Morning Media Newsfeed 06.21.12
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NBC Prepares To Replace Ann Curry On Today (NYT / Media Decoder)
NBC executives are making a plan to replace Ann Curry on the Today show, only a year after she became the co-host of the newly vulnerable morning television franchise. TVNewser No replacement was named in the Times' piece (Savannah Guthrie has long been considered a favorite, as noted briefly), and details are sparse, but there is fire there. After speaking with two sources familiar with the move, one at NBC News and another outside of the organization, the only new information I hear is that Guthrie is indeed the favorite to replace Curry, though it was stressed that any sort of deal is far from finalized. THR Guthrie is the show's news anchor, the role occupied for many years by Curry, and co-host of the 9 a.m. third hour of Today. Her visibility has steadily risen at the news division; she often fills in for Curry and also has been a substitute anchor for Brian Williams on Nightly News. Guthrie also has the bubbly personality and quick wit reminiscent of successful morning TV hosts such as Meredith Vieira and Katie Couric. New York Daily News Curry, who has been with Today since 1997, formerly serving as a news anchor, reportedly doesn't want to leave the show. The Daily Beast / Spin Cycle Ann Curry is a world-class journalist. But she's never been a great fit as co-host of the Today show. Just about everyone at NBC, and in the television business, recognizes that. WSJ Matt Lauer has been the steady, reliable presence at the show since his arrival in 1997, as the female co-hosts have changed over the years. Curry, who made her name covering global disasters and conflict, took over the co-hosting spot last year from Vieira, who succeeded Couric in 2006. From the beginning, critics complained that their pairing lacked the all-important co-anchor chemistry needed for successful morning television. The Associated Press Today lost in the ratings this spring for the first time since 1995 after a string of 852 consecutive weeks. Since then, Today and ABC's Good Morning America have been trading weekly wins. NYT It's a windy May morning on the Rockefeller Center plaza where the stars of NBC's Today periodically gather to perform in the open air, and for some reason Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb are wearing hospital gowns, like a latter-day Lucy and Ethel embarked on some crazy scheme. Gifford's explanation -- it has something to do with a segment on plastic surgery -- requires dramatic gestures, and with one of them she knocks a batch of notecards out of the hands of Curry.
Jonah Lehrer's Situation Gets Worse (FishbowlNY)
Jonah Lehrer, formerly of Wired and recently hired by The New Yorker, is in serious trouble. CJR / The Observatory Lehrer, one of science journalism's brightest young stars, was accused of self-plagiarism on Tuesday after critics revealed that he had reused parts of old stories he wrote for other publications in blog posts for The New Yorker. So far, the magazine has appended an editors' note to the top of six of Lehrer's eight posts for its website, noting where else the copy had appeared and expressing "regret [for] the duplication of material." NYT / Arts Beat Lehrer, reached by telephone, expressed remorse about the self-borrowings but declined to comment further. "It was a stupid thing to do and incredibly lazy and absolutely wrong," he said. Poynter / Regret The Error Timothy Goeglein. Does that name ring a bell? I imagine most folks have forgotten about him, but at one time he worked in the White House for President George W. Bush as a special assistant and public liaison deputy director. Goeglein was the Bush administration's primary contact with the evangelical community and religious conservatives. In 2008 he resigned from his post after admitting he repeatedly plagiarized columns he wrote for The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind. Reuters / Felix Salmon The problem with Jonah Lehrer, like the problem with Zach Kouwe, is not that he was humbled by the insatiable demands of blogging. Instead, it's that he made a category error, and tried to use a regular blog as a vehicle for the kind of writing that should not be done in blog format. Lehrer shouldn't shut down the New Yorker's "Frontal Cortex"; he should simply change it to become a real blog. And if he does that, he's likely to find that blogs in fact are wonderful tools for generating ideas, rather than being places where your precious store of ideas gets used up in record-quick time. New York / Daily Intel But increased scrutiny on the popular science writer's work continues to turn up more examples of self-plagiarism, as well other journalistic missteps, such as issues with attribution. Washington Post / Erik Wemple Enough with "self-plagiarism." Plagiarism means taking someone else's work and representing it as your own. Lehrer took his own work and presented it as his own (fresh) work. That's bad, but it's not so bad that it should be described with any variant of the term "plagiarism." Poynter / MediaWire An editor's note below Jonah Lehrer's New Yorker piece about brainstorming says the staff writer presented quotes from a 2011 story in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review as if they'd been told to him. JimRomenesko.com From Stephen S. Hall's review of Jonah Lehrer's How We Decide in the summer 2009 issue of Columbia Magazine: "Despite Lehrer's agile handling of a lot of complicated material, I never was quite sure about the line that separated his reporting from other people's work. Lehrer's account of the disastrous 1949 firefighting episode in Montana, for example, with which he began his July 2008 story about insight in the New Yorker, apparently represents no original reporting, but instead is an elaborate four-page retelling of Norman Maclean's Young Men and Fire." WWD / Memo Pad Contacted for comment, a spokeswoman for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which has published Lehrer's three books, said he acknowledged and apologized for passing off as new sections in Imagine that came from published articles going back several years. In future editions of the book, he will add a disclosure to the acknowledgments, the spokeswoman said.
Simpsons Creator Matt Groening Ends Life In Hell, Comic That Started It All (Poynter / MediaWire)
After exploring a world populated by "anthropomorphic rabbits and a pair of gay lovers" for more than 30 years, Simpsons creator Matt Groening is putting down his pen and ending his highly acclaimed comic strip, Life in Hell. NYT / Arts Beat Life in Hell, which introduced the aforementioned characters -- three bucktoothed, anthropomorphic rabbits and a fez-wearing gay couple -- first appeared in Wet Magazine in 1978, moving to LA Weekly and then the L.A. Reader while acquainting readers with Groening's sardonic perspectives on childhood, dating, family and rock-music criticism. FishbowlLA Life in Hell was born in Los Angeles, and helped launch Groening's television career. TheWrap.com Its quirky cast and offbeat jokes gave rise to cartoonists like Tom Tomorrow, Ruben Bolling, Ward Sutton, Keith Knight and Ted Rall. NPR / Monkey See As Groening's involvement with The Simpsons and Futurama grew, Life in Hell lost some of its singularly biting wit. The multi-panel strips dissecting some aspect of modern life in the crisp language of the high school textbook -- Groening was and remains a master mimic -- grew increasingly rare, in favor of a giant, single-panel-gag strip. In the past few years, as more and more alt-weeklies have cut their budgets or shuttered completely, the strip's circulation has shrunk. It's hard to argue that it is ending too soon. LA Times / Show Tracker The final original Life in Hell strip, the 1,669th, was released June 15. Old strips will be reprinted until July 13, at which point Groening's print creation will go away completely.
American Prospect Exceeds Fundraising Goal, Raises Enough To Stay Alive (HuffPost / The Backstory)
The American Prospect, the liberal politics and policy magazine that was on the verge of shutting down last month, has exceeded its fundraising goal and will remain alive. Editor Kit Rachlis told The Huffington Post Wednesday that the magazine received a grant this week that pushed its donation haul over $1.2 million, the amount needed to cover an immediate $500,000 funding gap and another $700,000 for the budget through 2012. LA Observed Rachlis also said the journal's two-year writing fellows program for young journalists will continue. The Atlantic Wire So who saved the Prospect in the end?
African-Americans Take Greater Hit In Times-Picayune Layoffs (Poynter / MediaWire)
African-Americans were disproportionately hit in last week's layoffs at The Times-Picayune, meaning the newspaper serving the majority-black city will become less diverse unless the difference is made up with new hires. HuffPost The cuts at the Alabama papers, including the Birmingham News, also found many black journalists being let go. CJR / The Audit Not content with dominating the Times-Picayune's front page on Thursday with a press release from its editor, the paper ran an awfully similar piece by the new publisher on page one Sunday headlined "The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com are here to stay." As if The Times-Picayune needed to remind New Orleanians that its absentee owners have brought in an outsider to gut their hometown paper, publisher Ricky Mathews leads with it.
Rollingstone.com Lays Off Staffers (Poynter / MediaWire)
Wenner Media has laid off at least five staffers for Rollingstone.com, according to sources there. Managing editor Evie Nagy and associate editor Matthew Perpetua are among those let go Tuesday. Last week the company informed employees in a note with their paychecks that it would stop contributing to their 401(k) plans effective July 16. FishbowlNY According to sources, employees were informed that the moves were part of an integration between the site and print staffers.
Yahoo! Officially In Settlement Talks With Facebook Over Patent Case (AllThingsD)
Yahoo! said in a court filing that it is in settlement talks with Facebook over its patent infringement litigation. AllFacebook Yahoo! claimed in March that Facebook essentially stole its social network model, which includes creating profiles and interacting with other users and businesses. Both sides were in court again Tuesday, as Yahoo! asked for a two-week extension to file replies in the lawsuit. WSJ The move was uncharacteristic for Yahoo!, which had traditionally used its patent portfolio to defend itself from litigation rather than pursue it. The move came at a time when Yahoo! was seeking new sources of revenue under erstwhile chief executive Scott Thompson, who had taken the job in January.
If Twitter Started Charging For "Premium" Features, Would You Pay? (AllTwitter)
Twitter currently makes most of its money selling ads and access to its firehose, but what if it started charging users to access premium features?
John Corrigan Named LA Times Assistant Managing Editor For A&E; Laurie Ochoa, A&E Editor (LA Times / Readers' Representative Journal)
A memo to the newsroom from editor Davan Maharaj: "Today, I'm announcing a new leadership team for one of the most important journalistic franchises at the Los Angeles Times." FishbowlLA The Los Angeles Times announced Wednesday that John Corrigan will succeed Sallie Hofmeister as the assistant managing editor for arts and entertainment. Corrigan has been at the Times since 1999 and was most recently the business editor. LA Observed Laurie Ochoa, mostly recently the co-founder of Slake and a fill-in editor at The Hollywood Reporter -- and before that the editor of LA Weekly -- is coming back to the Times as arts and entertainment editor. She worked in the calendar and food sections before leaving to become executive editor of Gourmet magazine, then went to LA Weekly. TheWrap.com Mary McNamara, one of the Times' television critics, will assume the role of senior culture editor.
New York To Publish Design Hunting Twice Next Year (FishbowlNY)
New York Design Hunting, intended to be an annual publication at first, was successful enough to get itself an extra issue in 2013. Next year the title will be published in March and September because of the strong reaction to the debut, which featured 74 ad pages. Adweek The first half of 2012 has been especially strong for once-imperiled design titles, which have been attracting a steady stream of luxury ads as the interior design and housing markets begin to improve.
Ariel Kaminer Moves To The Higher Ed Beat In New York Times Metro Desk Shuffle (Capital New York)
It's been about two months since Ariel Kaminer published her final column as the New York Times Magazine's Ethicist, a role that has since been filled by her successor, author Chuck Klosterman. She returned to her former home on the metro desk last month, but without much explanation about what she'd be doing. Now they've figured it out.
Reality Weekly To Go Tablet Only (NY Post / Media Ink)
Reality Weekly is apparently not selling enough copies to justify its space on the newsstand, so publisher American Media Inc. plans to scrap the weekly print edition and convert it into a tablet-only publication. FishbowlNY When Reality Weekly debuted in December of last year we were worried for our nation. Would you accept such a bad idea into your lives? After all, you already made Flo Rida a success. Then, after some time went by and there were mixed reports about its success, we started to feel hopeful. Now we feel energized to hear that the print version of the magazine has been denied.
Libraries Cut eBook Deal With Penguin (WSJ)
Penguin Group and eBook distributor 3M have made a deal with two New York City public library systems that will return Penguin eBooks to library shelves for a one-year pilot. NYT / Media Decoder The announcement is the latest development in a tug-of-war between publishers and libraries, who have argued over the degree of access to eBooks that library patrons should be allowed. As more book buyers have bought e-readers like the Nook and the Kindle, they have also discovered the ease of borrowing eBooks from their local libraries -- a transaction that doesn't even require a visit to a library, since eBooks can be downloaded remotely.
Sizing Up Vogue's Health Initiative (Adweek)
Last month, Vogue launched the Vogue Health Initiative, a six-point plan adopted by its 19 international editions to stop the use of models who are under age 16 or appear to have an eating disorder. But what, exactly, counts as a healthy body image?
Ben Mulroney Joins Good Morning America (TVNewser)
ABC News president Ben Sherwood announced the hiring of Ben Mulroney as a contributor to Good Morning America. THR / The Live Feed Mulroney will split his time between ABC News and CTV in Toronto, where he anchors the popular entertainment news program ETalk.