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Yahoo! Fires Bureau Chief for Romney/Blacks Remark (Yahoo! News / AP)
Yahoo! News fired its Washington bureau chief on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after he was caught on an open microphone saying that Mitt Romney and his wife, at the Republican convention in Florida while a hurricane was approaching Louisiana, were "happy to have a party with black people drowning." Politico / Dylan Byers on Media "They're not concerned at all. They're happy to have a party with black people drowning," David Chalian said over a break during the ABC News/Yahoo! News webcast, in reference to the fact that the GOP convention in Tampa is taking place as Hurricane Isaac makes landfall on the north Gulf Coast. HuffPost A Yahoo! spokesperson released a statement regarding the company's decision to fire Chalian "effective immediately," saying "David Chalian's statement was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo!. He has been terminated effective immediately. We have already reached out to the Romney campaign, and we apologize to Mitt Romney, his staff, their supporters and anyone who was offended." LA Times / Politics Now The lesson here, for those with a bit of memory and a scorecard, is that you can call the president a "dick" and live to opinionate another day -- as Time magazine/MSNBC commentator Mark Halperin learned last summer after that intemperate comment on the cable channel's Morning Joe. But you're out in a Tampa Bay minute if you dare to joke among your colleagues (as Chalian obviously thought he was) about another politician's alleged racial and/or disaster insensitivity. NYT / Media Decoder Chalian's "drowning" comment was made on Monday night during Yahoo!'s live Web video coverage of the convention. The coverage is being produced in partnership with ABC News, where Chalian worked as political director until 2010. After a little more than a year at PBS' NewsHour, he joined Yahoo! in late 2011. TVNewser Web shows, which can be more free-wheeling than their TV counterparts, also carry risks, as ABC and Yahoo! learned.
President Obama Takes Questions from the Internet on Reddit (NYT / Bits)
As thousands of politicians, delegates and reporters swarmed Tampa, Fla., for the Republican National Convention, President Obama turned to a different platform. The president made a guest appearance on Reddit, the popular social news site, taking questions submitted by site members in a popular format known as "Ask Me Anything," or AMA. LA Times / Tech Now Obama answered only a handful of questions during the "Ask Me Anything" session, but his presence caused Reddit to significantly surpass its record for most users on at one time. Reddit, which started to gain mainstream notice this year, got more than 200,000 visits at one point, breaking its previous high of 130,000. Slate / Future Tense An AMA that lasted just more than 30 minutes (many of the more substantive ones can last hours) gave the president the cover he needed to skirt any lines of inquiry that might draw him too far off-message. The Atlantic The sheer weirdness of the Reddit community's questions can unlock bits and pieces of people who've had to function within the envelope of their public personas. And that's cool and fun and hilarious and sometimes profound. But, the Reddit AMA is a terrible format for extracting information from a politician. U.S. World & News Report / Washington Whispers And here are the questions Obama decided to answer, in no particular order, in case you missed it.
Sarah Palin: Fox News Canceled My Appearances (HuffPost)
What's going on between Sarah Palin and Fox News? The former vice-presidential nominee famously signed a huge contract with the network back in 2010, and she was once one of its marquee faces. In a Wednesday Facebook post, though, Palin let the world know that Fox News had canceled big-time on her for the whole evening. TVNewser Palin and FNC have not always seen eye to eye. On primary day in Alaska earlier this year, Palin gave an impromptu interview to a CNN reporter that was camped out in Wasilla. WSJ / Washington Wire "Our plans changed based on the fact that the RNC condensed the schedule of speeches from four nights to three," said Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming for Fox News. "We look forward to having Governor Palin back as soon as we can." New York / Daily Intel Four years ago, Sarah Palin delivered the most memorable speech of the Republican National Convention. Yet, while the latest Republican vice presidential nominee was preparing to take the stage Wednesday night, Palin got confirmation that America has found new sources for folksy hunting anecdotes and unusually named children.
TV Audiences Go Social as U.S. Republican Convention Coverage Wanes (Reuters)
Howling wind, driving rain and potential damage in New Orleans from Hurricane Isaac hasn't yet dampened U.S. Republican convention media coverage, but early TV ratings proved only so-so while many people instead "tuned in" to social networks. National Journal Related: Voters are forming impressions from droves of disparate sources of information -- like Yahoo!, Twitter, and Facebook -- which they process quite differently than before, when television and the legacy news media largely dictated the tenor of the moment.
Fox News Is Biggest Draw on First Night of Convention (NYT / The Caucus)
More than 20 million people tuned in to the Republican National Convention on the first full day of convention proceedings, and more of them watched on Fox News than on any other channel by far. TVNewser According to preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research (final numbers could change, but probably not by much), FNC averaged 5.15 million viewers from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday night. MSNBC averaged 1.3 million, with CNN averaging 1.2 million.
Pinterest, Instagram Continue Meteoric Growth (LA Times / Tech Now)
Pinterest and Instagram, two social networks that gained mainstream popularity in just the last year, are continuing to grow at exponential rates, a new study shows. Weekly visits to Pinterest's website from North American users hit nearly 29 million in July, up from 1.27 million a year earlier, according to Experian Marketing Services. That's an increase of 2,183 percent for the social network, which has been especially popular among women. minOnline This is not a phenomenon restricted to the U.S. market. They both are now among the top 20 social nets in the major markets worldwide.
Google Plus Goes to the Office (NYT / Bits)
Now Google Plus means business. Google announced Wednesday that it is integrating features from Google Plus, its large but underutilized social network, with Google Apps, the online document, calendar and spreadsheet service that Google sells to corporations. LA Times / Tech Now Google is a bit of a laggard in social networking, which has already made a grand -- and potentially lucrative -- entrance into the business world. Look no further than Yammer, which Microsoft bought for $1.2 billion.
Twitter Gives 'Certified Products' Badges to 12 Ecosystem Companies (Ad Age / Digital)
Twitter has made another move to govern its ecosystem, announcing "certified products" badges for developers who play by its rules. AllTwitter This comes after alienating many developers that extended Twitter's reach and enabled businesses to be more successful online. Note the distinction.
Job Openings at Amazon Web Services Reveal Its Future (NYT / Bits)
Amazon.com does not talk much about what it does in operating the world's largest publicly available computing cloud. But if you read between the lines you can get a sense of where it is going – global expansion, a new kind of Web browser, and spy work for the United States government.
What Kind of Book Reader Are You? A Diagnostics Guide (The Atlantic Wire)
The New Yorker's Page-Turner blog includes a book-reader coinage that got us thinking about our own reading styles. There, Mark O'Connell confesses his dirty little reading secret: He doesn't finish books; he's a "promiscuous reader," a book abandoner. What kind are you? The New Yorker / Page-Turner On my bedside table, there's a precarious column of half-read paperbacks that taunts me with the evidence of my own readerly promiscuity. The reason I don't finish books is not that I don't like reading enough; it's that I like reading too much.
In Executive Shake-Up, Nickelodeon Fires Its Animation Chief (NYT / Media Decoder)
Nickelodeon, under pressure to reverse sharp ratings declines, fired its president of animation and longtime head of preschool programming on Wednesday amid a broader management shake-up. THR Related: Russell Hicks has been tapped as president of content development and production for the Nickelodeon Group. The 14-year veteran of the youth-themed cabler, who has been chief creative officer since 2008, will now oversee the company's live-action, animation development and production teams for all of Nick's content platforms and be based in the network's Burbank and Santa Monica offices.
SEAL's Book Shows bin Laden Raid Up Close (Yahoo! News / AP)
Navy SEAL's firsthand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden pulls back the veil on the secret operations conducted almost nightly by elite American forces against terrorist suspects.
Fox News and Twitter Launch Partnership for Conventions (LostRemote)
Fox News and Twitter already have a history of strategic partnerships that tap into the social platform's vast amount of data. In January the two worked together around Fox News' Republican debate, and now they're partnering for the conventions, extending Twitter's Political Index to television with a wider range of political figures.
Attorneys General Join $69M Electronic Book Deal (Yahoo! News / AP)
Attorneys general in 55 jurisdictions who claim there was a conspiracy to fix prices of electronic books say they've gotten on board with a $69 million settlement of antitrust claims against three publishers. The Denver Post Coloradoans who bought an eBook from one of three publishers between April 1, 2010, through last May 21 could have a partial refund coming from a deal to settle price-fixing allegations. "We will not tolerate publishers colluding to overcharge consumers millions of dollars for some of the most popular eBooks," Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said in a statement.
Paramount and Godfather Author Heirs Clash in NY (Yahoo! News / AP)
The dispute over the future of the Godfather franchise is moving to federal court in Manhattan as Paramount Pictures and heirs of the story's author face off at a hearing Thursday. Paramount, which is owned by Viacom Inc., sued the late author's estate in March, seeking a declaration that it automatically owned book publishing rights in any book that was a sequel to The Godfather.