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Morning Media Newsfeed: Cancer Column Backlash | Weather Channel Yanked | Couric Debuts on Yahoo!

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Readers Lash Out About Bill Keller’s Column on Woman With Cancer (NYT / Public Editor’s Journal)
Bill Keller’s column in The New York Times on Monday about Lisa Bonchek Adams has generated a great deal of negative response. Xeni Jardin, the well-known writer who blogs on Boing Boing, sometimes about her own experience with cancer, was outraged, calling it bullying. Adams herself responded this way on Twitter: “I don’t know why I, a person dedicated to education and personal choice by cancer patients, have been so mischaracterized.” CJR / Behind The News Before last Wednesday you probably hadn’t heard of Adams, a Connecticut mother of three who has been tweeting and blogging about her experience living with, and being treated for, stage IV breast cancer. Adams’ moderate following occupies a niche realm, consisting largely of cancer activists and those afflicted with the disease, and there would’ve been little way for her frequent updates to make their way onto the press radar — aside from a short feature on Adams in USA Today published in 2011 (the piece didn’t mention her Internet presence). Then Bill and Emma Keller took it upon themselves to chaperone her feeds to a new breed of Internet fame, in a husband wife one-two punch: Emma published a controversial piece on Adams in The Guardian Wednesday and Bill wrote an editorial on the same subject for Monday’s Times. HuffPost In a piece in the Times entitled “Heroic Measures,” Bill compared her “fierce” approach to that of his father-in-law, who he said died a “calm” death in a British hospital that emphasized palliative care. “His death seemed to me a humane and honorable alternative to the frantic medical trench warfare that often makes an expensive misery of death in America,” he wrote. NYT In The Guardian, Emma questioned Adams’ documenting her illness in a public forum. “Are her tweets a grim equivalent of deathbed selfies, one step further than funeral selfies?” Emma wrote, referring to self-taken images. A wave of online criticism developed from Adams’ followers and others, accusing Emma of mischaracterizing her. Emma was also criticized for publishing private correspondence with Adams as part of her column. Poynter / MediaWire The Guardian has removed the post. “Following an investigation by the Guardian’s independent readers’ editor, we have removed the article in question from our website because it is inconsistent with the Guardian editorial code,” spokesperson Gennady Kolker tells Poynter via email. On The Media / TLDR It’s unclear to me why Emma picked on Adams. Before Emma’s piece, Adams’ follower count was in the 7,000 range. That’s not a huge audience. I don’t know what the larger scene of writers who discuss illness online is, but I assume that there’s a lot more people than Adams, and that many people are more prominent. Medium / Zeynep Tufekci Both Kellers get the basic facts wrong. That’s quite an astonishing event in and of itself — and exactly why Adams is providing such an important educational service.

DirecTV No Longer Carrying Weather Channel After Contract Dispute (LA Times / Company Town)
The Weather Channel just got rained on by DirecTV. The satellite broadcaster, one of the nation’s biggest pay-TV distributors with over 20 million subscribers, stopped carrying The Weather Channel after the two companies couldn’t come to terms on a new distribution deal. “We offered DirecTV the best rate for our programming, and I’m shocked they have put corporate profits ahead of keeping a trusted channel that subscribers rely on every day,” said Weather Channel chief executive David Kenny. “We are not looking for a large fee increase.” TVNewser Jim Cantore penned a column arguing that the channel needs to remain on the air “as a trusted resource for those who need [its] information to stay prepared and ready for what the weather brings.” Digiday The Weather Channel isn’t taking this dispute lying down. The network wants to whip up “grassroots” public outrage over what, at its base, is two multi-billion dollar companies embroiled in a corporate dispute over millions of dollars. That means hashtags! ABC News / AP DirecTV called the loss of The Weather Channel “regrettable” but added that it would continue to provide weather news on its WeatherNation channel. According to a statement from Dan York, DirecTV chief content officer, the two sides haven’t stopped talking. Entertainment Weekly / Inside TV Weather Channel dismissed WeatherNation as “a cheap startup that does weather forecasting on a three-hour taped loop, has no field coverage, no weather experts — certainly not any on par with the Weather Channel network’s industry-recognized experts like tornado expert Dr. Greg Forbes and winter weather expert Tom Niziol.” Bloomberg Businessweek Cable networks with smaller audiences such as The Weather Channel are bearing the brunt of pay-TV carriers’ efforts to limit cost increases, as the most-watched cable and broadcast networks demand more. The Weather Channel is even more vulnerable because viewers can get up-to-date information on smartphones or the Web and watch local TV or a 24-hour cable-news channel when there is a storm in their area, said Christopher King, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus & Co.

Katie Couric Makes Yahoo! Debut (Politico)
Katie Couric made her debut Monday as Yahoo!’s global anchor, sitting down with Robert Gates the day before publication of his memoir, Duty. Couric — who once was an NBC News Pentagon correspondent, and traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan with Gates for CBS’ 60 Minutes when he was defense secretary — said in a telephone interview that she wanted to talk to him about “politics, personalities and policy.” Couric is doing double duty through June, continuing to host her syndicated daytime show, Katie, which will end after its second season. HuffPost Yahoo! said Couric’s responsibilities as global anchor will include “groundbreaking interviews” to be featured on the website’s homepage, while Couric said that what most excites her about the new venture is that “there are no rules right now.” The Gates interview gives viewers a first look into what Couric’s online journalism career will look like. Raw Story On Extra, Mario Lopez questioned Sarah Palin about Couric, who helped torpedo Palin’s 2008 vice presidential bid by asking her what newspapers and magazines she read, by asking Palin if she believed in karma. “I certainly believe that what goes around comes around,” Palin said, smiling.

Time Warner Cable Rejects Charter’s $61 Billion Takeover Offer (Bloomberg)
Time Warner Cable Inc. rejected an acquisition offer from Charter Communications Inc. valued at more than $61 billion including debt, spurning the biggest unsolicited takeover bid since 2008. Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus called the $132.50-a-share bid a “low-ball offer” in an interview earlier this week. The proposal included about $83 cash per share and about $49.50 in stock, according to Charter. Excluding debt, the deal would be worth about $37.3 billion.


Cartoonist Cal Grondahl, Others Lose Jobs at Ogden Newspaper
(The Salt Lake Tribune)
Iconic Utah editorial cartoonist Cal Grondahl was among as many as a dozen newspaper staffers let go Friday at Ogden’s Standard-Examiner. Grondahl, 63, said Monday that executive editor Andy Howell had informed him “they were closing out the position” and the veteran cartoonist walked out of the newsroom thinking he was the only one fired. He said he later learned staff reductions at the daily paper included between six and 12 colleagues, including Grondahl’s close friend, graphic arts director Michael Goodwin, and longtime sports editor and columnist Chris Miller.

Philadelphia Newspaper Staff Plan Joint Bid Against Feuding Owners (HuffPost / AP)
After another tumultuous year on the job, frustrated workers at Philadelphia’s two largest newspapers vowed Monday to bid against feuding owners if the company again goes on the auction block. The local Newspaper Guild would join with an unnamed partner to bid on The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com, according to court papers. They would likely compete against two wealthy owners who want to force each other out. The company changed hands five times from 2006 to 2012 and appears likely to be sold again amid the power struggle, which moved to court over the October firing of Inquirer editor Bill Marimow.

Gawker Editor: Ailes Was Having Me Tailed (Capital New York)
Here’s something you won’t read in Gabriel Sherman’s hotly anticipated, scoop-filled book about Roger Ailes: Gawker editor John Cook told Capital he was reliably informed that Ailes, the powerful chairman of the Fox News Channel, had him tailed in 2012. Cook, 40, has a history of reporting aggressively on the leading cable-news network and its 73-year-old chief.

Washington Times‘ ‘Communities’ in Crisis (FishbowlDC)
The Washington Times is dumping its “Communities” page, causing “Communities” editor Jacquie Kubin to start a mad dash to move all the content located there to a new site. In emails to “Communities” contributors obtained by FishbowlDC, a frantic Kubin details her fraught relationship with TWT and her efforts to wrest control of the content away from the paper.

Why Publishers Are Enlisting Programmatic Ad Chiefs (Digiday)
A new senior role is rapidly emerging at the top of digital publishers’ sales organizations: the programmatic czar. Publishers initially approached programmatic advertising warily, concerned it would do little more than drive down their ad prices and further commoditize their inventory. That meant the role of figuring out programming was something farther down the food chain. That’s changed.

CNN.com, CNNMoney Combine Tech Coverage Teams (FishbowlNY)
According to a memo, CNN.com and CNNMoney.com are combining their tech coverage teams. The note, from CNN Digital’s managing editor Meredith Artley and CNNMoney’s executive editor, Chris Peacock, explained that the new coverage will focus on “big tech, innovation, privacy/cybersecurity and our digital lifestyle.”

Team BuzzFeed Launches The Dodo With $2 Million And A Site Built by Rebel Mouse (Re/code)
BuzzFeed is a fast-growing website that is famous, in part, for its willingness to publish lots of pictures and videos of animals. So what would happen if you ran a website that stripped everything else out, and only posted stuff about animals? You can see for yourself: It’s called The Dodo, and it’s backed by many of the same people who brought you BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed chairman Ken Lerer announced that he was launching the site last summer, and it’s up right now.

Journalists Show Sign of Support for Imprisoned Al Jazeera Reporters (TVNewser)
Imprisoned for more than two weeks in Egypt, Al Jazeera reporters held captive received support from 52 reporters and editors who signed a letter calling for their release. Among the many signers, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, and a wide array of international journalists (no one from Al Jazeera signed) demanded the release of Al Jazeera’s — and other held longer — from Egypt.

Fox’s Big Super Bowl Play (Capital New York)
Fox is going all-out for its coverage of the Big Game. Every channel in the Fox umbrella, from Nat Geo and FX to Fox News and Fox Sports 1, will be reminding viewers of the Super Bowl in the days leading up to the game. Fox Sports will have sets in Times Square, as well as at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where programs for Fox Sports 1 and Fox News will originate, as well as the Super Bowl pre-game show on Fox.

No More Free Home Delivery Subscriptions for Staffers at Warren Buffett’s Roanoke Times (JimRomenesko.com)
The Roanoke Times, which was acquired by Warren Buffett last May, told employees Monday that they’ll no longer get free home delivery. “Rising costs of newsprint and ink as well as production expenses and the costs associated with providing free home delivery to our employees are a very large expense,” says the Times memo.

The Newsroom Ending After Third Season (TVNewser)
The third season of The Newsroom will be its last, HBO announced Monday afternoon. The Aaron Sorkin series will begin production on its last season this spring and debut in the fall. The Newsroom debuted in 2012 to mostly negative reviews. The second season followed the News Night staff as they reported (and then retracted) “Operation Genoa,” a fake story about a U.S. military operation that was inspired by a similar situation at CNN, “Operation Tailwind,” in the late 1990s.

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