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Thursday, Feb 23

Morning Media Newsfeed 02.23.12

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The Contraception Question (TVNewser)
At Wednesday night's GOP debate, John King asked a question submitted to "Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidate believes in birth control, and if not, why?" The crowd didn't like it. They booed. The candidates didn't much care for it either, except Newt Gingrich, who used it as an opportunity to go after his favorite targets: the media and President Barack Obama.

Gannett Building Paywalls Around All Of Its Papers Except USA Today (Forbes)
The vogue for digital paywalls sweeping the news business has made it all the way to the top: Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper publisher, is planning to switch over all of its 80 community newspapers to a paid model by the end of the year, it announced during an investor day held in Manhattan Wednesday. NYT / Media Decoder At its first annual "investor day" conference in New York, Gannett said it hoped to increase annual revenue by 4 percent, in part by expanding its sports offerings and rolling out a new subscription model at its newspapers. paidContent Gannett said it is "playing offense" again after years of cuts and contraction. Its touchdown strategy is a sophisticated paywall system that the news giant says will both bolster local news reporting and deliver an extra $100 million in profits. The plan is ambitious, but is it realistic?

Media General Explores Sale Of Its Newspapers (Poynter / MediaWire)
Just after the market closed Wednesday, Media General announced that it is "exploring the potential sale of newspaper operations." Media General says several parties have expressed interest in acquiring its print assets. "We cannot say that any particular transaction will or will not take place," CEO Marshall Morton tells his employees.

Staffers At Beverly Hilton Fired After Whitney Houston Death (Radar Online)
Following the tragic death of Whitney Houston at the Beverly Hilton Hotel nearly two weeks ago, has exclusively learned that the luxury hotel decided to fire staffers for talking to the press about the tragedy. In a classy move certain to enrage fans while boosting sales, the National Enquirer has published a photo of Houston's open casket this week. WWD / Memo Pad Pictures of Houston blanketed newsstands this week, as just about every celebrity title had the former pop star on its cover. FishbowlLA Lewis Black appeared on The Daily Show Tuesday night to lambast the mainstream media's tasteless coverage of the beloved pop idol's passing.

Canoe To Shutter Interactive TV Ad Business, Lay Off 120 (Multichannel News)
Canoe Ventures is shutting down interactive TV advertising operations -- closing its New York office and laying off 120 employees, including CEO Kathy Timko -- leaving about 30 employees to focus on VOD ads as its sole product, the company confirmed. AdAge / MediaWorks Canoe will focus solely on creating ways to advertise alongside video-on-demand content. Canoe's slimmed staff will be headed by Joel Hassell, previously chief technology officer. Multichannel News Newly appointed CEO Hassell released the following statement, describing the company's direction and thanking employees for their dedication. paidContent An ambitious effort by the cable industry to create unified standards for targeted and interactive television advertising has failed, the victim of competing business interests among its founders and apathy from advertisers. B&C While Canoe Ventures' decision to leave the interactive advertising business is a setback, media buyers say advanced advertising will flow without it.

Foxconn, Apple, And The Fair Labor Association Respond To ABC News' Exclusive Report (ABC News / Technology Review)
On Monday, ABC News' Bill Weir exclusively reported on the conditions inside Apple's main Chinese manufacturer, Foxconn. For the first time ever, Apple allowed a journalist onto its production line and to witness the labor conditions inside Foxconn, which have sometimes been reported to be unfair and unsafe. Tuesday night's special edition of Nightline expanded upon that original report, and included footage from inside the factory, interviews with the workers, and even a visit to a local village. Since ABC News' original report, Apple, Foxconn, and the Fair Labor Association have sent statements explaining a few sentences in the original report. We have posted the text of those statements below. Mashable Monologist Mike Daisey believes the Nightline story itself was an "inherently positive" development because it is bringing greater attention to a very important subject. Still, Daisey does have a few issues with the report.

AAJA Media Advisory On Jeremy Lin News Coverage (AAJA)
As National Basketball Association player Jeremy Lin's prowess on the court continues to attract international attention and grab headlines, the Asian American Journalists Association would like to remind media outlets about relevance and context regarding coverage of race.

Tribune's Facebook Page Flooded By Comment Flash Mob (Chicago Tribune)
The Chicago Tribune's Facebook page has become the latest target of a comment flash mob.

People Magazine Rolls Out The Red Carpet (Adweek)
This Sunday night, millions of viewers will tune into the Academy Awards to find out who takes home film's top honors -- and see who makes the "Best Dressed" lists. To capitalize on the red carpet obsession, the People franchise is rolling out e-commerce and social media initiatives to put readers in the middle of the sartorial whirlwind that is the Oscars.

A Partnership Too Valuable To Give Up: Why The Miami Herald And WLRN Are Sticking Together (Nieman Journalism Lab)
The radio station is moving with the newspaper out of downtown offices because it believes partnerships will play a big role in public radio's future.

NY Times Editorials On Economy Edge Out WSJ In Mediaite Survey Of Top University Economists (Mediaite)
When it comes to offering solutions for our nation's economic woes, there may be no more stark contrast than the editorial pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Vogue Publisher Plans To Digitize Archives For Tablet Long Tail (paidContent)
In music, celestial jukeboxes like Spotify replace vinyl and CDs with unlimited back-catalog access. Could magazine publishers grant their subscribers the same digital privilege? Folio: As publishers are quickly realizing, the digital conversion does not end with tablet-ready editions.

AFTRA Members Approve New Network Agreement (B&C)
AFTRA members have voted overwhelmingly (96 percent) to approve a new three-year agreement with ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and other producers for a successor agreement to their current contract (the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting). The agreement gives members a 1 percent increase in employer contributions to the AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds, bringing the total H&R contribution rate to 16.5 percent. It also increases wages by 6 percent over the term of the agreement (2 percent each year) for most categories. THR The three-year deal primarily covers soap operas and unscripted programming. THR / Hollywood, Esq. SAG responded sharply to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by opponents seeking to derail the SAG/AFTRA merger referendum, blasting the suit as "completely without merit [and a] preposterous…attempt at circumventing the will of the membership." THR The campaigns for and against the SAG/AFTRA merger heated up Tuesday, as the unions released a celebrity-studded postcard set to drop in the mail by the end of the week. Urging members to vote yes on merger are the high-wattage visages of several-dozen stars, including Alec Baldwin, Lewis Black, Amy Brenneman, George Clooney, Jon Cryer, Robert De Niro, Danny DeVito, Sally Field, Tom Hanks, William H. Macy, R.J. Mitte, Octavia Spencer, Betty White, and Rainn Wilson.

Bill Keller Says Times Readers 'Have Not Forgotten That We Blew It On Iraq,' And That's One Reason Iran Is Different (Capital New York)
It was Bill Keller's most succinct answer of the night. "Uhh, no," the former New York Times executive editor emphatically replied when asked by Peter Beinart if he'd ever considered going head-to-head with Bill O'Reilly, one of the Times' most voluble detractors, on Fox News, whose viewers Keller has described as being "among the most cynical people on planet earth."

Sarah Palin's Former Aide Accuses HBO Of Reneging On Promise To Let Him Fact-Check Game Change (THR)
Game Change screenwriter Danny Strong reneged on a promise to check the accuracy of his script against the recollection of one of Sarah Palin's key aides, the aide said Wednesday. AP Current and former aides to Palin lashed out Wednesday at HBO's Game Change, describing the upcoming film's depictions of her on the 2008 campaign trail as "sick" and inaccurate.

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