Morning Media Newsfeed 09.27.12
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Rowling's First Novel for Adults Goes on Sale (Yahoo! News / AP)
British bookshops opened their doors early Thursday and some grown-up Harry Potter fans lined up overnight as J.K. Rowling launched her long-anticipated first book for adults, The Casual Vacancy. The lines were shorter and the wizard costumes missing, but the book was published to some of the same fanfare that greeted each Potter tome, with stores wheeling out crates of the books precisely at 8 a.m. ABC News Rowling's Harry Potter books have sold more than 450 million copies, been translated into 73 languages and produced eight blockbuster movies, making her the first billionaire author. But the woman who built an empire using made-up words such as, "codswallop," "Hufflepuff" and "veritaserum" left that magical world behind to write about a much grittier place, one called Pagford, where characters use words like "condom," "heroin" and "vagina." The Washington Post The embargo on the J.K. Rowling novel The Casual Vacancy, reportedly one of the most draconian non-disclosure agreements in the history of publishing... did not quite work. THR Reviewers are calling the adult novel, which hits bookstores Thursday, everything from heartbreaking, intelligent and funny to dull and predictable. Time / Lev Grossman It's not really possible to open The Casual Vacancy without a lot of expectations both high and low at the same time crashing around in your brain and distorting your vision. I don't know if it's possible or even desirable to avoid them.
Today EP: Matt Lauer 'Should Not Bear Any of the Blame' for Ann Curry Transition (TVNewser)
The Hollywood Reporter's Marissa Guthrie peppered Today show EP Jim Bell with questions on a range of issues Wednesday. As Today continues to struggle in the ratings, and staff rumors abound, Guthrie gets Bell on the record about his future and Today's. THR "We made some tough calls," Jim Bell tells THR. "We're taking some shots. But that's OK. We have the right team in place now. We're just trying to move forward here." CBS News The longtime morning champ has slipped behind ABC's Good Morning America in the ratings over recent months, after more than 15 years of being the unquestioned leader in the morning. The new ratings order has solidified since Ann Curry's tearful exit as Lauer's co-host in June. TV Guide Reports with unnamed sources have pointed the finger at Lauer for hastening Curry's departure. "I think Matt has been unfairly targeted here as somebody who bears some responsibility for the change," Bell told TV Guide magazine. "I made the change." NYT / Media Decoder Bell defended the insertion of Savannah Guthrie as the co-anchor beside Matt Lauer, calling her an important part of the "long view" plan to regain pre-eminence for the Today show. The Atlantic Wire So, yes Savannah Guthrie can probably breathe a little easier now that it's on the record that Lauer doesn't actually make the show's employment decisions... but he's still allowed to complain, right?
Michelle Obama to Appear on Steve Harvey Show (Yahoo! News / AP)
First lady Michelle Obama will appear on Steve Harvey's new daytime talk show. The show's producers say she will tape her appearance on Thursday. It's scheduled for broadcast on Oct. 3. Steve Harvey is taped before an audience at NBC's studios in Obama's hometown of Chicago. IndieWire / Shadow and Act I suppose Harvey will likely take a break from the usual material (relationships, love, sex, money matters, etc, etc, etc.) and talk politics with the FLOTUS; or maybe not. Chicago Tribune First lady Michelle Obama will visit Chicago on Thursday to speak at two campaign fundraisers and tape Steve Harvey's new daytime television show. One of the fundraisers will be at Harpo Studios, the Near West Side facility owned by Oprah Winfrey. The other, hosted by the LGBT Leadership Council, will take place at the residence of Fred Eychaner, owner of Newsweb Corp.
Comcast, NBCUniversal Get Behind Zeebox App (ABC News / AP)
Comcast Corp. and its NBCUniversal subsidiary are taking a stake in Zeebox, the maker of a so-called "second screen" app that people can fiddle with on mobile devices while they watch TV. The cable giant isn't saying how much it's putting into the company, but executives said that starting next month it will start advertising how Zeebox will be integrated into its shows. AllThingsD That means you'll see Zeebox ads and logos when you watch NBC, as well as Bravo, USA, SyFy, etc. And for some programs, you may see the app integrated directly into the shows themselves. USA Today Available for Android and Apple devices and Web browsers, the free app blends a TV program guide of 150 U.S. channels for your local market with additional programming information and interactive features, including Facebook and Twitter feeds. LA Times / Company Town A viewer checking out HBO's Boardwalk Empire would be able to invite Facebook friends to watch the episode, see what people are saying about the show on Twitter, read star Steve Buscemi's biography, or follow links to learn more about Prohibition or the notorious gangster Al Capone. TechCrunch So what's actually in it for partners? In addition to being able to control and customize their own show pages, they'll also have new ways of interacting with fans and new ways to monetize their show content.
Iranian TV Correspondent Killed in Syria (TVNewser)
A correspondent for Iran's Press TV was killed while reporting on-air in Syria's capital city of Damascus. The correspondent, Maya Nasser, was shot in the neck by a sniper, while Press TV's Damascus bureau chief Hossein Mortada was also wounded by gunfire. Al-Jazeera A statement posted on Nasser's Arabic-language Facebook page described how "armed terrorists" arrived in civilian cars while others took positions atop three surrounding buildings and opened fire on the square. Mortada was shot in the leg, the network said HuffPost The network spoke out about the tragedy, promising action against Nasser's killers. NYT / The Lede The channel's initial report on the deadly attack included audio of Nasser's last dispatch. He was reporting live via telephone from outside a military headquarters in Damascus, bombed by rebels earlier in the day, when the line suddenly clicked off. Committee to Protect Journalists While CPJ research indicates that many of the fatalities in Syria have been at the hands of government forces, an increasing number of attacks against journalists and news outlets seen as pro-government have been attributed to rebel forces.
Google Play Hits 25 Billion Downloads (AppNewser)
The world's second-biggest app store set a new record Wednesday. Google reported that Google Play has now seen 25,000,000,000 app downloads. This app store has grown from nothing four years ago, and it is now home to nearly 700,000 apps and games. To celebrate the milestone, Google has announced plans for sales on apps, eBooks, music and more. Android Official Blog Every day you'll be able to choose from a collection of apps from some of the world's top developers including Gameloft, Electronic Arts, Rovio, runtastic, Full Fat and more. And all for just 25 cents. Lifehacker The other deals are also pretty great, featuring new movies for $4-10, 25 music albums that changed the world for $4-6, and a list of the 25 most popular magazines in the store. PC Magazine There are also top single-issue magazines for $1.99 apiece, "banned books" beginning at 99 cents apiece, and top albums from $3.99 apiece.
Pew Study: Television Top Source of Local News (TVSpy)
There have been several studies released lately touting the accomplishments of local television newscasts. Now there's another one to add to the pile: a Pew study released Wednesday finds television to be the top source of local news in both rural and urban areas. Multichannel News According to the study, its popularity stems from three major categories: weather, breaking news and traffic. Nieman Journalism Lab Some of the findings are intuitive -- like how suburban residents, many of whom commute to work, are more likely than their urban counterparts to listen to the radio. Another example: Residents of large cities tend to be less interested in issues related to taxes, which could be because city-dwellers are likely to be younger and renters. AFP Newspapers are especially important for civic information to rural and small-town residents, who are the most concerned about what would happen if the local paper disappeared, the Pew Internet & American Life Project survey found.
Romney Campaign's 'No Whining' Rule on Media (The Washington Post / Erik Wemple)
In a discussion Wednesday on Fox & Friends, senior Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie said, "We have a no-whining rule in Boston about coverage in the media." The Hill / Hill Tube Republicans have long complained about a liberal bias in the mainstream media, and frustrations have been voiced in this cycle about soft coverage of President Obama and tough coverage of Romney. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The choice between Obama and Romney's respective paths will prove more important than the media's role in the race, Gillespie said. "We think that big choice will overcome all of this horse race political analysis you see in the media on a day-to-day basis," he said. Mediaite While Romney's reportedly taken issue with "overly aggressive" interviewing in the past, looks like the campaign will be staying away from the bias debate.
Dropbox It Like It's Hot: Integration with Facebook Brings Cloud File Sharing to Groups (AllFacebook)
Cloud storage service Dropbox announced an integration with Facebook that allows users to share files within groups on the social network. Once users link their Dropbox and Facebook accounts, they can share documents, photos, and videos on groups' walls, and, like other group posts, their content can be liked, shared, or commented on. If the content is edited at a later point, the group will receive a notification about the updated content. LA Times / Tech Now Dropbox said the new feature rolled out starting Wednesday. Facebook users will know if they have the feature when they click "Add File" on a Facebook Group if they see an option that says "From Your Dropbox." ZDNet Dropbox does have its own business-focused pricing scheme, but it doesn't really offer much in terms of a social element. Facebook really opens the door to a lot of potential in this regard.
Google President Arrested in Brazil over YouTube Videos (Yahoo! News / Y! Tech)
Here in the United States, Google's YouTube has taken up arms in defense of the First Amendment, refusing to take down a highly controversial anti-Muslim video in the name of free speech. In countries where free speech does not apply, however, a fight is brewing over who is responsible for politically offensive content posted to the popular site. WSJ The country's Federal Police detained the head of Google Inc.'s Brazilian operations after the company failed to act on an electoral judge's order to remove videos from its YouTube site criticizing a candidate in a rural state election. CBS News / AP Brazil's strict electoral laws limit what critics can say on television, radio and the Internet about candidates for office. Ahead of municipal elections next month, Google has received repeated requests to remove Web videos that allegedly violate those restrictions.
PR Stunt: Activists Sink Amazon Bestseller with Fake Reviews (PRNewser)
We've written a good bit about the use and abuse of fake "user reviews" recently, and we couldn't help but share this bizarre story of a "crowdsourced" effort to sink a certain Amazon bestseller -- all organized and executed by people who hadn't actually read the book in question.
Weather Channel Heads to Swing States for Election (Yahoo! News / AP)
Snowstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes are what usually put The Weather Channel's news team in motion. This November it will mobilize for the election. The network plans to send some of its meteorologists to swing states on Election Day to monitor the weather's impact on voting. This comes after it commissioned a study on how many people might be dissuaded from going to the polls by bad weather.
TV Will Be Apple's Undoing (WSJ)
Apple's fans imagine the company can do for TV what it did for music: breaking up the existing distribution model. Forget about it. Television is about to demonstrate the inadequacy of Apple's own business model.
Thriving New York Solves the Cash Question; Can Others Follow? (paidContent)
New York magazine is doing better than ever, with outstanding reporting and a healthy bottom line. Is the publication an outlier or can other city magazines imitate its strategy?
M. Scott Havens Named President of The Atlantic (FishbowlNY)
M. Scott Havens has been named president of The Atlantic. Havens most recently served as Atlantic Media Company's senior vice president of finance and digital preparations. Folio: Havens' new position pulls him out of a corporate role and lets him focus on the brand specifically. "Scott is the right person at the right time to take the helm of The Atlantic, our company's flagship brand," said Justin Smith, president of Atlantic Media Company, in a statement. "For the past few years he has been Atlantic Media's digital business brain, implementing a 'digital-first' strategy within each of our companies."