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How James Brown Helped a Fledgling Reporter Turn It Loose

ShutterstockJamesBrownThe day before James Brown answered the door at his home in Beech Island, South Carolina in the summer of 2003, reporter Karen Fragala Smith had valiantly rustled up bus fare. From her Huffington Post blog item:

I had withdrawn the last hundred bucks from my checking account and boarded a Greyhound bus for Augusta, Georgia, just over the state line from Beech Island. I was in town to interview James Brown for Newsweek magazine.

Well, sort of. I was an editorial assistant who spent most of my time arranging travel accommodations for the director of the foreign language editions, and making photocopies for an elderly editor who found both the technology of a copy machine and the fact that women in the office weren’t just secretaries anymore, to be equally confounding. I was eager to do something that resembled journalism.

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Cover Battle: Capital New York or Men’s Health

Welcome back to another edition of FishbowlNY’s weekly Cover Battle. This round we have Capital New York taking on Men’s Health. For Capital’s “Infrastructure Issue,” the magazine went with an illustration that is slightly better than the doodles we make during work. Yes, even the log cabin with the swirly smoke coming out of the chimney!

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Glamour Names Managing Editor, WSJ Loses Tech Reporter

A couple Revolving Door items for you this morning, involving Glamour and The Wall Street Journal. Details are below.

  • LaToya Valmont has been promoted to managing editor of Glamour. Valmont has been with the magazine since 2013. She previously served as production manager for Essence, from 2005 to 2013.
  • Spencer Ante, a senior special writer for the Journal, has announced he’s leaving the paper to join a tech company. Ante had covered tech for the Journal since 2010.

FishbowlNY Newsstand: Your Morning at a Glance

Morning Media Newsfeed: NYT Amends Article | Two More Charged With Hacking

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New York Times Amends Carol Vogel Article (FishbowlNY)
The first paragraph of Carol Vogel’s July 25 New York Times article no longer reads as it did. The text has been amended and an editors’ note has been added at the bottom. New York Post / Media Ink Vogel is accused of lifting a Wikipedia passage — with a few minor word changes — on the artist’s eccentricities for her lede on a July 24 item, “A Renaissance Master Finally Gets A Showcase.” NYT The Times’ editors’ note, which followed an investigation into Vogel’s work by senior editors, said that the passage “improperly used specific language and details from a Wikipedia article without attribution” and should not have been published in that form. HuffPost The Times’ public editor Margaret Sullivan acknowledged the matter Wednesday, writing that there was “little dispute” that the two paragraphs look very much alike. A spokesperson for the Times said that editors are “not aware of any other problems like this,” adding that, “editors have dealt with Carol on the issue.” Politico / Dylan Byers on Media It’s the second big plagiarism case in the last week. Over the weekend, BuzzFeed fired Benny Johnson after finding more than 40 instances of plagiarism in his work.

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New York Times Amends Carol Vogel Article

NYTEditorsNoteLogoThe first paragraph of Carol Vogel‘s July 25 New York Times article no longer reads like this. The text has been amended and the following Editors’ Note has been added at the bottom:

Editors’ Note: July 30, 2014
The Inside Art column on July 25, about a planned exhibition of the works of the Renaissance painter Piero di Cosimo, started with a description of the artist’s life and eccentricities. That passage improperly used specific language and details from a Wikipedia article without attribution; it should not have been published in that form. (Editors learned of the problem after publication from a post on FishbowlNY.)

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Outlander Author Diana Gabaldon on Writing Best Sellers and Playing Nice With Hollywood

LunchAtMichaelsJudging by the decibel level at Michael’s today the media mavens and swells had plenty to talk about between bites of their Korean tacos (delish!) and Cobb salads. There’s always a flurry of activity on the last Wednesday in July before most of the last remaining power lunchers depart for their much-needed vacations in August. You can only be fabulous (or pretend to be) for so long before you have to regroup and refuel.

For us, July isn’t going out with a whisper but rather with a bang as I had one of the most fascinating Michael’s lunches in eons with best-selling author Diana Gabaldon, whose wildly popular Outlander novels rocket right to the top spot on The New York Times best-seller list as soon as they’re published. She has sold a head-spinning 25 million books that have been translated into 24 languages. The mind reels. Her most recent, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (how’s that for a title?) came out in June, the same week Hillary Clinton‘s book did. I guess you know whose publisher had a better week. I was “the last stop” on Diana’s magical mystical media tour, which has included an SRO appearance at Comic-Con, a sell-out conversation at the 92nd Street Y and, just this morning, an appearance on CBS This Morning with the two lead actors of the new original series based on the books that premieres August 9 on Starz.

Diana Gabaldon and Diane Clehane.

Diana Gabaldon and Diane Clehane

It’s always a bit of a crapshoot sitting down with someone I’ve never met to make conversation over lunch with the expressed purpose of learning as much as I can about my companion in about an hour while fielding the numerous “newsflashes” that come courtesy of the diners around the room. I was grateful I got a good night’s sleep last night because simply put, Diana is a force of nature. I could barely keep up as she recounted the story of how she decided “to write a book just to learn what it took to do it; I did it for practice” and how her pragmatic approach to novel writing (which hasn’t changed much, by the way) has catapulted her to international stardom.

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Goodbye for Good | Still Dead | Nailed It

AllFacebook: Facebook is canceling its Gifts feature, which no one used and no one liked. Probably a good call.

Lost Remote: For the 27 of you who didn’t think The Killing was awful, a sneak peek at its next season.

TVNewser: Meredith Vieira says the drama surrounding Ann Curry and the Today show was “nasty, really nasty.” That seems fairly accurate.

Content Marketing 101

ContentFarms_croppedWe live in a world with more information out there than ever before, and content is the new currency to building connections and engaging with your existing and potential audience. Starting on September 8, MediabistroEDU is launching its new online boot camp, Content Marketing 101! Through an interactive series of webcasts, you’ll learn what this buzzword is all about- why it’s more important than ever and how you can build a successful brand or business around it.

You’ll hear from content and marketing experts, who will teach you the best practices for creating, distributing and measuring the success of your content. You’ll learn how to tie content marketing to your larger business objectives, pinpoint the key roles involved in content marketing and how to make the career jump, develop a content strategy and distribution plan and more!

Almost 60% of companies today use some form of content marketing. Sign up for our brand new boot camp before August 15 to get $50 OFF with early bird pricing, and get hands-on content marketing training for you and your brand. Register now!

Janice Min Pays Tribute to Her Departing Culture Editor

DeganPenerTwitterProfilePicOn September 10, one of the original members of Janice Min‘s Hollywood Reporter team will be moving on.

Both the importance of culture editor Degen Pener‘s contributions and Min’s fondness for him, personally, shine through in a memo circulated this afternoon:

Dear Staff:

I’m sure many of you have heard the news that culture editor Degen Pener will be leaving us in September, but I wanted to formally tell all of you as I know his impact is felt around so many parts of this organization.

Almost exactly four years ago, Degen was among the first five people I hired at The Hollywood Reporter in anticipation of its relaunch. I had known Degen a bit in New York, and was surprised (as I considered him a bit of a free spirit) that he wanted to come work on what was then just an imaginary magazine that I could only describe conceptually (admittedly, it sounded pretty good). As our culture editor, he dove right in for the launch, and was instrumental in creating so much of the tone and style that is now synonymous with The Hollywood Reporter.

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