Morning Media Newsfeed 06.20.12
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Jonah Lehrer's NewYorker.com 'Smart People' Post Borrows From Earlier WSJ Piece (JimRomenesko.com)
Last Tuesday, The New Yorker posted Jonah Lehrer's "Why Smart People Are Stupid." It begins this way: "Here's a simple arithmetic question: A bat and ball cost a dollar and 10 cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?" Last October 15, The Wall Street Journal published a Jonah Lehrer piece headlined "The Science of Irrationality." It began this way: "Here's a simple arithmetic question: 'A bat and ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?'" New York / Daily Intel Did you ever pull that old college trick where you wrote the same paper for two classes? It's frowned upon, but hard to get caught. Not so on the Internet: New Yorker staffer Jonah Lehrer, who was just hired, has often reused his own exact wording without noting it in his work at NewYorker.com, Wired, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and in his 2009 book, How We Decide. paidContent Lehrer shouldn't be excused for cribbing from himself. But it's not that surprising that it happened. Poynter / Everyday Ethics As a reader, when you approach his writing, whether it's in The New Yorker or Wired or The Wall Street Journal, you do so with an unspoken contract: You devote some of your precious time, he'll take you and a few thousand others to a new intellectual space. Only it turns out that new space isn't so new at all. Like a boyfriend who recycles the same seemingly spontaneous romantic moments on a succession of dates, Lehrer has already taken some other audience to this same place, for that same experience. Slate Self-plagiarism is not the same as plagiarism -- for one thing, Lehrer is unlikely to demand that The New Yorker retract his own stories. Still, it's not a victimless crime. Lehrer's readers deserve to know whether the stuff he's representing as new material was first published in Wired in 2009. The Daily Beast / Book Beast Lehrer is known to recycle material for his paid lectures -- he gives dozens every year, maintaining a packed schedule that he's described as "existentially sad." Yet representing that material as original in blog posts and newspaper articles is another matter, one that few editors -- or competing writers -- are likely to countenance.
BuzzFeed Names D.C. Chief: John Stanton (Politico / Dylan Byers On Media)
BuzzFeed has hired Roll Call reporter John Stanton to head its new Washington, D.C. bureau. FishbowlNY Politico reports that Stanton will be part of a BuzzFeed D.C. team which will include three more reporters. FishbowlDC Stanton, a former bouncer who is covered in tattoos, will launch the bureau on July 9. FishbowlDC Metro Weekly's Chris Geidner is jumping ship to join BuzzFeed as senior political reporter and will continue his aggressive, news-driven coverage of politics and policies of LGBT issues and of the battles over marriage. TheWrap.com Gone are the days when BuzzFeed was a mere aggregator of social-savvy click candy, its verticals dominated by user-shared memes and animal pictures.
Mark Leibovich Moves Full Time To New York Times Magazine, Styles Section (Capital New York)
It looks like Mark Leibovich's conversations with The New Republic didn't go very far: The veteran New York Times political reporter has accepted a new gig as chief national correspondent for the Sunday Times Magazine. FishbowlNY Leibovich will also contribute to the paper's Style section. Politico / Dylan Byers On Media Leibovich would not comment on what role reports that he had been in talks with the editors of the (new) New Republic played in the Times' decision to offer him the position -- "No tick-tocks," he told Politico -- but it's safe to assume that fear of losing Leibovich played a role in the promotion. WWD / Memo Pad The appointment keeps Leibovich from fleeing to a magazine whose new wealthy owner, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, has given it a significant competitive edge. TNR has already gone after Sunday Magazine contributor Robert Draper and, earlier this month, landed story editor Greg Veis. The newly acquisitive magazine has also successfully nabbed Walter Kirn and editor Sarah Goldstein from GQ.
Todd Larsen Steps Down At Dow Jones (FishbowlNY)
Todd Larsen is stepping down as president of Dow Jones & Company. Larsen has been with the company since 1999, serving as president since 2010. WSJ Larsen's departure was widely expected after Lex Fenwick arrived earlier this year as the company's new chief executive officer, according to people close to the situation. Fenwick succeeded Les Hinton, who resigned last year amid the phone-hacking scandal at the parent company's British newspapers. Poynter / MediaWire Larsen enjoyed a special status within the company's upper reaches at the time: He'd been there more than a decade, so he wasn't an outsider, nor was he a Murdoch crony. Reuters Larsen started with Dow Jones in 1999 as corporate director of strategic planning and development and worked his way up, including oversight of the Journal's online business. NYT / Media Decoder Also on Tuesday, the company said several other Dow Jones executives would be leaving their current roles, including the chief communications officer, Bethany Sherman; the senior vice president of circulation, Lynne Brennen; and Scott Schulman, who was president of Dow Jones Corporate Markets. Bloomberg The company announced separately that Alisa Bowen, general manager of the company's Wall Street Journal Digital Network, will become head of product for Dow Jones. The division also is creating a new department called Data Strategy that will integrate its research teams. The operation will be run by Joe Lanza, who currently serves as president of the company's Financial Markets.
News Corp. Makes Bid For Australia's Consolidated Media Holdings (LA Times / Company Town)
News Corp. has made a roughly $2 billion offer for Consolidated Media Holdings, an Australia-based holding company that co-owns, with News Corp., substantial media assets in that region. Deadline Hollywood The deal would increase News Corp.'s holdings in Foxtel, the leading pay-TV platform, from 25 percent to 50 percent and give it full ownership of the lucrative sports channels provider Fox Sports. THR The deal is the centerpiece of a wider restructure by News Corp.'s Australian arm News Limited -- further details of which are expected to be announced late Wednesday local time -- that will ultimately change News Ltd.'s focus from a newspaper company with TV interests to a TV company with a newspaper division. NYT / Media Decoder James Packer, an Australian casino and media mogul, controls Consolidated Media. Packer said Wednesday in a statement that he looks forward "to CMH and News working together to address the detailed terms and conditions" of the takeover. WSJ For News Corp., the takeover is the most significant investment in pay television since its bid to buy out British Sky Broadcasting, or BSkyB, broke down amid controversy over the company's involvement in a phone-hacking scandal.
Despite Nook, Barnes & Noble Sales Miss Expectations (NYT / Media Decoder)
Barnes & Noble reported a fourth-quarter loss of $57.7 million on Tuesday, falling short of market expectations, even though sales of the popular books The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey and the liquidation of Borders lifted same-store sales by 4.5 percent in the period. GalleyCat Full-year revenues for the Nook business were $933 million. This was up 34.3 percent from last year in which the company saw $695 million for the same period. AppNewser Despite the growth, fourth quarter Nook revenues were only up 1 percent. But while device sales have slowed, digital content sales of apps, eBooks, digital magazines and the like were up for the year. In fact, digital content sales increased 65 percent for the fourth quarter and 119 percent for the full year, with digital content sales hitting $483 million for the full year.
What Makes Jeff Bezos Tick? A $42 Million Clock, For Starters (WSJ)
Jeff Bezos changed the way we shop, with Amazon.com Inc. He transformed how many of us read, with his Kindle e-reader. He has a few other potentially life-changing ideas, too.
NY Post Quietly Removes Safari Block On Paid iPad App (NYConvergence)
It appears that the New York Post has quietly lifted its iPad Safari block, replacing it with an interstitial ad promoting its app, but now allowing users to continue on to the website. Forbes / Mixed Media Why the change in strategy? I sought an answer from someone at the Post but haven't heard back. But the answer likely has something to do with the increasing importance of the iPad and other tablets as a source of traffic. Next year, tablets will surpass smartphones as a source of mobile Web traffic, and they'll make up 10 percent of all Web traffic by 2014. And between tablets, the competition's not even close, with the iPad accounting for more than 90 percent of all traffic.
Google Threatens To Sue Huge YouTube MP3 Conversion Site (TorrentFreak)
According to a letter seen by TorrentFreak, Google is threatening action against one of the Web's largest YouTube conversion sites. CNET YouTube-MP3.org has received a letter from Google notifying site operators that converting videos violates YouTube's terms of service, according to TorrentFreak. YouTube, acquired by Google in 2006, has also apparently blocked YouTube-MP3.org's servers from accessing the video-sharing site. VentureBeat Sites like YouTube-MP3.org work by separating the audio component from a YouTube video in an effortless process. Users simply plug in the YouTube URL of the video they wish to grab an audio file of, wait for the site to "convert" the file, and then download it to their hard drive. SocialTimes In a letter, which was purportedly sent to YouTube-MP3.org by associate product counsel at YouTube Harris Cohen, and shared with TorrentFreak, Cohen cites YouTube's Terms of Service and points out that it is prohibited to offer a service that allows YouTube content to be downloaded, as opposed to streamed.
Harry Potter eBooks Now Available To Borrow From Kindle (AppNewser)
All seven Harry Potter eBooks are now available to borrow for free from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. This includes the English, French, Italian, German and Spanish versions of the books. GalleyCat J.K. Rowling's major bestseller will join more than 145,000 books that Amazon Prime members can check out for free (a service without due dates).
Microsoft's Live-Action Press Release (CJR / The Audit)
Monday, Microsoft got a bunch of tech journalists to go to Hollywood for what it promised would be a major announcement: The company was launching its own tablet PC. And what a launch it was -- at least for the flacks and marketers at Microsoft, which has finally caught on (years later, true to form) to how Apple shapes the live press coverage of its product launches, which tend to turn a pack of hardened journalists into an infomercial audience.
Study: Facebook Mobile Ads Have Higher Click-Through Rates Than Those On PCs (AdAge / Digital)
Facebook's mobile ads haven't been available to the masses for a full month yet, but early reporting by SocialCode, a Facebook Ads API partner, suggests that sponsored-story "Like" ads that appear in mobile news feeds get more clicks than the same units placed elsewhere.
Twelve Percent Of Libraries See Technology Budgets Drop: ALA Report (AppNewser)
Public libraries are reporting a flat or decreased operating budgets in fiscal year 2012, according to a new report from the American Libraries Association called Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2011-2012.
HGTV Magazine To Increase Rate Base Twice Next Year (FishbowlNY)
Hearst's HGTV Magazine, launched late last year, was a success right out of the gate. Tuesday, Hearst announced that the title's good fortunes will continue next year. Starting with the January/February 2013 issue, HGTV Magazine will increase its rate base to 700,000, and then raise it again in July to 800,000. Adweek Hearst green-lit the new title in partnership with HGTV after producing two successful test issues in October 2011 and January 2012. The first one proved so popular that Hearst decided to print a second run of 135,000 copies to meet consumer demand. Three more issues of the magazine are scheduled for release in 2012.
A Media Mogul's Daring Move To Make Chess Big (Adweek)
An estimated 44 million Americans are regular chess players. Some 60 percent are male, and the same percentage falls in the magic 18-35 demo. More than one-third have a masters or Ph.D., and 44 percent enjoy an average household income of $75,000 or higher. Given stats like those, you might assume that when the World Chess Championships roll around every two years, upscale brands would be tripping over themselves to sponsor them. And you would be wrong.