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Morning Media Newsfeed: Brokaw Has Cancer | Lauer Replaces Costas | U.S. Press Freedom Drops

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Tom Brokaw Diagnosed With Cancer, Prognosis Encouraging (NBCNews.com)
NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw revealed he has been diagnosed with cancer and said he and his physicians are very encouraged with the progress he is making. Brokaw, who has worked at NBC News since 1966, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting blood cells in the bone marrow, in August at the Mayo Clinic. TVNewser “With the exceptional support of my family, medical team and friends, I am very optimistic about the future and look forward to continuing my life, my work and adventures still to come,” Brokaw says in a statement. “I remain the luckiest guy I know.” New York Daily News Throughout his treatment, Brokaw has continued to work on NBC News projects, including a two-hour documentary on the assassination of JFK; appearances on Today, Nightly News With Brian Williams, Meet The Press and MSNBC. He is also contributing to NBC Sports coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Reuters Multiple myeloma is a cancer that strikes white blood cells in the bone marrow called plasma cells, which normally produce antibodies to help fight infection. But in multiple myeloma, an over-abundance of malignant plasma cells releases unhealthy levels of a protein into the bones and blood that in turn can cause damage to bone tissue and organs.

Matt Lauer Takes Over for Bob Costas, Instantly Gets Ridiculed (Fox Sports / Medal Detector)
In case you somehow missed it, Bob Costas had to take a break from his normal role as the host of NBC’s primetime Olympics coverage due to a bad bout of pink eye. Costas had hosted the last 157 nights of Olympics coverage. That’s Cal Ripken-type stuff. So who stepped in for him? Matt Lauer. Were people happy about this change? Not really. TVNewser The infection, which began on the first day of NBC’s Sochi coverage, has spread from Costas’ left eye to his right eye. Monday night, Costas’ reddened eyes lit up Twitter. Tuesday morning on Today, Lauer and Al Roker talked about how they saw Costas having breakfast in the hotel. “You gotta feel for the guy,” said Lauer. Costas then called in to the show and broke the news to Lauer that he’ll be filling in. Costas used a baseball metaphor to pitch the news. “I was trying to throw a complete game here,” said Costas. “But I think we’re going to have to go to the bullpen. And I don’t know if you’re aware of this, or not, but you’re Mariano Rivera, at least tonight.”NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer NBC has a long tradition of hyping certain athletes during the games, but Shaun White has gotten special treatment even among that select group. Before the Olympics even began, the network aired an hour-long special about his preparation for Sochi, and viewers have been reminded all week that White could make history in the men’s half-pipe, where a win would make him the first American male to take home gold in three straight Olympics. The thing about White’s focus on gold, of course, is that it only adds to the pressure to perform.

U.S. Plummets in Global Press Freedom Rankings (HuffPost)
According to a new report from Reporters Without Borders, there was a profound erosion of press freedom in the United States in 2013. After a year of attacks on whistleblowers and digital journalists and revelations about mass surveillance, the U.S. plunged 13 spots in the group’s global press freedom rankings to No. 46. Yahoo! News / Agence France-Presse In its annual World Press Freedom Index, the Paris-based media rights watchdog warned of the “growing threat worldwide” from the “tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner.” The U.S. was singled out for its pursuit of intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, the conviction of WikiLeaks informer Bradley Manning and the secret seizure of phone records from the Associated Press.

Carl Bernstein Joins CNN as Contributor (TVNewser)
CNN’s political additions continue with legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein joining as a contributor, substitute anchor John Berman announced on AC360. Bernstein was an analyst for CNN during the 2008 election season and will now appear across the network’s programs giving political commentary. He has previously appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on occasion and had a memorable exchange with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News last year over the GOP’s role in the government shutdown.

Thomas Frank, Author And Historian, Will Join Salon (NYT)
Salon Media Group said Tuesday that it was hiring Thomas Frank, the historian and author best known for his book What’s The Matter With Kansas, to write feature articles every Sunday as well as weigh in on current events as warranted. “I see him fulfilling a role similar to Frank Rich at New York Magazine,” said David Daley, Salon’s executive editor. FishbowlDC This continues a trend recently of well-known journalists and authors moving to the digital realm to share their craft. In fact, greater visibility via social enabled and easily shareable content is an aspect that influenced Thomas’ decision to make the move.

BuzzFeed CEO: Here’s Why Facebook Isn’t Crushing Us (Business Insider)
In December, Facebook changed its News Feed algorithm to favor more “high quality” news over “memes.” Looking at a bunch of charts Tuesday, we found this change correlated with a sudden and massive drop in traffic to Upworthy and several viral news sites. The charts also showed that one viral news site continues to grow despite Facebook’s change. That’s BuzzFeed. What makes BuzzFeed so special? Gawker Business Insider chief correspondent Nicholas Carlson stuck a subtle shiv into his competitors at BuzzFeed, attributing the site’s success in exploiting Facebook’s ever-evolving newsfeed algorithm to its practice of buying traffic in the form of Facebook ads — as opposed to, you know, attracting readers. Then he took it out. Without telling anyone.

Slate Hires NPR Sports Reporter to Boost Its Podcast Business (Business Insider)
The online magazine Slate will bolster its roster of popular podcasts with a daily current events commentary show hosted by National Public Radio sports correspondent Mike Pesca, a spokesperson for the site told Business Insider. The as-yet-unnamed podcast will provide listeners with opinions and context covering several of the day’s biggest news stories beginning this April.

Gawker Creates A New Writer Pipeline With ‘Recruits’ (Nieman Journalism Lab)
The path to enter the journalism business is changing. Some media companies are abandoning unpaid internships; others are terming them reporting fellowships. Enter Gawker, which is adding a new metaphor to the game by creating a new “Recruits” program. Under the Recruits system, aspiring writers will get short-term contracts, a stipend, their own Kinja blog and the potential to pull in better pay based off their traffic. Recruits may eventually make their way into a regular gig with Gawker, either as a full-time staffer or as a long-term freelancer.

The Very Public Growth of The Intercept (Capital New York)
The Intercept, the new startup title funded handsomely by eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar, debuted Monday and created buzz both for simply showing up and for its content: An article examining the use of drones to kill government-selected targets abroad, plus a collection of aerial images of the United States’ national security campuses. But save for one more piece expanding on the theme, the hotly anticipated launch has created as much anticipation as it sated. When will we get more?

Brian Ries Is Mashable’s First Real-Time News Editor (FishbowlNY)
If you ask us, the words “real-time” are somewhat redundant in today’s 24/7 digital media age. But in any case, the first possessor of an impressive new Mashable title is Brian Ries, moving over from The Daily Beast, where he was senior social media editor.

New York Times Editor: Government Requests to Hold Info Are ‘Almost Blanket Policy’ (HuffPost)
The Associated Press revealed Monday that the U.S. government is considering a drone strike to kill an American citizen with alleged terrorist ties. Several anonymous officials made the case for killing the American without due process and despite restrictions called for last year to carry out drone strikes through the Pentagon, rather than the CIA. The American, the officials claimed, is a member of al Qaeda actively plotting to kill U.S. citizens who is currently in a remote location and has been involved in previous terrorist attacks — all arguments that bolster the case that a strike should be authorized against an imminent threat. The AP, however, didn’t publish a key detail relevant to the public debate: where this drone strike may take place. The AP acknowledged withholding the country’s name because “officials said publishing it could interrupt ongoing counterterror operations.”

Charter Mobilizes for Time Warner Cable Proxy Fight (NY Post)
Charter Communications roared mightily on Tuesday, rolling out a slate of 13 candidates for the Time Warner Cable board — but cable-TV observers don’t expect the move to give Charter’s takeover move more bite. For the John Malone-backed Charter to really get TWC’s attention, it must show it the money, said big cable investor Mario Gabelli. The investor, whose GAMCO Investors owns shares of Cablevision, TWC, Comcast and Charter, thinks Charter will have to raise its $132.50-a-share takeover offer if it wants to be taken seriously.

How A Not-for-Profit Lured Keller Away From The New York Times (NY Post)
Neil Barsky began his journalism career at the Daily News working for Steve Yahn on the business desk and said it was his most enjoyable time in journalism. After two years, he jumped to The Wall Street Journal in 1988 and then left to join Morgan Stanley in 1993, covering some of the same industries he wrote about at the WSJ. Five years later, Barsky joined another Morgan Stanley alum to launch the hedge fund Midtown Research. Four years after that, in 2002, the partners split and he launched his own hedge fund, Alson Capital Partners, which beat the market most of its years, but he folded up after one lousy year in 2009. He spent two years directing the well-received documentary about former mayor Ed Koch. But Barsky told the New York Post he never fully shook the journalism bug. In recent years, he has been the chairman of the board of overseers of the Columbia Journalism Review. Just this week Barsky was able to shake Bill Keller, the former executive editor of the New York Times and 30-year Times veteran, to jump ship without too much cajoling and join him at a journalism start-up covering the criminal justice system.

The ‘Don’ts’ of Interviewing Trans People (CJR / Minority Reports)
Last week writer and activist Janet Mock appeared on Piers Morgan Live to promote her new book, Redefining Realness, about growing up as a transgender woman of color. During the interview, Morgan said Mock used to be a man — and a descriptor by her name throughout the interview read that she “was a boy until 18,” when she pursued genital reconstruction surgery. Many trans people, including Mock, do not agree that they used to be the gender they were assigned at birth. Mock always identified as female, and she claimed that identity as soon as she was able. That is, we in the trans community disagree that gender is defined by genitalia, and that surgery can change it. So Mock and others quickly challenged Morgan’s narrative that she used to be a man, with supporters producing a barrage of tweets and multiple hashtags. Morgan mocked the critiques in a string of his own tweets, insisting he was an ally who was the target of “cisphobia.”

Does It Matter That Mobile-Native Quartz Has A Mobile-Minority Audience? (Poynter / Mobile Media)
As much as mobile is poised to keep growing in 2014, old desktop habits die hard — especially during business hours. That leaves Quartz, Atlantic Media’s 18-month-old business site, with a fascinating hand after going all-in on mobile. Despite its birth to founders intent on nurturing its appeal to smartphone and tablet users, Quartz finds that almost 60 percent of its visitors still read it on the plain old desktop computer. A year ago, around 30 percent of its unique visitors arrived at fast-growing Quartz on mobile devices; its latest three-month average stood at 41 percent.

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