The Morning Newsfeed: 03.26.07
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Tribune Seems to Favor Zell Offer (WSJ)
The board committee met this past week and decided to push to complete a deal with billionaire Sam Zell, sources said. The committee had been concerned by the amount of debt entailed in Zell's proposal, some of which would be carried by an employee share-ownership plan he proposes to create to help finance the deal. NYT: Zell has said that he would get into the media business not because he has any special affection for newspapers or wants to wield editorial control, but because he wants to make money. LAT: Burkle and Broad launch a complaint with Tribune over bidding process.
Duffy Leaves Helm of U.S. News (Washingtonian)
Brian Kelly, who has been number two at U.S. News & World Report for the past nine years, will run the magazine following the departure of Brian Duffy. "Brian is the perfect guy for the job," Duffy told The Washingtonian. Owner Mort Zuckerman's statement said Duffy was "stepping down to complete a book and to pursue other long-format writing projects."
CW Network May Take Web Video Content Onto Network TV (B&C)
YouTube may soon get a taste of its own medicine if The CW greenlights a reality pilot that would put the Web's best user-generated content on weekly TV. Ghen Maynard, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group's alternative programming guru, whose company co-owns the young-adult network with Time Warner, has been spearheading the project under the working title of Viewsers.
The video clip from the filming of the 2004 existential comedy directed by David O. Russell surfaced on YouTube and several gossip blogs last week. The 2 1/2-minute video shows the actress Lily Tomlin expressing her frustration at Russell, who retaliates by sweeping papers off the desk in front of her, kicking a part of the set, and knocking a lamp to the floor.
Mini-Blog's Following Is Growing (FT via MSNBC)
Silicon Valley is abuzz over a new mini-blogging service for mobile phones that some predict will be a mass-market hit with the reach of a YouTube or MySpace. Over the past two weeks, Twitter has attracted the sort of hyperbole the Valley reserves for its next Internet darling though such self-reinforcing adulation also led to dotcom mania.
Nielsen Business Media Chief Krakoff Dies Suddenly (E&P)
Robert Krakoff, president and CEO of Nielsen Business Media, died unexpectedly Thursday night in his Boston apartment, according to Nielsen chairman and CEO David Calhoun. Among the magazines Krakoff oversaw were Editor & Publisher, Billboard, Hollywood Reporter, Adweek, Mediaweek, Brandweek, and Photo District News.
Tila Tequila is something like the Paris Hilton of cyber-celebrities, genus famous-for-being-famous. She says her talents include looking attractive, being loud and being accessible to any pimply dork with a computer. She's a star by virtue of her 1.7 million virtual "friends" on the social-networking site MySpace, where her success has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Slate: How Ze Frank became a Web video star. CBS News: Unlikely celebrities take YouTube star turns.
Drop in Ad Revenue Raises Tough Question for Newspapers (NYT)
Ad revenue was in striking decline last month, compared with a year ago, and was generally weaker than analysts had expected. And while there was one piece of good news ad spending on newspaper Web sites rose many industry watchers were wondering whether the February declines were part of a short-term slump or whether they signal a deepening systemic problem.
Newsrooms Go Multiplatform (B&C)
Like other parts of the broadcast plant, newsrooms are being asked to do more with their existing staffs, whether it's producing high-definition newscasts or repurposing content for multiple platforms. As newsrooms' head count remains the same, or even declines, automation, editing and graphics vendors are taking on stations' challenge.
This week, Time's U.S. cover story is an essay arguing in favor of teaching the Bible in schools. On the cover of its international edition is a story that is less easily boiled down: "The Truth About Talibanistan," which is in the U.S. edition of the magazine but not on the American cover, presumably because Rick Stengel and company think the Bible will do better newsstand.
New York Mag Gathering Moss? (Mediaweek)
Under maverick editor in chief Adam Moss the magazine continues to make great strides on the edit side, this month receiving a record seven National Magazine Award nominations, including General Excellence. Meanwhile, its revamped Web site is building up an audience and winning accolades. But business-side achievements are not keeping pace with editorial plaudits.
TV Academies in Emmy Tussle (Variety)
Yet another battle is brewing in the West Coast vs. East Coast TV Academy smackdown. The New York-based National Academy of TV Arts & Sciences, which runs the Daytime Emmys, has announced that it will pay for only one statuette per category winner this year, meaning that those who share a victory would have to shell out $350 apiece for their own statuettes.
On the Web, "you essentially have a public wall where anybody can put up a billboard and say anything," says PEJ's Tom Rosenstiel. "And if the wall attracts a crowd, mainstream media write about it. ... If something is out there and having an impact, you probably have a responsibility to report it. But you have no less a responsibility to tell me if it's believable or not."
News Corp./NBCU Venture Based on 'Risky' Premise (NYP)
NBC and News Corp. appear to be betting that the next wave of online video viewers will want professionally produced, long-form video rather than user-generated, short, frenetic blasts of entertainment. The primary driver of the site is the full-length television episodes and movies that make up both companies' content libraries. DISCUSS THIS STORY: Here.
The Art of TV Title Sequences (CSM)
Gloria Goodale: The memorable title sequence is far from dead. These days, when a show wants to stand out from the increasingly crowded competition, producers task a handful of pros to grab the viewers attention, sell the concept of the show, and credit the top-billed cast members, writer(s), and director all within mere seconds.