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Thursday, Feb 14

Morning Media Newsfeed 02.14.13

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Time Warner in Talks to Part Ways with Time Inc. (Fortune)
Media giant Time Warner has begun discussions to separate itself from Time Inc., its $3.4 billion (in annual revenue) publishing division, according to three people familiar with the matter. Meredith, the Des Moines-based publisher of Family Circle and the Ladies' Home Journal, is in talks with the company, according to two people familiar with the matter. FishbowlNY The deal is still for Time Warner to keep Time, Sports Illustrated and Fortune, so we still don't know the solution to the other puzzling question: Why is Time Warner going to part with People, its most profitable title? But the fact that the buyer is Meredith does make things a little clearer. Meredith, knowing that its audience is mostly female, is probably insisting that this deal includes People. NYT / DealBook If the transaction is completed, it would be the most significant deal in Meredith's roughly 111-year history. The biggest that the media conglomerate has struck to date is its 2005 purchase of Gruner and Jahr's women's magazines, including Family Circle, Parents, Child and Fitness, for $350 million. Ad Week Rumors of a spinoff have swirled for years as Time Inc.'s performance has trailed Time Warner's lucrative cable business, and in the past, questions about a sale have been met with strong denials. But those answers have grown softer lately, and company watchers said comments by chairman Jeff Bewkes on CNBC last week in which he seemed to entertain the idea of a sale was a telling one.

Thomson Reuters to Slash 2,500 Jobs, 4 Percent of Workforce (Fox Business)
Thomson Reuters plans to cut 2,500 jobs this year, or 4 percent of its global workforce, as it continues to axe costs as part of a larger overhaul. The company said on Wednesday that it expects to spend about $100 million on severance costs, predominantly in the first quarter. A majority of the cuts will take place in its finance and research division. WSJ / AP CEO Jim Smith told analysts on a conference call Wednesday that the company is eliminating the positions from its "Financial and Risk" division, which rents out trading terminals to the financial industry. It accounts for just over half of Thomson Reuters' revenue.

State of the Union Viewership Drops 11 Percent from 2012; NBC, Fox News Lead (Deadline Hollywood)
The first State of the Union of President Obama's second term Tuesday night was watched by 33.5 million viewers. That's down 11.3 percent from the 37.75 million who tuned in for last year's address across 14 broadcast and cable networks. It's also a State of the Union low for Obama, who has seen a decline every year since his first official SOTU in 2010 was watched by 48 million. Entertainment Weekly / Inside TV Did heavy interest in the Christopher Dorner siege hurt the president's State of the Union ratings? On a couple of the cable networks, intensive live national Dorner coverage actually increased viewership for Obama's speech compared to last year since Fox News, CNN and MSNBC were all covering Dorner up until the address -- giving the president a presumably strong lead-in. TVNewser NBC had the most viewers, but CBS took households for the State of the Union address last night. CBS lost viewers from the lead-in as 9 million tuned in to watch a rerun of NCIS: Los Angeles. NBC and ABC were able to build on their lead-ins, Betty White's Off Their Rockers, and The Taste, respectively. CBS took the lead in post-address viewership.

Knight Foundation Regrets the Lehrer (NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer)
When the Knight Foundation, whose stated mission is to promote "quality journalism," paid admitted plagiarist and fabricator Jonah Lehrer $20,000 to speak at its seminar in Miami, the irony was lost on nobody -- except maybe the Knight Foundation, whose president told Erik Wemple the booking found little dissent among its leaders. But after a steady flow of criticism since Lehrer's address, the Foundation has finally thought better of its decision. Poynter / MediaWire The Washington Post's Erik Wemple spoke with Knight CEO and president Alberto Ibargüen just after critics questioned the fee and reported that "there wasn't a lot of dissension among decision-makers" about paying Lehrer. "We would typically pay a speaker sometimes more than that," Ibargüen told Wemple. Critics suggested Lehrer should donate the fee. Jeff Bercovici reached Lehrer by phone and asked about that possibility. "I read your article. I have nothing to say to you," Lehrer told the Forbes reporter. Forbes / Mixed Media Spying the chance for a win-win, I've been banging the drum for Lehrer to quiet his detractors and bank some goodwill by donating that $20,000 to charity. I can understand that turning down cash in hand might be hard for a man whose future career prospects are uncertain.

Barnes & Noble Warns of Lower Revenues (NYT / Media Decoder)
More bad news from Barnes & Noble Inc. The nation's largest brick-and-mortar book retailer is warning that it will not meet expectations for another quarter. The company said late Wednesday that it will report results for the third quarter of the 2013 fiscal year before the market opens on Feb. 28, and that the news will not be good -- particularly for the Nook digital unit.

Marty Peretz Does Not Like Chris Hughes' New New Republic (The Atlantic Wire)
Former New Republic owner Marty Peretz is very publicly bemoaning current New Republic owner Chris Hughes and saying he doesn't "recognize the magazine" anymore. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Peretz leans into Hughes and the magazine's latest issue which features a stark all-white cover and the almost trollish title of Sam Tenenhaus' cover story, "The Republicans: The Party of White People." Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The old New Republic was certainly liberal, especially in its editorials (early support for the Iraq War notwithstanding). But Peretz believes Hughes -- a former Obama campaign staffer -- has let a new, unrestrained leftism bleed into the magazine's reporting at the expense of honest, critical journalism. He even states that President Obama, who Hughes and editor Franklin Foer interviewed for the first issue, has become "an object of fealty at The New Republic."

Former Senator Scott Brown Joins Fox News (TVNewser)
Former Republican senator Scott Brown is joining Fox News as a contributor. "Senator Brown's dedication to out-of-the box thinking on key issues makes him an important voice in the country and we are looking forward to his contributions across all FOX News platforms," executive vice president of programming Bill Shine said in a statement. NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer The former Massachusetts senator turned up on Hannity to dissect the State of the Union and criticize Harry Reid. But first, Sean Hannity had to explain, once again, why he passed up the chance to make another run for the Senate. "To do five races in six years and raise another $30-$50 million and then go and participate in a Congress that's really dysfunctional and extremely partisan -- I felt I could make a difference being on this show and doing other things," he said.

CNN: Rubio 'Career-Ender' Chyron A Joke (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
CNN ran a chyron on Wednesday afternoon questioning whether Sen. Marco Rubio's waterbottle flap during Tuesday night's State of the Union response could be a "career ender." The chyron drew criticism from right-wing media watchdogs like Newsbusters and from journalists on Twitter. But CNN now says it was only joking.

O'Reilly Confronts Howard Kurtz for Calling Him Out on NBC Drone Coverage Claim (Mediaite)
Last week Bill O'Reilly argued there is a concerted effort on the part of the liberal media to not cover Obama administration drone strikes, calling out NBC News by name. Only problem: NBC practically broke the story.

Damage Assessment: NBC's First-to-Fourth Free Fall (THR)
A very bad month for NBC has left TV industry watchers wondering how the network that went from fourth place to first and back to fourth in a matter of weeks can rebuild for the long term. HuffPost Brian Williams was reportedly angry with NBC over changes to Rock Center, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Williams' show has been moved three times since debuting in November 2011: from Monday night to Wednesday night, to Thursday night, to Friday night. The latest change does not bode well for the program.

Parody News Site du Jour May or May Not Be Based in LA (FishbowlLA)
Daniel Barkeley, founder and editor of parody news website The Daily Currant, has enjoyed a number of moments in the spotlight since launching his site last spring. In 2012 for example, he scored coverage after made-up jests about Todd Akin, Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachman and George W. Bush each got picked up by the mainstream media. This week's Washington Post slip-up is arguably the site's biggest coup yet, albeit entirely self-inflicted by Washington Post contributor Suzi Parker.

Jeff Probst Cancelled After One Season (Deadline Hollywood)
The other shoe has dropped -- following Twentieth Television's decision last week not to renew The Ricki Lake Show, CBS TV Distribution Wednesday said that its struggling freshman syndicated talker The Jeff Probst Show will not be returning for the 2013-2014 season.

Will Lawsuits Prompt Media Companies to Pay Student Interns? (PBS MediaShift)
Unpaid internships are nothing new in journalism, particularly in the magazine and television sectors of the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't keep track of how many internships are unpaid, but a review of listings on Mediabistro,, Craigslist and other websites listing media internships suggests that many, if not the majority, are unpaid. Now a trio of class-action lawsuits -- one settled with the Charlie Rose Show late last year and two others pending against Fox Searchlight Pictures and Hearst Magazines -- have reopened the debate over the legal and ethical ramifications of unpaid internships.

Netflix Sees the Need for Speed in Becoming Next HBO (Bloomberg / Tech Blog)
What took HBO decades to build, Netflix thinks it can achieve in a much shorter time. As the online streaming service tries to become the next HBO by focusing more heavily on original content, such as the critically acclaimed House of Cards, Netflix sees speed as its advantage.

How the Founder of Pitchfork Made It Big (Mediabistro)
Way, way back in 1995, when the first dot-com domain name was celebrating its 10th birthday and the World Wide Web was still an incredibly young four years old, the Internet was truly unchartered territory. But for Ryan Schreiber, then a 19-year-old record store clerk, it was the perfect Petri dish for a new music experiment.

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