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Consumer Reports Gets an Overhaul

Consumer Reports will debut a new look — both outside and inside — with its November issue. Gone are the cluttered covers of the past. The revamped Reports features a clean cover that tackles a singular topic, and it’s a big improvement.

Inside the magazine, editor-in-chief Ellen Kampinsky and VP/general manager Brent Diamond have added some interesting features. Your Advocate, found in the front of the book, features a Q&A with an exec from a major brand (GM’s Mary Barra kicks things off); a section that answers a reader’s specific question; a feature that dispenses insider tips from various industry experts; and plenty more.

The updated Reports was based on more than a year of research, but Kampinksy cautions that it’s not a finished product. She also eases readers’ concerns about the glossy changing too much.

“The November issue is the start of a new conversation with our readers. Based on the feedback we get from them, we’ll be making more changes in the coming months,” said Kampinsky. “We’ll remain unbiased and unbought. And we promise never, ever to put the Kardashians on the cover.”

Remembering the Simple Pleasures of Skip E. Lowe

When Harry Shearer wrote about Public Access talk show host Skip E. Lowe in 1998 for the New York Times Magazine, he got just one thing wrong. That wasn’t Lowe in the show’s opening credits; it was Mickey Rooney from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (as Lowe later corrected on his website).

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Otherwise, Shearer’s piece is absolutely the best way to remember – or, acquaint yourself – with Lowe, who passed away this week after a three-and-half-decades bi-coastal TV run. From Shearer’s September 1998 essay:

Skip E. Lowe Looks at Hollywood doesn’t so much re-invent television as de-invent it, returning it to those glorious days before focus groups, when the tube was safe for eccentricity and obsession. Regular TV could allow for such vagaries when the commercial formulas had not yet been ascertained and codified.

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The Economist Mocks Obama’s Attack on Syria

Judging by the latest Economist cover, its editors aren’t feeling especially optimistic about President Obama’s decision to launch air strikes in Syria.

As a president, the last former president you want to be associated with is George W. Bush. This is the same flight suit Bush wore to announce that the Iraq war was a raging success, while that depressingly ironic banner that read “Mission Accomplished” hung in the background.

Let’s hope things go better for us (and Obama) than they did for Bush.

Papers Celebrate Jeter’s Storybook Ending

Derek Jeter ended his final game at Yankees stadium the only way he knows how — as a winner. Jeter sent a single to right on the first pitch he saw to score the winning run for the Yankees.

It was like something out of a fairy tale and today’s papers highlight the magical night.

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FishbowlNY Newsstand: Your Morning at a Glance

Morning Media Newsfeed: Shareholders OK DirecTV Sale | FAA Allows Drones for Film

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DirecTV Shareholders Approve $48.5 Billion Sale to AT&T (THR)
At a special meeting in New York on Thursday, DirecTV shareholders gave the company the go-ahead to sell its satellite business to AT&T in a deal valued at $48.5 billion. Reuters The deal, currently under review by U.S. and international regulators, was approved by 99 percent of votes cast, the company said in a statement. The votes cast represent 77 percent of shares outstanding. Bloomberg DirecTV CEO Mike White reiterated Thursday that he expects to reach a deal by the end of the year with the NFL over rights to air the Sunday Ticket package — an important milestone as the AT&T transaction is contingent on that contract being extended. WSJ The deal comes as the communications landscape transforms with people relying more on Internet-connected devices for entertainment and media consumption. Earlier this year, Comcast Corp. agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion. The companies agreed to the merger after considering a deal for a few years. It is AT&T’s biggest acquisition since its $85 billion deal to buy BellSouth in 2006. The Hill Along with Comcast’s planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable, the AT&T-DirecTV merger is the second major media deal before federal regulators this year. AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV has raised less opposition than the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal, though some critics on the left have raised concerns that it represents a growing consolidation of major media companies. The two media companies have said that their merger is a matter of marketplace necessity.

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NY Jobs: Rainforest Alliance, Kaufmann Mercantile, PMC

This week, Rainforest Alliance is hiring a marketing manager, while Kaufmann Mercantile is seeking a senior web developer. PMC needs a design director, and Yahoo is on the hunt for a designer. Get the scoop on these openings below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

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Find more great NY jobs on the Mediabistro job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented media pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

Nice Guy | Moving On | Hall Pass

TVSpy: Charlie Baker, a Republican candidate for governor of Massachusetts, called a female reporter “Sweetheart.” He later apologized, but let’s keep this in mind, shall we Massachusetts voters?

FishbowlDC: The American Foreign Press’s Stephen Collinson is joining CNN.

TVNewser: Journalsits at the Clinton Global Initiative get a free escort to the bathroom. So luxurious!

NewsWhip Compiles Some Impressive Harvard Business Review Stats

Check out the following graph, one of many highlighted in a post today by NewsWhip. From September 1-24, the site sliced, diced and analyzed the social media metrics of seven leading business news sites.

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In terms of overall Facebook engagement, Business Insider is the winner. But as you can see above, when it comes to the social network’s rough equivalent to a per-capita metric, The Harvard Busines Review (HBR) is way ahead.

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An SNL Writer’s Trick of the Trade: ‘KENAN REACTS’

KenanThompsonSNLIn some ways, social media has rendered Saturday Night Live bulletproof as it heads into its 40th anniversary season. Sketches that misfire and hosts who bomb typically now power a social discussion that is as robust as when everything clicks.

But there will be plenty of time for that soon. In the meantime, we have been enjoying Slate’s delivery of show writers talking about specific cast members. Today, in installment #2, co-head writer Bryan Tucker zeros in on Kenan Thompson:

Here’s a secret. If you’re a Saturday Night Live writer, and you want to get an extra laugh in your script, just add this line: “KENAN REACTS.” Sure, it’s sort of cheating. But we still do it sometimes. Because it works.

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