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Morning Media Newsfeed: Bezos Buys WaPo | TWC Proposes CBS Deal | RNC Hits CNN And NBC


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Washington Post to Be Sold to Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon (The Washington Post)
The Washington Post Co. agreed Monday to sell its flagship newspaper to Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos, ending the Graham family’s stewardship of one of America’s leading news organizations after four generations. Bezos, whose entrepreneurship has made him one of the world’s richest men, will pay $250 million in cash for the Post and affiliated publications to The Washington Post Co., which owns the newspaper and other businesses. The deal represents a sudden and stunning turn of events for the Post, Washington’s leading newspaper for decades and a powerful force in shaping the nation’s politics and policy. The Washington Post / Jeff Bezos The values of the Post do not need changing. The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners. We will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads, and we’ll work hard not to make mistakes. When we do, we will own up to them quickly and completely. HuffPost / The Backstory On Monday at 4:15 p.m., Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth informed staff that there would be “an announcement” just 15 minutes later in the paper’s first floor auditorium. Some speculated that the Post had sold its historic downtown Washington headquarters, which had been on the market for six months. Following the Bezos announcement, a Post staffer described colleagues as “shocked and stunned.” NYT Perhaps the biggest surprise in the sale is that it happened under the watch of Donald Graham. All scions of industry do their time on the shop-room floor, but Graham had shown that he didn’t want to just inherit his enterprise, he wanted to earn it. The idea that Graham would sell the paper, whatever merits the sale might entail, seemed as unlikely as Henry V giving up the crown. But on Monday, Graham seemed at peace with what he had done. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Carl Bernstein: “I have high hopes that [Monday's] announcement will represent a great moment in the history of a great institution: recognition that a new kind of entrepreneurship and leadership, fashioned in the age of the new technology, is needed to lead not just the Post, but perhaps the news business itself, in combining the best of enduring journalistic values with all the potential of the digital era — including a profit model that will finance a renaissance of the kind of reporting that is essential for Washington, for American journalism, and for the world.” CJR / The Audit We have now officially entered the oft-predicted Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper industry’s collapse. New Republic Craigslist’s Craig Newmark has not bought the Post, thank goodness — that would be too much to bear. But Bezos as the white knight provokes only slightly less shock and dolor. We knew the other guys had won a long time ago, but it’s another thing when they can waltz in and, in the charmless guise of “Explore Holdings LLC,” drop $250 million in cash for a legendary paper (that’s a mere one percent of Bezos’ net worth), as flip and easy as plucking an Apollo rocket engine from the ocean or building a $42 million, 10,000-year clock in West Texas. NYT / DealBook If it wasn’t clear that newspapers have become trophies for the wealthy with an interest in journalism or power — or a combination of both — it should be now. TVSpy The acquisition does not include the Post-Newsweek station group; Cable ONE, Slate, TheRoot.com, Foreign Policy and Kaplan are also not included in the deal. The Washington Post Company will be changing its name. TheWrap / MediaAlley Washington Post Co. shares immediately spiked on word that the company had sold its money sucking newspapers to Bezos. In immediate after-hours trading, shares climbed nearly 5.5 percent to $599.85.

Time Warner Cable: We’ll End Blackout if We Can Offer CBS A La Carte (THR)
Time Warner Cable’s CEO Glenn Britt on Monday sent a letter to CBS CEO Leslie Moonves offering to immediately resume negotiations and end the blackout — if the network will let them offer its stations on an a la carte basis. Britt also called on CBS to immediately cease blocking CBS.com content for its broadband customers. TVSpy With the CBS-Time Warner Cable dispute still underway, CBS is touting weekend ratings at its O&Os in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, saying the blackout “will not present an overall ratings hardship.”

RNC Hits NBC, CNN for Hillary Films, Threatens to Pull Debate Rights (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus has threatened to pull NBC and CNN’s access to the 2016 Republican primary debates unless those companies pull their current Hillary Clinton-related film projects. In open letters to the leadership of NBC Universal and CNN International, Priebus expressed his “deep disappointment” over those networks’ decisions to produce films “promoting former Secretary Hillary Clinton ahead of her likely candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.” TVNewser Priebus says that if the programs are not canceled, he will recommend that the RNC not partner with NBC News or CNN for primary debates once the 2016 election season begins.

Discovery Criticized for Hugely Misleading Documentary (The Verge)
Viewers have rallied around the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week for decades over its unabashed love of science and its glorification of violent sea creatures. But this year’s event, which kicked off Sunday night with the documentary Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives, may have committed a cardinal sin: lying to viewers about sharks. Discover / Science Sushi This year’s Shark Week kick-off special, Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives, claimed to provide evidence that these massive beasts are still out there, using scattered anecdotes and scientific testimony to support the assertion. There’s only one problem: the entire “documentary” wasn’t real.

Tina Brown Says She Fired Howie Kurtz for ‘Serial Inaccuracy’ (TPM / LiveWire)
Tina Brown took a very pointed shot at Howie Kurtz over Twitter on Monday after the longtime media critic linked to a story that he said captured the “the chaos, waste and dysfunction” that typified her time overseeing the merger between Newsweek and The Daily Beast. That tweet prompted Brown, still the editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, to fire back at Kurtz, claiming that she fired him for “serial inaccuracy.” FishbowlNY For some context, Kurtz was fired after he wrote an incredibly stupid column about former NBA player Jason Collins, who came out via a Sports Illustrated article.

Oprah to NBC: Trayvon Martin’s Killing ‘In My Mind, Same Thing’ as Emmett Till’s (Mediaite)
In an exclusive interview for The Grio, NBCUniversal’s African-American news and opinion website, Oprah Winfrey weighed in with her unvarnished thoughts on the killing of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman. Winfrey said that, in her mind, Martin’s murder and that of Emmett Till in 1955 — whose killers were also acquitted — were the “same thing.” However, she added that it is important to keep in mind how much race relations in America have progressed over the last half-century.

Three Groups Say They Topped Henry’s Bid for Globe (Boston Globe)
Three of the groups that lost out in the bidding for The Boston Globe say their offers were higher than Red Sox owner John W. Henry’s winning $70 million bid — prompting them to question the New York Times Co.’s sales process.

Foreign Affairs Sees Boost in Subscriptions (FishbowlDC)
Foreign Affairs touted its print and digital prowess Monday with stats showing a boost of 5 percent for the first half of 2013. According to the semi-annual report published by the Alliance for Audited Media, the audit reports that total subscriptions between Jan. 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013 recorded a boost of 5 percent — from 129,385 to 137,649. This growth coincides with the magazine’s $5 increase of its annual subscription price from $44.95 to $49.95.

Mail Online Records 134 Million Users in July (The Guardian)
Mail Online has revealed that it set a new global record of 134 million Web traffic users in July, propelled by news stories including the royal birth and death of Glee star Cory Monteith. Last month provided Mail Online with its biggest-ever day of Web traffic — 10.57 million unique users visited on July 22 eager for information on the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby boy — and breaking the 1 million visitors per hour mark.

In Statistical Look at Cover Girls of Color, Maxim Is The Least Diverse (HuffPost)
It’s no secret that magazines succeed or bomb based on their cover girls. Teams of editors dissect the trends to figure out whose visage screams “Buy me!” before emblazoning covers with them. We took a look at magazines that predominantly feature women to see how much diversity these cover girls represent. Tallying from September 2012 to September 2013, we added up the total number of white women and women of color and found some alarming stats.

Quartz Lets Readers Comment on Specific Paragraphs (Adweek)
Quartz is taking reader comments to the margins. Atlantic Media’s 10-month-old business publication on Tuesday introduced a new feature that lets readers weigh in on — and publish comments right next to — individual paragraphs within articles rather than in a separate section relegated to the bottom of the page. “The gist of it is to try to foster more productive and interesting and a higher standard of commenting on the kind of content we do,” said publisher Jay Lauf.

The Short Story of Longreads, According to Founder Mark Armstrong (GigaOM)
Longreads is a virtual startup with five part-timers and funded primarily by members. And it has quietly energized the demand for in-depth storytelling on the Web, thanks (ironically) to the rise of tablets and smartphones, those weapons of mass distraction.

Time Hires Ryan Sager, Callie Schweitzer And Chris Wilson (NY Observer)
Time started the week with some hiring news. The weekly news mag has hired Ryan Sager, who has been at The Wall Street Journal, to be the editorial director of Time ideas. Callie Schweitzer, Vox Media’s director of marketing and communication and favorite on social media lists (her Twitter feed was lauded by Time magazine earlier this year), will become the Time‘s director of digital innovation. FishbowlNY Chris Wilson comes to Time as interactive graphics designer. He was most recently Yahoo!’s director of news interactives for Yahoo! News and editor of its The Signal blog. Prior to that he was a senior editor at Slate.

Ryan Seacrest to Host NBC’s Million Second Quiz (THR / The Live Wire)
Hollywood’s busiest man is about to get even busier. Ryan Seacrest has inked a deal to host another broadcast reality show, this time for NBC. The show, The Million Second Quiz, is billed as a 24-hour live competition series, for which Seacrest also will serve as an executive producer. In signing on, Seacrest, who also emcees Fox’s American Idol and ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special, will become the face of a major unscripted franchise at three of the four big broadcast networks.

Native Ads: The Digg Way (Digiday)
For most publishers entering the world of sponsored content the concern is keeping editorial separated from the creation of the advertising content. Not so much at Digg, the social-news platform bought and revived by digital media holding company Betaworks. At Digg, for the past seven months, editorial staffers have been hip deep in crafting its new ad products.

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FishbowlDC Washington Post: SOLD for $250 Million!

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