The Morning Newsfeed: 10.30.08
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Yahoo, AOL Reportedly in Due Diligence on Combination (Reuters)
Yahoo Inc and Time Warner Inc's AOL unit are looking at each other's books to figure out how much money they could make together and where costs can be saved, indicating a merger may finally be on the way. While noting a deal was not imminent, the source said the two companies have engaged in "meaningful" due diligence about a possible combination for the past couple of weeks. Mediaweek: AOL is expected to unveil a redesigned homepage today which will allow users to integrate all of their various social networking profiles on AOL.com.
Study: NBC News Doesn't Follow MSNBC's Left Drift (AP)
The mix and tone of political stories on NBC News broadcasts Nightly News and Today has not been affected by cable sibling MSNBC's move to the left during this campaign, a nonpartisan study concluded. The conclusion by the Project for Excellence in Journalism bolsters the argument made by NBC News execs that their news broadcasts aren't influenced by the left-wing talk shows on MSNBC. Variety: Fox News ran more negative stories on Obama than did the rest of the media -- 40% vs. 29%. Fox News trailed other media in positive reports on Obama -- 25% vs. 36%. TVNewser: The PEJ also determined that ABC's World News, the CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News "stood out for being more neutral-and also less negative-than most other news outlets." But the morning shows were more negative.
ObamaVision: An Appeal to the Masses (WaPo)
Tom Shales: Barack Obama fired the final salvo in the great battle of images that is the 2008 presidential campaign last night with a half-hour, multimillion-dollar television infomercial that could be considered not the "feel-good" but rather the "feel-better" movie of the year. Somehow both poetic and practical, spiritual and sensible, the paid political broadcast aired on seven major networks. Slate: Barack Obama's half-hour infomercial Wednesday night didn't teach us a lot we didn't already know -- except that an Obama administration would likely feature immaculate stagecraft, writes Christopher Beam.
So who got the worst of Tuesday's massive reorganization at Time Inc. -- aside, that is, from the 600 people who are losing their jobs? That would be John Squires, the executive vice president who will now be heading up the News Business Unit. It wasn't so long ago that Squires was recognized as the heir apparent to Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore, but now he has lost the pole position.
What Does Covering a Two-Year Campaign Do to the Soul of a Journalist? (TNR)
After the longest, most sustained campaign on record, political reporters are running on little more than the scant sustenance of yet another slice of pizza. Some are running out of energy; others are running out of ideas. Others, like soldiers who have served one tour too many, are slowly losing touch with the world outside the candidate's orbit.
Netflix and TiVo to Partner on Movies (NYT)
Two of the scrappiest bantamweights in Silicon Valley, Netflix and TiVo, are expected to announce a long-awaited partnership on Thursday. Netflix will place its Watch Instantly streaming-movie service on TiVo's HD-compatible set-top boxes, furthering the technology industry's goal of sending television shows and movies over the Internet to ordinary TVs.
Affected staffers at the Orange County Register are being told that they will be laid off, the Register's publisher Terry Horne announced today. They will get the company's standard severance package of two weeks' pay for every year of service. About 30 of the cuts will come out of the newsroom. This is the fourth round of staff cuts in Orange County within a year -- so far.
George Lopez May Get Late Night Show (NYP)
George Lopez is hot again -- thanks to reruns of his ABC sitcom. The syndicated success of The George Lopez Show has spurred talk of Lopez, 47, hosting a late-night talk show produced by Warner Bros. The show would premiere next fall and doesn't yet have a home. Warner Bros. has met with Fox TV officials, but is reportedly pursuing all its options.
Beyond YouTube: New Ways to Find Video on the Web (WSJ)
Traditional search engines depend on video publishers to add tags and keywords -- called metadata -- to the clips before they are uploaded to the Web. But a lot of videos lack detailed metadata, making it hard for search engines to automatically categorize the content. Worse yet, some videos may be tagged incorrectly. So some video-search sites are moving beyond tags and keywords.
American Express Publishing, whose magazines include Travel & Leisure and Food & Wine, is eliminating 22 jobs across departments, a spokeswoman said. Ad pages at American Express Publishing fell 3.6% in the first half of the year. After the layoffs, the company will continue to employ about 500 people. WWD: The layoffs were said to be spread fairly evenly over the editorial and business sides, and among them was Lisa Gabor, who was editing Black Ink, the magazine for American Express Centurion cardholders. She'll remain a contributor on special projects at Departures.
Fox News Denies Involvement with Supposed Michelle Obama Audio Tape (TV Newser)
Fox News has denied any involvement in the purchase of an audio tape apparently featuring an unflattering portrayal of Michelle Obama. In a widely-circulated Web post, an organization called African Press International claims to be in negotiations with the network to air the tape.
Ana Marie Cox Quickly Raises $7000 to Continue Campaign Coverage (Nieman Lab)
When the magazine Radar announced it was shutting down last Friday, its Washington editor Ana Marie Cox was left with a seat on John McCain's plane but no one to pay for it. So she decided to see if the Obama fundraising model could work for journalism: Could lots of small-money donors to do the work a few fat-cats used to? It seems so. One newspaper, The Washington Independent, has become a co-sponsor of her travels, contributing $2000.
Rebecca Traister: If 2004 was Jon Stewart's career-making election, it would be more than plausible to call this year Katie Couric's, or Rachel Maddow's, or Campbell Brown's. This election, built as it has been around two female candidates, traditional "women's issues," and the acknowledgment of the power of female voters, also happens to have been translated, interpreted, and picked apart by women newscasters.
Landmark Abandons Sale of Magazine Unit (Folio:)
Citing the difficult credit market, Landmark Media Enterprises has decided to suspend the process of selling its remaining businesses, including its magazine publishing division Dominion Enterprises. "The credit crisis has made it virtually impossible for companies to obtain bank commitments to help finance acquisitions," Landmark chairman and CEO Frank Batten Jr. said.
The Liberal Media and How To Stop It (Slate)
Jack Shafer: My personal experience confirms [Michael] Kinsley's hunch that liberals flock to media jobs. In the 10 years that I hired at Washington City Paper and SF Weekly, only one reporter or editor job went to a self-identified conservative. I can't be guilty of any pro-liberal bias partly because liberals tend to creep me out. Yet year after year, the best applicants were almost exclusively liberal.