Morning Media Newsfeed: Cuts at NBC News? | Wagner Gets Bashir Slot | Sacco Fired After Tweet

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D.C. Staff Irked as NBC News Eyes Cuts (NY Post)
NBC News boss Deborah Turness is spending the last few days of the year eyeing cuts — moves that could include axing some senior on-air talent, the Post has learned. Turness, brought on in August to shake up the moribund news division — where Meet The Press and Today had stumbled — is in the midst of a host of end-of-year buyouts and cost reductions, sources said. Mediaite An NBC spokesperson, in a statement on Friday, said, “We offered a handful of voluntary buyouts in the D.C. bureau back in early November. Discussions are ongoing.” The spokesperson declined to elaborate.

Alex Wagner Moving to 4 P.M. on MSNBC (TVNewser)
Alex Wagner will be the new 4 p.m. ET host on MSNBC starting Jan. 13, TVNewser has learned. Wagner takes over the hour from Martin Bashir who resigned earlier this month following vile comments he made about Sarah Palin. Wagner debuted as the host of Now, which airs at noon ET, in November 2011. Capital New York The shift is the first of a number of moves (plural) to come, something noted by Griffin in his email to staff. “We’ll have more announcements in the new year — stay tuned,” MSNBC president Phil Griffin wrote.

Fired PR Executive Issues Apology Regarding Her Tweet: ‘I Am Ashamed’ (MediaJobsDaily)
We can’t even imagine what was going through Justine Sacco’s head on Friday when she tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” The senior director of corporate communications working for Barry Diller’s company, IAC, was promptly dismissed. Per her LinkedIn profile, she was promoted to that position in July. Prior to that, she served as director of corporate communications since September 2011. Adweek / Adfreak The whirlwind story of a successful PR pro’s downfall on a global social media stage unfolded in little more than 24 hours. Sacco’s tweet was posted shortly before she boarded a flight, leaving her likely unaware of the worldwide consternation and mockery she had instigated. Gawker As Sacco flew south through Europe and over Africa, her life began to slowly unravel. On the day when no one at work wants to work, she became the unwitting focus of Twitter, quickly eliciting a response from her boss Diller, who called her AIDS joke “outrageous, and offensive.” As day became night on the East Coast, the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet shot up Twitter’s list of trending topics. ABC News “Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet,” Sacco said. 10,000 Words It’s amazing that it’s almost 2014 and people are still getting fired for saying horrible, no good things on social media. Haven’t we learned that what you say can and will get you in trouble? Variety At a time of year when the hamster wheel we call our careers slows a tick or two, consider that maybe we are all Sacco. Or at least 140 characters away from being her at any given time.

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The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein Considering Starting New Venture (HuffPost / The Backstory)
Ezra Klein, a top Washington Post policy writer and editor of the paper’s Wonkblog, is currently speaking to outside suitors about starting a new media venture, according to a source familiar with the matter. At the same time, Klein is still in talks with the Post about possible next steps in his career, and he may end up staying at the paper, the source said. Klein declined to comment. Washington City Paper Klein joined the paper in 2009 from The American Prospect at the age of 24. He is also an analyst for MSNBC and a columnist for Bloomberg View.

Three to Leave Gawker (Capital New York)
John Koblin isn’t the only staffer who’ll be leaving Gawker Media at the top of the year. Staff announcements over the last month at Nick Denton’s digital media kingdom have been coming thick and fast. Defamer editor Beejoli Shah, Gawker senior writer Camille Dodero and Gawker weekend editor Max Rivlin-Nadler are all on the way out.

Plan for Tribune Spinoff Raises Concerns for Future of Newspaper Operations (NYT)
A plan by the Tribune Company to separate eight newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, from its more profitable digital and television businesses could threaten their survival, staff members, industry analysts and a congressman said last week. Under the proposal, outlined in a recent securities filing, the newspaper business will pay rent to its former parent company, as well as a dividend. Such moves, its critics say, will give the newspaper company less financial resources and operational flexibility at a difficult time for the industry.

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Reign of A Magazine Legend Is Ending With A Si (NY Post)
The transition at Condé Nast, the glitzy magazine wing of the Newhouse-owned Advance Publications, will probably go down as one of the smoothest changing of the guards in corporate history. It has been apparent that chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr. was gradually ceding day-to-day power for nearly two years. But it was not until last week that CEO Charles Townsend confirmed in an impromptu interview with Media Ink that an era had quietly ended. “He retired about this time a year ago,” said Townsend.

News Corp Makes Social Media Push (WSJ)
News Corp said Friday it purchased Storyful, a Dublin-based startup that scours social-media services like Twitter and Instagram to help newsrooms source, verify and distribute breaking news and viral online content. The $25 million acquisition is the first for News Corp since it was spun off in late June from a bigger conglomerate that included the Fox film and TV businesses — and took with it $2.6 billion in cash. FishbowlNY As part of the deal, Storyful will operate as its own business under the News Corp umbrella. Its existing partnerships with media companies will continue. Founder Mark Little and David Clinch, Storyful’s executive editor, will still oversee the company’s operations. Rahul Chopra, senior VP of video for News Corp, will join Storyful’s management team and add chief revenue officer to his role.

Native Advertising Wasn’t Really So Viral in 2013 (Adweek)
Are we so sure that all this sponsored content is worth the trouble? Native advertising distribution firm Sharethrough compiled a ranking of the biggest brand-produced sponsored stories from 2013. And what perhaps sticks out the most is that none of these stories seem to have really taken off on the social Web — which is the promise of the entire native ads movement. For example, the top sponsored story on the list was from Harper Collins. It naturally ran on BuzzFeed: “17 Problems Only Book Lovers Will Understand.” According to Sharethrough, the piece generated 715,267 social actions. That’s not so bad. But it’s also pretty striking that not a single brand (at least among those tracked by Sharethrough) could crack a million shares or likes.

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Katie Couldn’t Last, but Viewers Still Love Daytime TV (Ad Age / Media News)
The loyal audiences for daytime TV mainstays like Dr. Phil can be potent lures for advertisers frustrated by unpredictability and time-shifting in primetime. But that loyalty also makes daytime a tough club to break into — a fact proven again last week by the early demise of Katie Couric’s Katie, the most-hyped new entry to hit the market in years.

Is The Kardashian Magazine Reign of Terror Coming to an End? (NY Post / Page Six)
Not only are the Kardashians’ TV ratings sinking, but their faces are failing to sell supermarket weeklies. “It’s over. The fatigue factor has really set in,” one magazine publisher told me. “None of the Kardashians, either alone or together, is selling.” Sources say Jann Wenner paid $110,000 for a heavily retouched photo of Kim Kardashian in a white bikini, which he splashed on the Dec. 23 cover of Us Weekly under the headline, “My Body Is Back.” But the glossy, which usually sells about a half million a week, sold fewer than 400,000 copies, an insider with access to circulation reports told me.

When 60 Minutes Checks Its Journalistic Skepticism at The Door (NYT)
Historically, the news that 60 Minutes was in the lobby or on the phone has struck fear in the hearts of both the stalwart and the venal. The show made its targets quake and audiences thrill as it did the hard, often amazing work of creating consequence and accountability. But in the last few months, there have been significant lapses into credulousness, when reporters have been more “gee whiz” than “what gives?” The news that 60 Minutes is calling could be viewed as less ominous and more of an opportunity. More than once this year, the show has traded skepticism for access.

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A Sorry Moment in The History of American Media (Free Press)
We just experienced a shameful milestone in the history of U.S. media — and barely anyone noticed. There are now zero black-owned and operated full-power TV stations in our country. This sorry state of affairs is the culmination of a trend that started in the late 1990s when Congress and the Federal Communications Commission allowed massive consolidation in the broadcasting industry. This policy shift crowded out existing owners of color and ensured that it would be nearly impossible for new owners to access the public airwaves. Recent FCC actions (and in some cases, inaction) have only hastened this decline in opportunities for diverse broadcasters.

A Missing Spy And The Right to Know (NYT)
New York Times readers expect, reasonably enough, that their newspaper will publish what it digs up in the way of news, especially news about the clandestine activities of the federal government. So, for those who are paying close attention, it disturbs and upsets them when they learn that that hasn’t always been the case. The most recent example came when The Associated Press published a story about Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent missing since 2007. After years of withholding the information, The AP revealed that he had been working for the CIA, sent to Iran as a spy on a mission that went wrong. Soon after The AP published its story, so did The Washington Post. And the next day, so did the Times. It turns out that the Times has known about the situation since 2007.

Michael Wolff on Digital Media in 2014: ‘Pretty Damn Bleak’ (Digiday)
Author, essayist and media iconoclast Michael Wolff does not suffer foolishness quietly. In recent columns for The Guardian, he outlined how Forbes manipulated the New York Times to help create an illusion of success and described the long decline of 60 Minutes. For USA Today, he explained why the botched Obamacare site launch comes as a reminder that most CEOs simply don’t get tech. Wolff, who launched the digital curation engine newser in 2005 and revamped Adweek in 2010-2011, took a break from trolling his Twitter followers to discuss the state of the media at the dawn of 2014.

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Mediabistro Chats

What magazine would you hate to see go digital only?

sirensongs Nat Geo? obviously

Nicki Bandklayder Inc

Katy Ryan Schamberger Real Simple

Nicole Neroulias Gupte Any of them except US Weekly – that one belongs online.

Lisa Porro La Cucina Italiana, Sunset, House Beautiful…any of them really. I get some of them digitally along with my subscriptions and they’re just not as fun to read that way.

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Publish date: December 23, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT