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Ryan Derousseau

Diller Likes AOL While National Journal’s Latest Hire Talks Decline, Plus Other News of the Day

- Well the Wall Street Journal is sure enjoying a recent jump in its advertising revenue, and it wants to make it clear that the New York Times isn’t matching it. According to a company memo obtained by Romenesko, the WSJ‘s print and online revenue jumped 17%, while its digital advertising revenue skyrocketed up 29% in the first quarter of 2011. How’s NYT‘s? According to the memo, “for the same three month period the New York Times has forecast total print and online revenue for its calendar third quarter to fall 2 to 3% compared with a year before. Total print advertising revenue is expected to be down 5%. Total digital advertising revenue is projected to rise 14%.” Does this mean the WSJ is winning?

- AOL has one fan in IAC CEO Barry Diller. Of course this fan was speaking at AOL’s recent acquisition, TechCrunch’s conference when he spoke of AOL. “For the first time in more than ten years … which in an internet company of such size is an eternity … real things are happening,” said Diller, according to paidContent. “There is a real direction, a real plan, it is under a real leader. It is independent, it’s got a real chance.” What are Diller’s thoughts on Yahoo, however? He didn’t want to talk about it.

- The media watchdog group Free Press has filed a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission to stop the practice of paid publicists supporting products on television news casts, when the news station presents the person as a consumer advocate. This move by the Free Press has come on the heels of Los Angeles Times columnist James Rainey calling out the FCC for not doing something about this practice. “The agency hopes the threat of public embarrassment will keep hucksters in check,” wrote Rainey. “Judging from my reporting on toy woman Werner, I’m not so sure. Several PR professionals told me they see secretly paid promotions only growing…. Television stations won licenses from the FCC with promises to uphold a trust to serve the public interest. Critical in that trust is helping the audience understand where content comes from.” Wonder how the FCC will react to that.

- It’s a continuing theme of this nightly roundup, but National Journal picked up another hire today. Boston.com’s editor David Beard will join the publication as its deputy editor-in-chief and online editor. But Beard had some thoughts about what he does and the old media world as he left. “I thought about the first Times owner…and how much he really dreamed up new ideas and thought like an entrepreneur — as opposed to a manager of an extant company,” said Beard to Nieman Journalism Lab. “I didn’t want to live my life managing decline.” That’s a sad, but poignant statement.

Columbia Journalism Review Needs a Media Critic

Media critics seem to be in high demand these days. On Monday, Jeff Bercovici joined Forbes while John Koblin left his home at New York Observer to start writing for Women’s Wear Daily. And now, the Columbia Journalism Review wants to find a new media critic for fiscal and economic policy coverage.

It’s a fellowship, not a full-time job, but for those opinionated souls out there with experience in journalism, it seems like an ideal secondary income source. Here’s a rundown of what CJR wants.

Funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the Peterson Fellowship was created to encourage the business and Washington media to take the long view. Among other things, we’ll encourage the press to explore the national debate over the federal budget, the national debt, entitlement programs, and taxes; the impact of Washington economic policy on Wall Street and financial markets; the still-unknown public exposure to various financial stabilization measures and its impact on future economic policy choices; the fallout and long-term consequences of financial-sector reforms; the social consequences of the crisis, including wealth transfers resulting from foreclosures and other forms of economic dislocation; and the impact of the crisis on social mobility, income distribution, poverty, and personal savings and home-ownership rates.

The job will pay $3,333.33 a month (that’s a weird number to land on), but does not include benefits. “Fluency with economic and policy questions a plus, as is familiarity with Washington media eco-system.” So for those Peter Orzag lovers or Lawrence Summers aficionados, this one is for you.

Dan Abrams: “We’re Making a Profit”

For those working at Mediaite, here’s some good news. Founder of Abrams Media, publisher of Mediaite, Dan Abrams says his company will soon be profitable. And here’s some news for those wanting to work for Mr. Abrams, he’s launching three new sites.

Abrams spoke at an Advertising Week forum this morning, and he declared that his company “will be profitable in January or February,” according to Business Insider. He went on to defend digital media as a whole, particularly the sites that aggregate other news, like Mediaite.

“To suggest that digital media as a whole isn’t going to be profitable is ridiculous,” said Abrams. “If you’re doing good content and you’ve got devoted communities of people coming to your site, you’re not only going to be successful, but profitable. I’m not doing this because it’s a vanity project, I’m doing it because we’re making a profit.”

And, of course, the most important news for those looking for jobs, Abrams plans to launch three sites, but he did not appear to go into great detail about the new ventures.

Deseret News Gilbert: “Optimistic about the industry? No”

Fresh off the heels of cutting 43 percent of Deseret News‘ staff, CEO Clark Gilbert spoke to a Dallas, Texas advertising conference about the future of media. Lets just say he doesn’t have very many good things to say about the media industry right now.

To start off, he expects only 1-in-10 old media outlets to survive the switch to digital that nearly every organization will eventually need to undertake as print advertising and circulation crumbles. “Optimistic about the industry? No, not at all,” said Gilbert, according to Net News Check.

He added: “What I find repeatedly is that the traditional medium overwhelms” the website. “And that will always make sense (to the traditional medium) … until you’re dead.”

He just sounds like a ray of sunshine, though, he may prove himself right once all is said and done. According to Gilbert, his reorganization plans are working swimmingly. One of the television station sites (KSL.com) now holds a 64 percent market share in the area. Although that seems really high, it beats out the local Craigslist site according to Net News Check.

Newsweek, Daily Beast Combo Gains Momentum

Talks between Newsweek‘s soon-to-be official owner Sidney Harman and the Daily Beast have heated up reports the New York Post‘s Keith Kelly. The plan would combine the digital group within Newsweek with the Daily Beast, while Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown would also oversee the print side of Newsweek.

The negotiations continue between Harman and Daily Beast owner Barry Diller. Kelly writes:

“The talks are advancing,” said one knowledgeable source, “but there are still a few hurdles.”

One of the problems, said another source is, “Diller is approaching it as a business deal and thinks he’s in the driver’s seat.”

The trick is getting two moguls and their accompanying egos to agree on how to run a joint venture.

“I think they’d both play very active roles,” said one source.

The other issue is where to move the Newsweek staff. But it would be an interesting first move for the new media mogul, Harman.

WaPo, NYT Fund Social News Startup | Iran Blogger Gets 19 Years in Prison | And Other Stuff That Happened Yesterday

New Rochelle Blogger Responds to Patch

AOL’s Patch responded to claims that its recently launched New Rochelle site lifted a photo off of another local blog, calling any “presentation of those public images is purely coincidental” earlier today. Before I published AOL’s response, I asked the Talk of the Sound blogger Robert Cox, who’s making the claims, to respond to Patch’s statement. He decided to do so via his site, and he’s not backing down from the allegations.

In the post, he explains the troubles he had when cropping the mug shots of three suspects from a murder case in the New Rochelle, New York area, explaining why the resemblance is far from coincidental. It’s a detailed rundown of each step he took when cropping the photo. Here’s a snip-it of his explanation:

“The photo of Smith [one of the suspects] has a great deal of space around him and he is, relatively, very small in the photo. I am not that proficient in Adobe Photoshop so I just eye-balled it and cropped a rectangle around his head — a totally random crop that was meant to be as close to the other two as possible but random nonetheless.”

And here are the two photos posted on Talk of the Sound with the New Rochelle Patch’s version on the bottom. [It's important to note that these mug shots are of suspects, not convicted criminals. I've posted the picture solely to add visuals for what I'm talking about in the argument between Patch and Talk of the Sound.]

As Cox mentions, mug shots are in the public domain and can’t be plagiarized, but it’s a different scenario once those mug shots are cropped. Cox has even gone as far as to ask the New Rochelle editor to publish the email she may have sent to the police department requesting the mug shots.

But it’s hard to see a clear end to this. I doubt Cox should continue to pursue Patch on the topic; while, I’m sure Patch just doesn’t want to hear about the picture anymore. However, on the bigger picture scale, this is the world AOL has entered into. It’s just a mug shot, but whether or not the photo was lifted, there’s no doubt this is bad press for the local Patch.

More importantly, this could happen to any of the other Patch sites, and the local blogging scene will call out each and every mistake. And without much editorial oversight, it’s putting both the young editor and the local blogs in a tough position. Welcome to the neighborhood.

Huffington Post Fires Back While Tabloids Fail the Accuracy Test, Plus Other News of the Day

- The Week is starting to look rather Radar-y. As the Business Insider points out, the weekly publication has attempted to booster its website over the past year, and in doing so it has brought on six new digital hires, including three from the now defunct magazine Radar. Sounds like an office party. But don’t expect the site to look too much like Radar anytime soon, after all the digital staff has increased to 12 overall, and not all of them come from defunct magazines.

- The Huffington Post responded to former free-blogger Mayhill Fowler‘s loud resignation yesterday with a rather simple point: She never actually worked at HuffPo. “Mayhill Fowler says that she is ‘resigning’ from the Huffington Post,” said spokesman Mario Ruiz to the The Upshot. “How do you resign from a job you never had?” Ruiz continued, saying, “At the end of the day, Mayhill Fowler asked for a paid position; we chose not to offer her one. Nothing new media or old media about that.” Fair point, but when will Huffington Post need to take responsibility for the free bloggers using its servers, after all, it has no problem accepting the page views those bloggers bring in.

- The Bloomberg London offices sound quiet cool. Here’s News on News’s Kevin Coy describing the headquarters as he first entered the building. “Over several floors are the many different functions of the Bloomberg operation in London, often emulating the same functions that are executed over in the US, but for the European audience,” writes Coy. “Rows of desks fill the floors, each with the instantly recognisable four-screen Bloomberg terminals. In the middle of the floors is a spectacular atrium, and something that really wouldn’t be thought possible when viewing the building from the outside.  Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s influence is clearly identifiable with the vast array of over-size fish tanks housing many varieties of tropical fish.” Actually, sounds a lot like the New York offices.

- Gawker took a look at the celebrity tabloids, figuring out the most accurate rag over the past 20 months. Although US Weekly came out on top, it only had 35 percent accuracy when reporting break-ups, pregnancies, marriages, engagements, adoptions, and reconciliations on the cover. The accuracy improved greatly for the overall book (59 percent). OK! magazine came in at the bottom for cover story accuracy, with  a mere 7 percent of stories reflecting reality. I know you’re not supposed to totally trust all the stories in the magazines, but seeing it in percentage form surprises even skeptical me.

The Capital Boasts Highest Salaries While Most City Incomes Fall

If you want to make some money head to the nation’s capital, that’s because according to the annual report of city incomes, the DC area holds the highest average household income in the country. Residents have a medium household income of just more than $85,000.

Not only that, but it’s only one of two cities in the top 52 largest areas (cities with population over 1 million) that saw a flat or improved income level in 2009. San Antonio was the only other city that didn’t post a loss in average income, growing .5 percent from 2008 levels.

“This goes to how broad-based the downturn was,” said chief economist of Moody’s Analytics Mark Zandi to CNNMoney. “During other recessions, a region or two avoided the recession. This time, none did.”

Zandi went on to credit the regulatory environment for the stability in DC income levels, as more businesses move into the area to support the new laws. Of the cities showing the most declines in income, poor Detroit came in at the top of the list with a 10 percent drop, according to the Census Bureau report. Orlando also nearly saw a 10 percent drop in income, while Cleveland fell 8.5 percent.

New Rochelle Patch Responds to Charges of Plagiarism, Bias

Update: [A day after Patch responded to plagiarism, denying the claim that the local editor lifted a photo, Patch admitted that their statement below was based on false information. The company has since acknowledged that local editor Allison Esposito lifted the photo then lied about it to her editors. Here's the email Patch editor-in-chief sent to the New Rochelle blogger for Talk of the Sound Robert Cox, admitting the mistake.]

Yesterday in the nightly roundup, I mentioned a claim by a local blog in the New Rochelle, New York area that charged AOL’s Patch with plagiarism. Talk of the Sound managing editor Robert Cox wrote a post saying that the New Rochelle Patch editor Allison Esposito took photos from Talk of the Sound and published it on the Patch.

“As readers know, we like to publish a photo across the full column of most stories. In this case, I obtained the three mug shots from NRPD and then used Adobe Photoshop to make a single image containing all three mug shots, cropped, along with a caption indicating the names of each suspect,” wrote Cox. “As is plain from looking at the image file on AOL Patch, Ms. Esposito lifted that image from Talk of the Sound, chopped off the caption with the names and presented it as her own work.”

AOL Patch has responded to the claim. In an email from the Hudson Valley regional editor for Patch, Katie Ryan O’Connor said “Allison Esposito, did not plagiarize anything from Mr. Cox’s blog in any form.” She goes on to add that “The objects in question — police generated mug shots — are publicly available and any similarity to Mr. Cox’s presentation of those public images is purely coincidental. Linking mug shots together in Photoshop (in this case, apparently doing nothing more than placing three similar sized objects in a row) is standard operating procedure for news organizations everywhere.”

But that’s not all. Cox has made claims that Esposito, who worked as communications director for Democratic Assemblywoman Amy Paulin in the New Rochelle area for about a year, is actually a “democratic political operative.” O’Connor brushes off that accusation as well.

“Here’s the truth: Like so many journalists faced with finding work in an industry that is shedding jobs at a rapid pace… Ms. Esposito took jobs in other fields that would utilize her writing and editing skills, most recently working as a communications director for Democratic Assemblywoman Amy Paulin,” wrote O’Connor. “She held that position for only about 12 months. During an extensive interview process, Ms. Esposito made it clear her first and foremost passion was journalism and has been working to find her way back into a full-time reporting and editing position ever since.”

O’Connor added that Esposito makes her political past clear in her biography, and the site (which has only been live since last Thursday) has not published anything out of the ordinary for or against the current town administrators.

I’ve emailed Cox for a response, and will post if I hear back from him. But this sounds more like a turf war than anything else, and maybe what many of the Patch editors will have to get used to as they encroach on areas that already have an active and motivated blogging circle.

You can read the entire Patch response after the jump.

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