Morning Media Newsfeed: 03.07.13
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Time Warner Ends Talks with Meredith and Will Spin Off Time Inc. into Separate Company (NYT / Media Decoder)
What do you do with a group of celebrated magazines that no one seems to want? Time Warner found its answer on Wednesday. It announced it would spin off its Time Inc. magazine unit into a separate, publicly traded company, a move that will allow the media conglomerate to focus entirely on its cable television and film businesses. Reuters Laura Lang, the former head of digital ad agency Digitas brought in as CEO of Time Inc in 2011, will leave the company after the separation. "After considerable thought, I have decided that taking the company through a transition to the public markets is not where my passion lies," Lang said in a memo to staff. Bloomberg "There are natural synergies between our two portfolios; however, we respect Time Warner's decision and certainly remain open to continuing a dialogue on how our companies might work together on future opportunities," Meredith CEO Stephen Lacy said in a separate statement. FishbowlNY Blame Iowa. In almost every report about the media combo, there has been a mention about how people think Iowa (where Meredith is headquartered) sucks. AllThingsD Good news, remaining Time Inc. employees! You don't have to go work for a company based in Des Moines. It's hard to imagine any scenario where Time Inc. is able to navigate the print-to-digital shift effectively. But it certainly won't get its best odds as a public company made to answer to the Street's quarterly demands.
Al Gore Sued over Current TV Sale to Al Jazeera (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
Current TV's $500 million sale to Al Jazeera has prompted a lawsuit that claims co-founder Al Gore originally was opposed to the deal but had a "change of heart" on selling his cable network to oil-rich Qataris. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court by John Terenzio, who presents himself as a highly regarded media consultant, executive and TV producer who conceived the idea for the distribution of an American version of Al Jazeera. Now, Terenzio claims that he has been cut out of the lucrative deal. FishbowlLA The allegations hinge on a July 23, 2012 meeting and PowerPoint presentation. On that summer Monday, Terenzio claims he met with Current TV board member Richard Blum and laid out how the Qatar-based broadcaster could be a perfect fit. Blum, a billionaire, is married to California state senator Dianne Feinstein. The Atlantic Wire Perhaps more interesting, though, is how Terenzio is starting to unveil the details of the back room dealing that led to the acquisition, including the fact that Gore vehemently refused to sell Current to a company funded by oil money. He obviously changed his mind. So what prompted the change in heart?
ABC News, CNN Win Cronkite Awards (TVNewser)
The winners of the 2013 Walter Cronkite Awards for Excellence in Television Political Journalism were announced Wednesday morning. ABC News, CNN, Univision and BET were all honored for campaign coverage during the 2012 election cycle. ABC News had two winners in the national individual achievement category, Jonathan Karl and Martha Raddatz. FishbowlDC The Cronkite Award, administered by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, recognizes distinguished work produced during the 2011-2012 election cycle. FishbowlLA This year's Walter Cronkite Awards for Excellence in TV Political Journalism include a new category -- the Cronkite/Jackson Prize for Fact Checking Political Messages. Two winners were declared: CNN's Tom Foreman on a national level and Denver's KUSA-TV on the local front.
Rand Paul Cites A Range of Media Sources During Filibuster of John Brennan (HuffPost)
Rand Paul had some help from the media during his filibuster of John Brennan's CIA nomination on Wednesday. Among the works cited by Paul: a column about the drone killing of a 16-year-old by The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf; one of Glenn Greenwald's typically pugnacious pieces about Obama's civil liberties policies; a column by Esquire's Charles Pierce; and writing by Firedoglake blogger Kevin Gosztola. Politico Paul began speaking at 11:47 a.m. on Wednesday and finally yielded the floor at about 12:39 a.m. Thursday, having stayed inside the Senate chamber and on his feet for that entire time. The New Yorker / Close Read To hold the floor, Paul read from Alice in Wonderland (substituting "Send in the drones!" for "Off with her head"); recited the Fifth Amendment; and quoted Wired's DangerRoom blog. Although he never sat down, he yielded at times for questions -- some long ones and some strange ones. Senator Marco Rubio told him to "keep some water nearby" -- good advice for a State of the Union response, but maybe not for a legislative marathon -- and quoted a line from Jay-Z's "A Week Ago."
NBC is Grooming Howard Stern to Follow Jimmy Fallon's Show (NY Post)
Howard Stern has been trying to show TV suits for years that he's the whole package -- as opposed to the one he talks about on the radio. He's shown -- on America's Got Talent, one of the most popular family shows on TV -- that he can act like a grown-up and play well with others, if the money's right. And, according to a source who knows him well, the suits at NBC have gotten the message. Mediaite Giving Stern the Late Night gig would reverse NBC's trend of trying out young, upstart comedians in that time slot, dating back to David Letterman in 1982, followed by Conan O'Brien in 1993 and Fallon in 2009.
Condé Nast, Hearst Eye Partnership with Dave Zinczenko (WWD / Memo Pad)
Last week, Dave Zinczenko finally made his return to magazines, as a contributing editorial director at American Media Inc.'s Men's Fitness, after he was pushed out of his home for most of his career by Maria Rodale.
National Journal Gets Hacked (FishbowlDC)
Atlantic Media employees received word earlier Wednesday that "unauthorized individuals" have obtained access to NationalJournal.com. They first discovered this was happening on Feb. 28.
Katie Couric to Staff: Big Gets, No Psychics (THR)
Changes are afoot at Katie. Disney-ABC quietly has brought in Patrick Ignozzi, a well-regarded senior producer at The View, to help steer Katie Couric's daytime show. The issue, say insiders, is balancing the newsy segments with the fluffier staples of daytime and Couric's increasing discomfort with the latter.
Washington Post Managing Editor John Temple Leaving (HuffPost / The Backstory)
John Temple, who joined The Washington Post last year as managing editor, is leaving the paper, according to a staff memo obtained by The Huffington Post. The move may come as a surprise given that Temple -- a former editor and publisher of Rocky Mountain News -- only spent a year in the high-ranking position.
Why I Write for Free (The Atlantic Wire)
Unless they're independently wealthy, I don't believe anyone should work for free. However, I will admit that I have written for free. And I continue to do so somewhat compulsively. The truly sad truth is that every free piece written is The One the writer hopes and prays will catapult them from anonymous penury into the firmament of paid bylines. The Awl At The Awl, essentially what we pay in total for freelance pieces is 10 percent of gross site revenue. Overall it might be more than 10 percent. (And I do not mean 10 percent of net revenue, mind you, which is a radically different number than gross.) I do not know if this is fair or right. I do not know if it scales appropriately for either side, ours or the writers.
Chicago Tribune's RedEye Article Sparks Discussion About Media Racism (WBEZ91.5 / Nico Lang)
A graphic pointing out racial bias in the RedEye crime coverage went viral on Tuesday, shining a light on structural racism in the news industry. However, the RedEye is a small fraction of the problem. Here's the larger issue.
Condé Nast Looking to Add to Real Estate in Lower Manhattan (WWD / Memo Pad)
Condé Nast is looking to expand its footprint in lower Manhattan again. It's in negotiations to lease 80,000 square feet at 222 Broadway, a 27-story office tower that once belonged to Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, a source confirmed Tuesday.
Michael Wolff Returns to Michael's (FishbowlNY)
Michael Wolff, now a columnist for The Guardian, famously vowed several years ago never to return to Michael's after being seated at a table other than his then-regular perch at Table 5. It seems all is forgiven as the notoriously prickly scribe has been spotted in the dining room about once a month since late last year. He'll have to do better than that if he has any hopes of reclaiming such prime real estate in the front room, though.
Fear of a Black Pundit: Ta-Nehisi Coates Raises His Voice in American Media (NY Observer)
Before Ta-Nehisi Coates was a superstar at The Atlantic, he was fired from three consecutive writing jobs. Nobody is going to fire him anymore. At 37, Coates is the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States.
Sassy Magazine's Jane Pratt on Why Print is Broken (readwrite)
Jane Pratt wants to tell you her secrets. The publishing maven rose to fame in the 1990s as the founding editor of Sassy, an alternative magazine for teen girls. Today, she runs xoJane, an outspoken site for women that carries on in the tradition of Sassy and Jane, another magazine founded by Pratt. We thought it was as good a time as any to catch up with her and talk about the transition from print to pixels and why, in her view, print just doesn't cut it anymore.