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Posts Tagged ‘First Look Media’

The Colossal Failure of Racket is Now Complete

MTaibbiTwitterPicMatt Taibbi, what have you wrought?

While the jury is still out on exactly how much blame the high-flying journalist, now safely back at Rolling Stone, must bear for the implosion of First Look Media’s Racket, his abrupt exit has been followed today by a curt and even more far-reaching announcement. Right in the heart of Thanksgiving week:

Since Matt Taibbi’s departure, we’ve been working with the team he hired to consider various options for launching a project without him. After multiple explorations, we’ve decided not to pursue the project. Unfortunately, this means that the team Matt hired will be let go.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Amazon, Hachette End Dispute | CNN Picks Up Three Originals

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Hachette, Amazon Establish New Multi-Year Contract (GalleyCat)
Hachette Book Group and Amazon have established a new multi-year agreement. The two companies have been locked in a dispute since April. THR The companies have reached a new agreement covering eBook and print sales in the U.S. The two were reportedly in a standoff over eBook revenues, with the online retailer reportedly delaying shipments, reducing discounts and preventing people from preordering Hachette titles. Mashable The dispute began when Amazon stopped taking preorders for Hachette titles. Since that time, the two have dialed up the rhetoric, with Hachette authors Malcolm Gladwell and James Patterson criticizing Amazon, while the online retailer charged that Hachette was “stonewalling” about making a deal. WSJ Neither side claimed victory and it may be that both Hachette and Amazon made concessions in the end. Under the new eBook agreement, which will take effect in early 2015, Hachette will set the prices of its consumer titles. The companies said Hachette will get better terms when it “delivers lower prices for readers.” Amazon said on Thursday it has resumed treating Hachette titles as it did before the dispute. NYT The conflict, which played out in increasingly contentious forums as the year progressed, left wounds too deep for true celebration Thursday. Amazon has been cast as a bully in publications across the ideological spectrum, and a large group of authors is calling for it to be investigated on antitrust grounds. Its sales were hit by the dispute, analysts said. Amazon’s supporters publicly questioned the need for Hachette, the fourth largest publisher, to exist in an era when anyone can publish themselves digitally, an accusation Hachette was reluctant to respond to. And even if Amazon got less in the deal than it originally wanted, it still controls nearly half the book trade, an unprecedented level for one retailer. And the dispute showed it is not afraid to use its power to discourage sales.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Raven to Retire From A&E | NBC Undecided on Virgin Galactic Series

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A&E Networks Chairman Abbe Raven to Retire (THR)
Cable pioneer Abbe Raven is set to retire. Her last day as chairman of A&E Networks will be Feb. 2. The news comes nearly a year after Raven’s protégé, Nancy Dubuc, was elevated to CEO and Raven to chairman. Deadline Hollywood Dubuc took oversight of the day-to-day operations of the company, while Raven remained in charge of A&E Networks’ long-term business and revenue opportunities, including distribution, as well as public policy initiatives and corporate outreach. A year ago, Dubuc also took over distribution. She will remain president and CEO. Variety Raven’s role as chairman will not be filled. Raven is without question one of key architects of A&E Networks’ growth, particularly in the past 15 years. The company, a joint venture of Hearst Corp. and Disney, is home to some of cable’s most prosperous channels, but as a private concern it is shielded from quarterly earnings scrutiny. Under Raven and Dubuc, A&E has rapidly expanded its domestic and international portfolio, which generates an estimated $3.8 billion in annual revenue. TheWrap Prior to her position as president and CEO, Raven held high level executive roles at the company’s properties A&E Network, The Biography Channel and The History Channel. WSJ The handoff also comes at a challenging time. After setting cable-television ratings records last year with hits like Duck Dynasty on A&E and The Bible on History, the company’s two biggest channels have endured sharp declines this year. A&E’s ratings are down 32 percent so far this year in total viewers and 25 percent in its target demographic of 25- to 54-year olds, while History’s ratings are down 15 percent in both total viewers and those 25 to 54.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: ABC News to Oversee The View | NYT Reports Loss

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The View to Be Overseen by ABC News (TVNewser)
The View is moving from the entertainment unit of ABC to the non-fiction programming group of ABC News. THR New ABC News head James Goldston, who will now oversee The View, announced the move in a staff memo sent out on Thursday morning. Goldston is largely responsible for Good Morning America’s transformation to a multi-anchor ensemble, which helped the ABC morning show end NBC rival Today’s 16-year morning-news ratings winning streak. He’s also responsible for remaking Nightline into a multi-anchor, multi-topic program in the wake of Ted Koppel’s retirement. HuffPost / AP Following the retirement of Barbara Walters from an on-air role at the show she started, ABC brought in Rosie O’Donnell, Nicolle Wallace and Rosie Perez to join holdover Whoopi Goldberg. A new production team was named, led by Bill Wolff, Rachel Maddow’s former producer. Capital New York Still, after a strong first week, the program has begun to slip in the ratings. For the week of Oct. 12, CBS’ The Talk, which is clearly based on the format of The View, matched the program in two key demos: women 25-54 and women 18-49. Variety One of Goldston’s central goals, according to insiders, is to make The View more appealing to younger viewers. The show has fallen 10 percent in the last year among female viewers between the ages of 18 to 49, but it’s up 1 percent in total viewers.

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Report: As a Manager, Matt Taibbi Made a Loud and Unwelcome Racket

MTaibbiTwitterPicThis afternoon, by way of an entirely unpredictable “second look” from First Look Media, we have an internal item bylined to Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill and John Cook. It’s all about what led to the shocking exit of Matt Taibbi and while some elements of the narrative are in dispute, the overall picture painted is one of – primarily – a talented rogue journalist having a hard time adapting to the broader intricacies of a managerial position.

According to the item, the tipping point occurred earlier this month. While Taibbi insists the following accusations led him to be told he would be stripped of all managerial responsibilities pending investigation, First Look says that’s not the case:

These simmering problems came to a head this month when a Racket staffer complained to senior management that Taibbi had been verbally abusive and unprofessionally hostile, and that she felt the conduct may have been motivated, at least in part, by her gender. [First Look president John] Temple conducted an investigation, and First Look determined that while none of the alleged conduct rose to the level of legal liability, the grievance bolstered their case that Taibbi should not be the manager of Racket.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Gregory Joins Yahoo! for Election Coverage | FCC May Revive Aereo

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David Gregory to Join Katie Couric for Election Special on Yahoo! (NYT)
David Gregory, who was replaced as host of NBC’s Meet The Press in August, will appear in a Yahoo! midterm election program with Katie Couric, the company said Tuesday. TVNewser Gregory is not joining the company, but these appearances often can lead to more permanent placements. Matt Bai, who left The New York Times for Yahoo! last year, and Politico’s Mike Allen are also a part of Yahoo!’s coverage. TVNewser Mark Halperin and John Heilemann will lead Bloomberg’s election night coverage, dubbed Election All-Nighter, which begins at 5 p.m. ET with a special edition of With All Due Respect. Primetime coverage starts at 7 p.m. ET, with Halperin and Heileman joined by Al Hunt and analysts Kim Alfano, Bill Burton, Lanhee Chen, Fred Davis, Patti Solis Doyle, Anita Dunn, Michael Feldman and John Sununu. FishbowlDC Coverage will also extend to an “Election Night dashboard” on BloombergPolitics.com, comprising a Bloomberg TV livestream, website coverage and real-time election data. TVNewser CNN will turn to Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper — along with the Empire State Building — to headline the network’s election night coverage, dubbed Election Night in AmericaMediaite As they have done in the past, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will be airing their respective Comedy Central shows live on Election Night next Tuesday so they can react to midterm results as they happen instead of being hopelessly behind the curve with pre-taped comedy.

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First Look Media, XO Group Add to Teams

A couple Revolving Door items to note today, involving First Look Media and XO Group. Details are below.

  • First Look Media has hired Laura Dawn as executive editor of multimedia and Edith Zimmerman as senior writer. Dawn is the founder of Art Not War and former creative and cultural director of MoveOn.org. Zimmerman founded The Hairpin and has contributed to GQ, Elle and more.
  • XO Group has added TripAdvisor CMO Barbara Messing to its board of directors and named Dhanusha Sivajee executive VP of marketing. Sivajee joins XO Group from AOL, where she served as AOL Brand Group’s CMO.

Morning Media Newsfeed: Risen Appeal Rejected | Top Social TV Shows

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Supreme Court Will Not Review Risen Case (The Guardian)
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a lower court’s order requiring a New York Times reporter to testify in a criminal case against a former source, deepening the court’s silence on the question of protections for journalists and confidential sources. FishbowlDC The issue dates back to a May 2011 subpoena received by James Risen to identify a source for his 2006 book State of War: The Secret History of The CIA and the Bush Administration. NYT The court’s one-line order gave no reasons but effectively sided with the government in a confrontation between what prosecutors said was an imperative to secure evidence in a national security prosecution and what journalists said was an intolerable infringement of press freedom. NPR / The Two-Way Risen has said he would refuse to testify in order to protect the identity of his source. Federal prosecutors argued that they need him to testify to pursue their criminal case against Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer. WSJ A divided U.S. appeals court based in Richmond, Va., sided with the government last year, ruling that Risen didn’t have a reporter’s privilege allowing him to refuse to testify about the source and scope of classified information allegedly disclosed to him. The court said there is no privilege in criminal cases that protects a reporter from testifying about conduct the reporter allegedly witnessed or participated in. USA Today Since Obama took office, federal authorities have filed at least seven leak-related criminal cases, including against former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden for leaks about government surveillance programs and Army Pfc. Bradley Manning for giving classified information to the website Wikileaks.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Attkisson Resigns | John Cook to First Look | ESPN Launches Exit 31

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Sharyl Attkisson Resigns From CBS News (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has reached an agreement to resign from CBS News ahead of contract, bringing an end to months of hard-fought negotiations, sources said. Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsized influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt like her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple Rumors of Attkisson’s stormy relations with her superiors at CBS News have made the rounds for months. In conversations from last year, CBS News sources said that Attkisson was frustrated that more of her reporting on Benghazi and other investigative pieces didn’t make The CBS Evening News with greater frequency. HuffPost The Emmy-winning reporter also made headlines in 2013 after CBS News confirmed that her computers had been hacked. Attkisson had suggested that “there could be some relationship” between the suspicious activity and the government’s probes into the Associated Press and Fox News’ James Rosen. The Department of Justice denied that possibility, and the network also addressed it in a statement in August, saying, “To be clear, the federal government has not been accused in the intrusion of Attkisson’s computer; CBS News is continuing to work to identify the responsible party.” The Washington Times Attkisson began negotiating with CBS News president David Rhodes as early as last April about getting out of her contract. She announced her resignation to her 41,000 Twitter followers Monday with the simple message: “I have resigned from CBS.” TVNewser Attkisson, a Washington-based investigative correspondent, called her time at CBS News “one of life’s great privileges” and said she is “grateful for the many opportunities I’ve had.”

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Gawker’s John Cook Leaves for First Look Media

GawkerJohn Cook, editor of Gawker, is leaving the site to join Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media. Recode reports that Max Read will succeed Cook.

Other First Look hires include The Guardian’Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi, formerly of Rolling Stone.

Cook had been with Gawker since 2009.

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