Angelou Through Her Writing

TVNewser Stacey Dash Joins Fox News

TVSpy WKBN Meteorologist Diagnosed with Cancer

FishbowlNY Forbes Names ‘100 Most Powerful Women’

AllFacebook Mike Deerkoski Joins SocialCode as CTO, SVP

Lost Remote A Recap of the 2014 Upfronts from Stuart Elliott and Simon Applebaum

FishbowlDC TheHill.com Introduces Content From 100+ New ‘Contributors’

SocialTimes YouTube Introduces New Features to Empower Creators

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