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Morning Media Newsfeed: Re/code Launches | MSNBC Host Apologizes | WABC Shifts Format

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Kara Swisher, Walt Mossberg Team With NBC for Re/code (TVNewser)
Following their split with Dow Jones, digital dynamos Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg and their team are partnering with the NBCUniversal News Group for their new venture called Revere Digital. Swisher and Mossberg are the co-CEOs of the new, technology-focused media company which will publish under the name Re/code. Windsor Media will also join Revere as an investing partner. NYT The business will closely resemble AllThingsD, the website and conference brand that Mossberg and Swisher — both prominent technology industry journalists — ran as part of News Corporation. Ties to the media giant were cut last year. PRNewser The AllThingsD name will be no more. Its former URL redirects to “Digits,” the WSJ‘s behind-the-paywall source for news on things that buzz and transmit data. Re/code Why have we chosen Re/code as the name for our new creation? Simply put: Because everything in tech and media is constantly being refreshed, renewed and reimagined. And this is the reinvention of ourselves. Reuters Re/code is just one of several new arrivals in the crowded tech media arena. Last year, Jessica Lessin, another Wall Street Journal reporter, also defected to launch The Information, a premium, subscription-based tech news site. Yahoo! is also preparing a consumer tech site with David Pogue, the former New York Times gadget reviewer. Poynter / MediaWire The Re/code Twitter account has about 9,000 followers as of 11 a.m. ET Wednesday, while @WSJD — previously @WSJtech, which seems to have been an automated feed — has 86,000. The transfer of power seems to have been peaceful, with the AllThingsD account referring followers to Recode.net. AllThingsD.com now redirects to WSJD.

Melissa Harris-Perry Apologizes for Poking Fun at Romney Family Photo (TVNewser)
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry apologized Tuesday morning via Twitter for her show poking fun at a Romney family photo that included his recently adopted African-American grandchild. The offensive comments came on her show Sunday when Harris-Perry and her panel played a caption contest with a Romney family photo. One panelist pointed out the Romney’s African-American grandchild, Kieran, standing out among a majority of white grandchildren by singing lines from the Sesame Street song: “One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others.” Harris-Perry added to the joke by teasing about a potential wedding between Kieran Romney and North West, the daughter of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. CNN / Political Ticker “As black child born into large white Mormon family I feel familiarity w/ Romney family pic & never meant to suggest otherwise,” Harris-Perry added. The MSNBC host has Mormon ancestors, and her mother graduated from Brigham Young University in Utah, where she wrote articles about Mormon womanhood, according to Religion Dispatches online magazine. Harris-Perry, herself, identifies as a Unitarian Universalist. The Daily Caller Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann rang in the New Year with a series of scathing tweets dissing the network after Harris-Perry made an innocent child the punchline of a cruel joke.

Talk Radio on WABC Shifts Focus to The Local (NYT)
In the war over talk radio in New York, WABC is going local. WABC-AM (770), which is owned by Cumulus Media, will introduce a new lineup on Thursday that emphasizes live and local programming, as its two most popular hosts, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, move to a rival station, WOR-AM (710). Weekday programming at WABC will include the return of Curtis Sliwa’s and Ron Kuby’s show, Curtis and Kuby, from noon to 3 p.m., after an absence of more than six years, and, starting Monday, a one-hour program at 5 p.m. with Pat Kiernan, the NY1 television anchor.

The New York Times, The Guardian Urge Obama to Help NSA Whistleblower (HuffPost)
The editorial boards of The New York Times and The Guardian published editorials on Wednesday, urging the Obama administration to treat Edward Snowden as a whistleblower and offer him some form of clemency. Seven months ago, the former National Security Administration contractor stole as many as 1.7 million highly classified documents about the U.S. government’s surveillance program and released the information to the press. The files revealed how the NSA forced American technology companies to reveal customer information, often without individual warrants, and how data from global phone and Internet networks was secretly intercepted.

New York Times Subject Dasani Part of New York Inauguration (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
The homeless girl whose story was profiled in an influential New York Times piece was a featured part of New York City’s inauguration event, holding the Bible for the swearing in of the new public advocate. Dasani was the subject of the “Invisible Child” series published by The New York Times last month. She and her family sat onstage for the inauguration and she held the Bible used by new public advocate Letitia James as she was sworn in.

‘We’re Gonna F*** S*** Up!’ Fox News Reporter Shocked by Foul-Mouth Miami Woman’s Message to Nation (New York Daily News)
If you give someone at a nightclub on New Year’s Eve an opportunity to say whatever they want on live television, you may get more than you expected. That’s what happened to one Fox News reporter Tuesday night. The cable news network’s Phil Keating was covering the end of 2013 celebrations in Miami when he turned the mic on a woman he described as a “tall drink of water.” “Say something to the nation,” he said. “We got five minutes ‘till 2014 and we’re gonna f*** s*** up!” the dark-haired beauty belted out.

Snapchat Grapples With New Year’s Hack (Adweek)
Snapchat rang in the New Year with a hack. The hot startup had been warned of security flaws in its software that could expose its users’ data. On New Year’s Eve the security hole was exploited, as millions of Snapchat users’ account information leaked online. Hackers were able to connect 4.6 million phone numbers to Snapchat users’ names.

Al Jazeera America Will Be ‘Envy of The Industry,’ Chief Says (Variety)
Al Jazeera America president Kate O’Brian has told staffers that the fledgling cabler is on its way to being “the envy of the industry” as it heads into 2014 with ambitious plans. O’Brian can be forgiven for a little hyperbole in her year-end memo to the troops. But in truth, she’s not that far off the mark. TVNewser O’Brian: “As I watch the year-end wrap up stories I realize that in our short four months we have covered every important breaking story, from our first weeks focusing on the humanitarian crisis in Syria all the way to our expansive, respectful coverage of the death of Mandela.”

The Dish Subscription Surge (AndrewSullivan.com)
When I was asked a little less than a year ago what our ambition was for revenue in 2013, I grabbed a number out of the air. It was our combined editorial budget at the Beast in 2012, which was $900K. Maybe it was unreasonable to think we could make the same salaries independent as we did under a corporate umbrella; maybe I should have made the goal higher — because we also had to find staff and time and resources in 2013 to do all the administrative, business and technical work that the Beast had done for us; maybe I should have set the goal considerably higher if we were able to corral enough resources to start commissioning and publishing more long-form pieces. But, hey, I didn’t know what to expect, and $900K seemed fair enough if I had to pick. Well, we kinda did it.

The New York Times’ Gravity-Defying 2013 (Quartz)
Shares in the New York Times Company climbed above the $16 mark Monday, and look poised to end 2013 at their highest levels in more than five years after rising more than 90 percent since the start of the year. It might seem curious, given that advertising revenue at the company fell for the 12th straight quarter in October, to its lowest level since 1998. Rumors are always swirling around the Times, but nobody seems to be taking seriously claims by the eccentric Chinese billionaire Chen Guangbiao, best known for selling canned fresh air in Beijing, that he wants to buy the company. Reuters Chen says he is perfectly serious in his bid to buy the Times, which he said he had been contemplating for more than two years. He said he expected to discuss the matter on Jan. 5, when he is due to meet a “leading shareholder” in New York. “There’s nothing that can’t be bought for the right price,” Chen told Reuters. FishbowlNY Chen has put an estimated price tag of $1 billion on the paper and says he has partnered with a for-now anonymous fellow tycoon in Hong Kong to potentially pony up around 60 percent of the necessary funds.

Sorry Neil Gaiman Fans, He’s Taking A Twitter Break (CNET)
Author Neil Gaiman will temporarily bid adieu to his millions of followers on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Google+ as he takes a break from social media to focus on his upcoming projects. “I’ll be taking about six months off,” Gaiman told The Guardian, “a sabbatical from social media so I can concentrate on my day job: making things up.” GalleyCat Gaiman has appeared on the Canadian/American cartoon Arthur. In the episode he gives a young writer advice on writing her graphic novel.

John Dominis, A Star Photographer for Life Magazine, Dies at 92 (NYT)
John Dominis, a Life magazine photographer who was known for capturing celebrities, wild animals and presidents at their unguarded best, and who was caught off guard himself while taking his most famous picture — of two American medal winners raising black-gloved fists at the 1968 Olympics — died on Monday at his home in Manhattan. He was 92. FishbowlNY Dominis belonged to another era. The one before cellphones, Instagram and filters made everyone a photographer; a time when folks in the U.S. relied on three network TV channels and a small number of news magazines for the domestic and international scoop.

Journalism’s Surrender (AndrewSullivan.com)
The surrender of journalism to advertizing and public relations — not alliance with, but surrender to — was the biggest media story of 2013 that the media almost didn’t cover at all. But it’s right there in black and white, if buried on the slowest news day of the year.

New York Daily News Hires New Boroughs Editor (Capital New York)
The New York Daily News has found a new editor for its boroughs coverage, Capital has learned. Sources tell us the tabloid has hired Jotham Sederstrom for the role, which opened up when Gersh Kuntzman moved over to the features department last month. The News‘ gain is the New York Observer‘s loss: Sederstrom will be leaving his job as editor-in-chief of the paper’s real estate trade industry supplement, The Commercial Observer.

How Do eBooks Change The Reading Experience? (NYT)
The advantages of eBooks are clear. eBooks are immediate. Sitting at home in Pakistan, I can read an intriguing review of a book, one not yet in stores here, and with the click of a button be reading that book in an instant. eBooks are also incorporeal. While traveling, which I do frequently, I can bring along several volumes, weightless and indeed without volume, thereby enabling me to pack only a carry-on bag.

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