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Tuesday, Mar 20

Morning Media Newsfeed 03.20.12

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Keach Hagey Leaves Politico For Wall Street Journal (Capital New York)
The Wall Street Journal's media desk has a new reporter: Politico's Keach Hagey, who will join the paper in mid-April.

Oprah Winfrey's OWN Cable Network Lays Off 30 People In Restructuring (Deadline Hollywood)
The struggling OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network laid off 30 employees, or 20 percent of its work force, Monday as the network is restructuring its operations in Los Angeles and New York. LA Times / Company Town OWN, which last week finally canceled its high-profile Rosie O'Donnell talk show, said it was laying off 30 staffers and bringing in executives from Discovery Communications to oversee key operations. The move comes as OWN continues to struggle to find its voice. Launched in January 2011, OWN has already cost Discovery more than $300 million. The channel's performance has been so weak that there has even been speculation, denied by insiders at the network's parent companies, that if the situation doesn't improve soon, the plug could be pulled. B&C Responsibilities of the eliminated positions will be redistributed between the network and its backers, Discovery Communications and Harpo Studios. Neal Kirsch, chief financial officer of Discovery's U.S. networks, will assume the role of chief operating officer and CFO of OWN, reporting to OWN co-presidents Erik Logan and Sheri Salata. He steps in for COO John MacDonald, who is departing, and the network's CFO, who left last fall. The layoffs in New York and Los Angeles are among the first dramatic moves by Winfrey since she appointed herself CEO in July, two months after the firing of Christina Norman. The talk-show hostess, better known for giving out cars and other extravagant gifts to fans than for eliminating jobs, said the decision was a trying one that was essential to the company's long-term health.

Mark Thompson, Head Of The BBC, To Step Down (NYT / Media Decoder)
Mark Thompson, who has overseen the British Broadcasting Corp.'s television channels, radio stations, and websites since 2004, will depart the public broadcaster later this year, he said Monday. Thompson became director general in 2004. He said he planned to step down after the Olympic Games this summer.

Michelle Obama To Letterman: 'This Isn't Oprah! Where Are The Laughs?' (Yahoo! News / The Cutline)
Michelle Obama made her first appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman Monday.

Cable Networks Set Illinois Primary Coverage (TVNewser)
The 2012 election season continues Tuesday as Illinois voters head to the polls for the latest GOP primary.

AOL Prepping New Weekly iPad Magazine Called 'Huffington' (Forbes)
Top editors at The Huffington Post Media Group are moving forward with plans for a new digital magazine called Huffington, created expressly for the iPad and other tablets. Like The Daily, News Corp.'s tablet newspaper, Huffington will take the form of an app rather than a mobile-optimized website, a Huffington Post spokesman confirms.

A Year Into The Times' Digital Subscription Program, Analysts And Insiders See Surprising Success, And More Challenges To Come (Capital New York)
Almost exactly one year ago, on March 17, about two-dozen New York Times employees gathered in a conference room not far from where the paper's journalists were busy putting the next day's print edition together. It was a momentous day at 620 Eighth Ave., one that had been several years in the making, and one that was arguably a watershed moment in the evolution of the media: After more than 15 years of giving its journalism to readers for free on the Web, the world's most influential newspaper was about to start charging for it.

Why The Wall Street Journal Isn't Adding Digital To Its Sunday Edition (paidContent)
Common wisdom says there's no future in print newspapers and that the rest of the country is fed up with Wall Street. But both propositions fall flat in the case of The Wall Street Journal Sunday edition.

Another 'No Limbaugh' List (
Cumulus Media/ESPN Audio affiliates just received a list of 31 advertisers "who requested that their commercials not be scheduled in any Rush Limbaugh programs."

Qatar Holding Ups Stake In Lagardère (WWD / Memo Pad)
Qatar Holding -- the owner of Harrods in London -- has crossed the threshold of 10 percent in the voting rights of French media group Lagardère, it declared in a filing to the French stock market authority, AMF.

Scott Pelley Helps CBS Carve An Old-School Identity (LA Times)
From the vintage globe projected behind the anchor desk to the Cronkite-era producers mixing it up at story meetings to the no-frills reports that fill 21 minutes and 16 seconds each weeknight, the CBS Evening News has made a determined effort to bring newsy back.

Tough Talk: Can Katie Couric Claim Oprah Winfrey's Old Daytime Crown? (
Ten months after Oprah Winfrey signed off her long-running syndicated daytime talk show, the TV industry is still trying to fill the vacuum.

Atlantic Media Names Chris Batty Publisher Of Planned Global Business Site (AdAge / MediaWorks)
After signing on some prominent editorial talent for its planned global business-news site, Atlantic Media has named a publisher to run the effort's ad sales, marketing, and e-commerce: Gawker Media veteran Chris Batty.

Meredith Names VP Of Corporate Sales (FishbowlNY)
Brian Kightlinger has been named vice president, corporate sales for the Meredith National Media Group.

Harper's Hires Paris Review Daily Editor Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn (NY Observer)
"She has the absolute right credentials and literary sensibility for what we need," Harper's editor Ellen Rosenbush said of Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn, who was hired as a senior editor last week.

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