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Morning Media Newsfeed: IBT Muzzling Speech? | Emmy Ratings Soar | LinkedIn Sued


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Newsweek’s New Owner Accused of ‘Illegally Muzzling’ Employees (Adweek)
IBT Media’s purchase of Newsweek seems to be off to an inauspicious start. The Newspaper Guild has accused the digital publishing company of “illegally muzzling” its employees by “prohibiting its journalists and other employees from discussing their working conditions or criticizing their employer,” in violation of U.S. labor law. The guild, which represents editorial employees at Newsweek and its former online counterpart The Daily Beast, said it filed an unfair labor practice charge Sept. 18. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media According to “The International Business Times Employee Handbook,” a copy of which was obtained by Politico, employees are prohibited from speaking negatively about their employer — a rule that the New York Newspaper Guild calls a violation of U.S. labor law. Per the handbook, each IBT staff member “has the responsibility of encouraging favorable public opinion to benefit the organization… Anything that reflects negatively on IBTimes will affect public opinion of our business.” FishbowlNY “The law gives all employees the right to discuss their pay and other terms of employment with one another, even if it means being critical of their employers,” said the Newspaper Guild’s president, Bill O’Meara, in a statement. “It’s especially disturbing that the owner of a news organization doesn’t seem to understand that.” Capital New York O’Meara told Capital that the benefits packages being offered to the transitioning Newsweek employees would require them to pay 100 percent of the premium for health insurance. “We are constantly working on improving benefits while making sure we make financially sound decisions,” an IBT spokeswoman countered.

Emmys Bring in 17.6 Million Viewers, Biggest Audience Since 2005 (THR / The Live Feed)
Sunday’s CBS telecast of the 2013 Emmys jumped 33 percent from last year’s audience, with final returns giving the kudos 17.6 million viewers — its highest viewership since 2005. The show, which clocked in at three hours and 15 minutes, saw one of the strongest lead-ins in recent memory thanks to football coverage running right up until the 8 p.m. ET start time, bleeding into the hour by a couple minutes. NYT Cable award winners like HBO’s Veep and Showtime’s Homeland, which have much smaller audiences than CBS, welcomed the exposure to millions of potential new viewers. The biggest winner of the night, AMC’s Breaking Bad, was competing with the Emmys somewhat — its second-to-last episode was shown at 9 p.m. ET, during the second hour of the ceremony. TVNewser Approximately 40 million people tuned into at least part of the program.

LinkedIn Sued for Allegedly Hacking Users’ Address Books (TheWrap)
A group of LinkedIn users has sued the social media networking platform for taking their information without consent and using it to send emails to their contacts urging them to sign up for the service. If you know someone with a LinkedIn account, you’re probably very familiar with the emails urging you to sign up for the service and connect with your friends or colleagues. Those emails appear to be at the heart of the proposed class action lawsuit filed Sept. 17. LA Times / Tech Now The lawsuit, which is seeking unspecified damages, has seen an outpouring of public interest. Many users don’t think LinkedIn does a good enough job getting their explicit consent to access that information. “LinkedIn took my EarthLink account and sent an email to each of those in my address book — and many have complained — something that I never would have consented to,” commented one reader, a retired FBI agent and private investigator.

Mike Hogan Rejoins Vanity Fair as Digital Director (min)
Mike Hogan, who began his Vanity Fair career as an editorial assistant in 1998 (six years into the reign of VF editor-in-chief Graydon Carter), is returning as digital director, effective Oct. 7. Hogan’s first VF stint was Horatio Alger-like in his rise to senior editor and executive online editor by June 2011, when he left to join AOL/Huffington Post as Moviefone editor-in-chief and Huffington Post executive features editor. He was HuffPost executive culture-and-entertainment editor when Carter rehired him. FishbowlNY “I’m delighted that Mike is returning to Vanity Fair,” said Carter. “He was not only a gifted story editor at the magazine, he was instrumental in the creation of VF.com.”

Slate Debuts New Design That Makes Stories More Prominent Than Logo (Poynter / MediaWire)
A redesigned Slate debuted Monday morning. The publication had outgrown its old site, editor David Plotz writes: “We publish three times as many stories as we did five years ago. Where we once had a handful of blogs, we now have 19.” The new site is responsive, to look better on mobile devices, and it allows multiple homepage layouts, Plotz writes. FishbowlNY The thing is, this new Slate feels more cluttered than ever. There are more articles to identify when you go to the homepage, and we found the way things were organized to be confusing. On the bright side, we do love the way articles look; that’s definitely an upgrade.

How The New Yorker Cover Became Twitter Gold (New Republic)
Monday morning’s New Yorker cover brings a Barry Blitt drawing of the soon-to-end television show Breaking Bad’s Walter White happening upon Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad down in his chemical laboratory. And when these covers do appear, they often seek to be controversial: Blitt’s 2008 caricature of the Obamas giving each other a “terrorist fist bump” most immediately comes to mind; this past summer, on two hot Fridays (a few days before their publications), the talk of the town was a cover by Jack Hunter featuring Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie, in lovers’ repose, watching the Supreme Court (which had just made two pro-marriage equality rulings), and one featuring Anthony Weiner, as King Kong, taking an iPhone picture of his… Empire State Building. FishbowlNY The cover is a perfect example of the brilliance that can emerge when an artist tackles the intersection of real life and fiction.

NowThis News Hires Its First Vine VJ (Fast Company / Fast Feed)
To anybody keeping tabs on the rise of social media stars: You might want to put Vine celeb Cody Johns at the top of your list. The Florida native with more than 850,000 followers of his six-second videos will, appropriately, become the first entirely Vine-based reporter for the mobile news network NowThis News. The year-old network, which has apps for both iOS and Android, will bring on Johns as one of their “VJs,” or video journalists, to create original news segments. NY Observer / BetaBeat Johns, who turns 24 next month, will post a few times a week and whenever there is breaking news, managing editor Katharine Zaleski said. NowThis News hired him after they’d worked with him before and felt he was a great fit for their audience. “Cody can talk about college football in one Vine and then move on to ask people about Syria in another,” she said.

Touré’s MSNBC ‘Geography Refresher’ Goes Hilariously Wrong (Mediaite)
Touré‘s attempt to give viewers a “geography refresher” on Monday went hilariously awry when the MSNBC host misidentified the location of the country in question. After interviewing a correspondent on the ground in Nairobi, Kenya, where more than 30 people have been killed in a terrorist attack on a shopping mall, Touré proceeded to give his viewers a “Monday geography refresher,” plainly stating “Kenya is located on the northern coast of Africa.” TVNewser Kenya is adjacent to Somalia, but it is definitely not on the northern coast of Africa — it is on the eastern coast. Still, as CNN showed in 2011 and Katie Couric showed in 2008, simple geography errors have a way of going viral.

MarketWatch Appoints Glenn Hall Editor (MarketWatch)
Glenn Hall has been appointed MarketWatch editor, Dow Jones announced Monday. Hall joins MarketWatch from the start-up news website TheBlaze.com, where he has served as managing editor for the news team since July 2012. He replaces Jonathan Krim, who was recently appointed global technology editor for The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones. FishbowlNY “Glenn is exceptionally well prepared to lead Marketwatch,” said Gerard Baker, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones and WSJ’s managing editor, in a statement.

Captain Underpants Was 2012′s Top Banned Book (The Atlantic Wire)
Book banning: a silly thing that’s still happening! Especially in schools. This week, the American Library Association is celebrating Banned Books Week (you can join in by reading a banned book) for the 31st year in a row. And Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey tops the list of the most-challenged books in 2012. The Captain Underpants series has been around since 1997, but it’s made quite the resurgence on the most-challenged list this year.

There’s One Good Thing About The Newspaper Industry Decline — More Innovation Is Happening (paidContent)
There are a couple of different ways that newspapers and other media companies have chosen to respond to the inexorable decline of their former market dominance: One is to moan about how Google is stealing their content, and talk incessantly about the good old days, and the other is to try and adapt to the shifts going on around them — by experimenting to see what their readers respond to and learning from that.

Mercury News Selling Headquarters to Super Micro (Silicon Valley Business Journal)
The San Jose Mercury News apparently has found a buyer for its San Jose headquarters complex — and it’s someone from the neighborhood. Multiple industry sources say Super Micro Computer Inc. has agreed to buy the newspaper’s 36-acre chunk of land at 750 Ridder Park Drive, which went on sale back in April.

Judge Appears to Back Google’s Defense of Digital Books Project (CNET)
A U.S. judge made comments Monday that suggest favor for Google’s defense of its digital books project, which could hobble an authors group’s effort to stop it. The Authors Guild, which represents the interests of authors, says the project constitutes massive copyright infringement. Google, which has scanned more than 20 million books since forming partnerships with several major universities to digitize their research libraries in 2004, argues that the project is exempt under the “fair use” provision of copyright law because it shows only short “snippets” of text online.

In Supreme Court Opinions, Web Links to Nowhere (NYT)
Supreme Court opinions have come down with a bad case of link rot. According to a new study, 49 percent of the hyperlinks in Supreme Court decisions no longer work. This can sometimes be amusing. A link in a 2011 Supreme Court opinion about violent video games by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. now leads to a mischievous error message. “Aren’t you glad you didn’t cite to this Web page?” it asks. “If you had, like Justice Alito did, the original content would have long since disappeared and someone else might have come along and purchased the domain in order to make a comment about the transience of linked information in the Internet age.”

A Change in Fundraising Law, But Is There Still Time to Save NSFWCORP From A Forced Pivot? (PandoDaily)
Three weeks ago, it became painfully apparent that NSFWCORP — the online/print magazine startup whose growing pains I’ve been documenting on these pages — needed to raise an additional $100,000, and fast. This past summer, we raised $250,000 in a series seed round, bringing NSFWCORP’s total investment to a little over $900,000. $250,000 isn’t a huge amount of money for a company with a dozen employees (nor is $900,000, for that matter) but as I’ve written before, we weren’t exactly drowning in offers of more. Still, with some luck and a following wind, that additional quarter of a million bucks should have been just enough to get to the 10,000 subscribers we needed to become self-sustaining.

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