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Berkshire to Buy TV Station From Graham in $1.1 Billion Swap (Bloomberg Businessweek)
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reached a deal to acquire a Miami television station and some of the company’s own shares in a $1.1 billion swap for Graham Holdings Co. stock that Warren Buffett held for more than four decades. Deadline New York Buffett’s stake accounted for about 23 percent of the voting shares in Graham as of the last proxy, out early last year. He will receive the ABC affiliate plus an unspecified amount of cash and shares that Graham owns in Berkshire Hathaway. Variety The pact marks a turning point for Berkshire and the Graham Holdings, the publicly held firm that changed its name from the Washington Post Co. after it sold its flagship newspaper to Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos last year. Berkshire had been an investor in Washington Post Co. since the 1970s, with Buffett having served as a board member of the publishing and TV station conglomerate. Poynter / MediaWire Berkshire Hathaway purchased most of Media General’s newspapers in 2012, and it’s added lots of newspapers since. Reuters reported in February that Berkshire Hathaway was in talks with Graham Holdings “to trade the shares it owns in the education and media company for control of a yet-to-be-formed unit of Graham.” Graham Holdings still owns TV stations in Detroit and Houston. NYT / DealBook Buffett has embarked on a late-in-life run as a media mogul of sorts, assembling a prospering portfolio that includes his hometown newspaper, The Omaha World-Herald. The deal will bring Berkshire its first television station, whose call sign refers to Philip L. Graham, Katharine Graham’s husband and her predecessor as the publisher of the Post. Perhaps most notably, however, the deal sharply curtails Buffett’s business ties to the Graham family. TVSpy “Warren Buffett’s 40-year association with our company has been extremely good for our shareholders. Naturally, the deal that we have put together is one that will be good for both companies,” said Donald E. Graham, chairman and CEO of Graham Holdings.
Vanessa Friedman Joins The New York Times as Fashion Director, Chief Fashion Critic (WSJ)
Vanessa Friedman, currently the fashion editor of the Financial Times, has been named fashion director and chief fashion critic for The New York Times. She will take up her position next month and lead global fashion coverage for both The New York Times and International New York Times on all platforms. PRNewser The announcement follows the January resignation of longtime fashion chief Cathy Horyn, who left the paper for personal reasons, and the more recent departure of fellow critic Suzy Menkes, who departed the recently rebranded International New York Times for a spot at Vogue. FishbowlNY Friedman was features and fashion director for U.K. InStyle, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Entertainment Weekly and The Economist. WWD / Memo Pad Friedman’s appointment is hardly shocking — her name had surfaced as a potential replacement for Eric Wilson, who decamped for InStyle in October. The Times wound up splitting Wilson’s job between two reporters, John Koblin and Matthew Schneier. Friedman’s name resurfaced when Horyn resigned Jan. 31, just days ahead of New York Fashion Week.
Liz Heron Moves On to Facebook (FishbowlNY)
From The Washington Post, to The New York Times, to The Wall Street Journal, to Facebook. This most impressive career progression was restated and updated Wednesday by Liz Heron via, appropriately enough, Facebook. She’s leaving her position as emerging media editor at WSJ for a job at the social network that will be centered around the news. SocialTimes Heron will be working on “how Facebook partners with journalists and media organizations, at a time when Facebook is putting a big emphasis on news and mobile,” she said in the announcement. “It will be fascinating for me to approach news-gathering and storytelling from a new vantage point.” Social News Daily With the introduction of Trending Topics in January, Facebook is joining the ranks of news-hungry social networks like Twitter in an effort to become more than just a place to post about what’s on your mind. Mashable In her most recent role, Heron worked with reporters to create news tailored specifically for mobile and social media audiences. Facebook’s new addition comes just months after Twitter filled a similar role last October with NBC’s Vivian Schiller as head of news partnerships. Schiller has a similar role, serving as a liaison between Twitter and news organizations utilizing the service to spread news and information. Both hires merely reinforce what has already become apparent: that social networks are major vehicles for news organizations to get the word out about their content and stories.
Rick Reilly to Focus on Television Duties for ESPN Starting July 1 (ESPN / Front Row)
Rick Reilly, ESPN.com’s long-time front-page columnist, has decided to go part-time. Beginning July 1, Reilly will let his weekly column go and concentrate on television duties for ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown, presenting his weekly four-minute human interest features as well as other features and essays for SportsCenter and Sunday NFL Countdown. USA Today / FTW Reilly came to national prominence during his 22 years at Sports Illustrated, the final 10 of which were spent writing the back-page column. During his time at SI, Reilly won the NSSA National Sportswriter of the Year award 11 times. He left for ESPN in 2008. Variety On the same day, ESPN announced that Brent Musburger will no longer call ABC’s college football game of the week. He has been named anchor of ESPN’s new SEC Network alongside Jesse Palmer. The 74-year-old Musburger, who also called the national title game alongside Kirk Herbstreit, has been with ESPN and ABC for more than 20 years.
Netflix, Spotify Help Drive U.K. Home Entertainment Revenues to £5.3 Billion (The Guardian)
Growing demand for streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify helped the U.K. home entertainment sector increase its revenues in 2013 for the first time in five years to £5.3 billion, according to new figures. Variety Internet-derived revenue — including home delivery of physical product and revenue from online subscription services — rose 13.9 percent to £3.18 billion ($5.27 billion), and accounted for 60 percent of the market, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association. THR The biggest gain here came from subscription VOD services, such as Netflix and Amazon.com’s LoveFilm, which grew 120 percent over 2012. Music streaming revenue from the likes of Spotify and Deezer rose 34 percent. Based on content categories, video games revenue rose 6.6 percent and video revenue rose 3.7 percent, while music sales declined 0.5 percent, according to the report. The organization noted that 40 percent of U.K. consumer spending came for content access services rather than for ownership of content.
Oprah to Publish Book of Magazine Columns (FishbowlNY)
Each issue of O, The Oprah Magazine closes with the “What I Know for Sure” column penned by Oprah. Readers love it, so Oprah is taking those columns and stuffing them inside a new book by the same name. NYT Organized by themes including joy, awe and possibility, the book offers “readers a guide to becoming their best selves,” said a statement from the publisher. GalleyCat Flatiron Books will publish the book in September. The book will be the first publication from Macmillan’s new non-fiction imprint.
Driver Faces Murder Charges After Car Hits Crowd at #SXSW Club (NBC News)
A suspected drunken driver faces two counts of capital murder after striking a crowd outside a club being used a venue for the South By Southwest #SXSW digital conference in Austin, Texas, police said. A man and a woman died and 23 others were injured — five of them critically — when the car plowed through a barricade close to The Mohawk just after 12:30 a.m. local time.
CBS News: Bill Whitaker’s New Job ‘Has Nothing to Do’ With Lara Logan (Poynter / MediaWire)
Thursday’s news that Bill Whitaker will be joining 60 Minutes fueled speculation that he could be a replacement for Lara Logan, who was suspended in November. Kevin Tedesco, CBS News/60 Minutes communications executive director, said in an email to Poynter, “Lara is still on a leave of absence and Bill Whitaker’s appointment has nothing to do with her.” HuffPost Logan was suspended from CBS News in November after airing a botched and discredited report on the Oct. 27 Benghazi attack. There is still no word on when she will be returning.
ABC Countersues Soaps Producer for $5 Million (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
In reaction to Prospect Park Network’s $95 million lawsuit alleging ABC committed a “mega soap” fraud on One Life to Live and All My Children, the network has filed legal claims of its own over Prospect Park’s alleged failure to make licensing payments. ABC licensed the two soap series to Prospect Park two years ago. Variety According to ABC’s lawsuit, Prospect Park was obligated to pay fees for the first seasons of OLTL and AMC, which it debuted online last April, amounting to $4 million for the former and $4.5 million for the latter. However, according to the network’s complaint, Prospect Park paid licensing fees for OLTL only for April through June 2013 and AMC for July and August. ABC, which filed the cross-complaint March 7, is demanding unpaid fees — including interest — from Prospect Park as well as at least $5 million in damages.
Feminist Writer, Author Jessica Valenti Joins Guardian U.S. (The Guardian)
The Guardian announced Wednesday that it has hired leading feminist writer and author Jessica Valenti as a columnist. The announcement was made by Guardian U.S. editor-in-chief Janine Gibson. In her new role, Valenti will write daily for the Guardian’s U.S. “Comment Is Free” opinion section on a broad range of issues, including feminism, culture and politics. Valenti was previously a columnist for The Nation, where she wrote weekly for TheNation.com and penned the bi-monthly “Body Politic” column. FishbowlNY Valenti’s hire follows last month’s addition of Matt Sullivan as U.S. opinion editor. The paper is promising several more “major” opinion section hires in the near future.
Jonathan Ellis Leaves NYT for Mashable (FishbowlNY)
Jonathan Ellis is leaving The New York Times to join Mashable as its managing editor. Ellis had been with the Times since 2006, when he joined as a digital producer. Ellis most recently served as the Times’ senior editor for digital platforms. Ellis was part of the Times team that created and developed the paper’s mobile strategy.
CNN Weed Doc Pops at 10 O’Clock (THR / The Live Feed)
CNN got a ratings high on Tuesday night, thanks to Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s look at the new politics of pot. Special Weed 2: Cannabis Madness saw the cable news network’s ratings spike in its ever-shifting 10 p.m. hour. Among viewers in the news demo of 25-54, CNN averaged 354,000 during the hour — that’s up nearly 300 percent from the time period’s four-week average of just 121,000. Ten o’clock has been a tricky one for CNN. After swapping out repeats of Anderson Cooper 360, the hour has been grounds for primetime experimentation — mostly for documentary specials.
Laurie Dhue, Harold Ford And The Man Who Once Ruled Primetime (FishbowlNY / Lunch)
We’re serving up a low-cal version of “Lunch” because the catastrophic events in Harlem kept us from doing our scheduled interview at the appointed hour. Despite the transportation disruptions in and around the city, it was business as usual for the mavens, moguls and strivers who turned up at Michael’s for their weekly Wednesday confab. Keep calm and carry on indeed.
CNN’s Ivan Watson Caught in Tear Gas at Istanbul Protest (TVNewser)
CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson and his crew were caught in a cloud of tear gas between police and protestors while covering the protests in Istanbul. HuffPost Watson was on the scene as demonstrators threw rocks at riot police, who were armed with a hose. He then realized that tear gas had been fired and had to leave the shot. Watson could be heard coughing off-screen and returned moments later with a gas mask.
NBC News Prez to Meet With David Gregory (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
NBC News president Deborah Turness is in Washington, D.C. this week and will meet with Meet The Press host David Gregory and executive producer Rob Yarin to discuss changes to the format of the show, network sources said. The meeting, which will take place on Thursday, is part of Turness’ ongoing effort to improve Meet The Press, which has suffered in recent years and came in third place behind ABC’s This Week and CBS’s Face The Nation last quarter.
donaldmmorrison Surprised anybody would ask that question after 8 years of GW Bush.
delwilliams That was ABC and AP being ticked because they aren’t the top sources for news with the young. And, jealousy.
CricketToes Lighten up. Obama nailed that bit, so no.
lordewoks I think the banter was very carefully scripted to ensure the POTUS always appeared to be in authority/control
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