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Wednesday, Jun 27

Morning Media Newsfeed 06.27.12

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Nora Ephron, Writer And Filmmaker With A Genius For Humor, Dies At 71 (NYT)
Nora Ephron, an essayist and humorist in the Dorothy Parker mold (only smarter and funnier, some said) who became one of her era's most successful screenwriters and filmmakers, making romantic comedy hits like Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally, died Tuesday night in Manhattan. She was 71. LA Times A rare author and screenwriter whose works appealed to highbrow readers and mainstream moviegoers, Ephron wrote fiction that was distinguished by characters who seemed simultaneously normal and extraordinary. Like many people, they wrestled with commitment, principles and fame, but often exhibited keen, comic insights about their predicaments. Variety Ephron picked up her first Oscar nomination in 1984 for the script she wrote with Alice Arlen to Silkwood, starring Meryl Streep. She was then nominated in 1990 for the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally, a huge box office hit that starred Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. With David S. Ward and Jeff Arch, she shared an Oscar nom in 1994 for Sleepless in Seattle, starring Tom Hanks and Ryan. HuffPost Though she was most famous for her films and books, Ephron actually started her career as a journalist. The Associated Press Determined by high school to be a journalist, Ephron graduated from the single-sex Wellesley College in 1962, moved to New York and started out as a "mail girl" and fact checker at Newsweek. A newspaper strike at the end of the year gave her a chance. Victor Navasky, the future editor of The Nation, was then running a satirical magazine called the Monacle. He was working on a parody of the New York Post, "The New York Pest," and asked Ephron for a spoof of Post columnist Leonard Lyons. HuffPost She then went on to write about the 1970s women's movement for Esquire. GalleyCat Ephron had written a number of books, including Crazy Salad, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman and I Remember Nothing: And other Reflections. LA Times / Ministry Of Gossip Celebrities and filmmakers mourned the death of prolific writer, director and journalist Ephron. HuffPost Here is a collection of celebrity reactions on Twitter. HuffPost / Sara Wilson I met Ephron for the first time two years ago, when she greeted me at the door of her lovely Hollywood Hills home. I had come to interview for the editor position of the Huffington Post's soon-to-be launched divorce section -- an idea that she had dreamed up. The Daily Beast / Joan Juliet Buck I didn't know Ephron well because I was paralyzed by admiration. She'd crossed the divide between journalism and fiction, and then the one between fiction and screenplays, and then the one between screenplays and directing, without ever losing the beat of her own voice. She'd scattered the culture with markers that will forever be hers, "I'll have what she's having" among them. New York Daily News Friends and family were set to gather Wednesday at Ephron's and husband Nick Pileggi's home. On Thursday, there will be a memorial service -- scripted, naturally, by Ephron.

CNN Sinks To 21-Year Primetime Ratings Low In Second Quarter (Deadline Hollywood)
Coming off its least-watched month in primetime in 20 years in May, CNN has taken another big ratings blow: The cable news network has registered its lowest-rated quarter in primetime since 1991. THR / The Live Feed The primetime lineup of Anderson Cooper 360 and Piers Morgan, specifically, saw big drops during the prime 8-10 p.m. hours that have averages down to 446,000 total viewers and a mere 129,000 with adults 25-54. Those numbers mark 35 and 41 percent drops from the second quarter in 2011. TVNewser It is worth noting that the second quarter of 2011 had several notable news events that boosted cable news ratings, including the death of Osama Bin Laden and the Royal Wedding. NYT / Media Decoder After its worst-ever May, and now a worst-ever quarter, the litany of "worst evers" is growing at CNN, which has yet to find an answer to what to do when news is light. The network still steers clear of the opinion-oriented programs that bring regular streams of viewers to hosts like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity on Fox and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. Worse still for CNN: The quarter's numbers might even represent a greater-than-21-year-low, since 1991 is the first year that ratings data was compiled in the categories. CNN was launched in 1980. HuffPost CNN announced another shakeup to its schedule on Tuesday. Longtime CNN Newsroom anchor Kyra Phillips is moving to sister network HLN. CNN said she would anchor a new daytime show there. Taking her place at 11 a.m. is Ashleigh Banfield. Politico In April, as Republicans were throwing their weight behind Mitt Romney and the lengthy, combative presidential primary process was drawing to a close, CNN's senior vice president and Washington bureau chief Sam Feist presented his staff with a "CNN Half-time Election Report." The four-minute video, shown at the quarterly staff meeting, was a highlight reel of CNN debates, primary night coverage, and interviews interspersed with laudatory reviews. "And It's Only Halftime..." the video concluded. In fact, the scoreboard, according to many inside and outside the network, doesn't look nearly as good as the video suggests. Mediaite Fellow cable news networks MSNBC and Fox News experienced a much less significant drop in primetime ratings. TVNewser Fox News continues its reign as the cable news king, but the News Corp. news channel is not immune to the slowdown in cable news. This was Fox's lowest quarter since the second quarter of 2008. TVNewser MSNBC continued its run as the No. 2 cable news network for the second quarter of 2012 but is also experiencing declines, double digit in most cases. TVNewser Like the rest of the cable networks, HLN struggled during the second quarter of 2012. Compared to the same quarter last year, HLN's ratings are down double digits across the board. TVNewser Two of the three evening newscasts seem to be suffering from the same affliction affecting cable news channels: a viewership retreat.

WSJ Pulls Story After It Discovered Intern Fabricated Sources; Intern Fired (Talking Biz News)
The Wall Street Journal has posted the following note on its website: "'Bridging a Local Divide,' published online on June 17, has been removed from the Journal's websites. Many of the names contained in the article about the re-opening of the 103rd Street Pedestrian Bridge in Manhattan were fabricated by reporting intern Liane Membis, and the quotes couldn't be independently verified. Membis is no longer working at The Wall Street Journal. Poynter / MediaWire Some of the people Membis claimed to interview in the piece: Katrina Maple, 64; Saniqua Dimson, 17; Shaila Tompkins, 26 and pushing a baby stroller; Carolyn Turner, 31 and carrying "two pink five-pound hand weights"; Jonqueil Stevens, 40. NY Mag / Daily Intel Membis has written for the Yale Daily News and contributed to, the Huffington Post, and Ebony, according to her website. Washington Post / Erik Wemple What distinguishes the quotes in the story is nothing. Nothing at all. They're all commonplace assertions about a bridge, cementing together a forgettable piece of community reportage. NYT / Media Decoder The paper also said it had removed a quote Membis contributed to a second article, about Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's handling of the police's stop-and-frisk policies, because editors could not independently verify the statements. In a third article, written by Membis about the space shuttle's journey down the Hudson River, the paper removed two quotes from the original story because of similar problems. FishbowlNY Here's hoping this is the last lying journalist story we have to cover this week.

Ann Curry Will Remain At NBC News After Today Exit (THR)
Ann Curry is not leaving NBC News, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, batting down reports that she is negotiating an exit agreement from the company that could pay her the remainder of her three-year deal, which is reported to be worth $10 million a year. NBC executives are close to hammering out a "substantial" role for Curry at NBC News even as she is set to exit as co-host of Today. NYT / Media Decoder NBC News officials are in negotiations to have Savannah Guthrie, a relatively new face at the Today show, replace Curry as the show's co-host. The co-host position has been offered to Guthrie, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations, who insisted on anonymity because they did not have permission to comment on the record. It is not known whether Guthrie has accepted the offer.

Marketers Love Facebook, But Many Have No Idea If Their Ads Work (AdAge / Digital)
When it comes to Facebook, the nation's marketers have reached an overwhelming consensus: you simply have to be there. Unfortunately for Facebook, they also have reached another: advertising on Facebook isn't necessarily required. AllThingsD Fresh fuel for the "Do Facebook Ads Really Work?" debate: A survey that indicates advertisers themselves don't really know what to think about the social network and its $3 billion a year ad business.

Authors Guild Catalogs Amazon's 'Baldly Anticompetitive Practices' (GalleyCat)
Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken has sent the Department of Justice a lengthy attack on Amazon's "baldly anticompetitive practices," the Guild's official response to the DOJ's eBook price fixing lawsuit. NationalJournal / Tech Daily Dose In their filing, the Authors Guild complains of "Amazon's monopolistic reach" in the bookselling market, and charges that the online retailer is relying on a set of unfair tactics to ensure that publishers comply with Amazon's pricing policies. Publishers Weekly The Guild then goes on to give another list of the various ways it charges that Amazon has used its market power to destroy competition, ranging from removing buy buttons to the introduction of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library to its recent strategy of buying publishing companies. The Authors Guild Aiken: "Amazon really doesn't need the Justice Department's help. For the sake of free and fair competition, for the sake of readers who would like many companies to invest in better e-reading devices, software, and even in bookstores that one can visit on a weekend, please find another way to address the collusion you believe you've uncovered."

New York Times Will End Partnership With NYU, CUNY On Hyperlocal Blogs (Capital New York)
The New York Times' three-year-old experiment in hyperlocal community journalism is coming to an end -- for now, at least.

Hearst Serial Fabricator Paresh Jha May Have Made Up More Stories Than Stephen Glass (Poynter / Regret The Error)
The New Canaan News recently announced that fired staff writer Paresh Jha repeatedly fabricated sources and quotes in at least 25 stories. The weekly paper also declared that any "stories found to contain fabricated material have been removed from the newspaper's website." But at least one Jha story still on the site appears to have been completely fabricated. With the final tally still to be determined, the total number of stories that Jha fully or partly fabricated could easily exceed Stephen Glass' mark of 27 while at The New Republic. Poynter / Regret The Error The paper's statement about Jha, published online late Friday afternoon, reported that Jha had fabricated sources and quotes in 25 stories going back a year and a half. Since putting that brief statement online, no one from the paper or Hearst's Connecticut operation has spoken publicly.

SheKnows Editors Suspended, Panera Drops Ads Over Email Encouraging Click Fraud (
Five days ago I posted an email from a editor who told writers to click on ads next to their stories "100 times if you want to." Another editor's email encouraged staff to click on Panera ads because "we want to keep them around." Sorry, SheKnows, but Panera isn't sticking around. Adweek According to a letter issued by Kyle Cox, president of SheKnows, a division of AtomicOnline, editors Joanie Segall and Alicia French have been suspended while threatening "immediate termination" if any other employees engage in the disingenuous ad clicking suggested by the editors.

It May Not Be Televised, But The (Journalism) Revolution Will Be Hacked (AllThingsD)
What a weird weekend for journalism. On Sunday, a day once reserved for fat feature-laden newspapers, a new television show and a San Francisco hackathon brought the future of the media into the limelight in very different ways.

Gannett Says Paywalls Are Generating Strong Revenue, Despite Circulation Declines (Poynter / MediaWire)
Gannett, the largest U.S. publisher with papers that have a combined weekday circulation of 4.9 million, says its digital subscription plan, paired with metered paywalls, is now active in 49 of the company's 80 community newspaper markets.

Apple Debuts Stand-Alone Podcasts App For iPhone And iPad (VentureBeat)
Apple has added a full-fledged application for podcasts to the iOS App Store to make it easier for people to find and organize content from podcasters around the world. CNET Among the specialty features of the app is a way to subscribe to a podcast -- something that's long been a part of the desktop version of iTunes but not found in the podcast functionality of Apple's iTunes iOS app. TechCrunch New to Apple's podcast experience is the "Top Stations" feature, which allows users to browse podcasts based on genre and subsets within those genres. Nieman Journalism Lab Now that Apple is shunting podcasts onto a private island outside of the iTunes iOS app, however, it may be more difficult for new users to discover the content.

Atlantic Cover Story Is A Record Breaker (FishbowlDC)
The Atlantic's latest cover story by 53-year-old former state department official Anne-Marie Slaughter, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," has been wildly popular since going online last Wednesday night -- record-breaking, in fact. So how come reading about women isn't as intriguing as reading about cats?

New Hire For LA Times Sacramento Bureau Comes With Pulitzer (LA Observed)
The LA Times has hired Paige St. John, who won the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting last year in Florida. FishbowlLA Ashley Dunn, LA Times managing editor: "Paige has covered an array of statehouse beats, having worked for the AP in Charleston, W.Va., and served as bureau chief for Gannett in Tallahassee. She was also an environment reporter at the Detroit News. A self-taught data junkie and Web wizard, she'll focus on the prison system and state agencies in Sacramento."

KSAX Shutting Down, 17 Laid Off (TVSpy)
Hubbard Broadcasting is shutting down news operations at KSAX, its ABC affiliate in central Minnesota, and 17 employees are being laid off.

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