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Friday, Jun 22

Morning Media Newsfeed 06.22.12

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NBC Contingency Plans Are Not Needed As Ann Curry Reports To Work At Today (NYT / Media Decoder)
For a couple of hours Wednesday, as Ann Curry's negotiations to leave the Today show were first reported publicly, NBC News officials believed that she would not be coming into work Thursday morning, according to people at the network who were not authorized to speak on the record. The show's producers had tapped Hoda Kotb, the co-host of the fourth hour of Today, to fill in for her and told the staff to expect Kotb there, the people at the network said. But Curry did, in fact, co-host Today on Thursday. And thus began a new round of speculation in the television business about her future on the top-rated morning show. TMZ NBC secretly offered Meredith Vieira a big contract to replace Curry on the Today show, but she turned them down. Sources connected with the network told TMZ the offer was made approximately two weeks ago, but Vieira wasn't interested in returning to the show she anchored for six years. TVNewser Vieira anchored Today from September 2006 until June 2011, when she became a contributor to NBC News and primetime newsmagazine Rock Center. New York Daily News Officially, NBC has said nothing about Curry being replaced on the Today show, and that may be the strongest confirmation it's likely to happen. LA Times / Show Tracker Assuming that not everyone really hates Curry -- always a dangerous assumption in the TV business, where nasty stories tend to stick to people who achieve a high level of success -- why is she evidently on the way out? Curry, in an interview in August's Ladies' Home Journal, which hasn't hit newsstands yet: "I've been at Today for 15 years and I'd love to make it to 20." NYT NBC News has long been a dominant presence on network television, regularly winning the ratings competition against its evening news and Sunday morning political show competitors, and reveling in the Today show's 16-year winning streak in morning television, a record not broken until April. Struggling with declining ratings across all three franchises, however, and with news this week that the network is preparing to replace Curry on Today, NBC executives are facing a new narrative that is being embraced by the competition. For the first time in more than a decade, NBC News appears adrift. WSJ In the evening, ABC World News has been slowly gaining on long-reigning NBC Nightly News, which has lost the most viewers this season to date of all the network newscasts in the 25-to-54 demographic that advertisers covet. And Rock Center with Brian Williams, the newsmagazine show launched late last year, has had a bumpy start, often drawing ratings that would be more appropriate for cable than for a network. Poynter / Diversity At Work This week's news of Curry's problems as co-host of NBC's Today show makes my mind reel and my heart ache. Time / Tuned In Maybe Curry and Conan O'Brien should get together for a drink sometime.

The Cycle: MSNBC's New 3 P.M. Show Features Four Co-Hosts (HuffPost)
MSNBC has found its replacement for Dylan Ratigan's show: The Cycle. Mediaite Its permanent co-hosts are: author and commentator Touré, New York Daily News columnist S.E. Cupp, Salon's Steve Kornacki and former congressional candidate Krystal Ball. All four have been contributors on the network. Politico / Dylan Byers On Media The Cycle begins on Monday at 3 p.m., as Martin Bashir moves his show to Ratigan's former time slot at 4 p.m. TVNewser If The Cycle sounds an awful lot like Fox News Channel's The Five, that's because it is a lot like The Five, except there will be four hosts instead of five. As it happens, when Ratigan was introducing the team, he referred to them as "The Four," twice, and did not mention that the show was actually called The Cycle. B&C Ratigan said the panelists would be back on his show for a full segment on Friday. NYT / Media Decoder MSNBC's decision to give the hour to a panel of politically opinionated and relatively young people (rather than a traditional news anchor) reaffirms the channel's shift toward political talk, and away from news.

Wired Is Reviewing 300 Of Jonah Lehrer's Blog Posts (
A Wired spokesman says the magazine is reviewing the 300 posts that Jonah Lehrer wrote while at Wired to see if they have recycled or lifted material. WWD / Memo Pad On Thursday, an unexpected voice joined the fray to defend Lehrer. "The conventions surrounding what is and is not acceptable in magazine writing, books and speaking have been worked out over the past 100 years. The conventions over blogging are being worked out as we speak," Malcolm Gladwell wrote in response to questions from WWD. "Everyone who writes for a living is going to learn from this. I'm just sorry Jonah had to bear the brunt of it." Salon Lehrer's shortcuts could be called a consequence of journalism's personal-branding age, but it's also the consequence of terrible thinking. Sadly for Lehrer, it's not a mark of intellectual curiosity to repeat the same mantra, over and over; it's a mark of dogma and blind, incurious faith. Even were it not the case -- and it is the case -- that critics have found inaccuracies in Lehrer's work, it's a bit disturbing that he hasn't even revisited these issues enough, over the years, to tinker with the wording he uses. AJR The book publishers and publications that Lehrer has written for had every right to expect they were getting original material. So did the readers. And the sheer scope of the recycling makes it much more serious. This is far different from a one-off, a panic-induced act of desperation on deadline. This is apparently a way of life. The Atlantic This isn't a defense of Lehrer in the sense of arguing that he's blameless for his fairly egregious pattern of "self-plagiarism" (or, as he might prefer to put it, his pattern of "high-fidelity recycling"). And I'm not addressing at all Lehrer's alleged instance of actual plagiarism, which is a much more serious matter. My only point is that the current journalistic environment encourages recycling, and renders his misdeeds less surprising than they'd have been in, say, 1987, when I was his age and had never heard the word "Internet." Slate / Browbeat Loads of journalists repackage their magazine writing into books -- and why shouldn't they? It's their writing and their book. As long as Lehrer's offenses are confined to self-plagiarism, they are mostly an embarrassment to his editors and harmless to his readers. Worst-case scenario, someone reads a Lehrer piece twice. But the thorough combing of his work sparked by this transgression has raised an interesting question about the editorial style of The New Yorker when it comes to crediting previously published sources.

BBC's Mark Thompson In Talks To Head New York Times Co. (The Guardian)
Outgoing BBC director general Mark Thompson is in talks with the New York Times Co. about becoming its new chief executive to fill the vacancy left after Janet Robinson was fired in December. Poynter / MediaWire Robinson was awarded an exit package of nearly $24 million after she left the company, and various reports have said she left a "leadership vacuum" in her wake. NY Observer In March, Thompson, 54, announced that he would step down from his post atop BBC, one of the highest-paid public sector jobs in the U.K., after the summer Olympics in London. Forbes / Mixed Media Thompson has reportedly had two meetings in London with representatives of the paper (presumably someone from Spencer Stuart, the executive headhunting firm handling the search). He's said to be considering other job offers. paidContent Meanwhile, sources have brushed off speculation about most of the other candidates who have been touted in the press at various times, including Gordon Crovitz -- the former Wall Street Journal publisher and co-founder/co-CEO of paywall operator Press+ -- who speaks fluent newspaper, digital and premium content.

SmartMoney Will Move To Web-Only Magazine (WSJ)
Dow Jones & Co. said Thursday it will stop publishing the print version of SmartMoney, although it will expand the personal-finance magazine's digital platform. AdAge / Media News The print edition's September issue will be its last, meaning the elimination of 25 jobs, Dow Jones said. Forbes / Mixed Media This comes as something of a reversal for Dow Jones. Two years ago, the News Corp. division doubled down on SmartMoney, buying out the 50 percent stake held by Hearst Magazines. Dow Jones president Todd Larsen explained the move by saying it allowed for greater integration of SmartMoney with The Wall Street Journal. But Larsen is out as of this week, apparently displaced by the arrival of new CEO Lex Fenwick. And SmartMoney is in worse financial shape than it was in 2010. In the first quarter of this year, its ad pages decreased 23.4 percent, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Adweek SmartMoney will seek to expand its digital reach by adding six new editorial staffers for a total of 15, but there will be a net loss in staff as about 25 positions attached to the print edition will be lost. SmartMoney's content will live on at as well as in a section of the much-larger paidContent Staff now report to Raju Narisetti, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network. The 25 pink-slipped journalists were invited to apply for six new positions on SmartMoney's digital staff or for any of the 56 editorial openings listed on Dow Jones' career site. Bloomberg Businessweek / AP Merging SmartMoney with MarketWatch may provide some protective cover. had just 2.5 million monthly visitors, but MarketWatch's online audience has grown 50 percent over the last 12 months to 17 million, Dow Jones said. WWD / Memo Pad SmartMoney's September issue, on newsstands August 14, is its last. Editor Tells Her Writers To Click On The Site's Ads (
According to, food editor Joanie Segall likes to "bring readers content that is fun, unique and oftentimes brow-raising." We just discovered that she endorses online practices that are brow-raising too -- like telling her writers to click on ads, "100 times if you want to."

Facebook Will Change Ad Service To Settle Lawsuit (Reuters)
Facebook Inc. has agreed to allow users more control over how their personal information is used in its "Sponsored Stories" ad feature, part of a deal to resolve litigation against the social networking company. AllFacebook Reuters reports that the total loss to Facebook, once these changes are in place, could be far beyond the $10 million that was donated to charity (and the additional $10 million to cover the plaintiff's attorney fees). An economist in the story says Facebook could lose about $103 million. NYT According to the agreement, filed Wednesday with the court in San Jose, Facebook users will be able to control and see which of their actions on Facebook are used to generate advertisements seen by their Facebook friends. For Facebook users under 18, there is an additional requirement: the company must give parents the opportunity to keep their children out of advertisements. AllThingsD Ever since its disappointing Nasdaq debut last month, Facebook can't seem to catch a break. Its shares tumbled from day into the following weeks, and analysts and investors the world around have called into question Facebook's potential for long-term monetization. At least one market research firm isn't concerned with the hubbub.

Supreme Court Rejects FCC Fines For Indecency (NYT)
The Supreme Court Thursday declined to address whether the government still has the authority to regulate indecency on broadcast television, but it ruled in favor of two broadcasters who had faced potential fines for programs featuring cursing and nudity on narrow grounds. New York Daily News In an 8-0 decision, the court set aside FCC fines levied against Fox for "fleeting expletives" uttered by Cher and Nicole Richie on two live awards shows and against ABC for a brief NYPD Blue gag scene in which a young boy inadvertently saw a naked woman about to step into the shower. Poynter / Al's Morning Meeting The FCC issued new standards after these incidents aired; the court said it can't apply those standards to incidents that occurred before the rules were in place. The court did nothing, however, to inform broadcasters what should be allowed.

U-T San Diego Launches Digital Subscriptions (U-T San Diego)
U-T San Diego began charging non-subscribers for full access to its online news content Thursday. FishbowlLA The paywall launched Thursday is similar in many ways to that of the LA Times. After 15 monthly article views, users who do not get the print edition will be required to participate on a subscription basis to continue reading.

AP Reporter Suspected Something Was Awry With Story Of Kindness-Chronicling Hitchhiker (Poynter / MediaWire)
Matthew Brown had his doubts about Ray Dolin's story while he was reporting it. An Associated Press reporter based in Montana, Brown had noticed a brief on June 11 saying Dolin had been shot by the side of the road while hitchhiking; he'd told police he was writing a book about kindness in America. An arrest had been made and a suspect charged.

Celebrities Join 'Smoke Alarm' Twitter Plan (CNN)
Smokey Robinson wants to use Twitter and Facebook to help solve some of the world's problems, such as the lack of water and food in developing countries. AllTwitter Smoke Alarm works sort of like those chain phone calls that parents used to do when school events were canceled: Robinson starts by tweeting something, it's retweeted by a first wave of celebrities, who get it to millions of regular folk like us, and we continue passing it along. And this chain reaction will be sparked by issues that matter most in the world, like famine, natural disasters and other problems we face.

YouTube's Gigantic Year Is Already Here, Citi Says (AllThingsD)
Is Google making money off of YouTube? You betcha, Google execs told shareholders Thursday, without offering the slightest bit of detail. Par for the course. So in lieu of real numbers from Google, here's a Wall Street estimate: Google is making a ton of money from YouTube.

Building A Multi-Platform Media For -- And By -- The Public (CJR / Behind The News)
At first glance, the new rule approved last month by the Federal Communications Commission requiring local television broadcasters to make public their records on political ad spending might seem revelatory. But in reality, it represents a very modest change to longstanding policy.

What Would It Take For Google+ To Take The Lead? (SocialTimes)
Newsflash: New media and traditional media alike enjoy nothing better than doomsday predictions and premature eulogies. As such, Google+ has been suffering a tremendous lashing by most professional critics for the last few months, as underwhelming (and vague) engagement numbers have mixed with independent reports of inactivity. Everyone's ready to have the doctors call it on Google+. But we've all been wrong before, so I'm going to look at a hypothetical situation in which Google+ would become an overnight sensation.

Politico Is Making Money With Subscriptions (Adweek)
In an era where it has been difficult to get anyone to pay for quality reporting, Politico is finding ways to make some cash.

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