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Tuesday, Jan 22

Morning Media Newsfeed 01.22.13

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On-Screen the Second Time Around, the Silly and the Sublime (NYT)
Second inaugurations are rarely as exciting as the first ones, and when the first was a never-before-seen historic moment, television has a hard time trying to whip up a similar sense of wonder and novelty (even MTV carried the 2009 event live, but not this year's). The result was a weird combination of canned statements about the majesty and pageantry of democracy and more spontaneous rubbernecking at celebrity faces -- and Justice Antonin Scalia's choice of poofy Renaissance headwear. HuffPost Cable news pundits mostly fell along predictable lines when assessing President Obama's second inaugural address on Monday. What everyone seemed to agree on was that Obama had given an unexpectedly forceful speech. On MSNBC, the praise was overflowing. Chris Hayes called it "surprisingly liberal," and Chris Matthews, in typically unrestrained form, said it was "Lincolnesque." Amidst the love, Ed Schultz said Obama's unmentioned drone policy could cause him trouble. TVNewser Egged on by Brian Williams, David Gregory, Chuck Todd and others, Al Roker got what might be considered the first interview of the second term of President Obama. "Mr. President, Mr. President, Mr. President," Roker yelled as Obama walked the final portion of the Inaugural Parade. "How is it going? Is the weather good? You like it?," he yelled. President Obama responded with a wave and a look up as an acknowledgment that it is indeed good. "I think you met the minimum standard," said Williams. "Question asked, question answered." THR / Bastard Machine Before all the pundits came out from both sides of the political aisle to dissect the inauguration speech of President Obama -- returning us to a divided America -- there was a long time on our television sets when it seemed like the force of tradition and democracy were at work, bringing the entire country a glimpse of what a free nation does with its leadership. It was, let's be honest for just a moment, actually refreshing and even uplifting. And then, yes, Fox News got its claws into the speech and CNN and others got their say -- via pundits -- and we returned to our divided nation with our divided news channel loyalties. The Daily Beast In terms of star wattage on the day, it ranked well below President Obama's address, Kelly Clarkson's "My Country Tis of Thee," and Beyoncé's national anthem. Heck, it probably even generated more cellphone checks and minds wandering than the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir or Chuck Schumer's schticky emceeing. But Richard Blanco's sparse, simple yet sweeping inaugural poem "One Today," may have provided one of the inauguration ceremony's most memorable moments, and stood as a rare break from the staid custom of ceremony that the rest of the afternoon brought. The Atlantic Wire Something about cable news, for all its hollow awfulness, and the Internet, in all its quickness and overindulgence, has made these Big Special Days far more engaging than they used to be. We've all become meta critics, commenting on not just the meat of the show -- Beyoncé's national anthem, Joe Biden's exuberant glad-handing -- but all the production values and editorial choices and crafted themes. WSJ / Washington Wire President Obama's second inauguration was scaled back from his first in terms of cost and scale. But it outshined his 2009 inauguration in one major way: how it played out on social media. There were 1.1 million inauguration-related tweets sent during the ceremony, up from about 82,000 in 2009, according to Twitter's Government and Politics Team.

FT Announces Buyouts in Quest to be 'A Digital Platform First, and a Newspaper Second' (paidContent)
Financial Times editor Lionel Barber wrote in an email to staff Monday that the newspaper will offer staff buyouts in an attempt to save £1.6 million as it also hires 10 new employees on the digital side. "The intention is to reduce the cost of producing the newspaper and give us the flexibility to invest more online," he wrote in the email. About 35 people would need to take the buyout, or layoffs will begin. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media In his email, Barber said he was inspired by Silicon Valley tech companies like Google and LinkedIn and Twitter, which are disrupting old media titles. "My visit to Silicon Valley last September confirmed the speed of change," he wrote. "Our competitors are harnessing technology to revolutionize the news business through aggregation, personalization and social media. Mobile alone, for example, now accounts for 25 percent of all the FT's digital traffic. It would be reckless for us to stand still." The Guardian Barber acknowledged that the changes will be "wrenching" but added that they were vital to safeguard the future of the title. There was no reference in the memo to recent speculation about a possible sale of the FT by parent company Pearson, which has denied it is on the block. Mashable If 2013 seems like a late date for a newspaper to announce a "digital-first" strategy, you're right. The Atlantic Media Company has been singing that slogan for more than six years now, and annual spending on digital advertising has already surpassed print, according to eMarketer's calculations.

Amazon Children's Publishing Names Two New Imprints (Publishers Weekly)
Roughly a year after the Amazon Children's Publishing division launched, it has announced two new imprints. Two Lions will be home to picture books, chapter books and middle-grade fiction, and Skyscape will be devoted to titles for young adults, encompassing works from both established authors and new voices. paidContent The expansion could help feed Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, Amazon's new subscription product for kids. The program, aimed at 3- to 8-year-olds, offers unlimited access to eBooks, movies, TV shows, educational apps and games for a set monthly price (starting at $2.99).

Fox & Friends Exposes Newest 'Threat to the Left': 'Wildly Popular' British TV Show Downton Abbey (Mediaite)
Downton Abbey, the British period drama, has become an immensely popular TV series, appealing to viewers and critics alike. But it's not just entertainment: it has an underlying political narrative that "poses [a] threat to the left." Or so Stuart Varney asserted Monday morning on Fox & Friends. HuffPost "The politics of Downton are very important and it's important that they are popular in America today," Varney said. "Rich people, powerful people, in America today, are reviled. They're dismissed as fat cats who don't pay their fair share. We just hate 'em -- "Rich people are evil"... Yet, along comes this show Downton Abbey -- rich people prominently featured and they're generous; they're nice people; they create jobs, for heaven's sake; they're classy; they've got style and we love 'em... That show is wildly popular, which poses a threat to the left, doesn't it?"

Sinclair Broadcasting 'Owns' Social Media Accounts of Its On-Air Talent (
WHAM-TV (Rochester, N.Y.) reporter Rachel Barnhart tells her followers that Sinclair Broadcasting, which recently acquired WHAM, has a policy of "owning" the social media accounts of its on-air talent.

Newspapers Are So Poor, They're Leasing Out Laid Off Reporters' Desks (The Atlantic Wire)
Things aren't as bad as they used to be in the newspapers business, but they're not good either. Perpetually faced with declining ad revenue, several papers have become landlords recently to make ends meet.

Sundance 2013: Are Filmmakers Vain or Nostalgic? The Digital Distribution Dilemma (The Wrap / Sundance Report)
Are filmmakers vain for wanting theatrical distribution? At a Wrap panel at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday, filmmaker Lynn Shelton and other indie veterans crossed swords with digital distribution executives in a debate about the future of independent film and how it can find profitability.

The Biggest Roadblock to Media Success? A Traditional Culture of Journalistic Hubris (paidContent)
There have been plenty of post-mortems written on the traditional newspaper industry, and there are likely more in the works -- and many portray the problem as a classic version of Clay Christensen's "innovator's dilemma," one in which the main players see the storm of disruption approaching, and yet still can't respond. In a new book called Rebuilding the News, journalism professor C.W. Anderson tries to describe some of the reasons why this happened, and one of his main targets is traditional journalistic culture.

Tightening on the Beltway: After a Hiring Binge, D.C. Media Players Go On a Diet (Adweek)
D.C. is a different story today. The Economist Group's CQ Roll Call laid off about 30 last summer when it consolidated its two print brands into one. National Journal, part of David Bradley's Atlantic Media, cut 10 news staffers late last year in a reorganization. This month, Bloomberg eliminated a reported 20 out of 250 from Bloomberg Government (others whisper the number is at least 40), and Politico let go a handful of staff.

News Corp.'s Sky Deutschland Posts Smaller 2012 Loss, Adds Subscribers (THR)
Sky Deutschland, the long-suffering German pay-TV group now controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., is inching closer to breaking even. The company on Monday posted full-year 2012 financials that showed its loss decline sharply amid double-digit subscriber growth.

Everyone on Cable News Is an 'Idiot' or Terrible Person, According to Google Instant Search (Mediaite)
If one were to gauge the American public's opinion of cable news personalities solely on Google's autofill, you'd think this country absolutely hates every single person who has ever appeared on television.

Sirius XM Radio Creating Comedy Central Channel (Yahoo! News / AP)
Sirius XM Radio and Comedy Central are teaming up to create a new channel on the satellite radio service devoted to showcasing the television network's stable of stand-up comics. The companies said Tuesday that they are hoping to launch the channel this spring, preferably around April Fools' Day. Sirius already has eight channels devoted to comedy, including Laugh USA, Blue Collar Comedy, Raw Dog Comedy and Jamie Foxx's Foxxhole.

Blockbuster to Close 300 U.S. Stores (Deadline New York)
That represents 35 percent of the 850 domestic Blockbuster stores that Dish Network reported it still had at the end of September. "Some of the approximately 300 stores are reaching the end of their lease and others are closing based on overall performance," company spokesman John Hall says.

Science Journalism's Great Divide (CJR / The Observatory)
Science journalists in the West have a bleaker outlook on the future of their profession than their colleagues in the Global South, according to a survey of the field released this month.

Hoda Kotb on Life 'Working Out the Way It's Supposed to' (TVNewser)
In a business known for big egos and petty jealousies, Hoda Kotb is a dose of Zen. Life "is working out the way it's supposed to work out," Kotb tells TVNewser, reflecting on her 15th anniversary with NBC News. Co-anchoring the fourth hour of Today with Kathie Lee Gifford "fits like a puzzle piece, it just clicks... The show is a great place for me, and a happy place."

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