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The WebNewser Ticker: Weather, Twitter²

  • The Weather Company (owner of The Weather Channel) has relaunched Weather.com today. For users that means more localized news, less clutter and responsive design. For Advertisers, it means new ad units, including homepage takeover opportunities.

  • Twitter launched its Twitter TV rating this week, tracking what people are saying about TV shows on Twitter, and trying to figure out how many people see each tweet. Lost Remote has more.

  • Speaking of Twitter, AllThingsD reports that NBC News chief digital officer Vivian Schiller is the leading candidate to become Twitter’s head of news. The position will serve as the chief liaison between Twitter and news organizations.

CUBES #TBT: Inside the Daily Beast

You’ve probably heard by now Tina Brown is leaving the Daily Beast and starting her own media and live events company. Today’s Morning Media Newsfeed has all the must-read links. For now, the Beast will be overseen by managing director Deidre Depke and executive editor John Avlon, who is also a CNN contributor.

Here now, your TVNewser #tbt, as Avlon takes MediabistroTV‘s CUBES on a tour of the Daily Beast, then still combined with Newsweek.

Who’s That Girl?

It’s another #TBT (throwback Thursday) on social media. So, today, the tvnewser above shared this image of herself. Who is it?

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Here Are The TV News Reporters Congress Follows on Twitter

TV news reporters and anchors are terrific sources of news and analysis when it comes to Congress. So it isn’t surprising that members of Congress aggressively follow certain members of the news media on Twitter. New York looked at the outlets and journalists that Congress follows on the social site, breaking it down by party affiliation.

Politico’s Mike Allen is the most followed journalist by both Republicans and Democrats, but things top end up splitting down ideological lines from there.

The top TV news journalist is NBC’s Chuck Todd, who places second to Allen. Fox News’ Chad Pergram is number three, with CNN’s Jake Tapper fourth. NBC’s David Gregory is sixth, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos is seventh, FNC’s Bret Baier is eighth, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough is ninth and CNN’s Dana Bash is 10th.

Republicans and Democrats do differ in their tastes, however. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has more follows than any other TV personality among Democrats, while Andrea Mitchell places sixth. Chris Matthews, Anderson Cooper and Chris Hayes also make the cut in the top 20. Among Republicans, Fox News dominates, With Pergram second, Baier third, Karl Rove fourth and Dana Perino fifth. Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren, Megyn Kelly, Mike Huckabee and Neil Cavuto also crack the top 20.

NY Mag has more here.

HuffPost Live Shutters LA Studio, Lays Off Staff

The Huffington Post’s HuffPost Live online video network, is betting big on international growth, part of an effort to become a global video news channel, rather than a U.S. one.

As part of that strategy shift, it has decided to shutter its Los Angeles office and studio, with around 20 staff being laid off or given an opportunity to quickly move to its New York City headquarters. HuffPost Live has around 100 full-time staffers. The news was first reported by VideoInk’s Sahil Patel, with The Verge’s Ben Popper adding more details.

Update: We have a statement from Roy Sekoff, the president of HuffPost Live:

“This isn’t about layoffs; it’s about reallocating resources,” Sekoff says. “We’ve offered more than two-thirds of our full-time production team in L.A. the same, or better, positions in New York.”

HuffPost Live has lost a number of hosts in recent months, mostly to the world of TV news. Alicia Menendez joined Fusion, Abby Hunstman joined MSNBC, and Jacob Soboroff joined Pivot. While it has been transformative in terms of the content it presents, its live viewership has remained low, instead relying heavily on after-the-fact tune-in.

It is also another example of an ambitious, web-first competitor to traditional TV news facing serious growing pains. HuffPost Live is available on cable via a daily programming block on AXS TV, but it has mostly avoided the traditional TV model. Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze, by comparison, has been trying to gain distribution as a traditional cable channel.

Bonnie Bernstein Takes Over Oprah’s Studio

Back in the day, Oprah Winfrey would give away new cars from her Harpo Studios in Chicago. Part of the iconic studio has turned a corner and was recently taken over by CampusInsiders.com, a site devoted to college sports. The face of the venture is Bonnie Bernstein, the veteran CBS Sports and ESPN reporter. Beginning next week, she’ll host a new daily show from Harpo.

How will this sports show be different from everything else out there? In part II of our Media Beat interview, Bernstein tells us it’s all about the insiders.

The Digital Ticker: Krakauer, Smee, Ashburn

  • Former TVNewser editor Steve Krakauer is leaving CNN, where he is senior digital producer, for Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze, where he will be VP of Digital Content. “The Blaze is at the forefront of understanding the new ways people consume news and entertainment,” says Krakauer. “Being able to help shape where it’s going was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

  • NBC News Digital is creating an Original Video Unit for social, mobile and web audiences. Bill Smee, who had been EP of the award-winning Slate V, will head up the group. Says NBC News digital SVP Vivian Schiller: “We will now have an additional focus on original video that extends the news division’s on-air and digital brands.”

  • DailyDownload’s Lauren Ashburn has followed Howard Kurtz to Fox News. According to HuffingtonPost, Ashburn will be a contributor to Fox News and Fox Business while continuing to run the social media-focused website. Kurtz was an early contributor to the site.

CNN Plans ‘Complete Overhaul’ Of Digital Operation For Fall

CNN is planning its most significant changes to CNN.com and the CNN digital platforms in more than a decade for the Fall. The channel is preparing to launch a redesigned site that not only looks different to users, but has a completely new back-end system that its editorial producers can utilize.

“People are often overwhelmed by our site, we have said it before but it sometimes seems like a machine that spits out breaking news,” CNN Digital senior VP KC Estenson said at Time Warner Center this afternoon. “It needs to stop doing that, it needs to pay off like the real human beings that are creating this stuff.”

There are a number of changes that will be obvious to users. The focus will be on photos and video (including photo and videos that are “full bleed” and take up most of the screen), and there will be much more color. In fact, the colors of the site will change throughout the day based on the news. In the morning CNN.com will have softer colors, shifting to blues and grays during the day. If there is urgent breaking news–such as a bombing–the entire color scheme for the site will shift to red.

“Big Pictures and Big Headlines” is the message that CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker sent to staff, and the new site reflects that.

To help with that cause, the site will also look the same regardless of what device it is accessed on. The layout is capable of changing on the fly to best fit the device, and the top stories will stay the same. Right now, each device has a slightly different layout, and sometimes even feature different story selection. Advertisements will also be reformatted dynamically to fit the device, allowing CNN to sell ads on desktop that also work on mobile.

“Many organizations are struggling to monetize mobile,” Estenson says. “One key paradigm is to remove the friction of buying mobile.”
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Al Jazeera America Debuts Website Ahead of Channel Launch

Al Jazeera America launches one week from today, and the organization is continuing to roll out products. Today, AJAM launched an official website at america.aljazeera.com with breaking news, analysis and video, a far cry from the previous placeholder, which was just a collection of press releases and information on what carriers were carrying the channel.

The site features top stories and the latest news at the top, with features and trending topics down the pager. It looks like video will be prominently featured, but with a channel that hasn’t launched, the video selection is somewhat limited. There is also a TV schedule, and a box to put in your ZIP and see which MSOs are carrying AJAM in your area.

The schedule also had an important absence: there is no 8 PM program as of yet. What will fill that timeslot come August 20? We will have to wait and see.

A larger screengrab of the site is below. (h/t Dena Takruri)
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ABCNews.com Pushing Out Video And Social-Centric ‘Refresh’

Way back in June, we noticed that ABC News was testing out a new look for ABCNews.com. Well, now we know a whole lot more about the design “refresh,” as the network is calling it.

The current ABCNews.com is a bit dated, with CNN, NBC News and CBS News all having updated their sites since the last refresh. The new design (see the screengrab to the left, and more photos below), places a heavy emphasis on video content, and brings social interaction to the forefront.

“As a user, sometimes you don’t want to wait for what is on television,” ABC News senior VP of digital Joe Ruffolo tells TVNewser. “This gives you an experience where you can choose what story is important to you and how you want to absorb that.

“Some people want to watch the trial, some people don’t, some people want to watch the live originals we are doing on the site,” Ruffolo added. “We just want users to have that choice, and that ability to get the news they want and when they want it.”

To that end, a flow of headlines (reminiscent of a Twitter feed) will now be displayed in a narrow column on the left-hand side of the page, underneath a box that can be used to display live video, archived video, live blogs or any number of other pieces of content.

“When we have breaking news or even developing stories, you will see that left column go down a little,” Ruffolo says.

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