Morning Media Newsfeed: Amazon Unveils Drones | Kaplan Dies at 59 | NY Mag Going Bi-Weekly

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Amazon Unveils Flying Delivery Drones on 60 Minutes (Mashable)
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is known for taking big bets in the world of innovation, and on Sunday night on 60 Minutes he revealed what might be one of his biggest: product delivery by flying robot drones. The service is called Amazon Prime Air and it’s slated for rollout sometime in 2015, depending on FAA approval. TVNewser Charlie Rose was as surprised as his viewers when Bezos showed him the drones. “I had no idea what his purpose was,” said Rose in a 60 Minutes Overtime video. CBS News / 60 Minutes Overtime When Rose walked in and saw the Prime Air drones sitting on a tabletop for the show-and-tell, he exclaimed “Oh, my God!” It was a genuine reaction — Rose and the 60 Minutes team weren’t in on the secret beforehand. Slate / MoneyBox America’s brick and mortar retailers are currently desperately scrambling to make something like this happen, but they’re hampered by their reliance on human delivery. The question is whether “good enough” drones will be available before Amazon manages to put all these companies out of business.

Peter Kaplan, Editor of New York Observer, Dies at 59 (NYT)
Peter W. Kaplan, who in his 15 years as editor was credited with making The New York Observer both pertinent and impertinent as it gleefully chronicled the every move and shake of the city’s movers and shakers, died on Friday in Manhattan. He was 59. FishbowlNY As the sad news of his passing spread Friday, current Observer senior editor Colin Campbell suggested “there’s no better source on Kaplan than the editor himself.” And so, Campbell for his first piece chose to republish Kaplan’s 2008 tribute to New York magazine founder Clay Felker. NY Observer He was responsible for the paper’s look — its pink pages and hyperbolic caricatures made it look something like the New York Review of Books in drag. Arthur Carter, the former owner of the Observer who worked closely with Kaplan and granted him a kind of carte blanche, said of the editor, “I’ve never met anyone who had the combination of intellectual brilliance and kindness to everyone he dealt with,” a sentiment that was echoed by everyone who knew him. WWD A throwback in terms of his attire, Kaplan wore tortoiseshell glasses, Paul Stuart khakis, and a pale blue Oxford shirt — occasionally frayed — with the sleeves rolled up and a tucked-in tie, day-in and day-out. BuzzFeed Kaplan was a brilliant editor, a wonderfully idiosyncratic writer (“The barefoot contessa wore rubber thongs,” begins what is perhaps the ur-text for Kaplan scholars, a profile of Ava Gardner he wrote for the New York Times in 1985), and a New York City institution, but above all he was a spotter of talent and a mentor to dozens of writers and editors working today. NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer The Observer was built for Peter. It was housed in an old-WASP beaux-arts pile on East 64th Street owned by Arthur Carter, a Jew who’d made good on Wall Street in the go-go sixties, and whose mother had known Peter’s grandmother back in Brooklyn. Once filled with 24-year-olds whose mark would be made under Peter’s tutelage, 54 E. 64th St. became a castle of Kaplandom: The front page meets Harry Potter, young wizards flying around the city testing their new faculties, while their elders, sardonic, equipped with unthinkable powers, worked their schemes. Kaplan, of course, was Dumbledore, big-hearted even when the pieces were scabrous, which they often were. The New Yorker / News Desk Today, Kaplan’s former staffers populate virtually every publication of record, including The New Yorker; most major Web portals; and television.

Long on Cutting Edge of Print, New York Magazine Cuts Back (NYT)
Since its founding in 1968, New York magazine has served as a prototype of literate, high-tempo publishing, using its weekly cadence and location in one of the world’s cultural capitals to usher in a new, more intimate and frank approach to what a publication could be. Now, this magazine that has been at the vanguard of Manhattan publishing for almost five decades is acknowledging that the cutting edge is not necessarily a lucrative or sustainable proposition, at least on the same schedule. Beginning in March, New York will retreat from its long-standing status as a weekly and come out every other week instead. The Wrap Thanks to a print environment that is working out for virtually no one, the nearly 50-year-old publication had already been down to 42 publishing weeks per year, but will now be winnowed to 26. It keeps its three annual staple special issues — best doctors, gift guide and food-and-drink — so in the final tally it really only loses 13 issues.

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Today Show Audio Technician And Father of Four Among Victims in NYC Train Derailment ( / AllDay)
The Today show lost a member of its family over the weekend. One of the victims of the tragic train derailment in the Bronx was Jim Lovell, 58, an audio technician who frequently worked on Today and other NBC programs. Lovell was on his way to work to do a setup for the Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting special when the train derailed. TVNewser The early morning derailment of a Metro-North train in the Bronx kept New York’s local stations in continuing coverage, pre-empting most of Sunday public affairs programs. The eight cars of the Grand Central-bound commuter train derailed as it rounded a bend, approaching the Spuyten Duyvil station, killing four people and injuring more than 60 others. Fox News reported the news at 8:17, CNN at 8:29 and MSNBC at 8:53.

Jezebel News Editor Deletes, Apologizes for Tasteless Paul Walker Tweet
A torrent of angry Twitter reaction poured in the direction of Erin Gloria Ryan after the Jezebel news editor tweeted and then deleted a tasteless reference to the tragic death of Fast and Furious star Paul Walker. “Why couldn’t it be Scott Walker?” Ryan tweeted, drawing a connection between the late actor’s last name and that of the once-embattled Republican governor of Wisconsin. Ryan defended her statement about 15 minutes later, tweeting, “Wow, conservatives are about as bad at jokes making fun of celebrity worship as they are at governing Wisconsin.” Ninety minutes later, she removed the controversial tweet and issued a Twitter apology. “I don’t wish death on anyone,” she wrote. “Joking about that was insensitive and inappropriate.”

Erin Burnett Gives Birth to A Baby Boy (People / TV Watch)
CNN anchor Erin Burnett welcomed her first child — a boy — with husband David Rubulotta on Friday. “Dave and I welcomed a healthy, happy baby boy at 9:47 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29,” the Erin Burnett OutFront host tells People. “He weighed in at 8 lbs., 10 oz.” TVNewser There’s no word yet on the baby’s name. It’s the first child for the couple, who married in December of 2012.

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A Gawker Editor Tells How He Picks ‘Viral’ Content Readers Can’t Resist Sharing (WSJ)
Neetzan Zimmerman doesn’t like to be called a machine. That word implies something cold and inhuman about how he works, and Zimmerman believes that what makes him so good at his job is precisely the opposite sensibility: Unlike a computer, he understands the emotions that might compel a human being to click on something online. Zimmerman is a 32-year-old editor at the news-and-entertainment site Gawker, where he’s responsible for posting “viral” content — videos, photos, crazy local news stories — that readers can’t resist sharing with everyone they know.

Turning to Public to Back Investigative Journalism (NYT)
If you suspect your local town government is corrupt, would you pay a journalist to investigate? Uncoverage, a website that will be announced on Monday, will test whether the public cares enough about investigative journalism to pay for it. The site, to be at, will allow journalists and nonprofits to seek crowdsourced funding for both articles and topics like, for example, the Syrian war. Money for general topics will be split up among projects by the site’s editors.

Five Reasons Men’s Magazines Had A Very Good 2013 (Ad Age / Media News)
For men’s magazines, 2013 was a very good year. The increase comes as many marketers are shifting more of their dollars to digital properties and spending less on magazines. Women’s fashion titles have managed to grow in this climate; industry wide, however, monthly magazines’ ad pages were essentially flat. But Hearst’s Esquire, Condé Nast’s GQ and Details, Rodale’s Men’s Health and American Media’s Men’s Fitness all posted double-digit ad-page gains, according to Media Industry Newsletter. Men’s Journal, a Wenner Media title, reported a 1 percent increase in ad pages.

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Denver Post Lights Up New Pot Editor (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
The Denver Post has found its pot editor. Ricardo Baca will helm the paper’s marijuana coverage as Colorado’s recreational marijuana law goes into effect in January. Baca is nearly a 12-year veteran of the Post, previously serving as entertainment editor and a music critic. Baca said this will be the paper’s “biggest initiative for the coming year” and although alternative media has been covering the topic for decades, “no other media outlet in the state has the strength in numbers and reach of the Post.” The Denver Post / Editor’s Notes Q: Do you partake? A: The short answer: I’ve covered concerts for a living over the last 15 years. That means hanging out with musicians, working with people in the industry, attending music festivals in Austin and the Coachella valley and New York and L.A. So yes.

Washington Post Building Sold (Politico)
The longtime headquarters building of The Washington Post is being sold to a real estate development company for $159 million. Graham Holdings Co. is the former parent of the Washington Post newspaper. The company announced a deal Wednesday to sell the downtown Washington building to Carr Properties. The sale is expected to close at the end of March 2014.

In Defense of Business Insider: What’s Wrong With A Few Slideshows Now And Then? (GigaOM)
It’s easy to make fun of Business Insider’s penchant for slideshows, just as it’s easy to criticize BuzzFeed for its animated GIFs — but everyone is trying to find a balance between what readers want and what they need.

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Viral Content Is Going to Be A Terrible Business Model
By now, even a 12 year old has a sense for the type of content that goes viral on Facebook. And that content is precisely the type that doesn’t really fit into the traditional verticals that major advertising brands like to circle around. Sports content struggles on Facebook, as most users do not share the same team affinities with their friends. Hobbyist content has the same problem — what portion of your friends also like to fish or race motorcycles? And what about Fashion or Beauty content? Probably not going to be a viral hit.

Xbox One Is Still Stuck in Cable’s Orbit (Variety)
The “one” in the name Xbox One is a little misleading when it comes to watching live TV through Microsoft’s new videogame console. Though the device is being touted as an all-entertainment hub, accessing channels on it still requires a set-top box from a pay-TV provider. The HDMI cord still required to connect the two boxes is the compromise Microsoft had to make in order to take its baby step toward revolutionizing how consumers interact with content.

Who Killed The Catchphrase? (NYT)
Wassup. Time to make the doughnuts. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. Where, exactly, is the modern advertising catchphrase? Whither the beef? Even without invoking a certain currently-on-hiatus show that romanticizes the glory days of ad agencies, you might have noticed that the catchphrase, while not quite extinct, has lost much of its resonance in recent years.

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