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Morning Media Newsfeed: Klein Out at WaPo? | Roberts Up Way Too Early | NYT Redesign Soon

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Ezra Klein Said to Plan to Leave Washington Post (NYT)
Ezra Klein, an analyst, columnist and television commentator who runs the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, is making plans to leave the newspaper after failing to win support for a new website he wanted to create within the company, according to four people with knowledge of the negotiations. Klein, who quickly ascended into the ranks of the Washington media establishment with a multiplatform blend of policy nuance and number-crunching on Wonkblog, approached Katharine Weymouth, the Post‘s publisher, in recent weeks, the people said. After consultation with the newspaper’s editor, Marty Baron, according to one of the people, he put forward a proposal with detailed revenue projections to build a new website dedicated to explanatory journalism on a wide range of topics beyond political policy. It would have been affiliated with the Post, the person said, but would have been a separate enterprise. The investment he sought, the person said, was in eight figures. NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer Since the plan was rejected, Klein has been talking with other potential investors about starting the site on his own (it’s unclear how this would affect his other work as an MSNBC analyst and Bloomberg View columnist). Though, Klein may be willing to stay on at the Post “if talks about his plans were rekindled.” The Wire Nate Silver, Glenn Greenwald, and most recently Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg have all left the outlets that helped make them stars for potentially greener pastures, the success of which remains to be seen.

MSNBC to Name Thomas Roberts Host of Way Too Early (The Daily Caller)
MSNBC has decided to replace the anchor of Way Too Early with the openly gay Thomas Roberts because the left-leaning channel wants the show to be seen as more “diverse,” a source inside the cable network tells The Daily Caller. The source said the move to replace current host Brian Shactman with Roberts will be announced soon. TVNewser This is MSNBC’s second shuffle in recent weeks, after naming Alex Wagner the replacement at 4 p.m. for Martin Bashir. Ronan Farrow is also set to debut this month in a yet-unknown timeslot. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media “Our decisions are all based on merit, not politically correct considerations,” a source said.

NYT Site Revamp Debuts Jan. 8 (FishbowlNY)
The long awaited revamp of the New York Times’ website will take place on Jan. 8. In an announcement, Denise Warren, the Times’ executive VP of digital products and services, said that the new NYTimes.com will be customizable, sleeker and faster than the current one. NYT The redesign will also contain a platform featuring content paid for by advertisers. Such content, known as “native advertising,” has raised concerns among some journalists that it could blur the lines between the editorial product and material provided by advertisers. In a letter to employees last month, however, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. promised that native ads would be clearly distinguished as paid posts and that the content would not be produced by newsroom employees. Capital New York You should expect more prominent photography and video — and a lot more experiences in the vein of the Times‘ much-heralded “Snow Fall” feature — in addition to the now-trendy ability to comment on and share from different points throughout articles instead of heaping all the reader response at the bottom of the page.

Daily News Shutters South Asian Site (Capital New York)
The New York Daily News has pulled the plug on Desi News, a South Asian-centric vertical fueled by the New York-based content-licensing platform NewsCred. Sources familiar with the matter told Capital that the site was quietly shuttered last month, capping a nearly two-year experiment in curating news for Metropolitan-area residents with ties to India, Bangladesh and other neighboring countries.

Nicholas Kristof Writes About Minor Byline Change, Whines When People Read It (FishbowlNY)
We’ve never met the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, but we imagine he’s a solid dude. If nothing else, he’s done some fantastic work for the Times, so that’s worth something. However, he wrote a short piece announcing that he was dropping the “D” from his byline, and we cringed. NY Observer Kristof explains that the initial is a relic from his Harvard Crimson days, when writers were encouraged to adopt the formal given name-middle initial-surname formulation. “In the fall of freshman year, I wasn’t going to argue,” he writes, “so I became Nicholas D. Kristof.” He tells us that he’s dropping the initial for a couple of reasons, one being that he doesn’t “think it buys any clarity. As far as I know there isn’t a single other Nicholas Kristof anywhere in the world.” TheWrap You see, apparently the middle initial is stuffy, no longer relevant to today’s Cutco, Interslice, CompuGlobal HyperMegaNet youth. It screams of cardigan sweaters with elbow patches and Harvard (only you don’t pronounce the “r”s).

Bob Grant, Creator of Conservative Talk Radio, Dies at 84 (THR)
Bob Grant, the man many credit for creating conservative talk radio and whose sometimes caustic style had him allegedly butting heads with powerful media figures like Fox News topper Roger Ailes, died on New Year’s Eve at 84, according to an obituary published Thursday by the Branchburg Funeral Home in New Jersey. FishbowlDC Grant was a long-time radio personality who Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have both credited with paving the way for conservative talk radio. NYT Grant thrived on the radio despite being boycotted for racist remarks, and despite a trademark habit of hanging up on his own callers. But his sharp tongue also proved his undoing. In 1996, WABC fired him over a remark he made after news reports said a plane carrying Ronald H. Brown, the commerce secretary in the Clinton administration, had crashed in Croatia.

BlackBerry, Singer Alicia Keys Part Ways (The Verge)
That was quick. BlackBerry is parting ways with Alicia Keys, less than a year after the recording artist was hired to come on as the company’s “global creative director.” The partnership was unveiled at an event last January when the company launched its BlackBerry 10 OS. Keys was tapped to “inspire the future” of the company, which took years to ready a new platform to more readily compete with the burgeoning crop of smartphones and tablets from competitors like Google and Apple.

Bloomberg’s Susan Goldberg Leaving for National Geographic (HuffPost / The Backstory)
Bloomberg News executive editor Susan Goldberg told staff Thursday in an email that she is leaving the company to become executive editor at National Geographic. Goldberg had previously overseen coverage of federal, state and local government out of Washington. FishbowlNY “I’m excited about staying in the news business and about doing something quite different after 35 years of daily journalism,” Goldberg explained in an email obtained by the Huffington Post. FishbowlDC Goldberg reports to work Jan. 6.

Postage Rate Hike Approved (Folio:)
The United States Postal Service (USPS) delivered coal to magazine publishers to welcome the New Year. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved a two-year 6 percent service rate increase for all bulk mail, periodicals and packages, effective Jan. 26. “This is a counterproductive decision by the PRC and it does nothing to fix USPS’ systemic problems,” says Mary G. Berner, president and CEO of the MPA, The Association of Magazine Media, in a press release about the rate change.

Hearst’s Minority Stake in ESPN Brings Big Profits (NY Post)
Hearst CEO Steve Swartz, who took over from Frank Bennack in June, should be the nation’s biggest sports fan. On Thursday, he released the first “state of the company” letter since the hand-off, and it seems like full steam ahead to record profits. And while he did not play it up, its minority stake in ESPN appears to have played an oversized role in reaching a new all-time high in profit and revenue. WWD / Memo Pad What better way to ring in the new year than with a letter to employees? At least that’s what Swartz must have thought. In an everything-is-rosy internal memo dated Dec. 31 but sent out Thursday, Swartz laid out his plans to carry on with Hearst’s digital, business and television initiatives. FishbowlNY One section we found interesting is how Hearst is growing in the health care sector.

Malala Yousafzai’s Long, Delicate Dance With The Press (CJR)
Interactions with the media have shaped much of Malala’s young life, but her relationship with the media has too often been discussed in simplistic terms. Her detractors portray her as a media pawn, manipulated by a bevy of governments, militaries and ideologically motivated news outlets to further their various agendas. Supporters, meanwhile, have cast her as Pakistan’s Mother Teresa, a saintly figure who speaks and acts only from a place of purity.

Weeks in The Making, an Editorial on Snowden May Go ‘Beyond What Is Realistic’ (NYT / Public Editor’s Journal)
Most newspaper editorials don’t generate a great deal of heat. Even fewer can be considered newsworthy. The exception was one in The New York Times on Thursday, calling for Edward J. Snowden to be offered clemency or a plea bargain. By midday, it had already drawn well over 1,200 online comments, as well as articles about it in other media outlets, including Politico, Fox News, The Nation and USA Today. Andrew Rosenthal, The Times’ editorial page editor, told me Thursday that the editorial had been under discussion by the editorial board for weeks. Politico / Under The Radar Federal officials are ticked about a Times editorial published Thursday, not so much over its call for clemency or a plea deal for Snowden, but for accusing intelligence agencies of intentionally violating the law.

How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood (The Atlantic)
If you use Netflix, you’ve probably wondered about the specific genres that it suggests to you. Some of them just seem so specific that it’s absurd. Emotional Fight-The-System Documentaries? Period Pieces About Royalty Based on Real Life? Foreign Satanic Stories From The 1980s? If Netflix can show such tiny slices of cinema to any given user, and they have 40 million users, how vast did their set of “personalized genres” need to be to describe the entire Hollywood universe? This idle wonder turned to rabid fascination when I realized that I could capture each and every microgenre that Netflix’s algorithm has ever created.

No, Larry Page And Sergey Brin Are Not to Blame for The Decline of The Media Industry (GigaOM)
The idea that Larry Page and Sergey Brin somehow owe it to society to invest in journalism — because their company has allegedly siphoned billions of dollars in advertising revenue out of the newspaper industry — is just plain wrong-headed.

Zain Verjee Reveals Psoriasis: ‘Painful Secret’ I Hid for Years (HuffPost)
Zain Verjee, an anchor for CNN International, revealed her years-long struggle with psoriasis on Wednesday. She opened up about the “painful secret” in a piece for CNN.com, going into graphic detail about her experience with the chronic skin disease. “I suffer from psoriasis. It’s ravaged my body since I was 8. At its worst my plaques look like leprosy. I feel like a leper,” wrote Verjee, who hosts CNN International’s European daytime program World One.

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