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Posts Tagged ‘The Daily Beast’

More Trouble in Russia

ukraine-2014-shutterstockWe’ve just gotten around to reading this post that appeared in The Daily Beast earlier in the week. Writing for the Beast, Bill Conroy accuses New York-based firm Goldin Solutions of shielding a state-owned Russian investment fund from sanctions levied by the US government.

Goldin was hired by The Russian Direct Investment Fund to help improve its reputation within the American business/media communities in the wake of sanctions based on Russia’s recent aggression toward Ukraine. While all major Russian banks were targeted, the RDIF was not despite the fact that it is managed by a state-owned bank.

The larger ethical argument concerns whether the RDIF — which was designed to help bolster Russian businesses working with foreign investors — should be exempt from sanctions because it does not directly support the country’s military. (It also happens to work with executives from many major Western businesses like Goldman Sachs and General Electric.)

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Russia Specialist Claims Putin’s PR Spend Is a Waste of Money


Yes, we’re talking about you.

In case you missed it, yesterday Eli Lake of The Daily Beast enlisted a former Russian Federation employee and author who specialized in media relations to explain why all the money the Kremlin spent on reputation advice was a waste.

While Lake vaguely insinuates unflattering things about Ketchum, his source Angus Roxburgh’s main conclusion is that Vladimir Putin does whatever the hell Vladimir Putin wants to do, no matter what his foreign and domestic advisors tell him.

Roxburgh (who was never employed by Ketchum) is something of a Putin expert.

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White House Aide Fired for Straight Up Trolling Twitter

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 11.04.23 AM

We get the appeal of trolling. Sometimes you just need to let off steam by telling the digital world how you really feel (without using your real name, of course). Hell, it seems like almost every ad exec in the country spends his or her lunch break slinging anonymous insults in the AgencySpy comment threads.

But if you’re a top White House aide, then mocking your friends, allies and employers might not be the best idea, because eventually it will come back to bite you in the ass. You might claim to be “Unapologetically [saying] what everyone else only thinks”, but that won’t make a very good defense when you get caught.

Last night The Daily Beast broke news that national security staffer (!) Jofi Joseph had been tweeting as @NatSecWonk for two years before killing the handle last week. A collection of messages from the account, saved for eternity by Favstar, reveals some very personal insults aimed at partisans and personalities on both sides of the aisle, along with leaks of classified information from within the administration.

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NYC PSA Helps Girls Deal with Body Image Issues

Nice.Marketers may be taught to target women “when they feel least attractive“, but the City of New York has other, more noble ideas. In fact, if we didn’t know better we might say that outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg has finally abandoned his fight with Big Soda to pursue a more important goal: helping young women resist the very messages that play on their insecurities to sell them consumer goods.

The NYC Girls Project, aimed at young women aged 7 to 12 throughout the city, will primarily take the form of print bus and subway ads along with the hashtag #ImAGirl, some fitness classes and “a pilot program addressing self-esteem issues for girls at 75 after-school programs.”

Here’s the key difference between this campaign and the Bloomberg administration’s previous social initiatives: the tone.

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CNN Cancels Hillary Clinton Biopic

Not impressed.

The minute CNN announced that it would be producing a film version of Hillary Clinton‘s career, critics pounced on the move as evidence of the network spinning its wheels on behalf of the former Secretary of State and all-but-certain presidential candidate. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus went so far as to cite the doc, along with NBC’s planned miniseries, when calling on his party to boycott both networks in 2016 due to “obvious bias.”

Now they might not have that problem. This morning the film’s would-be director Charles Ferguson, best known for his financial industry doc Inside Job, announced via The Huffington Post that the project is officially kaputt. He cited a lack of cooperation on the part of Clinton’s media team as the main reason for his decision.

Seems HC’s publicist phoned the director the day after he signed the contract to ask some probing questions; “media fixer” Philippe Reines followed by grilling various CNN executives about possible “conflicts of interest” on the for-profit movie before leaking his concerns to Politico. No word on whether he told Wolf Blizter to “f*ck off and have a good life.

In short, the team agreed with Reince’s conclusion and vetoed participation in the project in order to minimize the inevitable “lamestream media carries water for Clinton” critiques. The HuffPo story has more salacious details about Ferguson’s meeting with Bill, whom he calls “a really good actor” (that’s not a compliment).

Don’t worry, though: NBC’s miniseries is still on, meaning The Daily Beast will have plenty of time to figure out whether Diane Lane is “too sexy” for the role.

Newsweek Got Sold And No One Really Paid Attention

For a minute, we were all paying attention to Newsweek again. But just as quickly as our heads whipped around when we heard that the title had been sold to IBT Media, the company that owns International Business Times, our heads whipped back the other way because Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post.

Newsweek, which was meant to be revived by its association with Tina Brown’s site The Daily Beast, instead seems to be even more of a shell of the notable newsweekly it once was. For one, it stopped printing seven months ago and went all digital. Then, a number of notable staff left, including CEO Baba Shetty and editor Tunku Varadarajan. Finally, you had Newsweek owner Barry Diller saying publicly, “I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek, it was a mistake.” Diller’s point was that a newsweekly’s time had passed at the rise of Twitter and other instant news. Sales pitching at its finest!

But the companies involved here would have us believe that this is a great sale and a great brand.

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Court Orders Retrial as Amanda Knox Preps for Publicity Tour

Amanda Knox Waiting to be HeardWe in PR know that bad publicity almost never doubles as good publicity, but exceptions do stand out. Accused/acquitted/accused again murderer Amanda Knox, for example, got $4 million to write a book despite the fact that — according to The Daily Beast, at least — she has “already lost” in the court of public opinion and can never again “control how she is seen.” (And yes, her family did hire a PR firm to manage her image.)

Today brings news that Italy’s top court has ordered a retrial for Knox, who was acquitted and freed after serving nearly four years in prison for the murder of her roommate in Italy (but you already knew that). Our point? This new twist is just icing on the cake for a story that will continue attract millions of eyes around the world.

We’re not too familiar with the details of this case, but we know that Knox is media gold: last month Diane Sawyer scored her first official promo interview and even that announcement was big news. It’s set to air on April 30, the same day the memoir hits shelves — and everyone will be covering it, because the public loves both train wrecks and apology tours (unless they involve Lance Armstrong).

The question: if you have a client like Knox, how do you play off her notoriety while insisting that she was innocent all along?

Obama’s Big PR Man Joins The Daily Beast

Our sister site FishbowlNY brings news that former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, who happened to be one of the highest paid communications guys around until he left the White House to pursue his Hollywood screenwriting dreams, will also write a bi-weekly column for The Daily Beast.

Unlike another Obama speechwriter named Jon (Lovett), who left to co-create the flailing NBC sitcom 1600 Penn, Favreau will be a real-life journalist! Here’s Beast publisher Tina Brown‘s note:

I am thrilled to announce that President Obama’s former director of speechwriting Jon Favreau is joining The Daily Beast as a bi-weekly columnist. It’s wonderful to have his combination of writing talent and sophisticated insight as commentary on the political scene.

Says Jon, “I’m excited to join the talented variety of writers and political observers who contribute to The Daily Beast, and hope I can add a new perspective from time to time based on the experiences I’ve had over the last several years.”

Please join me in welcoming him to The Daily Beast!


Newsweek Print Edition Goes Out With a Whimper

Today, Newsweek editor-in-chief Tina Brown and CEO Baba Shetty announced that the magazine will fold its print operation after 80 years. In other news, if you want a video tour around their office you should check out our exclusive Newsweek/Daily Beast edition of “Cubes.”

Now get your big-picture questions ready: Is this the end of print? Is this the end of responsible journalism? Is this the end of Tina Brown’s obnoxious and gimmicky covers? (For the record, that’s no, no and a very hopeful yes.)

Yeah, OK. It’s not like nobody saw this coming. Here are the most important parts of the appropriately self-righteous statement:

“After 80 years in print, the newsmagazine adopts an all-digital format.

We are announcing this morning an important development at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Newsweek will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013…

Meanwhile, Newsweek will expand its rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as its successful global partnerships and events business.

Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition…

…our business has been increasingly affected by the challenging print advertising environment, while Newsweek’s online and e-reader content has built a rapidly growing audience…By year’s end, tablet users in the United States alone are expected to exceed 70 million, up from 13 million just two years ago…

In our judgment, we have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format…

We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents…

Newsweek is produced by a gifted and tireless team of professionals who have been offering brilliant work consistently throughout a tough period of ownership transition and media disruption. Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions…

Exiting print is an extremely difficult moment for all of us who love the romance of print and the unique weekly camaraderie of those hectic hours before the close on Friday night. But as we head for the 80th anniversary of Newsweek next year we must sustain the journalism that gives the magazine its purpose—and embrace the all-digital future.”

You got the point across. Good job. However, Brad Phillips (aka Mr. Media Training) noticed something missing from the statement—something that we think is extremely important.

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Revolving Door: The Daily Beast Talk Show, ‘TIME’ Everywhere, and More

The Daily Beast has made a few new hires in order to launch a new venture: an online talk show. Sources told The New York Observer that the show would have a format like The View and would consist of individual webisodes rather than series programming.

Also this week, TIME magazine announced its plans to offer subscribers “All Access” subscriptions to content in print, online (including a new paid “magazine channel”), and on tablets. PaidContent calls the plan a way to attract readers to the print magazine and to please subscribers who don’t want to pay twice for content. According to TIME‘s press release, the website has 95 percent original content and saw a 31 percent increase in traffic in June 2011 vs the previous year.

More media moves after the jump.

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