Morning Media Newsfeed: AOL to Shed 300 Patch Sites | NYT Not for Sale | DCist Editor Fired

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AOL to Shut Down About 300 Websites
AOL plans to close, sell or find partners for nearly a third of its local news sites, the company’s chief executive said Wednesday. Of the roughly 900 hyperlocal editions nationwide, nearly 300 are not successful and not likely to attract enough traffic or revenue, Tim Armstrong said in AOL’s second-quarter earnings call with analysts. Forbes / Mixed Media Armstrong suggested that AOL may be able to find willing partners for many of the sites in the numerous struggling metropolitan daily newspapers that have been unable to invest as much as they’d like in their own digital and local operations. Poynter / MediaWire Several Patch employees tell Poynter that on a phone call with site editors Wednesday afternoon, Armstrong said that there was zero probability that Patch would shut down, that the initiative enjoyed support on AOL’s board and that Patch is worth fighting for. FishbowlNY Just how much would a Patch site cost? Armstrong wouldn’t provide a specific number, but said it was “much, much lower” than $150,000, which is what they were estimated at in 2011. BuzzMachine / Jeff Jarvis I have a fourth option, Tim: Invest. Set up independent entrepreneurs — your employees, my entrepreneurial graduates, unemployed newspaper folks — to take over the sites. Offer them the benefit of continued network ad sales — that’s enlightened self-interest for Patch and AOL. Offer them training. Offer them technology. And even offer them some startup capital. Forbes AOL also announced it will buy video platform for $405 million, a reflection of the Internet company’s push to develop its online-advertising business. The cash-and-stock deal will make, a video-ad platform that provides AOL access to the ad technology that the world’s largest companies use, an independent part of AOL’s video unit.

Everyone Is Talking About The New York Times Being Sold (FishbowlNY)
Now that Jeff Bezos has put The Washington Post in his cart, all everyone wants to talk about is what this means for The New York Times. Will it be sold? While most are yelling “Yes! Of course,” no one has any idea. NYT After a week in which both The Boston Globe and the Post were purchased by new owners, the publisher of the Times emphatically declared Wednesday night that the publication was not for sale. In a statement, the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who is also chairman of The New York Times Company, said that he and Michael Golden, the vice chairman, had spoken to Donald E. Graham, chairman and chief executive of The Washington Post Company, about his decision to sell the Post and some smaller newspapers and stressed that The Times did not plan to follow a similar path. TheWrap / MediaAlley Sulzberger also admitted to being “stunned” and “sad” about the Graham family’s decision to sell its paper, and hoped that Bezos would “continue the tradition of excellence that the Grahams achieved in their eight decades of stewardship.” HuffPost / The Backstory In interviews with The Huffington Post, analysts and Times watchers say the sale of the Post — and how that iconic newspaper brand performs under its new owner — will be closely scrutinized by the Sulzberger clan. While no sudden moves are expected, any initiatives undertaken by Bezos to inject new life into the Post are likely to influence how that family thinks about their long stewardship of the nation’s paper of record.

DCist Editor Fired After Freelancing Spats (The Washington Post / Erik Wemple)
In a testament to the cachet of a BuzzFeed byline, DCist editor-in-chief Ben Freed has been dismissed from his position after he placed a freelance piece with the popular news site. Speaking about the matter Tuesday night, Freed sounded a bit dazed by the ouster: “I did not think that writing something for BuzzFeed could get me fired,” he said. FishbowlDC The part of the story that is still a mystery, and we don’t get why Wemple didn’t ask this, is that Freed’s publisher, Jake Dobkin, told him to spike the story. BuzzFeed said they would be amenable to spiking the story, but also thought it would bring attention to DCist. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple Following his dismissal, Freed sent out a mass email addressing the incident. In it, he cites a claim by Dobkin that Freed’s freelance piece for BuzzFeed, published in defiance of Dobkin’s wishes, was the “straw that broke my back.”

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Time Inc. Spinoff Delayed Until Early Next Year (Ad Age / Media News)
Time Warner said Tuesday that it won’t complete its plan to separate Time Inc. into an independent company this year as anticipated, prolonging a period of uncertainty at the publishing division just a little bit longer. Executives now intend to complete the spinoff early next year, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said during a conference call with analysts to discuss the company’s second quarter results, to ensure the best position for Time Inc. as it starts life on its own. Bewkes also said he didn’t want to rush Joe Ripp, who was named Time Inc.’s latest CEO last month and doesn’t officially start until September. FishbowlNY This seems odd, considering Ripp has already said he’s willing to sell some Time Inc. brands and made his first hire. He seems ready to go.

The Twitterization of Facebook Continues With Trending Topics (Fast Company / Fast Feed)
Facebook started testing Trending Topics Wednesday with a small percentage of its U.S. mobile website users. Like Twitter’s Trends, it will bubble up the topics lots of Facebook users are talking about at the moment. Several Facebook updates in recent months have garnered the social network comparisons to Twitter, including a verification system for famous Facebook users that uses blue checkmarks similar to those that appear on Twitter’s verified profiles and a hashtag feature that groups together public Facebook posts.

Yahoo! Getting New Logo (MediaPost / Raw)
Yahoo!’s logo is getting an update for the first time in its two-decade history. The new look will be promoted over the next month through a series of designs the company will display on its Tumblr and Facebook pages each day before unveiling the official new logo on Sept. 4. PRNewser Yahoo! hired CEO Marissa Meyer to lead the company into a brave new world of changing technologies and evolving consumer habits — all during a prolonged and crippling global recession. So the public wants her, and the company, to do well. We just do. These have been tough times, and we’re all in the mood for a success story. However, most the news the public has heard about Yahoo!’s resurrection have been on relatively unimpressive issues such as not allowing Yahoo employees to telecommute.

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The Mysterious Company That Just Bought Newsweek (Fortune)
“We acquired Newsweek!!!” So tweeted Etienne Uzac, CEO of IBT Media, over the weekend. He was certainly upstaged Monday afternoon when Jeff Bezos announced he was buying The Washington Post. Still, Newsweek is a big name, especially to be acquired by a company you’ve probably never heard of. And yet despite his new media property’s high profile, Uzac’s tweet was a dud, retweeted exactly once, loyally, by the managing editor of IBT’s flagship website,

New York Post Shedding Columnists (Capital New York)
Andrea Peyser isn’t the only columnist taking a step back at the New York Post. The tabloid’s long-time TV critic, Linda Stasi, has resigned from her staff position at the paper to go freelance. Sources are wondering whether there’s some broader staff shuffling at play now that long-time Post lieutenant Jesse Angelo is running the show while editor-in-chief Col Allan tends to News Corp. matters in Australia for the next two to three months.

Ebony Magazine: ‘We Are Trayvon’ (MSNBC)
Ebony magazine is making a statement with its September issue. The magazine is releasing four different covers declaring “We Are Trayvon.” The first features Trayvon Martin’s family — Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin and their son Jahvaris Fulton. Three others versions featured director Spike Lee and his son, Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade with his sons, and actor Boris Kodjoe and his son. They all pose wearing hoodies. The Atlantic Wire The magazine announced, via a Twitter zinger, that they did not care if the Tea Party was going to boycott their September issue because of the covers. Except there’s little-to-no evidence “the Tea Party” had plans to do such a thing.

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On Mammograms, Slate Drops The Ball (CJR / The Observatory)
I was optimistic that the publication of Peggy Orenstein’s fabulous New York Times Magazine piece on pinkwashing and the dysfunction of breast cancer culture in April would change the conversation and diminish misleading coverage of the disease. Apparently not. Wednesday morning, Slate urged its readers to “Reconsider the Mammogram” (with no apparent apologies to David Foster Wallace).

This Is Mixbit, The New Video Site of YouTube Founders Steve Chen And Chad Hurley (GigaOM)
YouTube co-founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley are getting ready to launch their new video service, and we were able to take a first peek at the site.

Online News Hasn’t Killed Newspapers — It’s The Death of Advertising (Slate / MoneyBox)
Hearing some coverage of the Washington Post‘s sale on radio and television over the past couple of days, I heard a lot of clichés about newspapers struggling to adapt as readers moved online or newspapers losing audience to the Web. Obviously there is some of this going on. But it’s pretty badly overstated.

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Profit at Time Warner Surges 87 Percent (NYT / AP)
Investments in mythical kingdoms and alien invasions are paying off for Time Warner. The company, which owns HBO, CNN, TNT and Warner Brothers, said on Wednesday that it posted an 87 percent jump in net income in the April-June quarter because spending on original programming helped bolster viewer interest and revenue at its TV networks. The results beat Wall Street’s predictions and the company raised its full-year guidance.

Publishers Object to eBook Plan for Apple (WSJ)
Five major U.S. publishers objected to the Justice Department’s proposal to limit Apple Inc.’s influence in the eBooks market, saying it would effectively alter their existing settlements with the U.S. government. In a court filing Wednesday afternoon, the publishers said that the U.S. Department of Justice’s demands on Apple would eliminate the use of the “agency model” for the sale and distribution of eBooks for a period of five years, by prohibiting Apple from entering such agreements.

The Science Behind The Netflix Algorithms That Decide What You’ll Watch Next (Wired / Underwire)
If you liked 1960s Star Trek, the first non-Trek title that Netflix is likely to suggest to you is the original Mission: Impossible series (the one with the cool Lalo Schifrin soundtrack). Streaming the latest Doctor Who is likely to net you the supernatural TV drama Being Human (the UK version). Watch From Dusk Till Dawn and 300 and say hello to a new row on your homepage: Visually Striking Violent Action & Adventure. Trying to understand the invisible array of algorithms that power your Netflix suggestions has long been a favorite sport, but what’s actually going on in that galaxy of big data, those billions and billions of ratings stars? Turns out there are 800 Netflix engineers working behind the scenes at their Silicon Valley HQ.

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Mediabistro Chats


If you were a tech billionaire, what newspaper would you buy? (via @TheWeek)

twitter GetCondiment None!

twitter newswhore Any paper that advocates against science on its editorial pages, then fire those people.

twitterBellaJanella Tech has made newspapers obsolete so tech billionaires don’t buy them. Useful only for lighting eco barbecues.

twitter Shawn E Carter I would buy all print media companies and their writer assets, then turn everything digital, integrated to Facebook for social.

twitterKate Currin Seiferth Def NYT.

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