The Morning Newsfeed: 02.12.07
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Libby Believes NBC's Andrea Mitchell Could Clear Him (AP)
Attorneys for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby believe that NBC News holds a key to clearing him of perjury and obstruction charges in the CIA leak case. Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, wants a federal judge to let his lawyers question Mitchell, NBC's foreign affairs correspondent, about when she learned that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA. NYT: Having Cheney testify in Libby's trial is a high risk proposition. LAT: The Libby trial has unearthed Washington's deeply cynical attitude toward Tim Russert and Meet the Press. CSM: Russert provided perhaps the most damaging testimony.
AP Launches Citizen Media Deal (AP)
The Associated Press and NowPublic.com said Friday they had agreed to a partnership to let AP to use photographs, video and news from "citizen journalists" in its newsgathering operation. NowPublic.com, a Vancouver, Canada-based startup, posts citizens' images and news accounts on its Web site, along with links to mainstream news organizations. AFP: NowPublic boasts more than 60,000 contributing "reporters" in more than 140 countries.
Observer Goes Tabloid (NYP)
The most sweeping redesign in the New York Observer's 20-year history will hit newsstands Wednesday, transforming the salmon-colored broadsheet weekly into an extralong tabloid. The paper will keep its color but is going with a new logo, different typeface and shorter stories. The front cover will contain no story text only headlines, photo and a small version of its famous cartoon logo.
Viacom could lay off as many as 500 people from its MTV Networks division this week as part of a $250 million cost-cutting move, according to three sources close to the company. The directive for the cuts is coming straight from Viacom's top management, who have reportedly run out of patience with the lagging performance of its most visible unit.
More Questions About CNBC's Maria Bartiromo (NYT)
Bartiromo, who in her years as CNBC's most recognizable face, has lent to the reporting of once gray business news a veneer of gloss and celebrity, inhabits a rarified world. Socializing with sources is a long journalistic tradition, but Bartiromo's ability to gain entree into the exclusive and mostly male world of chief executives and financial titans has made her a valuable commodity to CNBC.
Cartoon Network Boss Resigns Following Boston Terror Scare (Mediaweek)
In the wake of a guerilla marketing campaign that resulted in a terror panic and a $2 million fine, Cartoon Network chief Jim Samples has resigned. In a note to Turner colleagues, the Cartoon Network executive VP said that his role in last week's marketing blitz for Adult Swim's Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie left him "compelled to step down."
The Internet social networking giant MySpace.com plans to announce today that it has introduced a video-filtering program that should automatically remove copyrighted material from its Web site. The pilot program, according to MySpace, will begin by removing unauthorized content belonging to Universal Music Group and NBC Universal.
White Knight Turns Pragmatist, and Newspapers Tremble Again (NYT)
Less than a year ago, Gary Pruitt, the head of the McClatchy Company, was hailed as the white knight of newspapers. While others saw the industry headed for the dinosaur graveyard, Pruitt rode in to buy the Knight Ridder papers, or some of them anyway. But since then Pruitt seems to have lost his long-held place as the darling of the industry and of Wall Street.
Time4 Media Titles Florida-Bound? (NYP)
Tom Buesse, the CEO of the Time4 Media titles, including Field & Stream, Outdoor Life and Transworld Snowboarding, is out of a job following the company's sale to Bonnier. And now many NYC-based employees worry that operations will be consolidated in Winter Haven, Fla., where Bonnier mags such as Water Ski, and Islands are already located.
Primedia said the proceeds from the sale of its outdoor enthusiast publications provide the impetus to consider a sell-off of the rest of the enthusiast division "We believe there will be a strong appetite for our leading brands," said Primedia chief executive Dean Nelson. "The board believes the best course of action for Primedia shareholders is exploring the complete sale of [the enthusiast group]." Folio:: "This is a much stronger business than the Time4 business," says media banker Reed Phillips.
The Politics of Joel Surnow, the Man Behind 24 (New Yorker)
For all its fictional liberties, 24 depicts the fight against Islamist extremism much as the Bush Administration has defined it: as an all-consuming struggle for America's survival that demands the toughest of tactics. Surnow, who has jokingly called himself a "right-wing nut job," shares his show's hard-line perspective.
How Anna Nicole Smith's Death Hit A1 (LAT)
Tim Rutten: News of Smith's death is among the first stories that made the leap from tabloids to "serious" papers, in large part, by an editorial perception of public interest derived mainly from Internet traffic. These days, it's the rare newspaper whose meeting to discuss the next day's edition doesn't factor in which are the most popular stories on the paper's site.
Certain subjects are off-limits for Page Six and the Post. Johnson avoids outing people, and stays away from revealing when someone has cancer in most cases. He's even careful about extramarital affairs, short of DNA evidence, mostly because of liability, as well as less hurtful subjects, such as when then-Governor Mario Cuomo inadvertently revealed that his wife was on a diet.
Web Auteur Takes the Leap From YouTube to Boob Tube (NYT)
Over the past year David Lehre, 22, has been an Internet phenomenon, posting a series of highly popular videos on his Web site that have quickly appeared on YouTube. The most famous of these was MySpace: The Movie, a parody of the social networking site that doubled as a canny piece of self-promotion. The video was so slick that it helped land Lehre a deal with Fox to produce his own half-hour late-night television show.
How to Save the Face of a Venerable News Organization (Independent)
Reuters had to act quickly when bloggers noticed that two photographs of Israeli military action had been doctored. So new editor-in-chief David Schlesinger used his editor's blog to set out the results of the investigation into the embarrassing charge that the venerable international news agency had issued falsified pictures.