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Morning Media Newsfeed: Roberts Comes Out | A&E Ends Duck Suspension | Time Faces Challenges

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In Year-End Message of Gratitude, Robin Roberts Thanks Longtime Girlfriend (TVNewser)
Robin Roberts surprised her Facebook followers Sunday afternoon in an end-of-year post. She came out publicly for the first time, mentioning her longtime girlfriend Amber Laign. Roberts has been out to her family, friends and co-workers for years, but this is the first time she’s publicly acknowledged her sexuality. People “I am grateful for my entire family, my longtime girlfriend, Amber and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together,” she wrote. Laign, a San Francisco Bay-area native, is a licensed massage therapist and has a private practice specializing in patients recovering from injuries. They have been together for 10 years after meeting through mutual friends. Variety Roberts isn’t the first Good Morning America personality to come out. Before leaving the show, weatherman Sam Champion led the way in October 2012, and the GMA anchors, Roberts included, attended his wedding in December of that year. BuzzFeed / Entertainment ABC News issued a statement of support: “We love Robin and Amber, who we have all known for a long time. We were so touched by Robin’s Facebook message and so thankful for all the loving support she has in her life.”

A&E Welcomes Phil Robertson Back to Duck Dynasty (THR / The Live Feed)
Phil Robertson, the patriarch of A&E’s Duck Dynasty clan who was suspended from his hit reality series on Dec. 18 following some incendiary comments about gay people, won’t be put on hiatus after all. The network and the Robertson family announced Friday that Robertson will still be part of the series — and since he didn’t miss any filming, his temporary suspension will have no effect on the upcoming fifth season. Adweek “After discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family,” the network said. ABC News A&E said the network would “use this moment to launch a national public service campaign promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty.” Variety Details of the campaign, which will run across A&E, History, Lifetime and other A&E outlets, were sparse on Friday. There was no word if any of the Duck Dynasty family members would appear in the spots, or if any of the issues would be addressed in the future episodes of the show. Ad Age / Media News For A&E, the financial stakes for Duck Dynasty were significant. The reality series premiered to 11.8 million viewers in August, and while ratings eroded a bit during the season, the October finale still pulled 8.4 million viewers. A recent Christmas special drew 8.9 million viewers. PRNewser Merry Christmas to all of you who took serious issue with Robertson and his seemingly anti-gay and anti-Jim Crow law stances during the past few weeks. If you were trapped in your bomb shelter over the holidays or just bombed on that spiked egg nog your lush grandmother brought to the party, you may have been watching A&E TV’s Christmas gift to America: A 24-hour Duck Dynasty marathon, which of course, came with a colossal middle finger hailing in the Christmas sky.

Time Inc. Preparing to Head Out on Its Own (NYT)
Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the United States, with properties like People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune, is preparing for one of the most pivotal periods in its 91-year history. Within the next six months, its parent, the media conglomerate Time Warner, hopes to spin off Time Inc. into a separate public company. But if the plan succeeds, Time Inc. will become independent at a difficult moment.

Loyal Subscribers Keep Hobby Magazines Afloat (NYT)
Lance Prucnal’s family, like others in the digital age, has canceled most of its newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Prucnal’s wife dumped Family Circle, Taste of Home and Better Homes & Gardens because she no longer found enough interesting recipes. His daughter said goodbye to Glamour. And he didn’t renew Newsweek and The Dallas Morning News because the family was getting their general-interest news from television. But Prucnal refuses to part with Model Railroader, Classic Trains and Classic Toy Trains. When it comes to the toy train magazines that fuel his passion, he has drawn the line.

Reddit Reaches for Profits Through A Geek-Culture Bazaar (Reuters)
Social news hub Reddit snagged an interview with Barack Obama last year. The big get for 2013 was reaching 90 million unique visitors a month, according to the company, on par with the likes of eBay. This season, even Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates joined its Secret Santa gift exchange. Now, the self-dubbed “Front Page of the Internet” is going for a milestone it has been trying to reach since its founding in 2005: profitability.

Vice Joining 24-Hour News Game in 2014 (Mediaite)
Vice Media captured national attention in a big way this year when it orchestrated Dennis Rodman’s fateful trip to North Korea for its HBO documentary series. In 2014, the company plans to make an even bigger mark on the media by launching Vice News, which aims to challenge traditional 24-hour cable news much in the same way that Al Jazeera America has done since it started broadcasting earlier this year. So far, Vice News is just a website, trailer and YouTube channel, but it seems to promise a much larger operation within the next year.


New York City Losing Its Last Commercial Progressive Talk Radio Station
(HuffPost)
When WWRL 1600 AM turns into a Spanish-language music and talk radio station next week, New York City will lose its only remaining commercial progressive talk radio outlet. WWRL is owned by Access.1 Communications, a black-owned radio broadcasting company. The station has been around for 86 years and switched to its progressive programming format in 2006, increasing its presence as a forum for the LGBT community in the years since.

Honeymoon’s Over for Apple’s iTunes Radio — What’s Next for Advertisers? (Ad Age / Digital)
iTunes Radio’s first wave of advertisers has been pleased with the streaming music service since its September launch, but Apple’s digital radio product hasn’t checked every item on their wish lists, like more granular ad-targeting options than the standard parameters like age, gender and ZIP code. And prospective media buyers await proof that iTunes Radio is noise-canceling competitive services like the more sizable Pandora.

How The Village Voice And Other Alt-Weeklies Lost Their Voice in 2013 (Al Jazeera America)
There was something else there, but you couldn’t see it. There were notes coming from somewhere — maybe adding up to a melody — but you couldn’t quite hear them. Growing up in and around this sprawling, elusive city in the 1970s and ’80s, Lynell George would see things, hear things, that never showed up in the daily press. “I didn’t always find my city in the newspapers,” says George, who grew up black in racially mixed neighborhoods and was so inspired by the city and its contradictions that she decided to become a writer who’d decode L.A.’s sense of place. She was tired of reading about the wealthy Westside, Hollywood deal-making and society ladies in Beverly Hills. “Sometimes there were just little glimpses,” she says, of something else.

Glenn Greenwald: ‘A Lot’ More NSA Documents to Come (Wired / Threat Level)
Nearly seven months after journalist and privacy activist Glenn Greenwald publicized Edward Snowden’s first revelations of the vast scope of the NSA’s digital surveillance, his life has changed absolutely. Living in Brazil, he is advised not to travel. He’s a hero to privacy activists, and demonized by governments and national security agencies. And in a video keynote address to the Chaos Communication Congress (CCC) in Hamburg Friday, he promised that he and Edward Snowden aren’t anywhere near finished.

2013: 29 Journalists Killed in Syria (Capital New York)
At least 29 journalists were killed this year as a result of Syria’s ongoing civil war, according to a sobering annual tally of journalist deaths that was released early Monday morning by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Egypt Detains Journalists It Says Aired ‘False News’ (NYT)
Egyptian authorities detained a team of journalists working for the Al Jazeera English news channel on Sunday, including an Australian journalist and the channel’s Cairo bureau chief, on charges that included meeting with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group that the Egyptian government classified last week as a terrorist organization.

Call Me an Optimist, but The Future of Journalism Isn’t Bleak (The Guardian / Comment Is Free)
As we head into 2014, the 20th anniversary of the first popular Web browser, we are awash in media. As consumers, creators and ultimately, collaborators, we are creating an ecosystem of information — including journalism — that grows more complex all the time. In a few ways, notably the rising tide of crap of all kinds in media and the loss of some of the valuable journalism of the past, this is cause for deep worry. Yet there’s plenty of reason for optimism, too.

With Angel Funding From Top Media Veterans, The News Lens Wants to Reshape Journalism in Taiwan (TechCrunch)
Earlier this month, The News Lens, an independent media startup in Taiwan, announced that it had received angel funding from Marcus Brauchli, whose resume includes top editing positions at The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, and Sasa Vucinic, who helped launch the non-profit Media Development Investment Fund. In addition to their investment, Brauchli and Vucinic are also working closely with The News Lens as advisors.

Facebook: Not Dead, Not Buried (BBC News)
Over the weekend, there was some scary news for the world’s biggest social network. Facebook, the story went, was “dead and buried,” teenagers were turning away “in their droves,” put off by their parents’ presence on the network. It was “the start of what looks likely to be a sustained decline.” The headlines appeared first in the UK, then spread rapidly around the world. But I was skeptical.

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Mediabistro Chats

Media pros: What will you do differently in 2014?

twitter Les Chan Be more creative and sensible.

twitter Shirley Jones Luke Write more read more improve my health and build my wealth

twitter Nick Keppler Pitch beyond my usual clients/publications

twitter Peter Ong Lim Organization and time management will free up personal space and time.

twitterAimee G. Hopefully get hired. Market is tough for recent graduates in media.

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