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Morning Media Newsfeed: SpinMedia Buys Vibe | Betaworks Buys Instapaper | Mercury News Layoffs


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SpinMedia Adds Vibe Magazine to Its Digital Portfolio, Minus the Magazine (AllThingsD)
SpinMedia is buying Vibe, the 20-year-old hip-hop and R&B magazine, from a consortium led by Intermedia and Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies. It plans on ending Vibe‘s print run in the coming months, and will add Vibe.com to its roster of 40+ pop culture and music sites. This will be bad news for some of Vibe Media’s 52 employees, who were told Thursday that layoffs will accompany the change of ownership. FishbowlNY SpinMedia’s official statement implied that this is what Vibe readers want. They’re accessing the magazine online and through their phones, the company said. And maybe that’s true. But still, it’s always sad when a magazine disappears. NYT After it bought Spin last summer, Buzz Media promptly shut down the print magazine and laid off a third of its staff. It said it would concentrate on the website and consider eventually reviving the print version of Spin in some form. Since then, Spin‘s online traffic has doubled, but Mr. Hansen said that the company was no closer to reviving the magazine.  Ad Age / Media News Time Inc. sold Vibe in 1996; the buyers sold Vibe again 10 years later. It went out of print in 2009, but returned within months under yet another set of owners, investors led by InterMedia Partners. Last summer the magazine said it would embrace electronic dance music along with its usual hip-hop and pop culture coverage.

Jill Abramson and ‘The Sexist Stereotype’ (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
The piece, as I wrote it, was not intended to be about gender. Indeed, in the final day of reporting, I contacted four of my 14 sources — both male and female — and asked, “Is it possible that the criticisms of Jill that we’ve discussed stem from the fact that she is a woman, or a woman in power?” All four of those sources said, “No.” FishbowlDC The larger point is if we want to work in thoughtful workplaces with bland, mild-mannered bosses and coworkers who care about our feelings, get the hell out of the newsroom. These places are special, but they are not hotbeds of mental health and politeness doesn’t and shouldn’t abound. Get over it. And please, Jill, don’t change. Slate Luckily, popularity is not what wins you Pulitzers (the paper won four this year). As one reporter told me, “I hope this story doesn’t mean [Abramson] will lose her courage.” Apparently, she hasn’t, as she wrote to me in an email Thursday.

At The Times, the Future of Blogs is Uncertain (Capital New York)
The New York Times is deciding what to do with its dozens of blogs. Sources tell Capital that a review of the blogs is underway ahead of the paper’s planned web relaunch later this year. Asked about the status of Media Decoder, which had become a topic of interest among media wonks on Twitter these past few days, a Times spokesperson said the blog is “dormant, not dead.”

Digg Owner Betaworks Buys Instapaper to Go Big on Social Reading and Discovery (TechCrunch)
Last summer, New York-based hybrid investor / incubator / holding company thing Betaworks acquired social news site Digg and relaunched it soon after, hoping to bring back some of its mojo in the process. Nine months later, Betaworks has acquired another news-oriented application, this time bringing Marco Arment’s popular story-saving app Instapaper into the fold. Marco.org I’m happy to announce that I’ve sold a majority stake in Instapaper to Betaworks. We’ve structured the deal with Instapaper’s health and longevity as the top priority, with incentives to keep it going well into the future. I will continue advising the project indefinitely, while Betaworks will take over its operations, expand its staff, and develop it further. The Verge While it was an early pioneer in the world of iOS apps, in recent years Instapaper has faced increased competition from services like Pocket and Readability. But the deal could have even more interesting future ramifications for Betaworks.

Mercury News Layoffs Begin April 28 (Silicon Valley Business Journal)
Production workers at the San Jose Mercury News will lose their jobs at the paper’s San Jose facility beginning April 28, as a decision to sell its longtime home marches forward. A total of 118 employees were issued layoff letters, according to a notice filed with the California Employment Development Department this week.

How the LA Times Can Stop the Kochs (The Washington Post / WonkBlog)
The billionaire Koch brothers want to buy up the Los Angeles Times, one of the nation’s last remaining quality newspapers, or its parent, the Tribune Co., which has only recently emerged from bankruptcy reorganization following the disastrous takeover by real estate mogul Sam Zell. This is a rare moment for Tribune’s beleaguered journalists. For the first time in a long time, they actually have leverage. They’d be crazy not to use it.

Amazon Q1 Revenue Surges on Digital Content Sales (The Wrap)
Amazon.com’s first-quarter revenue jumped 22 percent to $16.07 billion, propelled by growing sales of digital content, cloud-computing services and gains in its main retail business. The world’s largest Internet retailer had been expected to record revenue of $16.1 billion in the typically slower first quarter, according to average forecasts on Wall Street. Reuters Amazon.com Inc appears to have figured out the secret to being more profitable: sell less physical stuff. In its news release Thursday, Amazon listed 14 highlights for the first quarter – all but one related to its digital businesses. GalleyCat In addition, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library has swelled to more than 300,000 books that readers with Kindle Prime membership can check out once a month. AppNewser “Amazon Studios is working on a new way to greenlight TV shows. The pilots are out in the open where everyone can have a say,” stated Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO. “I have my personal picks and so do members of the Amazon Studios team, but the exciting thing about our approach is that our opinions don’t matter. Our customers will determine what goes into full-season production.”

Boston Globe Prepares to Raise Its Seven-day Delivery Prices by Nearly 8 Percent (Boston Business Journal)
The Boston Globe may be on its way out of The New York Times Co.’s fold, but the Globe‘s strategy to stabilize circulation revenue is still borrowing from the parent company’s playbook. A spokeswoman for the Globe confirms that home delivery for the Sunday paper will rise on May 12 from $3.50 a week/$182 a year to $3.99 a week/$208 a year, a 14 percent increase.

The New York Times Releases Its Headline-Reading Google Glass App (TechCrunch)
Google’s ambitious Glass display is still a ways off from its public release, but it looks like those newly minted Glass Explorers now have something else to do besides taking first-person photos. The New York Times just pulled back the curtain on its own Glass-friendly app today, which makes it the first installable third-party app available for the ambitious headset (Path was technically the first third-party app, but it’s preloaded on early versions of the device).


ABC News Launching ‘Social Soundtracker’ (LostRemote)
At a press conference in its New York headquarters Thursday, ABC News launched a new product it calls the “Social Soundtracker.” The product is meant to serve as a second screen device, or as an added layer on top of the program you are watching. At launch it will be available on desktop, with a mobile app coming on May. So, what does it do?

Time Warner CEO: ‘Nobody’ Will Pay for Aereo Service (THR)
Aereo doesn’t have a compelling value proposition for consumers, Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said here on Thursday. Appearing at a media and entertainment conference, he also one again shrugged off concerns about the challenge that online video streaming service Netflix poses to his company’s HBO.

David Plouffe Joins Bloomberg TV As Contributor, Advisor (TVNewser)
Former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, a regular on the TV news circuit, will be joining Bloomberg TV as a contributor and strategic advisor. He will appear on-air to discuss political and economic issues of interest to Wall Street and Main Street, and will also serve off-air, helping the financial channel with its business strategy.

Twitter: The Medium of the Moment (The New Yorker)
News has never moved faster than it does now, and few events of the past several years have captured America’s attention like the Boston bombings. Every new bit of information was instantly, indiscriminately sucked into the media vacuum. If there is a medium of this moment, it is Twitter.

Breaking News Is Broken; Could BuzzFeed Be the One to Fix It? (The Atlantic)
Buzzfeed is taking a step to make breaking news an even more integral — and even more deliberate — aspect of its approach to social news. The outfit is bringing on a news director who will manage its breaking-news coverage on a day-to-day (and, if situations call for it, night-to-night) basis.

McClatchy Reports 22,000 Digital-Only Subscribers (Poynter / MediaWire)
Circulation revenues rose 1.6 percent at McClatchy’s properties in the first quarter of 2013. Advertising revenue was down 6 percent. Overall, revenues were down 4 percent over the first quarter of 2012.

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