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Morning Media Newsfeed: PopSci Kills Comments | @Horse_ebooks Exposed | New Reuters Editor Named


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Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments (Popular Science)
Comments can be bad for science. That’s why, here at PopularScience.com, we’re shutting them off. It wasn’t a decision we made lightly. As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter. The Atlantic Like a narrow Supreme Court opinion, PopSci‘s defense was case-specific, without presuming to tell other sites they should follow along. Comments “erode the popular consensus” on scientifically validated topics, Suzanne LaBarre, PopSci‘s online content director wrote, such as climate change and evolution. It’s perfectly legal to wonder aloud on your Facebook page whether dinosaur bones are real or placed there by a spiritual entity to test our faith. But it’s not quite the discussion a site like PopSci wants to cultivate under a column by a world-renowned paleontologist. The Washington Post / ComPost End the comments! For civilization! They’re finally doing it. No more comments. Popular Science has just announced that it is putting the kibosh on the comments. And it can’t come soon enough. paidContent I’m tempted to argue that it’s also bad for science when you jump to conclusions based on very little evidence, or when you close off potential avenues for informed debate that might help your reporting, but there’s a bit more to it. FishbowlNY It’s hard to argue with her, but we’re sure someone, somewhere, really wants to.

‘@Horse_ebooks’ Has Been A BuzzFeed Employee Since 2011 (Gawker)
Since 2011, the semi-legendary spam Twitter feed “@Horse_ebooks” has been under control of Jacob Bakkila, a BuzzFeed creative strategist who used to tweet under the handle “@agentlebrees.” Bakkila revealed his identity in an art installation called “BearStearnsBravo” at the FitzRoy Gallery on Chrystie Street in New York. In a series of tweets from the Horse_ebooks account at around 10 a.m., Bakkila gave out the project’s name and a phone number. NYT / Bits For months, the Internet was captivated by the mysterious and strangely poetic Twitter spam account Horse_ebooks. The account spat out comical snippets of speech, including: “Unfortunately, as you probably already know, people,” and the occasional link to a website advertising eBooks about horses. It was an Internet phenomenon that spawned legions of fans, who created Web comics and jewelry devoted to memorializing its bizarre existence and even led to a hunt to unearth the people behind it. The New Yorker / Elements Horse_ebooks has inspired fan fiction, Tumblr accounts, T-shirts and tattoos with its weird Zen-like sentence fragments, such as “Who Else Wants To Become A Golf Ball,” or “For The Highest Price Possible, No Matter How Much Time You Have Had To Prepare!,” or “Everything happens so much.” Daily Beast / Art Beast BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, one of whose employees was involved with the project, claims to have been in the dark. “We have a total organizational separation between editorial and our often-brilliant creative team,” he said, adding, “I didn’t know about it, and I don’t know of anyone in editorial who did.” PRNewser The most interesting thing about the big stunt reveal to us is that BuzzFeed used the very same fake feed as a source for stories many times over the past two years. Apparently the work was so good that multiple writers remained convinced that it was a real spambot.

Dan Colarusso Named Executive Editor of Reuters Digital (Capital New York)
Dan Colarusso is the new executive editor of Reuters Digital, making him the third person this year to hold that title at the news service. His appointment, announced in an internal memo obtained by Capital, follows the resignation last week of Jim Roberts, who had taken the job in February after accepting a buyout from The New York Times. Prior to that, it was held by Jim Impoco, who left Reuters in January and was recently named editor of Newsweek. TheWrap Roberts decided to leave Reuters after it scrapped plans for its “Next” project, which would make Reuters a consumer-facing news source in addition to its wire service. NY Post / Media Ink In addition to being executive editor of Reuters Digital, Colarusso will remain global head of programming for Thomson Reuters. FishbowlNY Colarusso reports to Steve Adler, Reuters’ editor-in-chief.

AOL CEO Leads Charge to Pry Ad Dollars From TV (WSJ)
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong stood on stage Monday amid thumping music and arty projections, once again playing cheerleader for an online video industry that is determined to pry advertising dollars away from television. Madison Avenue has grown accustomed to such flashy AOL presentations, which are meant to mimic the annual “upfront” pitches that TV networks make to advertisers each spring. But this one, coordinated with Advertising Week, had a twist: It was part of the first-ever upfront for “programmatic” ad-buying, or placing ads through automated exchanges.

Geraldo Sued Over Fox News Deal (TMZ)
Geraldo is being sued for allegedly stiffing his longtime talent agent who claims to have negotiated a sweet deal with Fox News Network. According to the lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, the William Morris Endeavor Agency repped Geraldo for nearly a quarter of a century, guiding him “as he rose from news correspondent to a household name.”

Richard Engel Honored With John Chancellor Award (TVNewser)
NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is the 2013 recipient of the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism. Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism recognizes Engel’s “courage under fire and reporting throughout his career that reflects a deep understanding of the Arab world.”

Amazon Tries Breaking From The Streaming-Video Pack With Offline Viewing for New Kindles (AllThingsD)
Amazon has been spending a lot of time and money trying to catch up to Netflix in the subscription-video race. So far, not much luck: Many more people seem to be watching video via Reed Hastings’s service. But now Jeff Bezos has something new: Offline viewing. AppNewser Amazon has released the latest operating system for Kindle Fire tablets. The Fire OS 3.0, “Mojito,” brings native Android app compatibility and supports HTML5 apps. It also adds in-app purchasing to Kindle apps.

No New TV Viewers or Newspaper Subscribers Are Being Born, BuzzFeed President Says (Poynter / MediaWire)
Speaking at a NewsCred conference last week, BuzzFeed president Jon Steinberg talked about his theory that content, and the ways it is distributed, will be “completely decoupled, I would say, in the next five years.”

NME to Experiment With Online Charges (The Guardian)
NME is to trial charging for online access to articles for the first time, asking readers to pay a modest 69p for the current cover story on the indie four-piece Haim. The magazine is dipping its toe in the world of online payments with the one-off experiment, but insiders insisted there are no plans to erect a full paywall around NME.com.

McClatchy to Shut Down Retirees’ Health Care Plan by End of 2014 (Bloomberg)
McClatchy Co., owner of 30 daily U.S. newspapers, plans to end its health care plan for retirees at the end of next year, joining a wave of companies reassessing their coverage as the new Affordable Care Act goes into effect. As the company’s coverage ends, retirees will have to choose between purchasing insurance from exchanges, which are being set up as part of President Barack Obama’s health care legislation, or pay a $95 tax penalty for failing to buy a health plan.

CNBC’s Joe Kernen’s Bad Joke (CJR / The Audit)
In a discussion with Andrew Ross Sorkin and Becky Quick about the rupee, Kernen faked an Indian accent and asked, “Are they good at 7-Eleven?” Sometimes the mask slips — even on national television. Compounding Kernen’s poor judgment is the fact he actually paused and thought for 10 seconds, saying “No, I can’t make any jokes about that” before going ahead and making his lame 7-Eleven joke.

Pinterest Appeals to Publishers With New Article Pins, Pushes to Become A Bookmarking And ‘Read It Later’ Service (TechCrunch)
Only days after announcing the launch of ads, social networking site Pinterest is now making an appeal to publishers. The company Tuesday rolled out an updated “article” pin type, which is designed to expand Pinterest’s reach beyond those pinning photographs or product images linking to e-commerce sites to those also interested in saving and sharing stories they’re finding around the Web.

Site ‘Spins’ Third CEO in Nine Months (NY Post / Media Ink)
SpinMedia, the struggling celebrity-centric website, has bounced CEO Steve Hansen after nearly nine months and tapped former Vibe Media executive Dale Strang to be the new boss. Strang is the third CEO in nine months. Hansen had engineered a shakeup of the site in April in which 50 of the company’s 250 staffers were axed. He pledged to make the site profitable in 2013. But the goal appears to have eluded him, and he was told at a mid-September board meeting that he would be gone.

Tina Brown Goes Global (NYT)
The evolving and shifting global women’s movement is about to get more crowded and more star-powered as Tina Brown, the storied magazine editor who has decided to leave publishing, takes her Women in the World celebrity-studded show out into the world. Just as she leaves her job at the news site Daily Beast, she is creating a new brand, Tina Brown Live Media, which will organize, produce and promote Women in the World conferences, summit meetings, news-focused flash forums, arts events and debates across the United States and around the globe.

The New York Times Was Right to Notice Lena Dunham’s Body (Slate / The XX Factor)
Did you watch the Emmys Sunday night? Claire Danes’ plunging neckline prominently displayed a sunken chest, and Lena Dunham’s gown did not fit her body very well. These are descriptions, that, like La Ferla’s, are not judgments on these actresses’ shapes. With Danes in particular, her bones are the first thing most people would notice about her appearance in that gown. For any writer, not just a fashion writer, to leave that description out would be a disservice to readers. It would be pretending — for the sake of what? Nitpicky blogs and delicate tweeters?—to ignore what is abundantly clear to any person with eyes.

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