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Morning Media Newsfeed: AOL CEO’s Public Firing | ME Gov ‘Threatens’ Paper | NPR’s ‘Flawed’ Report


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Listen to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Fire Patch’s Creative Director During A Conference Call (JimRomenesko.com)
AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong fired Patch creative director Abel Lenz two minutes into Friday’s call with Patch employees. Lenz’s sin: Taking a picture of the CEO during his talk. Business Insider The call was supposed to be Armstrong’s attempt to rally the troops. During the first minute or so of the recording, Armstrong says things like: “If you don’t believe what I’m about to say, I’m going to ask you to leave Patch… We have to get Patch into a place where it’s going to be successful.” But then things go suddenly awry. At exactly two minutes into the recording, Armstrong addresses someone in the room with him. He says, “Abel, put that camera down, now.” Then, without taking a breath, Armstrong says, “Abel, you’re fired. Out.” Business Insider A few minutes later, Armstrong complained about leaks to the media. He said the leaks were making Patch seem like “loser-ville” in the press. He said, “That’s why Abel was fired… We can’t have people that are in the locker room giving the game plan away.” When media reporter Jim Romenesko tweeted at Lenz, he replied: “I appreciate the interest Jim, but I have nothing to share. Go Patch!” TechCrunch The stakes at Patch are high because AOL has promised it will see positive revenue by the end of the year, which is a tall order given its most recent earnings results. These cuts and shifts in strategy are drastic measures, but that’s exactly what’s required if Armstrong wants to make good on a promise of Patch profitability by year’s end. NY Post By some estimates, AOL has spent more than $300 million on Patch since 2009, and it has yet to turn a profit.

LePage Says He’d Like to Blow Up Press Herald (Portland Press Herald)
Gov. Paul LePage made his dislike of the Portland Press Herald abundantly clear Friday while sitting in a fighter jet simulator: He said from the cockpit that he would like to blow up the newspaper’s building. The Republican governor made the offhand remark while participating in a fighter jet simulation at Pratt & Whitney, a defense contractor in North Berwick. New York Daily News LePage cushioned the remark with a hearty chuckle and his spokesperson later said that the politician was “clearly joking.” But some of the region’s newspapers aren’t laughing. Press Herald publisher Lisa DeSisto said that even though it was unlikely that LePage would actually carry out that threat, it reflected a “misguided sense of humor.” Politico / Dylan Byers on Media He later took to Twitter to emphasize that he was kidding, saying, “Threatened? It was a joke, folks.”

Ombudsman Criticizes NPR Report on Indian Children (Miami Herald / AP)
A year and a half after National Public Radio aired a series criticizing South Dakota’s handling of foster care for Native American children, the news agency’s ombudsman said the three-part investigative series was “deeply flawed.” Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos, who monitors the accuracy of NPR’s reporting, issued a report Friday that found NPR’s reporter and producer committed “five sins” that violate the news agency’s code of standards and ethics. NPR / Ombudsman My finding is that the series was deeply flawed and should not have been aired as it was. The series committed five sins that violate NPR’s code of standards and ethics. They were: 1. No proof for its main allegations of wrongdoing; 2. Unfair tone in communicating these unproven allegations; 3. Factual errors, shaky anecdotes and misleading use of data by quietly switching what was being measured; 4. Incomplete reporting and lack of critical context; 5. No response from the state on many key points.

NBC Buying Web Service to Stream Phone Video (NYT)
When a plane crashes or a protest turns violent, television crews speed to the scene. But they typically do not arrive for minutes or even hours, so these days photos and videos by amateurs — what the news industry calls “user-generated content” — fill the void. Those images, usually found by frantic producers on Twitter and Facebook, represented “the first generation of user-generated content for news,” said Vivian Schiller, the chief digital officer for NBC News. The network is betting that the next generation involves live video, streamed straight to its control rooms in New York from the cellphones of witnesses. On Monday, NBC News, a unit of Comcast’s NBCUniversal, will announce its acquisition of Stringwire, an early stage Web service that enables just that.

Wall Street Journal Gets A Nip-Tuck: What’s News Feature to Reduce to One Column (Capital New York)
Starting this week, the Wall Street Journal‘s front page will look a little different. Top Journal employees first learned on a conference call earlier last week that the daily “What’s News” box, long an A1 institution, will shrink from two columns to one, according to multiple sources familiar with the decision.

Fox May Produce Clinton Biopic Reviled by GOP (NYT)
The script for the proposed mini-series on the life of the possible presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton hasn’t even been written, but we may already have a plot twist. While NBC has come under heavy fire, especially from Republican critics, for agreeing to broadcast the series, the project may wind up being produced by another company: Fox Television Studios. TVNewser Just as NBC News has nothing to do with the miniseries, Fox News will not have anything to do with it either. The likely producer is Fox Television Studios (FTVS), a sister unit to FNC under the 21st Century Fox umbrella. FTVS would retain international distribution rights if it were to produce the series.

FCC: End Time Warner Cable-CBS Standoff or We Will (NY Post)
Mignon Clyburn, interim chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, fired a warning shot last week, saying she would take “appropriate action” if Time Warner Cable and CBS can’t end their spat. An FCC spokeswoman wouldn’t comment further on what action might be taken. So far, CBS said, its ratings have barely been affected by the loss of 3.2 million Time Warner Cable subscribers in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles. The network said its primetime audience is off by just 46,000 viewers, compared with the previous week. TVSpy CBS executive vice president Martin Franks confirmed with CBS Money Watch Thursday the two sides have resumed negotiations.

SpinMedia Puts A.J. Daulerio in Charge of Its Music And Entertainment Properties (Poynter / MediaWire)
A.J. Daulerio tells Jason Whitlock he will be an editorial director at SpinMedia. Among his charges, he says: Spin, Vibe, Celebuzz, The Frisky. Daulerio tells Whitlock Spin and Vibe are “publications most people have heard of, just in their current iteration it doesn’t seem like they actually have a lot of readership online.” Spin dismissed editor-in-chief Caryn Ganz in May and named Jem Aswad as her replacement.

Technology Industry Extends A Hand to Struggling Print Media (NYT)
From classifieds to display ads to subscriptions, the digital age has broken the financial pillars of print journalism, leaving the industry struggling to stand on its own. But more frequently — and with a boom last week, when Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, bought The Washington Post — the tycoons who have led the digital revolution are giving traditional print outlets a hand. Call it a sense of obligation. Or responsibility. Or maybe there is even a twinge of guilt. Helping print journalism adapt to a changed era is becoming a cause de jour among the technology elite.

A Gossip Site Finds Its Niche (NYT)
By 3 a.m. at the latest, Fred Mwangaguhunga is awake and trolling for gossip. While his wife and 3-year-old triplets sleep soundly, Mr. Mwangaguhunga is at his computer in his spacious TriBeCa loft, scanning photographs taken only hours earlier by paparazzi in the bars and clubs frequented by musicians, sports stars and actors. He is looking for missing wedding rings, emerging baby bumps, fresh bruises or any telling sign that will make a story.

Sports New Media’s ‘Bleacher Report Model’ Might Train Writers — But Still Pays Nothing (TechCrunch)
Sports New Media is sort of like the tech world’s version of Jerry Maguire. It’s a hybrid media management and technology platform that works with athletes, sports agents and teams to manage their social media activity, especially on Facebook. But it also has a strong suit in creating content for its many sports clients, much of it on social platforms. You might think it would operate a low-rent, pile ‘em high Demand Media model, but it’s now launched something quite different: a way to percolate new sports writers up the chain towards — in theory — a full-blown career. But perhaps controversially, it doesn’t plan to pay a cent for this content.

Journalism And Video Games Come Together as A New Form of Storytelling in Brazil (Nieman Journalism Lab)
Picture this: In order to understand how the mafia works, you take on the role of an undercover cop posing as a globe-trotting drug trafficker. You answer questions about sex education to continue a strip tease performed by a model. To better understand the teachings of major philosophers, you engage in a battle of theories with them. Though it may sound like a joke, video games are gaining traction as a new way to deliver information on news and current events.

Study Suggests Fake Web Traffic Is Worse Than You Thought (Ad Age / Media News)
Fake Web traffic has long plagued the online publishing world, but Dr. Paul Barford, computer science professor at the University of Wisconsin, is claiming the problem might be worse than suspected. And it’s costing some of the top online advertisers millions in wasted ad impressions.

Bringing Back The World to The World News (Beyond The Book)
In newsrooms, in boardrooms and in living rooms, the question is often put: Is high-quality, professional news reporting on its last legs? At the GlobalPost offices overlooking Boston Harbor, editors and reporters are giving many around the world reason to believe that professional journalism does indeed have a place in a digital, mobile world. The online-only news site has earned a reputation for international news reporting in just a few short years, filling gaps in US news coverage left where the old guard has retreated.

First Families of Print (NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer)
For more than a century, running America’s august papers was almost exclusively a family affair. But with the recent sales of The Washington Post and Boston Globe, only one of these once-powerful, multigenerational clans — New York Times owners the Sulzbergers — remains.

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