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Wednesday, Aug 01

Morning Media Newsfeed 08.01.12

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The Daily Lays Off a Third of Its Staff (AllThingsD)
The Daily, News Corp.'s attempt to create a digital newspaper for the iPad age, is laying off nearly a third of its staff. FishbowlNY Apparently the hardest hit will be the editorial and sports pages, which will still carry on after the layoffs, but with minimal content. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The news also comes just three weeks after reports surfaced that Murdoch had put the Daily "on watch," with plans to reassess it after the November election. Seeking to quell fears, editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo wrote a memo urging staffers to "ignore" the "rumors" of The Daily's "imminent demise." Mediaite The digital paper planned to fire 50 of its 170 employees on Tuesday. FishbowlLA Is 18 months of ambitious deficit financing enough to determine it is no longer worth pursuing a particular online news gathering path? Poynter / MediaWire The iPad-only publication plans to focus on "original reporting, strong visual elements, great photography and video, award-winning design, infographics, and interactivity." NYT / Media Decoder Last year, The Daily ranked third among the highest-grossing paid apps, behind Angry Birds and Smurfs' Village, according to Apple. But it didn't bring in the attention or advertising dollars needed to elevate it to the level of more established brands. Capital New York Scaling down The Daily does make sense in the context of the coming break-up of News Corp.'s profitable entertainment assets and its less lucrative publishing brands. The latter will presumably come under tougher scrutiny as a publicly traded company that can't spend the revenue from a giant entertainment division. The Daily is said to cost about $30 million a year with a goal of breaking even in five. The Daily Jesse Angelo, editor-in-chief: "The Daily was born of change. A changing technological landscape -- the beginning of the tablet and smartphone revolution -- made us want to rethink how we create media. And we believe that a healthy product and a healthy organization is one that continues to change. We try to innovate every day in the content we bring you -- blending words, pictures, video, animation, design, code and touch interactivity in a way that no one else does."

Twitter Reinstates Journalist Guy Adams' Account (WSJ)
Twitter Inc. reinstated the account of Guy Adams, a journalist for The Independent newspaper, after he had been kicked off for what Twitter said was a violation of its privacy guidelines for publishing the email address of an executive from Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal. Poynter / MediaWire Adams quoted an email from Twitter Tuesday that said, "We have just received an update from the complainant retracting their original request... Therefore your account has been unsuspended." WSJ "Our interest was in protecting our executive, not suspending the user from Twitter," an NBC spokesman said Tuesday. "We didn't initially understand the repercussions of our complaint, but now that we do, we have rescinded it." GigaOM Late Tuesday afternoon, Twitter's general counsel Alex MacGillivray issued a blog post describing how Twitter handles situations in which users post the personal information of other people. Most significantly, McGillivray's post also apologized for Twitter's decision to tell NBC to file a complaint about Adams. Twitter Blog MacGillivray: "The team working closely with NBC around our Olympics partnership did proactively identify a tweet that was in violation of the Twitter rules and encouraged them to file a support ticket with our Trust and Safety team to report the violation, as has now been reported publicly." TVNewser In an interview Tuesday, Adams told CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin he had "quite good reason" to suspect that Twitter suspended his account, "because they have a commercial relationship with NBC." NYT / Media Decoder In July, Twitter and NBC announced a partnership to share their Olympics coverage across both of their platforms. NBC would promote Twitter's Olympic event page through on-air graphics and Twitter would include NBC commentators on its Olympic events page. The Independent Adams: "In the green room at CNN's Los Angeles studio Tuesday night, a producer asked for my reaction to the still-breaking news that Twitter had decided, in their words, to 'un-suspend' my account. 'I feel,' I replied, 'like Nelson Mandela walking through the streets of Cape Town, circa 1990.' The producer looked at me, aghast. 'Whatever you do,' she commanded, 'do not go and say that when we put you on air.' Joking aside, the situation neatly summed up the absurdity of a course of events which allowed a snarky, 140-character-or-less piece of prose, which ought to have sunk without trace, become the subject of a viral news story which is still being debated across the international media landscape." Poynter / Media Lab Not only does this particular event smack of heavy-handed special treatment since NBC is Twitter's corporate partner in covering the Olympics, but it marks the latest milestone in Twitter's eroding commitment to free speech and keeping its hands off your tweets. Forbes / Mixed Media Once upon a time, Twitter had a simple goal: to build the most useful social platform it could. It did so in large part by watching its users' behavior and iterating around it, blessing their grassroots innovations with legitimacy. Now, Twitter has a different objective: to be the most used social platform. Nieman Journalism Lab By tweeting about a developing story, could you be inciting a riot?

Media General Gives Pink Slips to 75 Employees (
Media General -- "smaller, more focused" after selling its newspapers (but for the Tampa Tribune) to Warren Buffett -- dismissed 75 employees Tuesday. Poynter / MediaWire Media General sold all but one of its newspapers to Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in May. As part of the deal, Buffett loaned the company $400 million to restructure its crushing debt. FishbowlNY According to a memo obtained by Jim Romenesko, the cuts were coming from "corporate staff departments and in the digital media section of the Growth and Performance group." The Associated Press The reductions announced Tuesday amount to about a third of its headquarters staff.

Hoda Kotb Flown to London to Aid Today Show's Olympic Coverage (New York Daily News)
Will Ann Curry have the last laugh after all? An insider told the Daily News that NBC flew Hoda Kotb to London over the weekend to take part in the Today show's Olympic coverage because audiences weren't digging Curry's replacement, Savannah Guthrie. TVNewser There is just one little problem with the story: Kotb was always supposed to be contributing to NBC's Olympics coverage in London. Kotb and her fourth-hour co-host Kathie Lee Gifford even talked about the upcoming trip on Today almost two weeks ago. CJR / Behind the News "The Daily News story was flat wrong," Megan Kopf, a publicist for the Today show, told CJR. Capital New York Gossip reporter Carson Griffith is standing by her story.

Writer Gore Vidal, 86, Has Died (LA Times / Jacket Copy)
Gore Vidal, the iconoclastic writer, savvy analyst and imperious gadfly on the national conscience, has died. He was 86. Slate / The Slatest His nephew, Burr Steers, said that Vidal died that evening at his California home of complications of pneumonia. The Associated Press Vidal had been living alone in the home and had been sick for "quite a while," Steers said. Bloomberg He won the National Book Award for nonfiction for United States (1993), a collection of essays on topics including literature and film, feminism and imperialism. His columns on sex, Hollywood, politics and religion appeared, among other places, in Esquire, The Nation and The New York Review of Books. GalleyCat He wrote many novels, screenplays and a bookshelf full of inspiring essays. His novels included: Myra Breckinridge, Burr, Lincoln, 1876, Empire, Hollywood, and Washington, D.C. NYT Perhaps more than any other American writer except Norman Mailer or Truman Capote, Vidal took great pleasure in being a public figure. He twice ran for office -- in 1960, when he was the Democratic Congressional candidate for the 29th District in upstate New York, and in 1982, when he campaigned in California for a seat in the Senate -- and though he lost both times, he often conducted himself as a sort of unelected shadow president. He once said, "There is not one human problem that could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise."

CQ Roll Call Bloodbath of Layoffs Hits (FishbowlDC)
CQ Roll Call informed some 30 employees Tuesday morning that they no longer have jobs. As layoffs, they will receive severance packages.

Ron Burkle Leading Contender to Purchase Variety (LA Times / Company Town)
Supermarket magnate and entertainment investor Ron Burkle is now the leading contender to take control of the 107-year-old Hollywood trade newspaper Variety. FishbowlLA If it does transpire this way, it really could not turn out any better for Variety. Burkle has deep pockets, tons of business acumen and, most likely, a solid big-picture plan that could spell trouble for the trade's direct competitors. The Atlantic Wire Burkle, who owns The Enquirer and BlackBook, and has dabbled in other media outlets like Radar, has offered $40 million for the publication. NY Post Jimmy Finkelstein -- co-owner of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Adweek -- is the other final bidder for cash-strapped Variety.

SoundCloud Expands its Effort to Become the YouTube of Public Radio and Podcasts (Nieman Journalism Lab)
SoundCloud is arguably the biggest music-sharing community since MySpace, but now the company is eyeing a different kind of audio: the spoken word.

Google Buys Wildfire to Play More in Social Media (WSJ / Deal Journal)
The rush to figure out how to market companies on social media sites has led Google to make a new deal. Ad Age / Digital Google agreed to buy social agency Wildfire Interactive for about $250 million plus performance incentives, the latest in a string of deals as advertising and enterprise giants look to add social to their core offerings. Adweek One obvious move for Google would be to use Wildfire's page management expertise to beef up Google+. Right now brands' Google+ pages aren't all that different from their Facebook Pages -- ahem, their pre-Timeline Facebook Pages. But in a company blog post announcing the acquisition, Google product management director Jason Miller wrote that Wildfire will enable Google to create "new opportunities for our clients to engage with people across all social services."

Inside Billionaire Joe Ricketts' Dream of Media Empire (Capital New York)
Joe Ricketts, the Nebraska-born mogul, fiscally conservative political donor and founder of the online brokerage titan TD Ameritrade, spent much of his life on the plains, where everything is flat. So when he decided in 2006, at the age of 65, to get a pièd-a-terre in Manhattan, Ricketts went for altitude, buying a condo on the 78th floor of the Time Warner Center's north tower for $29.2 million. It was there, one night in December of 2009, that he hosted an intimate holiday party attended by the staff of, the curiously named neighborhood news website Ricketts bankrolls.

Game of Thrones: NBC's Ratings Momentum is Unstoppable (Adweek)
NBC's coverage of the 2012 London Olympics continues to deliver huge ratings, topping the Beijing numbers for the fourth night in a row. According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, NBC averaged 31.6 million total viewers with its Monday primetime Olympics coverage, marking a 5 percent improvement versus the 30.2 million fans who tuned in for the comparable evening during the 2008 Beijing Games. TVNewser That isn't to say everything else has been without issue.

NAA List Shows Newspaper Paywalls Typically Allow 11 Free Articles (Poynter / MediaWire)
Research conducted by the Newspaper Association of America shows that some news organizations, like Gannett, vary their paywall thresholds at different papers, while others, like Digital First, stick with the same number across them all.

Pete Thamel is Leaving The New York Times for Sports Illustrated (The Big Lead)
Pete Thamel, the New York Times college sports reporter, is leaving for Sports Illustrated, the paper announced internally Monday night. FishbowlNY Thamel has been with the Times for nine years covering national college football and basketball. He was also nominated for a Pulitzer by the Times in 2006. NY Post / Media Ink Thamel and Thayer Evans, who has been with Fox Sports for the past two years, will reunite as part of a new enterprise team for Sports Illustrated. The duo wrote groundbreaking pieces for the Times on college-sports abuses and high-school diploma mills.

Lucky, Architectural Digest Join the App Race (WWD / Memo Pad)
Lucky and Architectural Digest launched iPad editions Tuesday on Apple's Newsstand. FishbowlNY One of Lucky's biggest lures on the iPad is giving users the ability to click on any single product and be directed to the designer's site so they can purchase it.

WNYW Sports Anchor Duke Castiglione Gets Multi-Year Extension (FishbowlNY)
You'll be seeing a lot more of sports anchor Duke Castiglione. Sources tell FishbowlNY that he has agreed to a multi-year extension with the Fox O&O. Since joining WNYW five years ago, Castiglione has covered every major sporting event.

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