Media News

Tuesday, Feb 19

Morning Media Newsfeed 02.19.13

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Reader's Digest Files for Bankruptcy, Again (NYT / DealBook)
Executives at Reader's Digest must be hoping that the magazine's second trip to bankruptcy court in under four years will be its last. The magazine's parent, RDA Holding, filed for Chapter 11 protection late on Sunday in another effort to cut down the debt that has plagued the pocket-size publication for years. Bloomberg "The brand will carry on, and that name has value," Van Conway, chief executive officer of turnaround management firm Conway MacKenzie Inc., said in a telephone interview. He said also that a company burdened by debt must "be nimble enough" to deal with the changing world of electronic readers. NPR / The Two-Way "I think it probably is the end for Reader's Digest," David Sumner, a professor of journalism at Ball State University, tells our Newscast unit. "It's facing problems from two or three different levels -- from declining readership, advertising, more so than the vast majority of American magazines." The average reader of the magazine, Sumner says, is in her 50s, and her household income is between $50,000 and $60,000. WSJ In its most recent earnings report, Reader's Digest blamed a decline in revenue -- down 26 percent from a year earlier -- on fewer customers buying its books and other products, as well as declines in Europe and Asia.

CBS News Anchor Rob Morrison Charged with Choking His Wife and Making Further Threats During Arrest (NY Daily News)
Rob Morrison, a morning TV news anchor for WCBS, choked his wife during a fight at their suburban Connecticut home early Sunday and then threatened her again after he was arrested, police said. Cops in Darien raced to Morrison's home around 1:30 a.m. after his mother-in-law called police to report a domestic incident at the couple's $1.26 million home. They found Ashley Morrison, 40, a fellow TV news anchor, with red marks on her neck. Rob Morrison was bleeding from his face, an injury a source said was a result of the clash with his wife. TVSpy WCBS reported the news in the first block of Monday's 5 p.m. newscast. Anchor Maurice DuBois said the Morrisons released a statement saying they are cooperating with the police and "are confident a physical investigation will show the allegations have been greatly exaggerated." Darien News Morrison has anchored the Emmy Award-winning morning show Today in New York and has appeared regularly on NBC's Weekend Today and MSNBC. He currently works for New York Station WCBS-TV and anchors CBS 2 News This Morning and At Noon. His wife Ashley served as an air anchor/reporter with Bloomberg television (BTV) from 2007 to 2009. She is currently an anchor for CBS MoneyWatch.

BBC Journalists Strike over Redundancies (BBC News)
Many BBC journalists have completed a 24-hour strike in a dispute over compulsory redundancies. The National Union of Journalists said it called the strike after failing to reach an agreement with management. The disagreement was over the redeployment of 30 staff members facing compulsory redundancy. The flagship Today program on BBC Radio 4 was dropped from the schedule, replaced by repeats and short news summaries on the hour. On television, BBC Breakfast was broadcast from London by a single presenter instead of its regular Salford hosts. The Telegraph Some unionists used the phrase "scabwatch" to launch attacks on those who chose not to strike, it was claimed. Among those targeted included BBC News 24 presenter Jon Sopel, his colleague Lucy Hockings while the public broadcaster's deputy political editor James Landale was also criticized on his live reporting on the Prime Minister's trip to Mumbai, the Daily Mail reported.

Killing Lincoln Sets Record for NatGeo (TVNewser)
The film adaptation of Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln gave National Geographic Channel its best viewership ever Sunday night. 3.4 million people watched the film. O'Reilly made mention of the ratings on his Fox News show Monday night. The 8 p.m. ET airing drew a 2.6 rating, tied for second-best ever for the channel. In the adults 25-54 demo, the two-hour film drew a 1.1, more than 175 percent higher than the channel's 8–10 p.m. average so far this year. Entertainment Weekly / Inside TV It's also 26 percent stronger than another recent headline-drawing NatGeo project, last November's dramatization SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden.

'47 Percent' Story Wins a Polk Award (CJR / The Kicker)
Mother Jones is one of the winners at this year's George Polk Awards, Long Island University announced Monday. Mother Jones reporter David Corn won in the political reporting category for the 47 percent story, in which he gained the trust of a source who filmed Mitt Romney at a fundraiser saying that 47 percent of the electorate was "dependent on government" and "paid no tax," in what may have helped cost the Republican candidate the election.

Obama, The Puppet Master (Politico / Behind the Curtain)
President Barack Obama is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House. Not for the reason that conservatives suspect: namely, that a liberal press willingly and eagerly allows itself to get manipulated. Instead, the mastery mostly flows from a White House that has taken old tricks for shaping coverage (staged leaks, friendly interviews) and put them on steroids using new ones (social media, content creation, precision targeting). Politico / Dylan Byers on Media White House Correspondents Association president Ed Henry is standing by his complaints about the lack of press access to President Obama, pushing back against critics who say he and his fellow White House correspondents are just "whining" and don't respect the president's privacy. "This is a fight for more access, period," Henry told Politico late Monday night. "I've heard all kinds of critics saying the White House press corps is whining about a golf game and violating the president's privacy. Nothing could be further from the truth." Mediaite CNN came to the rescue and aired exclusive video of Obama on the golf course. In said video, which looks like it was taken from afar, Obama is seen walking around on the course, and even actually taking a swing. There's also a nice shot of the water nearby, for good measure. And there you have your glimpse into the president's Floridian vacation, America. But no shiny photo-op with Woods, sorry.

Problems with Precision and Judgment, but Not Integrity, in Tesla Test (NYT / Public Editor's Journal)
As promised, I've spent the past several days looking into reporter John M. Broder's test drive of the celebrated electric car known as the Tesla Model S. The article, which focused on two new "superchargers" on the East Coast, was understandably disturbing to the company and to the car's many admirers. Did he use good judgment along the way? Not especially.

The Post's Last Ombudsman? (The Washington Post / Patrick B. Pexton)
It is possible that I'll be the Washington Post's last independent ombudsman and that this chair will empty at the conclusion of my two-year term Feb. 28. If so, that will end nearly 43 years of this publication having enough courage and confidence to employ a full-time reader representative and critic.

The Ticker Returns to CNN (TVNewser)
The Ticker, which was replaced years ago by the Flipper, has returned to CNN. The lower-third scroll of news returned at Noon ET on Newsroom International. Insiders tell us this is another Jeff Zucker move. The new CNN president has been making his mark on programming, hiring and the overall look of CNN.

NBC Ratings Fall Hard Post-Football (Ad Age / Media News)
NBC was the only broadcast network to score a ratings touchdown in the fourth quarter, thanks to Sunday Night Football. Early in 2013, however, the Peacock is getting tackled.

Business Insider Names Executive Editor (NYT / Media Decoder)
Business Insider, the online news franchise started by Henry Blodget nearly six years ago, is appointing an executive editor for the first time as it grapples with a good problem: growth. The editor is Joe Weisenthal, the site's lead financial blogger, whose frantic pace -- he gets up most days around 4 a.m. and asks on Twitter, "What'd I miss?" -- has distinguished him from others on the beat and won him many fans on Wall Street.

Burger King's Twitter Account Hacked, Made to Look Like McDonald's (LA Times / Tech Now)
Hackers have taken over Burger King's Twitter account and changed it to look like it belongs to McDonald's. The account's profile photo has been changed to the McDonald's logo, and the cover photo and background have been changed to images of McDonald's food. The account appears to have been taken over Monday morning, when hackers tweeted out "We just got sold to McDonalds! Look for McDonalds in a hood near you."

Are DirecTV's Customers About to Lose Sinclair's TV Stations? (Deadline New York)
Here we go again. Sinclair Broadcast Group has begun to warn DirecTV customers that its 87 stations in 47 markets may go dark on the No. 1 satellite broadcaster after Feb. 28 when their carriage contract expires.

Why LinkedIn is a Sleeping Giant of Publishing (Digiday)
Let's say you were to construct the ideal business publisher from scratch. It would have a strong tech platform that doesn't slow down because of too many users or ads. It would foster direct connections. It would also have writers who were the most influential people in their industries. It would be digitally native. And it wouldn't be overly reliant on ads. Now look at LinkedIn.

Michael Jackson's Son Prince Hired as ET Correspondent (The Wrap)
Prince Michael Jackson is moonwalking into the entertainment industry at the age of 16. Entertainment Tonight has hired Michael Jackson's eldest son as its newest correspondent. He has already interviewed Oz the Great and Powerful stars James Franco and Zach Braff, alongside director Sam Raimi.

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