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Morning Media Newsfeed 04.26.12

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Rupert Murdoch On Phone Hacking: 'That's A Lazy Way Of Reporting' (Yahoo! News / The Cutline)
News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch was grilled for more than three hours by the Leveson Inquiry on phone hacking and media ethics on Wednesday in London, testifying that his frequent private meetings with British politicians are just part of "the game" and that the editorial influence he wields over his newspapers is "overestimated." B&C In testimony before the Leveson Inquiry Wednesday in London, News Corp. chairman and CEO Murdoch once again expressed regrets over the role that his papers played in the voicemail-hacking scandal, but spent most of his time responding to questions about his relationship with prominent British politicians. TheWrap.com / Media Alley The panel asked Murdoch about meetings dating back to the Margaret Thatcher era in Britain, bringing the discussion through the eras of more recent prime ministers until reaching the phone-hacking scandal that has plagued Murdoch's British publishing properties since last July. WSJ In testimony under oath, Murdoch repeatedly said that he hadn't asked prime ministers, or would-be prime ministers, for favors and said his commercial interests didn't influence where his newspapers stood on issues or political parties. Forbes / Mixed Media Testifying before the Leveson Inquiry on the Culture, Ethics and Practices of the Press, Murdoch recounted a telephone conversation he had with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown shortly after The Sun, one of News Corp.'s tabloids, switched its endorsement from Brown's Labor Party to David Cameron's Conservatives in 2009. "He said, 'Your company has declared war on my government, and we have no alternative but to declare war on your company,'" Murdoch testified. LA Times "That is a complete myth, that I used the influence of The Sun or supposed political power to get favorable treatment," Murdoch testified, declaring, "I've never asked a prime minister for anything." LA Times / Company Town Some of what's frowned upon in England is often standard operating procedure in the United States.

McClatchy Posts Loss In First Quarter (Sacramento Bee)
The McClatchy Co. Wednesday said it lost $2.1 million in the first quarter as advertising revenue continued to decline. The results were about the same as the first quarter last year. Washington Post / AP Revenue fell 5 percent to $288.3 million from $303.7 million. Advertising revenue fell 7 percent to $209.8 million from $225.1 million. Digital advertising revenue grew 3 percent and accounted for about 22 percent of total ad revenue, the company said. Poynter / MediaWire McClatchy's 9.2 percent decline in print advertising revenue is a bit worse than other large newspaper chains' recent earnings reports. The New York Times Company reported first quarter earnings that beat expectations; nonetheless, print advertising revenues were down 7.2 percent across its properties. Media General posted a net loss of 23 percent in its first quarter earnings with print advertising down 8.4 percent. Gannett, too, had a poor first quarter, with earnings down 24 percent and an 8.3 percent drop in print advertising.

Newspaper Group Has Upbeat Website Traffic Report (JimRomenesko.com)
The Newspaper Association of America reports newspaper website traffic was up 4.4 percent in the first quarter, and that "newspapers achieved a more than 7 percent increase in unique visitors ages 21 to 34, with average daily visits by this age group up 17 percent and total visits rising by 15 percent."

Meredith Quarterly Profit Down 31 Percent (Des Moines Register)
Meredith Corp. posted a $21.2 million profit for the three months ended March 31, a 31 percent decline from the same period last year, the company said Wednesday. Excluding some one-time losses related to the $175 million purchase of AllRecipes.com, the company posted a $29.8 million profit for the quarter, only a 3 percent decline from the same quarter a year ago. Folio: Digital advertising was up 70 percent, according to the financials, driven largely by the Women's Network properties, which accounted for half that growth, and the balance coming from AllRecipies.com. TVSpy Meredith Wednesday reported its fiscal 2012 third quarter earnings, announcing a 10 percent increase in total revenue during the period for its local media group, which consists of 12 stations around the country, including WGCL in Atlanta and KPHO in Phoenix. B&C Meredith Local Media posted $78 million in revenue in the fiscal third quarter, up 10 percent from the same quarter last year. The station group's operating profit was a record $23 million, compared to $13 million in the year-ago period.

Arts Endowment Trims Support For PBS Shows (NYT / Media Decoder)
The National Endowment for the Arts made sweeping cuts in its support of established PBS shows in the 2012 Arts in Media grants, which were announced Wednesday morning. Instead, the endowment awarded large grants to an array of gaming and Web-based projects.

White House Threatens To Veto CISPA (B&C)
The Obama Administration Wednesday came out against H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which is strongly backed by cable operators and phone companies.

NBC Miami Reporter Fired For Edited Zimmerman Tape (Poynter / MediaWire)
WTVJ reporter Jeff Burnside was fired Friday after being involved in editing a tape of George Zimmerman's 911 call before he shot Trayvon Martin. TVSpy Two weeks ago, a Miami-based NBC News producer lost her job in a similar situation, using an almost identical, sloppily-edited 911 call related to the Martin/Zimmerman case.

David Simon: 'Anything That Says Content Should Be Free Makes It Hard For All Writers, Everywhere' (GalleyCat)
Journalist and screenwriter David Simon has published his first blog dispatch. His new site is called The Audacity of Despair. DavidSimon.com I'm a writer, and while I'm overpaid to write television at present, the truth is that the prose world from which I crawled -- newsprint and books -- is beset by a new economic model in which the value of content is being reduced in direct proportion to the availability of free stuff on the Web. In short, for newspapers and book publishers, it has lately been an e-race to the bottom, and I have no desire to contribute to that new economy by writing for free in any format. Time / Tuned In Simon has famously expressed reservations about blogging culture and what it's doing to his former profession of journalism (Simon was a Baltimore Sun reporter), and he reiterates them on the blog itself.

Worldcrunch Wants To Be The Internet's Rosetta Stone For News (Nieman Journalism Lab)
As the translation-based news service Worldcrunch approaches the one-year anniversary of its launch, it's also tweaking its business approach in three key ways that co-founders Jeff Israely and Irène Toporkoff hope will help it thrive.

For Vevo, A 'NewFront' To Rival The 'UpFronts' (NYT / Media Decoder)
The annual spring upfronts, when television peddles its wares to Madison Avenue, has a new wrinkle ahead of the 2012-13 season: media companies that specialize in online video and other digital delights are adding themselves to the lineup of presentations by broadcast and cable TV outlets. AdAge / Digital A few of us can remember when MTV actually had music videos and not the litany of reality shows it airs now. Vevo is making a similar move into scripted and unscripted programming, and Wednesday unveiled a slate of six new shows at its NewFront presentation to advertisers. Adweek Vevo now reaches 250 million unique visitors globally each month, according to comScore. The music video hub expects to deliver 36 billion views this year. Execs claim that Vevo reaches a whopping 22 million 18-49 unique viewers a week, while Katy Perry videos alone deliver a TV-esque 3.2 million 18-49-year-olds in a given week. According to CEO Rio Caraeff, Vevo reaches one in four women on the Web, 9 million Hispanics and more than 6 million African Americans.

As News Shifts Toward Mobile, Will Text Alerts Get Left Behind? (Nieman Journalism Lab)
In a blast text message to subscribers on Tuesday afternoon, The Washington Post announced that it's...ending blast text messages to subscribers, on April 30.

Veteran WaPo Reporter To POGO (FishbowlDC)
Veteran Washington Post reporter David Hilzenrath, an award-winning journalist whose work includes coverage of financial fraud and the fed's efforts to reform Wall Street and health care, is joining the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) to lead the organization's investigations into government corruption, waste and abuse.

Bethenny Frankel Talk Show Premiering In June On Six Fox Affiliates (THR)
Bethenny, a daily talk show from reality star and entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel, will get a test run beginning June 11 on six Fox-owned TV stations. B&C Those markets are: WNYW New York at 11 a.m.; KTTV Los Angeles at 2 p.m.; WTXF Philadelphia at 11 a.m.; KDFW Dallas at 1 p.m.; KSAZ Phoenix at 11 a.m.; and KMSP Minneapolis at 10 a.m., according to Fox. FishbowlNY The show, executive produced by Frankel and Ellen DeGeneres, will feature Frankel's no-holds barred perspective on numerous topics, including pop culture, current events, and relationships.

StoryCode To Host 'Story Hackathon' (GalleyCat)
Non-profit StoryCode and the Film Society of Lincoln Center are bringing together writers, filmmakers, tech gurus, publishing experts, advertisers and designers in its first annual "story hackathon," a 36-hour multimedia writing competition called Story Hack: Beta. AppNewser Judges include: Katherine Oliver, the commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Warren Cohen of VH1, Brian Clark of GMD Studios, Mark Harris of Broadcastr and Steve Coulson of Campfire, among others.

Margaret Brennan Leaving Bloomberg TV As Net Shakes Up Mornings (TVNewser)
Margaret Brennan, who has been with Bloomberg TV for nearly three years, is leaving the network. She joined Bloomberg from CNBC in 2009. Brennan's departure, described as mutual, comes as the network plans changes to its morning lineup later this spring.

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