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Harris Celebrates Successful Launch of Naturally, Danny Seo

A press release today from Harris Publications insists there is such a thing as “sustainable print.”

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The tricks, according to the New York-based special interests publisher, include starting small (350,000 first-issue circulation), charging a premium newsstand price ($9.95) and connecting the publication to a recognizable brand name in the field being covered:

“We are thrilled with the early performance of Naturally, Danny Seo,” says Ben Harris, president of Harris Publications. “In what is generally thought of as a difficult time for print, it’s reassuring to see we developed a product that connects with readers.”

Naturally, Danny Seo is exploring expansion opportunities including international licensing with foreign publishers, a companion television show of the same name hosted by Danny and unique corporate co-marketing relationships with some of the most prominent national brands.

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NY Times Digital Subcription Growth Slows

NYtimes buildingThe New York Times’ paywall is now three years old. For most of that time, digital subscriptions grew at a healthy pace. However, according to Recode, there are signs that things are slowing down.

In June, the Times reported that it had added 32,000 digital subscriptions during the second quarter, bringing its total to about 831,000. That’s a solid number.

Unless, of course, those new subscribers were lured by new apps like NYT Now, and the Times has already hit its subscriber ceiling:

There could be some cannibalization from the new app, of course, but even if all 32,000 were for the main digital subscription (which costs $15 to $35 depending on how many devices you want to use), that would still fall short of the previous two quarters when the Times averaged 36,000 new subscribers.

If the Times has truly tapped every customer who will pay for its content, there could be rough waters ahead. As with any print product, the execs at the paper will need to figure out new revenue streams to avoid getting shipwrecked.

Erica Duecy Named Saveur Digital Director

Erica Duecy has been named digital director for Saveur. She comes to the magazine from Fodor’s Travel, where she served as deputy web editor. Under Duecy’s guidance, Fodors.com won two SATW Lowell Thomas Journalism Awards and experienced record-breaking traffic.

Duecy — whose writing has appeared in The New York Times and Food & Wine — is also a James Beard Journalism Award judge.

“We could not be more excited for Erica to join the Saveur team,” said David Ritchie, Bonnier’s chief content officer, in a statement. “Her experience in the food, travel, wine and spirits categories partnered with her terrific editing and digital skills makes her the most qualified person for this role.”

Duecy begins September 2.

Rodale Searches for Next Women’s Health Editor

Now that Michele Promaulayko has left Women’s Health for Yahoo, Rodale is in the unfortunate position of trying to fill the editor’s role at one if its most popular titles. WWD reports that for now, Amy Keller Laird is serving as acting editor-in-chief.

Should Keller Laird not be a perfect fit, Rodale is considering other candidates. Here are just a few names being tossed around:

FishbowlNY Newsstand: Your Morning at a Glance

Morning Media Newsfeed: Journalist Freed in Syria | WaPo Editorials Stop Using ‘Redskins’

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Kidnapped U.S. Journalist Freed in Syria (Al Jazeera)
An American journalist kidnapped nearly two years ago has been freed in Syria following Qatari mediation and handed over to UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights. TVNewser Peter Theo Curtis, an author and freelance journalist from Massachusetts, had been held by Jabhat Al-Nusrah, an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. He was captured shortly after crossing into Syria in October 2012. Mashable Curtis writes under the name Theo Padnos, and had published two books, including Undercover Muslim: A Journey Into Yemen. Curtis was originally based in Boston and Vermont, and later worked as a journalist in Yemen, where he became interested in the stories of young Muslim men moving to the U.S. to study Islam. WSJ His family said while it didn’t know the exact terms of their son’s release, they were assured by Qatari officials “that they were mediating for Theo’s release on a humanitarian basis,” without paying ransom. Mediaite Video of Curtis was disseminated in late June, showing the journalist disheveled but otherwise in good health. Curtis’ release comes just days after ISIS posted video showing the execution of captured American journalist James Foley.

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A Ripp-Roaring Time Inc. Yarn

There are more than a half-dozen standout quotes in the dog-days-of-print examination by Gabriel Sherman in this week’s New York magazine. Two of the zingers belong to Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp and, in both cases, connect the company’s august history with the disruptive challenges currently being sorted through.

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“If you have a church and nobody shows up, it doesn’t work so well,” Ripp tells Sherman at one point, referring to the appointment of Norm Pearlstine as chief content officer and a new reporting structure that has removed the wall between church (editorial) and state (advertising). Later on, when the specter of company co-founder Henry Luce is brought up, Ripp has this to say:

“You know the great thing about Henry Luce? He didn’t have to worry about what Henry Luce would have done. He wasn’t held to his past.”

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Spin Media Improvises a New CEO

SpinMediaOfficesThis ranks as one of the more unusual rises to the CEO chair at an Internet content company. Not to mention speediest.

Per Peter Sterne‘s Capital New York report, Stephen Blackwell started roaming the halls of Spin Media Group last month after Spin acquired the website he founded, deathandtaxes.com. Blackwell enthusiastically articulated his vision for the newly stabilized operation and, well, now he’s running the place:

“When I first got to Spin, and I started talking to everybody about, we’ve got an incredible brand here and a lot of opportunity for growth, I saw nothing but upside,” Blackwell said in a telephone interview with Capital. “I started expressing my vision on how we could help the brand grow, and that’s kind of when the conversation started about, well how does the CEO position look to you?”

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Lego Thoughts | Proud Partner | Casual Look

AllTwitter: A woman created a Twitter account for a collection of Legos. Not only that, but people are paying her to run it. The world is a weird place.

GalleyCat: NASA is behind an exhibit dedicated to Marvel super heroes. Good to see the space agency is putting its money to good use.

FishbowlDC: The administrator of the U.S. Digital Service enjoys khakis.

Hollywood Trade #IceBucketChallenge Devolves Into Twitter War

LAObserved got the ball rolling with some media coverage of TheWrap’s August 18 #icebucketchallenge and the admittedly funny visual of site founder Sharon Waxman seeming not to get wet while underlings to her left and right did.

However, as Waxman subsequently tweeted – and LAObserved’s Kevin Roderick updated – she did in fact sustain collateral ice-cube damage. The lack of an SW torrent was the result of TheWrap’s decision to opt, in drought-stricken SoCal, for the most optimally water-supply-friendly route.

But it is on Twitter where the real cold water was poured on TheWrap. After TheWrap senior film reporter Jeff Sneider did not take kindly to the LAObserved coverage, he got into it with David Poland (Movie City News) and Kristopher Tapley (HitFix/In Contention), both of whom with Poland harshly criticizing the above video. [Editor's Note: Tapley has taken exception with my characterization; please see comments, below.] Also chiming in more neutrally: Sneider’s former colleague Josh Dickey, now with Mashable, and Wall Street Journal film reporter Joe Flint.

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