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Morning Media Newsfeed: ‘Weekend Update’ Update | NPR Cuts Staff | New Yorker Gets Makeover


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Cecily Strong Poised to Take Over SNL‘s ‘Weekend Update’ (NY Mag / Vulture)
With SNL head writer Seth Meyers heading for Jimmy Fallon’s job in February, SNL‘s “Weekend Update” is missing its host. That gig is going to Cecily Strong, who joined the show last season and perhaps joined your life as the Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party. Strong will join Meyers on the desk during the Sept. 28 season premiere. NYT Lorne Michaels said his general plan was to have Strong share the “Update” desk with Meyers for the season’s initial shows and then segue into a solo role later, maybe in the first season — but maybe not. If possible, Michaels would like to see Meyers stay on “Weekend Update” even after he moves to Late Night, starting on Feb. 24. USA Today Meyers tweeted congrats to his new co-anchor Sunday night, saying he was “very excited,” adding, “As for The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With, it’s prob safe to assume that she died somewhere, mid-conversation.” Variety News of Strong’s move caps one of the busiest off-seasons ever for Michaels’ 39-year-old sketch comedy series. SNL cast members Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen left the series in May, making room for newcomers Beck Bennett, John Milhiser, Noël Wells, Kyle Mooney and Brooks Wheelan, all of whom will join the cast this season.

NPR Names New Chief, Announces Buyouts (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
NPR named a new chief on Friday while at the same time announcing a voluntary buyout plan that will aim to cut staff by 10 percent. Paul G. Haaga, Jr. will succeed Gary Knell as acting president and CEO, effective Sept. 30, until a permanent successor is found. Knell announced last month that he was leaving NPR after less than two years on the job to become president and CEO of the National Geographic Society. NPR / The Two-Way The organization now has 840 full- and part-time employees. The recent recession hit NPR and most other media outlets as contributors/advertisers scaled back their spending. NPR’s financial future has also been complicated by discussions on Capitol Hill about scaling back or eliminating federal support for public broadcasting. FishbowlDC Haaga has been on the board since 2011, and was most recently the vice chair of the Board and chair of its Finance Committee. In his own words he says, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead one of the world’s leading providers of news, music and cultural programming on an interim basis and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Board and senior leadership team to help this great organization build on its success.”

The New Yorker Spruces Up A Stalwart of Print, Subtly (NYT)
For decades, fans of The New Yorker have been drawn to its pages for its meticulous prose, its enterprising journalism and its predictable typeface and layout. But starting on Monday, New Yorker fans are going to notice some small but subtle design changes across its pages, which were led by its creative director, Wyatt Mitchell. The magazine is updating its table of contents, contributors page, “Goings On About Town,” Briefly Noted and Fiction sections.

Tina Brown Blurred Lines for ‘Beast’ Staff (NY Post)
Former Daily Beast editrix Tina Brown alienated staffers by blurring the lines between her news operation and her pet non-profit, sources told the Post. Brown expected to spend about two hours a week working on her non-profit Women in the World Foundation when it launched in 2011, according to the fund’s IRS registration. But she routinely enlisted Newsweek and Daily Beast staffers during the work week to help boost the fund’s Web presence, several sources said. “There were a number of people she asked to write stories for the Women in the World website, even though they were working for Newsweek or Daily Beast,” said one source familiar with the operation.

Politico Plans for New York Are Drawing Some Doubt (NYT)
Until last week, Capital New York was an obscure Web publication that covered New York City culture and politics with a handful of staff members. It produced long, thoughtful pieces on topics like the Metropolitan Opera and the finances of the New York Mets and had some media and political scoops, but it also struggled to pay freelancers on time and to get the credit the editors thought they deserved. Then, last Sunday night, Capital announced that it had been purchased by Allbritton Communications, the cash-rich media company that owns Politico, which obsessively covers every twitch and shiver of Washington. Overnight, Capital became a curiosity — with resources — and a potentially formidable competitor in the heated coverage of New York media and politics.

An End for Katie Could Open The Door to Katie Couric Stepping in for Barbara Walters at The View (New York Daily News / Confidential)
Katie Couric’s show Katie will likely be canceled by ABC this winter — but viewers could soon see the peppy TV queen replacing Barbara Walters on The View, a source close to the production tells Confidential. Katie, which just started its second season, isn’t attracting a big audience despite efforts by network executives to make it more gossip-centric.

How Syria Media Advisers Decided Who Would Speak to President Assad (NYT)
Last Monday, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos got the call that virtually every journalist wanted. Come to Syria, he was told, and President Bashar al-Assad will talk to you about the country’s civil war and the West’s threats to attack. But Assad must have had a change of heart, because once Stephanopoulos was in Beirut, the interview was called off. He returned to the United States empty-handed. Stephanopoulos’ 11,000-mile journey demonstrated the Syrian government’s sometimes-effective, sometimes-confounding strategy toward communicating with the West through major news media outlets.

Ohio Television Station Apologizes to Julie Chen (USA Today)
The Dayton, Ohio television station that The Talk co-host Julie Chen accused of making racist comments about her appearance has issued an apology. Chen, who worked at the station in the ’90s, says she underwent plastic surgery to look more “Western” after the news director there at the time told her she’d never anchor a broadcast because she’s Asian. TVSpy “We are sorry to hear about what happened to CBS’ Julie Chen in 1995 when she was a reporter at WDTN-TV,” Joe Abouzeid, WDTN and WBDT president and general manager said in a statement. “The station was under different management and ownership during that time. At WDTN and WBDT, we don’t tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind.” Dayton Daily News WDTN is now owned by LIN Media. It was owned by the Hearst Corporation when Chen worked there.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Lands Interview With Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (TheWrap)
CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour will interview newly-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani while he is in New York to make his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, the network announced on Friday. The interview will be Rouhani’s first in the United States. The General Assembly begins Sept. 17.

Storytelling Ads May Be Journalism’s New Peril (NYT)
When the guy who ruined the Internet with banner ads tells you that a new kind of advertising might destroy journalism, it tends to get your attention.

The Washington Post: What Should Jeff Bezos Do? (The Guardian)
Should the paper dump the print edition, and what should its digital strategy look like, in terms of content and platforms? The questions stated above might not fall into Jeff Bezos’ areas of sharpest expertise. But there is no shortage of smart people within The Washington Post — at least a core group eager to seize their new owner’s “keep experimenting” motto and run with it.

Hearst Is Throwing A Party And Calling It A Magazine Upfront (Ad Age / Media News)
Hearst Magazines has invited hundreds of media buyers and ad agency staff to an “upfront” event next month, according to the company, making it the latest media enterprise to try to appropriate some of the urgency and splashiness of TV’s annual ad market. The Hearst upfront, scheduled for Oct. 15 at Hearst Tower, is meant to drum up advertiser interest in the stories and packages, in print and in digital media, that editors are planning for 2014. To that end, Hearst has trademarked the term “Big Content,” a play on the trendy marketing term “Big Data.”

To Playboy Magazine, Sophistication Is The New Sexy (LA Times / Company Town)
In an era when many Playboy readers have grown up viewing online pornography and a monthly title featuring nude women can seem downright antiquated, the men’s lifestyle magazine is in the midst of an editorial reboot. “You could tell by looking at it, the carpets had gotten a little bit musty,” says Playboy‘s editorial director, Jimmy Jellinek.

Netflix Checks Piracy Stats to Help It Decide What to Buy (Forbes)
Netflix has long argued that its service helps counteract piracy by offering a legal alternative; and it seems that the company is putting its money where its mouth is. In an interview with Dutch tech website Tweakers, Netflix VP of content acquisition Kelly Merryman says that it actively seeks out TV series that have high rates or piracy when making programming decisions. “When purchasing series, we look at what does well on piracy sites,” she says, explaining the company’s decision to offer Prison Break in the Netherlands, where Netflix recently launched.

FCC Inundated With Miley Cyrus Complaints (HuffPost)
The uproar over Miley Cyrus’ MTV Video Music Awards performance just won’t stop. Its newest iteration comes in the form of more than 150 complaints to the Federal Communications Commission from concerned citizens across the country who want MTV or Cyrus herself punished for indecency.

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