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Morning Media Newsfeed: MSNBC Disputes Report | Mashable Expands | Ad Age Cuts Issues

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MSNBC Disputes Report Rachel Maddow Influences Management, Personnel Decisions (TVNewser)
MSNBC is disputing a National Review Online report that suggests Rachel Maddow holds significant power in both network editorial vision and personnel decisions. “This is categorically false,” Rachel Maddow said. “I have never had any role in any management decision at MSNBC. Any source who says otherwise is wrong.” National Review Online Sources say it is Maddow rather than Phil Griffin who provides MSNBC’s editorial direction, and that she also holds considerable sway over personnel decisions. “I know I’m never going to get freakin’ talking points from Phil,” Maddow told The New Yorker last year. “Can you imagine? Like, what would they be?” Behind her back, colleagues call her “the queen,” a not so subtle suggestion that Maddow gets what Maddow wants. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media “The NRO story is absurd and full of inaccuracies from beginning to end,” MSNBC spokesperson Lauren Skowronski told us. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple This is awkward. You can blame Bashir for Bashir’s outrageous comments; you can blame MSNBC’s left-leaning culture; you can even blame cable television. But a more exacting review of the scripts on that November afternoon would have saved Bashir’s job as well as averted a massive credibility crisis for MSNBC. Yet here is MSNBC fighting off a report that it has acted… like a rational and responsible news organization.

Mashable Raises $13 Million to Launch Expansion Effort (CNNMoney)
Nearly a decade into its existence, the news website Mashable is taking on outside investors for the first time. The site announced Monday that it has raised $13.3 million in an equity investment round led by Updata Partners. The investment will fuel an expansion plan that entails new areas of coverage and the opening of more offices. Folio: CNN’s Brian Stelter, who broke the story, points out that Mashable had toyed with the idea of being acquired in 2012 — ironically and potentially by CNN — but instead forged ahead as an independent company. TechCrunch Founded in 2005, the site has since expanded from its initial focus from tech, particularly social media, to include entertainment, lifestyle and other news. In the funding post, founder Pete Cashmore writes that Mashable reaches more than 30 million monthly visitors, with a team of more than 120 full-time employees, and that this is the company’s “first ever capital raise.” Capital New York Last year, the company set the groundwork for expansion by hiring Seth Rogin, a vice president of advertising at The New York Times, as its chief revenue officer, and Jim Roberts, a former assistant managing editor at the Times and Reuters executive, to be its chief content officer.

Advertising Age to Print Every Other Week (NYT)
Advertising Age, the trade publication introduced in 1930, announced Monday that it would publish its print edition every other week rather than weekly. The magazine, the largest publication in the ad trade field, will publish 25 issues in 2014, according to an email sent to subscribers on Monday, compared with 46 in 2013. FishbowlNY “The reality is that Ad Age is now a 24-hour news service online, around the world, and so we want to evolve the magazine with content better suited for the print medium,” explained Allison Arden, Ad Age’s publisher, in a statement. Folio: As part of the changes, the magazine will increase its minimum page count by 50 percent and introduce several new features. The company also announced plans to upgrade its website and launch a membership program in the near future as part of an increased focus on its digital products.

Sasheer Zamata Joins Saturday Night Live as New Cast Member (Deadline Hollywood)
Four years after she graduated from the University of Virginia, Sasheer Zamata is landing a very big break — the young comedy performer has been selected to join Saturday Night Live as a new cast member. Zamata will make her debut on the venerable NBC late-night sketch comedy series on its next live show slated for Jan. 18 with Drake as host and musical guest. The Daily Beast SNL’s lack of diversity has incited rumblings of discontent for decades — there have been only four women of color on the series in its 38-year history. But the rumblings erupted into roars late last year when Kenan Thompson — the male actor who, upsettingly, is the one most often tasked with playing black female characters — insinuated in an interview that the reason there are no female performers of color on the show is that there are no qualified candidates. The Root / The Grapevine Zamata, who first made a name for herself with her YouTube video “Sasheer Meets Her Flasher,” was one of several comedians invited to a secret audition for black women only, which SNL held last month. The outreach was in response to criticism that the show’s producers consistently overlooked talented black female comedians.

Forbes Unveils ’30 Under 30 in Media’ List (FishbowlNY)
Forbes has unveiled its annual 30 Under 30 in Media list, and it’s filled with people who you will publicly praise and then curse under your breath. This year’s list might as well be subtitled Yo, Young People Own Companies, because of the 34 people included (Forbes treats co-founders as one entry), 22 of them are entrepreneurs. Forbes / Jeff Bercovici It used to be easy to find the most promising young talent in the media business. All you had to do was search among the interns at The New Yorker, Harper’s and The New Republic, the news clerks at The New York Times and The Washington Post, the pages at NBC, the mailroom assistants at Williams Morris. An entry-level job at one of these powerful institutions was all but a required résumé line for anyone who fancied himself or herself an editor-in-chief, publisher or network president in the making. Lowly as they were, those who grasped the bottom rung at one of these places comprised the next generation of industry leaders. Back then, getting ahead meant climbing the ladder. In 2014, it’s all about building your own ladder.

Source: AOL Tried to Buy Business Insider for More Than $100 Million (Fox Business)
AOL Inc. offered to purchase BusinessInsider.com, a popular business and technology news website, for more than $100 million, but talks ultimately broke down when the two sides couldn’t agree on price, the Fox Business Network has learned. The early stage discussions took place during the second half of 2013, with AOL considering the possibility of paying between $100 million and $150 million, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The talks ended after officials at Business Insider indicated they wanted a more lucrative offer, this person said.

Christine Romans Named Co-Anchor of CNN’s Early Start (TVNewser)
CNN has announced Christine Romans will join John Berman as the co-anchor of Early Start. Romans, who will continue in her role as the network’s chief business reporter, replaces Zoraida Sambolin, who left CNN last month. HuffPost Berman became the lead host of Early Start after Sambolin announced her departure in December due to her battle against breast cancer.

Politico CLICK Is No More (FishbowlDC)
Well, this modest little blog post almost slipped through the cracks. Politico CLICK, the ill-fated Washington-meets-Hollywood blog that has struggled to retain talent, is finally kaput. The official demise of CLICK comes more than two years after it was transformed from a slick subsection of Politico into a simple blog. At the time, management said the changes were necessary because “most people seem to prefer to consume these kinds of nuggets in blog format,” and that “[t]he leaner blog style is a bit more flexible in presentation and requires less Web production,” allowing for “more time for what the CLICK team wanted, which is more reporting.”

When A (Partial) Tweet Becomes an Ad, What Are The Rules? (NYT / Public Editor’s Journal)
The media world gets weirder every day, but this moment still stands out as something of a stunner — the kind of thing that merits a place on the eternal timeline of “How The Internet Flipped The Media World on Its Head.” Picture it: Tony Scott — known as A.O. Scott to those who read his film criticism in the Times — is at home on Saturday morning. He picks up his print edition of the Times, planning to do the crossword puzzle. But first he leafs through the paper, and there on Page C7 is a full-page advertisement — almost all white space except for 75 characters. It’s his tweet from a few days before. Actually, no, it’s not his full tweet, but a part of his tweet, mocked up to look like a full tweet. AllTwitter The fact that the film studio might not have properly consulted Scott on the use of his tweet may be in violation of one of Twitter’s rules. And, perhaps more interestingly, the text of the tweet was actually altered to remove the first sentence. While the printed tweet only mentions the soundtrack, the full tweet began with the sentence “You all keep fighting about Wolf of Wall St. and Am Hustle.” SocialTimes If CBS Films simply retweeted Scott, it would not have been in violation of Twitter’s advertising conditions, but neither would it have had the same impact as a full-page ad in the Times.

NBC News Denies Report Ann Curry Is Leaving (TheWrap)
NBC News says a report that Ann Curry’s contract won’t be renewed is “completely untrue.” “It’s completely untrue, and, as a matter of fact, she’s going on a big assignment for NBC News this week,” a network spokeswoman told TheWrap.

Climate Change Press’ Pseudo Boom (CJR / The Observatory)
Last week The Daily Climate released the its annual review of climate change coverage — a tally of major stories, by publication and topic, that the news service aggregated for readers over the course of 2013. The Daily Climate’s aggregation gives its readers “a broad sampling” of the day’s stories on climate change (as in, it’s not meant to be a comprehensive tracking), so the rundown isn’t meant to be statistically significant. Still, the differences in the numbers year-by-year offer a broad overview of coverage and interesting subject and publication breakdowns.

With Redesign, NYTimes.com Unveils Native Ad Platform (Adweek)
The New York Times recently detailed plans to introduce a native advertising product to its website, and on Wednesday, readers will get to see its first appearance. Dell is the charter advertiser of the new ad platform, which will be part of an overhaul of NYTimes.com launching that day. The Times has been tentative about embracing the ad format, which has lately been embraced by other online publishers but is controversial because of its resemblance to, and risk of confusion with, editorial content.

Why Women Aren’t Welcome on The Internet (Pacific Standard)
“Ignore the barrage of violent threats and harassing messages that confront you online every day.” That’s what women are told. But these relentless messages are an assault on women’s careers, their psychological bandwidth and their freedom to live online. We have been thinking about Internet harassment all wrong.

If A Tweet Worked Once, Send it Again — And Other Lessons From The New York Times’ Social Media Desk (Nieman Journalism Lab)
The team that runs the New York Times’ Twitter accounts looked back on what it learned — what worked, what didn’t — from running @nytimes in 2013.

Michael Bay Made The Most Awkward Press Conference Appearance (PRNewser)
Transformers director Michael Bay was supposed to be talking up the wonders of Samsung‘s TVs at a Consumer Electronics Show event Monday. But the technology, of all things, tripped him up, and as soon as the teleprompter malfunctioned he straight up pulled a Cartman.

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