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Morning Media Newsfeed 04.05.13

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Roger Ebert Dead at 70 After Battle With Cancer (Chicago Sun-Times)
Roger Ebert loved movies. Except for those he hated. For a film with a daring director, a talented cast, a captivating plot or, ideally, all three, there could be no better advocate than Ebert, who passionately celebrated and promoted excellence in film while deflating the awful, the derivative or the merely mediocre with an observant eye, a sharp wit and a depth of knowledge that delighted his millions of readers and viewers. NYT He was barely old enough to write when he started his journalistic career, publishing The Washington Street News in his basement and delivering copies to a dozen neighborhood houses. He worked at his grade school newspaper, edited his high school paper and by age 15 was earning 75 cents an hour covering high school sports for The News-Gazette in Champaign. In 1975 he became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, for his Sun-Times reviews. THR Ebert gained nationwide fame when he and Gene Siskel -- the film critic for the Sun-Times' crosstown rival Chicago Tribune -- were paired on the Tribune Entertainment syndicated show At the Movies, which debuted in 1982. Chicago Sun-Times / Roger Ebert's Journal Chaz Ebert: "I am devastated by the loss of my love, Roger -- my husband, my friend, my confidante and oh-so-brilliant partner of over 20 years. He fought a courageous fight. I've lost the love of my life and the world has lost a visionary and a creative and generous spirit who touched so many people all over the world." TVNewser The news was first reported on the website of the Sun-Times, which saw a tremendous influx of traffic around 2:45 p.m. CT, causing delays for users. FishbowlLA True to form, in his final week, he managed to pen not just one, but two lengthy reviews -- one of the Stephanie Meyer adaptation The Host and the other of the indie doc The Iran Job, which played the LA Film Festival last Spring. He gave both two-and-a-half stars. Hopefully he was able to see something he liked a little better before he passed. NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer Ebert will always be remembered for what his work gave to the world of film, but his interests were in no way insular. As a prominent voice in American culture, Ebert took the same measured and empathetic approach with politics as he did with movies, advancing progressive causes when he felt he had the understanding to do so, often with the same keen eye. paidContent Many Ebert fans likely formed an even closer connection to him after he could no longer speak without the aid of a computer, because of his enthusiastic use of Twitter and other social media tools. He may have been just a movie reviewer to some, but mainstream journalists of all kinds could learn a lot from his example.

A Tour of Facebook's Home on Android (AllFacebook)
It's not exactly a Facebook phone. It's not exactly a Facebook application. It's Home, and it will be on select Android devices starting April 12. The company announced Thursday that the HTC First, as previously rumored, will be the flagship for deep Facebook integration, and other phones will have these capabilities soon. GigaOM The biggest message from Facebook on Thursday in Menlo Park was that the company wants to improve our ability to communicate with loved ones on mobile. That's not exactly a new theme. Time / Technologizer As usual, I came out of the event with lots of questions. I got to ask a few of them during a post-unveiling chat with Adam Mosseri, Facebook's director of product for Facebook Home. TechCrunch If Facebook Home flies -- and that's a pretty big if -- Mark Zuckerberg's freshly announced landgrab for Android owners' eyeballs is going to create a lot of losers. The big winner of course will be Facebook itself, as users who choose to install this alternative Facebook reality on their phone are inevitably going to be spending even more time within its walled garden, feeding it even more data to power its ad business. Adweek / Adfreak With Home engaged, the social network becomes the dominant presence on your device, with Facebook messages, updates and big, bright, smiley friend images right up front, along with the ability to chat while using other apps. A 60-second video from the company's in-house creative department predictably plays the connection card with footage of smiley folks interacting via Facebook Home and lovin' it. TechCrunch Facebook already has an incredible presence on mobile. It's the most-used application on your phone. And of Facebook's more than 1 billion active users, 680 million are active on mobile. It only makes sense for Facebook to build something that takes better advantage of this major shift in computing by putting its service front and center in people's everyday lives. GigaOM Facebook Home should put privacy advocates on alert, for this application erodes any idea of privacy. If you install this, then it is very likely that Facebook is going to be able to track your every move, and every little action.

Cleveland Plain-Dealer to Trim Delivery and Cut Staff (NYT)
The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, whose reporters organized one of the industry's most active opposition movements against its parent company's plans for cutbacks, will trim home delivery to three days a week and create a new digital company, the owner, Advance Publications, said on Thursday. The paper is also expected to cut more than a third of its newsroom staff. Cleveland Plain-Dealer All of the announced changes are driven by our desire to adapt to market changes and to continue to serve the community as the leading source of news and information for years to come. We remain resolute in our commitment to delivering news and information for and about Northeast Ohio. Together, the two companies will have the largest news gathering operations in the region with as many as 10 times the number of journalists as any other local media outlet. CJR / The Audit Advance Publications' announcement Thursday on the future of the Cleveland Plain Dealer was less dramatic than the one a year ago in New Orleans, when, in the name of a dubious digital strategy, the New York based-company slashed the newsroom and chopped four days from the Times-Picayune's weekly publication schedule, outraging local residents and puzzling media analyst far and wide.

Ali Velshi Joining Al Jazeera America (TVNewser)
CNN anchor and chief business correspondent Ali Velshi is joining Al Jazeera America as an anchor of a new primetime business show, TVNewser has learned. Velshi will develop and host a half-hour "magazine-style" show that will launch as a weekly program, with plans to expand to five days a week by the end of the year. NYT / Media Decoder Velshi said in a telephone interview that he "was really struck by their commitment to building a strong news organization." When asked whether he was concerned about aligning himself with the Al Jazeera brand name, he indicated that he was not. "I think the product will trump any preconceived notions that people may have going into it," he said. "They're very determined for this brand to make an impact and for this brand to be a meaningful provider of news." Politico / Dylan Byers on Media "The program will cover a variety of topics including employment, personal finance, health care and education and will feature a mix of field reports, studio guests and interactive discussions designed to highlight how economic developments in the U.S. and around the globe affect the daily lives of Americans," the network said.

Disney Staffers Brace for Layoffs Amid Planned Reorg (Variety)
Employees at the Walt Disney Co. are bracing for layoffs that are expected in the coming weeks as part of a reorganization of key operations. It is believed that the company's movie studio will be hardest hit, particularly in the areas of home entertainment, production and marketing, according to multiple sources familiar with matter. Reuters Staff reductions at the consumer products unit will largely result from attrition, another person said. On Wednesday, Disney began layoffs at the 30-year-old LucasArts games studio it inherited with the acquisition of George Lucas' film company last year, as it focuses on licensing its Star Wars brand externally.

'Stay Bonuses' May Be on the Way for Time Inc. as Spinoff Approaches (Ad Age)
Key Time Inc. staffers may receive bonuses if they stick around through the company's planned spinoff from Time Warner. So far Time Inc. has been relying on little more than employees' confidence in the future, and perhaps their existing employment contracts, to keep them in place during an uncertain year.

Twitter Arrives on Wall Street, Via Bloomberg (NYT / DealBook)
Largely blocked on Wall Street, Twitter is making its big debut on trading desks -- via Bloomberg terminals. Bloomberg L.P. announced on Thursday that it was incorporating tweets into its data service, which is widely used in the financial industry. The new feature allows traders and other professionals to monitor social media buzz and important news about companies they follow. AllTwitter Folks have been speculating for a while now about Twitter's ability to predict the stock market. There have been companies promising to make predictions about future stock price movement based on Twitter sentiment and one professor even secured a "Twitter mood predictor patent" in an attempt to do the same.

Next FCC Chairman Will Impact Journalism (CJR / Behind The News)
Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski announced last month that he was stepping down, and journalism advocates have since been lining up to voice opinions on what Genachowski's successor should do differently in dealing with media. They want an FCC chief who will put an end to further media consolidation, make political ads more transparent, and increase diversity of media ownership and coverage.

Earth to TWT's Wes Pruden: Female Associate Editor is Not a 'Stenographer' (FishbowlDC)
Until last week, Mary Beth Baker was an associate opinion editor for The Washington Times. But according to TWT's temporary opinion editor and former editor Wes Pruden, she was little more than "the stenographer."

CNN.com Getting New Homepage and Organizational Structure (TVNewser)
In a sign of just how quickly new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is moving to change the company, the CNN.com homepage received a new look Thursday afternoon, as well as a new organizational structure.

The Atlantic to Promote Longreads' Longform Journalism (Adweek)
Longreads, the website that collects high-quality, longform journalism and fiction, has signed its first deal with The Atlantic, an outlet already well known for its own longform content.

Don't You Call Me Subsidized -- People Are Paying for News (Nieman Journalism Lab)
Three years ago, when I was taking my first baby steps from reporter to would-be newsbiz guy, the idea of making people pay for journalism online was all but dead and buried. Various experiments had failed over the years -- freemium, premium, micropayments? Nada. Even as digital ad rates were already beginning to plummet, "free" was it: what the readers wanted, what the writers wanted, and even reputedly what the information itself wanted to be. News companies big and small were left to figure out how to develop their businesses accordingly.

Bill Adair, Editor of Pulitzer Prize-Winning Website PolitiFact, to Leave Tampa Bay Times for Duke University (Tampa Bay Times / The Feed)
Bill Adair, the Washington bureau chief who created and edits the Tampa Bay Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning factchecking operation PolitiFact, will be leaving the newspaper for a professorship at Duke University. Adair has worked at the Tampa Bay Times for 24 years. He will become the Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University, one of 25 chairs endowed by the John and James L. Knight Foundation.

Steve Coll Surprises Columbia J-School Faculty With Talk of A Two-Year Program (Capital New York)
Faculty members of the Columbia Journalism School were surprised by some comments from their incoming dean in a report published by the Columbia Spectator Thursday.

Hillary Clinton Signs Book Deal With Simon & Schuster (FishbowlNY)
It has been a busy week for Simon & Schuster. On Monday, the publishing house gave Cat Marnell $500,000 to write a book, and now it has a deal with Hillary Clinton to pen a memoir. GalleyCat Clinton has written four books, publishing with Simon & Schuster each time. They included It takes a Village in 1996 and Living History in 2003.

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