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Monday, Apr 22

Morning Media Newsfeed 04.22.13

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The Pressure to Be The TV News Leader Tarnishes A Big Brand (NYT)
When big news breaks, we instinctively look to CNN. We want CNN to be good, to be worthy of its moment. That impulse took a beating last week. On Wednesday at 1:45 p.m., correspondent John King reported that a suspect had been arrested. It was a big scoop that turned out to be false. Tampa Bay Times / The Feed King's other reporting blunder, airing a vague description that the bombing suspect was a "dark-skinned male," revealed two important facts about the modern reporting environment. First, there is enough diversity in America that providing a criminal suspects presumed skin color is really no help at all in finding the culprit. And it is not enough, in such heated circumstances, for journalists to accurately report what law enforcement thinks at the time. They have to be careful not to pass along law enforcement's mistakes as cold facts. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple Has King been benched? Hardly, according to a CNN source. He flew off to Dallas to interview former President George W. Bush in advance of the opening of his presidential library on May 1. And he'll be back on air "shortly," according to a CNN source. Daily Download / David Zurawik Friday's best moment belonged to Diane Sawyer and ABC News for a phone interview Friday night with George Pizzuto, a next-door neighbor to the man who discovered a wounded and bloody Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lying under a tarp in a boat in his backyard and called police. TVNewser The spotlight is on NBC's humble justice correspondent Pete Williams whose reporting throughout the week and into Friday morning on the Boston Marathon blasts was spot on. And he didn't need Twitter to do it. Williams is on Twitter, but, despite amassing 18,000 followers, he doesn't tweet much (18 times total). AllThingsD Not 30 minutes after Friday's news conference during which local officials told Boston residents they could probably go outside again, police engaged in a firefight with the suspect hiding in the boat. It was at this point that a quarter of a million people, including me, tuned in to the streaming video image of Uniden Bearcat scanner radio picking up publicly available police communications traffic in Boston.

Conservative Koch Brothers Turning Focus to Newspapers (NYT)
Koch Industries, the sprawling private company of which Charles G. Koch serves as chairman and chief executive, is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company's eight regional newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and Hartford Courant. By early May, the Tribune Company is expected to send financial data to serious suitors in what will be among the largest sales of newspapers by circulation in the country. Business Insider Buying the papers is expected to cost only about $625 million, which would be a rounding error for the gigantic Koch Industries, which generates a staggering $115 billion of revenue per year. Forbes / Tim Worstall Why might the Kochs buy the chain? If it's not about politics then obviously it's about money. But as we all know the newspaper business is in terminal decline, being beaten back by all this pesky online writing. The thing is though it's possible to make a lot of money out of sweating a declining industry. As long as one takes care in what is being done, an awful lot of money in fact.

Time Warner-CBS Seen As Candidate for Merger (Bloomberg)
Time Warner Inc. and CBS Corp. have flirted for years. A marriage now may make more sense than ever. CBS shares, while trading near the highest price since the company and Viacom Inc. split seven years ago, fetch the lowest valuation versus earnings when compared with its five largest U.S. peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Gabelli & Co. said buying the most-watched broadcast network would give Time Warner, owner of cable channels such as CNN and TNT, more negotiating leverage to win higher fees from pay-television systems that carry its programming.

Officials Say Decision to Release Photos of Suspects Was Motivated in Part to Limit Damage Done by Reddit (The Washington Post)
On an investigative forum of, since removed from the site, users compiled thousands of photos, studied them for suspicious backpacks and sent their favorite theories spinning out into the wider Internet. "Find people carrying black bags," wrote the Reddit forum's unnamed moderator. "If they look suspicious, then post them. Then people will try and follow their movements using all the images." Adweek Reddit's general manager Erik Martin has expressed regret after the site wrongly identified a man as a suspect in the Boston bombings.

Is Your Social Media Editor Destroying Your News Organization Today? (The Awl / Choire Sicha)
Over the last few years, most media companies have taken on social media editors, lots of them young-ish, lots of them "digital natives." (Some neither, of course!) Many of their jobs are construed as helping newsrooms do social media best: working with writers, working with official social media accounts, those kind of things. Some of them are more like lone Internet addicts. At lots of media organizations, decision-makers don't know where to start with social media. And lots don't know where their social media editors should stop and start in their work. LA Times Over the last week, thousands of people took to the Internet to play Sherlock Holmes. Armed with little more than grainy surveillance camera videos, cellphone photos and live tweets from police scanners, they flooded the Web with clues, tips and speculation about what happened in Boston and who might have been behind it. FishbowlLA These efforts spilled over into mainstream media as well, most notably in the form of Thursday's New York Post front page. Will we learn as a society from these Beantown mistakes and act more responsibly the next time something horrible like this happens? Probably not.

Rupert Murdoch Defends the New York Post (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch weighed in on his tabloid's decision to run photos of two men -- not the suspects of the Boston Marathon bombing -- online and in print under the headline "BAG MEN: Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon." "All NYPost pics were those distributed by FBI. And instantly withdrawn when FBI changed directions," he tweeted on Saturday morning, two days after the Post had run the photographs. Animal NY The apology the Post should have issued: "This week, the New York Post has acted recklessly and with flagrant disregard for the principles of good journalism." FishbowlNY Murdoch dragged a wrinkled finger across his iPad Friday, scanning Twitter to see who was mentioning him. The guys from FishbowlNY had skewered him and his beloved New York Post tabloid, again.

USA Today Founder Al Neuharth Dies at 89 (USA Today)
Allen H. Neuharth, the newspaper visionary and former Gannett chairman who founded USA Today, helped create a museum dedicated to news and became one of the industry's most influential and sometimes controversial figures, died Friday at his home in Cocoa Beach, Fla. He was 89. FishbowlNY Neuharth founded USA Today in 1982 and retired from Gannett in 1989. He then began to serve as the chairman of the board of the Gannett Foundation.

Is This The Shortest TV Career in History? (Daily Mail)
A weekend news anchor in North Dakota beginning his new job opened up his first-ever broadcast for his new station with an unfortunate choice of words. KFYR news anchor A.J. Clemente opened up on air by saying "f****** s***" into his live microphone, leaving his co-anchor dumbfounded.

Several CBS Twitter Accounts Hijacked by Syrian Conflict Propagandists (The Verge)
CBS has confirmed on Twitter that several of its accounts were compromised last week, including those for 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, and a local Denver affiliate. While the perpetrator of the hijack is unknown, the incident appears similar to actions from the "Syrian Electronic Army," which has targeted several news media organizations with Twitter break-ins.

Has Demand for Broadcast TV Inventory Already Topped Out? (Adweek)
While it will be a number of weeks before the networks will be able to accurately count the house, insiders suggest the 2013-14 upfront is likely to be a bit less robust than those of years past. Although client budgets have yet to be registered, buyers are already hinting that demand for broadcast TV inventory appears to have topped out.

Storyboard Speaks: Laid-Off Tumblr Staffers Discuss David Karp's Decision (NY Observer / BetaBeat)
Last week, Tumblr CEO David Karp took the stage at paidContent Live for a panel called "Tumblr and the Future of Media." It was a poignant title considering that one of the topics discussed was Karp's recent, rather brusque blog post announcing the end of Storyboard, a high-profile editorial experiment that hired journalists to write features or film documentary video about Tumblr's community of "creators."

Netflix Hopes for House of Cards Boost (CNNMoney)
Netflix is making a big bet on original series and investors will soon get a first look at whether the gamble paid off. The streaming video company will report first-quarter earnings on Monday, and the first question on many investors' minds will be about how the splashy Kevin Spacey political thriller House of Cards performed.

Al Jazeera Eyeballing Tennis Channel (NY Post)
Al Jazeera Media Networks is eyeing the Tennis Channel as it looks to become a player in the US sports market, the Post has learned. Qatar-based Al Jazeera has an affiliate called BeIN Sport, a global network of sports channels that could likely benefit from a toehold here.

Bret Easton Ellis: 'I've Been Banned by GLAAD Media Awards' (THR)
There were stars galore on Saturday evening at the Los Angeles GLAAD Media Awards, a swanky Hollywood event attended by 5,000 guests where President Bill Clinton received the Advocate for Change Award -- but Bret Easton Ellis was not among them.

CNN's Ratings Surge, Despite Criticism (BuzzFeed)
CNN has been an object of ridicule for its Boston Marathon bombing coverage. But new boss Jeff Zucker likely doesn't mind, because people are watching: More than 1 million viewers tuned in so far last week.

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