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Monday, Feb 25

Morning Media Newsfeed 02.25.13

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Rookie Oscar Host Seth MacFarlane Lives Up to Provocative Image (Reuters)
Rookie Oscar host Seth MacFarlane casually slung a string of zingers at some of Hollywood's biggest names, including a musical tribute to female frontal nudity in the movies, as he launched the Academy Awards show on Sunday on a decisively provocative note. Washington Post Worse news: "Tonight, for the first time, the Oscars have a theme," MacFarlane announced in his opening monologue. "We will be celebrating music in film." Oh, for the love of Pete. Must we? It couldn't be stopped, as the Academy Awards tried to win a Tony. NYT The hedged-bets, have-it-all-ways ceremony made the program one of the longer and most self-conscious Oscars imaginable. Mr. MacFarlane didn't ruin the show. But the show almost ruined the Oscars. Daily Beast There were many cringe-worthy MacFarlane jokes throughout the evening, including many slightly sexist barbs aimed at women. AP He ruffled feathers. He maybe even turned some viewers off. But it's likely no one turned off Seth MacFarlane. TVNewser When CNN's Piers Morgan asked his red carpet guests who they were most excited to see, Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence only had one man on her mind: "I want to see Al Roker. I used to watch him every day before school."

The Onion Under Fire for Calling Quvenzhane Wallis the C-Word (THR)
The Onion is under fire. While the top awards were being handed out Sunday at the 85th Oscars, the satirical news organization sent out a message on its official Twitter account calling 9-year-old best actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis the C-word. BuzzFeed After being up for an hour, the backlash gathered, and the tweet was deleted. Was it meant to be some sort of joke reflecting on how people talk about someone like Anne Hathaway? I tweeted at The Onion for comment and emailed its editor, but have not gotten a response. Complex Let's just say a good rule of thumb is, don't call a 9-year-old with a collection of puppy purses the c-word, even in jest.

French Photographer Dies From Injuries Received In Northern Syria (Reporters Without Borders)
Olivier Voisin, a 35-year-old French freelance photographer, died early Sunday in Antakya International Hospital, in southeastern Turkey, from the injuries he had received three days earlier in northern Syria. Voisin sustained serious head and arm injuries from an exploding shell Thursday while covering the operations of a katiba (armed opposition group) near the northern city of Idlib. HuffPo As a freelance photographer, Voisin had to take photos constantly and send them to agencies to earn a living. The economic pressure tormented him. He took magnificent photos that sometimes didn't interest the agencies because they obviously weren't "news" material.

Soledad O'Brien: Jeff Zucker 'Has Done Exactly What He Said Would Do' (TVNewser)
Less than two days after Thursday's announcement that Soledad O'Brien would leave CNN to start her own production company, she says she had already received four pitches for documentaries and other long-form programming. "I'll consider all pitches," says O'Brien, 46, who will continue as anchor of Starting Point until May or June. "'Excited' is an overused word, but I'm excited to take this step."

NASCAR Censors Eyewitness Video Of Crash, YouTube Reinstates It (LostRemote)
Shortly after a disintegrating NASCAR vehicle spewed debris into the crowd, a spectator uploaded a terrifying clip of the accident and the aftermath to YouTube. But the clip was suddenly removed with the message, "This video contains content from NASCAR, who has blocked it on copyright grounds." The removal sparked disbelief from journalists -- including myself -- who wondered if NASCAR's quick response was motivated by protecting its image rather than protecting its copyright. Poynter So, was it a violation? An old ticket to an Indianapolis event explicitly states that "NASCAR owns the rights to all images, sounds and data from this NASCAR event … The bearer of this ticket agrees not to take any action, or cause others to take any action, which would infringe on NASCAR's rights." PaidContent YouTube reinstated the video and released a statement saying that partners such as NASCAR are only allowed to remove content that breaches their copyright, and the content in question didn't pass that test (even though NASCAR asserts in the fine print when you buy a ticket that it owns everything fans produce while at an event).

Robert Gibbs Told Not to Acknowledge Drone Program Exists As White House Press Secretary (HuffPo)
Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that he was told not to "acknowledge" or "discuss" the secret drone program when becoming the government's top spokesman. Politico/Under The Radar "The job of the White House is not to lift the press corps in some noble fashion. That's not what they're there to do. That's not what the White House is there to do," Gibbs said on MSNBC's Up With Chris Hayes show Sunday after other guests bemoaned the White House press regulars for being too obsessed with 'gotcha' questions.

We Are All The Huffington Post Now (AllThingsD)
Two years ago, the Huffington Post published a story called "What Time Does the Super Bowl Start?" which generated lots of clicks from regular Web-surfers, and eye-rolling from people like me. The post was both effective -- it showed up high on Google searches, which is the reason Huffpo created it -- and symbolic of HuffPo's traffic strategy -- which was either craven or clear-minded, depending on your perspective. Now that kind of Google-baiting is old hat.

A Conservative Provocateur, Using a Blowtorch As His Pen (NYT)
At 11:42 a.m. on Feb. 14, a conservative online magazine called The Washington Free Beacon posted a dispatch about a speech Chuck Hagel gave in 2007 in which it said he called the State Department "an adjunct to the Israeli foreign minister's office. "The report was based on "contemporaneous" notes an attendee posted online. An hour later on the floor of the United States Senate, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina urgently cited that statement as another reason to delay Mr. Hagel's nomination as defense secretary.

Seattle Times Putting Up Paywall in Mid-March (Seattle Times)
In mid-March, we will launch a new digital-subscription plan for users of, the region's largest, best and most popular news website. For those of you who don't subscribe to the printed paper but who value the depth and breadth of content supplied by the Northwest's largest news team, here's some good news for you also: You now will have the chance to directly help support quality journalism in our region.

Here's How You Buy Your Way Onto The New York Times Bestsellers List (Forbes/Mixed Media)
ResultSource, a San Diego-based marketing consultancy, specializes in getting books onto bestseller lists, according to The Wall Street Journal. For clients willing to pay enough, it will even guarantee a No. 1 spot. It does this by taking bulk sales and breaking them up into more organic-looking individual purchases, defeating safeguards that are supposed to make it impossible to "buy" bestseller status.

Study: Pay TV Industry Sees First-Ever Subscriber Decline in Western Europe (THR)
The number of pay TV subscribers in Western Europe dropped by 384,000 last year, the first decline since the launch of the industry in the 1980s, according to research firm Informa. The UK reported a subscriber gain for 2012, but that was outweighed by drops elsewhere, including big declines in Spain and Italy. In the Southern European nations, financial crisis and a weak economy also have been a drag on box-office trends and TV advertising spending.

Shakeout In Old Media Picks Up Pace (USA Today)
Investors are heartened by the improving -- albeit slowly -- conditions of the news businesses, particularly newspapers. Several deals have surfaced in recent months that could reshape four of the 10 largest newspapers, some of the most popular and profitable magazine titles and a giant in the education publishing market.

Google News: The Secret Sauce (Monday Note)
A closer look at Google's patent for its news retrieval algorithm reveals a greater than expected emphasis on quality over quantity. Can this bias stay reliable over time?

Mitt Romney's First Post-Election Interview Goes to Fox News (TVNewser)
On Fox News Sunday, moderator Chris Wallace announced that he will interview former Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his wife Ann Romney next weekend. It will be Romney's first one-on-one interview since he lost the election to President Obama. The interview will air on Fox News Sunday next week, with additional excerpts airing on other Fox News programs on Monday.

Women's Media Center: Gender Gap In Media Is A 'Crisis' (HuffPo)
A new report from the Women's Media Center paints an overwhelmingly negative portrait of the level of female representation in the news business. The authors said the relative dearth of women's voices in the media was a "crisis," adding, "We live in a racially and ethnically diverse nation that is 51 percent female, but the news media itself remains staggeringly limited to a single demographic."

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