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Morning Media Newsfeed: SEA Hits WaPo, Others | Audit: NSA Broke Rules | Bustle Founder Responds


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The Washington Post Affected by Syrian Electronic Army Hack (TheWrap / MediaAlley)
The Washington Post and several other media websites were hacked on Thursday — sort of. The popular link referral service Outbrain (which TheWrap also uses) was infiltrated by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), causing its links to go to SEA websites. This was the second major hack by the SEA in the past three days. Though The Washington Post reported that it was hacked, that appears not to be exactly accurate — the SEA provided screenshots of its work to E Hacking News showing that it was actually Outbrain that was compromised. NYT A spokeswoman for Time, Jane Lehman, said the company’s sites were not hacked and the security was not compromised. “The content on some of our sites provided by Outbrain was impacted by the hacking activity at Outbrain,” she said. CNN also said its sites were not directly penetrated. “The security of a vendor plug-in that appeared on CNNi.com was briefly compromised,” it said in a statement. “The issue was quickly identified and plug-in disabled.” The Washington Post / Ask The Post Washington Post managing editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz: “A few days ago, the Syrian Electronic Army, allegedly, subjected Post newsroom employees to a sophisticated phishing attack to gain password information. The attack resulted in one staff writer’s personal Twitter account being used to send out a Syrian Electronic Army message.” HuffPost The SEA has gone after many media organizations, including the Financial Times, Reuters and ITV News. Most notably, it sent out a false tweet from the account of the Associated Press, saying that there had been an attack on the White House. The stock market briefly plummeted before the tweet was confirmed to be fake.

NSA Broke Privacy Rules Thousands of Times Per Year, Audit Finds (The Washington Post / National Security)
The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents. Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. emails and telephone calls. HuffPost / The Backstory NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden wants to set the record straight after individuals associated with his father have, in his words, “misled” journalists into “printing false claims about my situation.” In an emailed statement to The Huffington Post, Snowden said that neither his father Lon Snowden, his father’s lawyer Bruce Fein, nor Fein’s wife and spokeswoman Mattie Fein “represent me in any way.” Reuters Snowden began downloading documents describing the U.S. government’s electronic spying programs while he was working for Dell Inc in April 2012, almost a year earlier than previously reported, according to U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the matter.

What Was This Bro Thinking? Bustle.com’s Bryan Goldberg Explains Himself (Forbes / Mixed Media)
Considering he only wanted to launch a women’s-interest website, Bryan Goldberg must have been surprised to find himself the Internet’s primary object of hatred Wednesday. No doubt it had a lot to do with the rather patronizing tone he struck in introducing Bustle, a site that, in his words, “puts world news and politics alongside beauty tips.” No doubt it also had to do with the gulf between the $6.5 million he raised from backers including Google Ventures and Time Warner Ventures and the $100 a day he’ll be paying writers. PandoDaily / Bryan Goldberg I messed up. People on Twitter are absolutely correct that I should have mentioned the many, high-quality women’s publications out there. In my effort to call out big-name magazine publishers (who attract big advertising dollars), I specifically failed to talk about the sites who are doing things right.

Sony And Viacom Reach Tentative Deal to Stream Cable Channels (NYT)
In a deal that may signal the start of a new era of competition for entrenched cable and satellite providers, Viacom has tentatively agreed to let its popular cable channels — like Nickelodeon and MTV — be carried by an Internet TV service that Sony is creating. The agreement is believed to be the first of its kind between a major programmer and any of the technology giants that are trying to disrupt traditional modes of TV delivery.

Quartz Passes The Economist in U.S. Web Traffic (Mashable)
Less than a year after launching, Quartz’s Web audience in the United States has overtaken that of The Economist, one of its chief competitors in the business news space, and is closing in on the Financial Times. Quartz, the digital-only business publication launched by The Atlantic Media Company 11 months ago, saw its unique visitors in the U.S. surge to just more than 2 million in July, up from 741,000 the month before, according to comScore data provided to Mashable by Quartz.

The Next Web Sheds Key Staff Amid Shift in Editorial Priorities (PandoDaily)
The Next Web, a leading tech blog, has fired or farewelled five of its top editorial staff in recent weeks as it shifts its editorial strategy to one that depends less on breaking news and more on reviews and analysis. In the last month, deputy managing editor Alex Wilhelm left to join TechCrunch, European editor and former TechCrunch writer Robin Wauters was laid off, and both features editor Harrison Weber and news editor Matthew Panzarino have left the company. Brad McCarty, who variously held positions as managing editor, director of business development, and head of TNW Academy, has also parted ways with the company.

Al Jazeera America Will Have 6 Minutes of Ads Per Hour (Adweek)
One of the most surprising revelations in a call Thursday with interim Al Jazeera CEO Ehab Al Shihabi and president of newsgathering Kate O’Brian was that, unlike its more ad-heavy competitors, Al Jazeera America will have only six minutes per hour of commercials when it launches on Tuesday at 3 p.m. Al Shihabi described the limited advertising as “one of our key competitive advantages,” emphasizing the company’s commitment to serious news over punditry and movie stars at O’Charley’s. TVNewser “There will be less opinion, less yelling and fewer celebrity sightings,” Al Shihabi said. “Al Jazeera America also covers stories that won’t be covered elsewhere, and this our vision and mission. We know that there is a desire for the kind of journalism on Al Jazeera America.”

MSNBC + Politico = Washington, D.C.’s Cable News Network (BuzzFeed)
Despite transforming itself from “the place for politics” to a shamelessly left-leaning political media outlet while in the midst of an almost constant struggle with CNN for second place in the cable news ratings war, MSNBC has managed to stay relevant in the world of political news by using one weird trick: blanketing the airwaves with politicians and journalists from D.C. and New York who practically live on Twitter. With Jeff Zucker’s CNN drifting away from politics and toward celebrity stories and true crime — and Fox News sticking closely to its stable of “Republican strategists” and in-house conservative pundits — MSNBC has its pick of the entire political press corps.

PandoDaily’s Threatening Email Meltdown (ValleyWag)
Former Businessweek reporter, TechCrunch columnist, and current tech PR star Sarah Lacy has made a name for herself: Her website, PandoDaily, is one of the industry’s most loyal allies. But if you do something she doesn’t like, she and her goons will try to destroy you. Look at their rabid emails and see. FishbowlNY Old email messages never die. They just linger on main and third-party servers until an enterprising reporter like ValleyWag’s Sam Biddle can get their electronic hands on them and go to town.

Ex-Washington Post Ombudsman: ‘Fire Jennifer Rubin’ (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Patrick Pexton, who served as the Washington Post‘s ombudsman until March of this year, has written an open letter to incoming Post owner Jeff Bezos in which he calls on him to make editorial page editor Fred Hiatt fire Jennifer Rubin, the paper’s conservative columnist. “Have Fred Hiatt, your editorial page editor — who I like, admire, and respect — fire opinion blogger Jennifer Rubin. Not because she’s conservative, but because she’s just plain bad,” Pexton writes in the letter, which was published by Washington City Paper. TheWrap / MediaAlley Rubin responded, telling TheWrap: “Hahahahahah.” It doesn’t look like she’s very worried about what Pexton thinks. She wrote six blog posts on Thursday; none addressed Pexton’s comments. FishbowlDC Note to Rubin: We’ve always enjoyed your nerviness.

Buffett’s Berkshire Dumps Gannett, Buys Dish Network (CNNMoney)
Warren Buffett’s investment firm Berkshire Hathaway dumped its shares of newspaper giant Gannett according to SEC documents, and took a new position in Dish Network.

NPR’s New Homepage Offers Ease, Options And Primo Real Estate for Sponsors (FishbowlDC)
NPR updated its homepage Wednesday and at first glance, it looks pretty traditional—like a simple blog layout with posts lined down a central column. There’s more to it than that: The design is “responsive” which means it shifts itself around automatically depending on the size of the display on your device (incidentally, NPR‘s native app still remains the best way to get its content on a mobile device, but it’s nice to have the browser option, too). Digiday The “native sponsorship” large format ad unit solves a problem for NPR: It rejects most of its sponsors’ banner ads. That’s because it tries to hew closely to its Federal Communications Commission on-air guidelines, which prohibit sponsors from doing things like promoting based on price or on sweepstakes, even asking for clicks.


Choire Sicha, The Anti-Blogger
(The New Yorker / Page-Turner)
An editor at Gawker, then the New York Observer, then Gawker again, then Radar, and then his own site, The Awl, which he co-founded with Alex Balk in 2009, Choire Sicha has spent the past decade developing what has become the lingua franca of the Internet: un-snobbish endorsements, presented in a candid, self-consciously hysterical tone.

Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin Eyed as 2016 GOP Debate Moderators (Washington Examiner / Washington Secrets)
The Republican National Committee, already threatening to block CNN and NBC from hosting 2016 primary debates if they air planned features on Hillary Clinton, is also looking to scrap the old model of having reporters and news personalities ask the questions at candidate forums. Miffed that their candidates were singled out for personal questions or CNN John King’s “This or That,” when he asked candidates quirky questions like “Elvis or Johnny Cash,” GOP insiders tell Secrets that they are considering other choices, even a heavyweight panel of radio bigs Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media OK, so you can’t put much stock in Washington Examiner reporter Paul Bedard’s report. Very reliable Republican sources tell us that the committee hasn’t even started thinking about moderators yet. By floating Limbaugh et al, the RNC picks up a little cred with those on the far right who are pushing the RNC to be tougher on moderates and on the media. TVNewser We would also note that if Fox News were granted a debate, it is likely they would push for journalists like Bret Baier or Chris Wallace to moderate, rather than Hannity.

Online Video Pioneer: News Sites Will Bring Video Out From Pay Walls (PBS / Mediashift)
As an early adopter of convergence, award-winning journalist Sam Meddis made the leap to the Web as USA Today’s online technology editor in the ’90s. And when USA Today wanted to ramp up its content with video coverage, he jumped at the chance to lead the team.

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