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Wednesday, Nov 21

Morning Media Newsfeed 11.21.12

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Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes Inks New Long-Term Deal (TVNewser)
Time Warner has signed CEO Jeff Bewkes to a new, long-term contract with the company, keeping the executive in the CEO position until at least 2017. Bewkes is in the final phase of choosing who the next president of CNN Worldwide will be when Jim Walton leaves at the end of the year. WSJ The renewal was largely expected, as Bewkes had said in September he planned to retain the role for another five years. Last year, he earned a total of $25.9 million. NYT / Media Decoder Bewkes, who has served as chief executive since 2008 and chairman since 2009, has helped the company focus efforts on its cable channels, including HBO, TBS, TNT and CNN, and shed assets not directly related to the core entertainment business. LA Times / Company Town Bewkes has overseen a dramatic restructuring of the media company, which last year generated revenue of $29 billion, making it a leaner organization more focused on creating content. In 2009, Time Warner shed its AOL Internet portal and spun its cable TV systems unit, Time Warner Cable, into a separate publicly traded company. Deadline New York We'll have to wait for Time Warner's SEC filing to see most of the terms. But the company announcement says there'll be no change to Bewkes' base salary and bonus target, and that his annual long-term incentive awards will be "tied directly, and solely, to future financial and shareholder returns." Variety Stephen Bollenbach, the lead independent director on TW's board, praised Bewkes in a statement Tuesday, calling him "a proven visionary when it comes to navigating the digital landscape." Bewkes was a pioneer of TV Everywhere, rolling out HBO Go well ahead of rivals' equivalent efforts.

News Corp. Confirms Purchase of YES Network Stake (FishbowlNY)
News Corporation has made the rumor that it was purchasing a stake in YES Network a fact. According to a press release from the company, the deal for News Corp. to acquire a 49 percent stake in YES will close by the end of the year. NYT / Media Decoder The deal gives News Corporation media rights to Yankees games broadcast on YES through 2042. For baseball fans who already disliked the Yankees, aka the Evil Empire, adding News Corporation into the mix -- with its chief executive, Rupert Murdoch, and influential Fox News channel -- was more than enough to get an online storm brewing. Washington Post / AP The agreement raises the value of the YES Network to $3.8 billion in three years, when News Corporation must decide whether to take control. The Yankees also committed to stay on YES Network through 2042, subject to approval of the rights deal from Major League Baseball. The Yankees' existing agreement with YES runs through 2021 and the network has three five-year options. USA Today This begs the question of whether News Corporation is attempting to buy the Yankees from the Steinbrenner family down the road, a notion Hal Steinbrenner has vehemently denied, saying the team is not for sale. CNNMoney In June, News Corporation announced plans to split into two publicly traded companies: An entertainment division and a newspaper company. The YES Network will be housed in the entertainment division, which also operates cable stations Fox News and FX and film studio 20th Century Fox.

Israel Hits Agence France-Presse Building in Gaza Airstrike (HuffPost)
Israel's strikes on buildings housing journalists in Gaza continued on Tuesday night, when the Israeli Air Force targeted a tower containing the offices of Agence France-Presse. Sara Hussein, a reporter for the French agency, tweeted about the attack: @sarahussein "The building housing @AFP offices in #Gaza have been hit in an apparent #Israel strike. Our staff are fortunately all safe, myself included." BBC News The Israeli military tweeted it had "surgically targeted a Hamas intelligence operations center" on the seventh floor of the media building. The Telegraph One strike hit an unknown target so close to two of the hotels where international journalists were sheltering that it blew the windows out. The attack came as the Israeli Defence Force warned journalists to avoid being used as human shields. The Daily Beast As rumors of a ceasefire continue, Israeli airstrikes targeted and killed three Palestinian journalists with alleged militant ties on Tuesday.

Elmo Resigns After Second Accuser Files Suit (PRNewser)
Seems like we just can't quite keep up with the ongoing PR crisis surrounding puppeteer Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo. After a man accused Clash of having an "improper relationship" with him when he was 16, recanted and settled, then tried to re-file his claim, Tuesday brought news of a second man looking to take Clash to court. USA Today Elmo's voice may be slightly changing soon, but his ultra-lucrative toy sales certainly won't. That's the consensus of four toy industry and PR gurus following news that Clash resigned from Sesame Street on Tuesday following a sex scandal that widened to involve claims from a second man who filed a lawsuit alleging that Clash sexually abused him as a youth. NYT / Media Decoder Announcing the decision with what he called a "very heavy heart," Clash said in a statement, "Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately." Washington Post / AP In a statement, Sesame Workshop said that "the controversy surrounding Kevin's personal life has become a distraction that none of us want" and that Clash had concluded "he can no longer be effective in his job." "This is a sad day for Sesame Street," the company said.

Anthony Bourdain Reveals New Details on His CNN Show Parts Unknown (TVNewser)
Soon-to-be CNN host Anthony Bourdain did a Q&A with commenters at Gawker, and revealed a number of tidbits about his upcoming CNN program, Parts Unknown. He wants to go to places the show has not visited, like Libya, Iran, Afghanistan, Congo, and, um, Detroit. Gawker diamondjoebanks: "Sounds like the Travel Channel was no longer for you but was CNN your first choice for a move?" Anthony Bourdain: "They surprised me by calling. We then sent them three of our most f**ked up shows and asked: 'Are you sure you want to [do] a show with US?' They have been very good with us. And as a big news org, we can now go places we couldn't with any other network." Village Voice / Fork in the Road He revealed that Rachael Ray tells good dirty jokes and answered questions like "Your drunkest episode appeared to be in SF. Would you agree?" to which he replied, "Yup. I was hammered."

Fox News Correspondent Douglas Kennedy Acquitted of Child Endangerment Charges (TVNewser)
A judge in Westchester County, N.Y. acquitted Fox News correspondent Douglas Kennedy of child endangerment and harassment charges Tuesday. On Jan. 7, Kennedy was involved in a confrontation with two maternity ward nurses who tried to stop him from leaving with his newborn son. CNN The incident was captured by a security camera at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, about 40 miles north of New York City. His attorneys had argued that Kennedy wanted to take his child out for some "fresh air" and that the staff had overreacted. NYT / AP The Mount Kisco village justice, John J. Donohue, who heard the case without a jury, ruled that Kennedy, 45, broke no laws. He said testimony showed that the baby was not in danger -- except from the nurses' actions -- and that Kennedy did not demonstrate any intent to hurt them.

Storify Launches Redesign that Elevates Popular Social Media Elements (Poynter)
The newly redesigned Storify, which launched Tuesday, makes it easier for people to search for relevant content. Now, instead of featuring popular Storifies, Storify.com's home page features specific social media elements -- photos, tweets, videos and articles -- that have the most resonance, says co-founder Burt Herman. TheNextWeb The new site also prominently features a search bar right at the top. This in-your-face fronting of the search feature, along with the suggested topics right above it, place an emphasis on Storify as a cross-network topic engine. TechCrunch Another change that doesn't really have anything to do with search: Users can now add a little more personality to their profile pages by uploading a big image that goes in the background, similar to the look of Facebook profiles.

News Corp. Interested in Buying Simon & Schuster (GalleyCat)
The News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal broke the news Tuesday that News Corp. (the corporate parents of HarperCollins) has pondered buying Simon & Schuster. WSJ The people described the discussions as preliminary and cautioned that a deal isn't imminent. News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., which publishes The Wall Street Journal. The conversations come about a month after the owners of two publishing rivals, Random House and Penguin Group, agreed to merge their books businesses into a publishing powerhouse.

Facebook Testing News Feed Module Revealing Most Shared Stories from Social Readers (AllFacebook)
Facebook appears to be testing yet another new module in its news feed, this time aggregating the most shared content from social reader applications such as that of The Washington Post. LA Times / Tech Now Facebook wants to make it easier and quicker for you to upload photos taken with your smartphone or tablet, and it's now testing a feature that may just do that.

Anderson Cooper Shuts Down Critics on Twitter (HuffPost)
Anderson Cooper is getting all snarky on Twitter again and it's pretty awesome. The CNN host is currently in Gaza reporting on the conflict in the region, which has led some on Twitter to criticize his craft. Cooper, known for his hilarious and downright brutal responses to ridiculous tweets, has found some time between dodging rocket fire to respond.

Could Tumblr Save Web Publishing? (Adweek)
Last month, as storm surges from Hurricane Sandy inundated lower Manhattan, Datagram, a New York-based media ISP, watched as its basement full of servers took on more than five feet of water, causing major outages for prominent online publishers like Gawker Media, BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post. Digital publishing is, by nature, a nimble industry and -- storm be damned -- both Gawker and BuzzFeed found a more than adequate emergency workaround in the popular microblogging social media platform Tumblr.

Just in Time for the Holidays, Study Says Twitter Boosts Retail Sales (SiliconBeat)
It's cheaper than a roadside billboard. And it doesn't require expensive air time on network TV. Those are just a couple reasons why Twitter may be the next advertising powerhouse.

Kon*Fab Wants to Break the Filter Bubble by Finding Location-Based News (Nieman Journalism Lab)
Katy Newton likens it to walking through a coffee shop: You can look around the room and see people reading articles in a newspaper or a magazine -- and, within a certain range of politeness, strike up a conversation around the news. She's talking about Kon*Fab, a new project funded by the Knight Foundation, which aims in some small way to inject serendipity, conversation, and physical space into news.

Elizabeth Smart Memoir of Her Captivity Is Acquired by St. Martin's (NYT / Media Decoder)
St. Martin's Press says it will return to the subject, purchasing a first memoir from Smart herself that will go through the kidnapping, her life in captivity -- during which she was kept chained and was raped by her captor -- and her eventual rescue.

The Gamification of LinkedIn (SocialTimes)
Is it just us, or is LinkedIn becoming almost as much of a time suck as Facebook? Ever since the company rolled out Endorsements, networking with colleagues on the site is more like playing a game of "Snood" by yourself.

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