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Thursday, Oct 11

Morning Media Newsfeed 10.11.12

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Media Circus Pitches its Tent in Danville for Biden-Ryan Debate (Lexington Herald-Leader)
The media circus you've seen surrounding major political events this year has landed at Centre College for Thursday night's vice presidential debate between incumbent Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan. Politico Pundits and reporters told Politico that the pressure's on Biden to deliver the aggressive performance President Barack Obama failed to have at last week's debate. And the pressure's on Ryan to keep up the momentum his running mate Mitt Romney created just a week ago in Denver. TVNewser With multiple networks carrying the same programming Thursday night -- the one and only vice presidential debate -- CNN has decided to feature real-time feedback from a focus group in Virginia, and a running time clock that tracks each candidate's speaking time which will be added up to determine the time spent on the issues. The Hill / Hillicon Valley ABC News confirmed on Wednesday that President Obama was a guest at the 1991 wedding of ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, who is set to moderate the vice presidential debate Thursday night between Biden and Ryan. HuffPost Candy Crowley has also received particular scrutiny as the first woman to moderate a debate since 1992. NYT The vice-presidential candidates have spent weeks going over their own and their opponent's talking points for Thursday night's debate in Danville, Ky. Here are six things to watch.

New York Times and Union Agree to Mediation (FishbowlNY)
Right on the heels of a promise to send one "final offer" to New York Times union members, the company and the Newspaper Guild of New York have decided to bring things to a mediation. HuffPost Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the paper's publisher, broke the news to staff in an email. At the union's suggestion, the mediator will be Martin Scheinman, an arbitrator who has heard disputes at the Times before. The Wrap The union said the mediator was "involved in recent mediations and arbitrations involving the Times" and his abilities are "respected by both the guild and the company."

Six Bizarre Big Bird Stories (FishbowlDC)
Not too long ago much of the political chattering class bemoaned the fact that this election has become preoccupied with tiny things like the gaffe du jour. The media has finally responded by reporting on something far bigger: Big Bird. Chicago Tribune / Reuters In 2008, singer will.i.am provided Barack Obama's presidential campaign with music for its signature anthem, "Yes We Can." On Tuesday, at a rally for Obama in Columbus, Ohio, the performer chose to play something new: the theme song for Sesame Street. Christian Science Monitor / Decoder Wire The Obama campaign released an ad Tuesday attacking GOP nominee Mitt Romney for promising to cut Big Bird's federal funding. The spot engendered a fair bit of controversy, in case you haven't heard. Was it a mistake? Or do Obama's strategists know what they're doing here? THR Asked about Big Bird's role in the presidential campaign, Sesame Workshop CEO Melvin Ming said: "Big Bird is a symbol of a commitment of a generation to have commercial-free television as that first school for preschoolers. Our commitment is to be where the children are with the media that help them grow and learn." The Washington Post / The Fix Twenty seven days before the 2012 presidential election, Big Bird is the biggest topic of debate in the political world. Even a month ago, the sentence above would have been much more likely to run in The Onion than in mainstream media outlets like The Washington Post. And yet, here we are.

Diaz, Erdrich, Eggers Earn National Book Award Noms (USA Today)
Three novelists who've gained literary respect as well as commercial success -- Junot Diaz, (This is How You Lose Her), Louise Erdrich (The Round House) and Dave Eggers (A Hologram for the King) -- are among the finalists for the National Book Award for fiction announced Wednesday. The Washington Post Stories about the Iraq war hold a prominent place in this year's National Book Award nominations. The Yellow Birds, a debut novel by Iraq vet Kevin Powers, and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, the first novel by Ben Fountain, are among the five finalists for the fiction award. LA Times / Jacket Copy On a sad note, the nonfiction finalists include Anthony Shadid's House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East. The New York Times journalist died earlier this year while covering the conflicts in the Middle East. NYT / Arts Beat The National Book Foundation, which presents the awards, appears to have taken to heart the criticism from previous years that its nominations went to obscure works that sold few copies. GalleyCat The finalists were announced on MSNBC this year, a new twist for the prestigious award. The winners will be revealed at a gala ceremony on November 14 in New York City at Cipriani Wall Street.

eBay Looks Like Pinterest Now... Sort Of (SocialTimes)
Auction site eBay showed off a new layout Wednesday at the "Future of Shopping" event in New York City. From the look of it, it's an e-commerce version of Pinterest, with big pictures and customizable feeds. USA Today eBay is hurtling into the digital age with a new logo, major redesign and aggressive plans to wade deeper into daily deals, search and shipping. The most striking change is the visual, Pinterest-like home page "Feed," which lists brands that users follow and makes suggestions based on their browsing history and past purchases. Ad Age / Digital It is, essentially, a news feed, but with products. It lets eBay users create personalized home-page profiles by "following" certain categories, such as a favorite musician or brand, and is driven both by what the user tells the company and by his or her purchase and search history. CNET The new look is rolling out over the next 100 days, but you can activate it now by going to ebay.com/feed. Search results and profiles also got a boost. TheNextWeb It's important to remember that just because a concept works in one situation, doesn't mean it will work in another. Trying to take Pinterest's model out of its social context is like using a bad metaphor to drive home a good point.

YouTube Gets Another Redesign, Pushes Recommended Channels (SocialTimes)
It looks like YouTube started rolling out another major site redesign Wednesday night. The latest site revamp has a much Google Plus-ier look and feel, but what really stands out is the fact that the site is now much more new channel recommendations-centric. LA Times / Company Town YouTube is looking increasingly like TV, as it attracts such top-flight talent as Amy Poehler and Rainn Wilson to create original programming for the site. Variety YouTube will start experimenting with charging subscription fees for some of its branded content following its partnerships, announced at MIPCOM, with European TV content providers to feed 60 new channels. Forbes / Adventures in the Startup Economy But YouTube has also been secretly looking down the road to a world of millions of clips in high quality collections of deep, rich content. To manage it all, YouTube is quickly evolving from a creator to a curator of content.

Google in Industry's 'Defining Fight' with Apple, Schmidt Says (Yahoo! News / Reuters)
Google Inc. executive chairman Eric Schmidt expects more than a billion mobile devices around the world to be running its Android software within a year, intensifying a battle with Apple Inc that he called a "defining fight" of the industry. AllThingsD "We've not seen platform fights at this scale," Schmidt said. "The beneficiary is you guys (i.e., consumers). Prices are dropping rapidly. That's a wonderful value proposition." CNET The sheer volume of mobile device sales dwarfed any platform battle that came before it in the technology industry, Schmidt said, including Microsoft vs. Apple in the desktop computing market. The Verge Looking at the bigger picture, Schmidt notes the larger battle is between what he calls a "gang of four" consisting of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google, which are "all different, all competitors, [and] all making enormous investments." When told that Microsoft wasn't on that list, Schmidt called the omission "deliberate."

How to Protect Your Phone Number on Facebook: Three Options You and Your Friends Need to Know About (TheNextWeb)
On Wednesday, we reported on how a security researcher managed to collect countless phone numbers and their corresponding Facebook names with very little effort before the company could stop him. All he had to do was write an automated script to exploit some basic Facebook privacy settings. LA Times / Tech Now Facebook says it keeps people from abusing the feature by restricting how many times they are permitted to search for phone numbers. If Facebook did not restrict that, Facebook users could be at the mercy of marketers, pollsters, basically anyone, looking to match phone numbers with information from Facebook profiles.

And Now for Some Variety Rumors (FishbowlNY)
Now that Variety is under the wing of Penske Media, the rumors about the paper's future are swirling. According to the New York Post, the big news doesn't concern the print side; insiders claim that Variety's paywall will be taken down soon. Penske is also expected to expand the paper internationally. Deadline Hollywood The PMC boss also said that Variety's print publications are still going to come out for the foreseeable future. And CEO Jay Penske said he plans to invest more in Variety's digital platform and expand its editorial reach. The Atlantic Wire Now that Penske has purchased Variety there's a can't-help-ourselves rumor that Bonnie Fuller, who currently edits his site Hollywoodlife.com, will take it over, pitting her against both Deadline.com's very-volatile Nikki Finke as well as her former Us Weekly sidekick and successor Janice Min who's now the savior-editor of The Hollywood Reporter.

Dawn Ostroff Talks Digital at MIPCOM (WWD / Memo Pad)
The explosion of digital television channels has left Hollywood wondering if it's witnessing the end of the traditional small screen or the dawn of a new, far more lucrative, entertainment age. Condé Nast Entertainment president Dawn Ostroff, a veteran of conventional TV, is firmly in the latter camp.

The Politics of Data (CJR / Between the Spreadsheets)
Data can be political. Numbers, facts, and figures are just as much a source as quotes from politicians, community leaders and academics. The graphics editor and data reporter have just as much responsibility to verify their numbers as the crime reporter does to accurately collect the facts of a police case.

Drudge Report Worth $375 Million? (JimRomenesko.com)
Henry Blodget, CEO and editor-in-chief of Business Insider, says The Drudge Report is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and that Matt Drudge's influence and wealth make him "one of the most successful digital media entrepreneurs in the world -- the Rupert Murdoch or William Randolph Hearst of the digital age."

Spotify Seeking to be Big in Japan (paidContent)
It's the world's No. 2 music market, but Japan is not yet replete with music subscription services. Spotify wants to change that, aiming to launch there in the new year, paidContent learns.

New Book Digs into Netflix's Origins, Evolution (Yahoo! News / AP)
Netflix is probably hoping a new book about its early history never gets made into a movie. The book, Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs, tries to debunk a widely told tale about the company's origins and paints a polarizing portrait of its star, CEO Reed Hastings.

Do You Suffer from Information Over-Consumption? (AppNewser)
As digital content multiplies online and on our devices, our risk of "information over-consumption" increases. In his new book, The Information Diet, author Clay Johnson shows how we can improve our information consumption and create a healthier diet while exploring the Internet.

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