Morning Media Newsfeed: AP Sues State Department | First Look Names Bloom President

AP sues State Department over Clinton emails. Michael Bloom named president of First Look Media. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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Associated Press Sues U.S. State Department to Force Release of Clinton Emails (HuffPost / AP)
The Associated Press on Wednesday sued the State Department to force the release of email correspondence and government documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. Bloomberg Politics The suit came a day after the potential presidential candidate said she wouldn’t consent to an outside review of her private server where the mail was stored. The news service said it sought Clinton’s email under the Freedom of Information Act in 2013 and the State Department didn’t disclose that the former secretary of state used a private email account. CNN The lawsuit — filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia — said the State Department “should be compelled to abide by the law, perform reasonable searches and promptly release all of the requested records.” Last week the news wire said it was considering legal action to force the release of the records. The Washington Times Going straight to the heart of the Clinton email controversy, the AP said despite five years of questions, the State Department never said it didn’t have control over Clinton’s emails, suggesting that officials were breaking the spirit of open-records when they said they were conducting searches for records. Clinton on Tuesday confirmed that she had used her own private email, set up on her own server, during her four years as secretary. Despite using her private account, she said she generally tried to do government business by emailing others on their official accounts, so she believed that her communications were stored. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple The State department is reviewing 30,000-odd business-related emails that Clinton culled from her private archive following her tenure as secretary of state; they were turned over to State in December. Those emails that qualify for release to the public will be placed online, the department has indicated.

Michael Bloom Named President of First Look Media (FishbowlNY)
Michael Bloom has been named president and general manager of First Look Media. Bloom most recently served as the founder of Woodshed Ventures, a media and technology advisory company. Capital New York At First Look, Bloom will “support and build our existing publications while creating entirely new products and services to expand and grow the business,” CEO Pierre Omidyar wrote. Bloom is the former chief executive of Guardian News & Media, North America, and has also served in senior roles for Wenner Media, MTV Networks/Viacom and AOL. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Bloom’s appointment comes just weeks after senior editor Ken Silverstein left the organization due to what he called “epic managerial incompetence.” Months earlier, writer Matt Taibbi left the organization, prompting First Look’s writers to write a scathing report about Omidyar’s failure to turn “high-minded, abstract principles” into a cohesive editorial structure. Poynter / MediaWire Bloom’s appointment was prompted in part by a desire to have a leader in First Look’s New York base of operations, First Look Media spokesperson Gina Lindblad said in an email. Authority over editorial decisions remains with the editors of the company’s publications; both Bloom and John Temple, president of audience and products, will report to Omidyar. In addition to Bloom’s appointment, First look plans to add to its leadership ranks in New York and elsewhere, Lindblad said.

The Guardian Backtracks Privacy Allegations Against Whisper (Mashable)
The newspaper behind a series of serious privacy allegations against anonymous sharing app Whisper has backed away from many of its claims. In a statement, The Guardian reveals Whisper has “provided further information” to the publication since it first reported the stories last fall. WSJ / Digits The U.K. newspaper, which had alleged that Whisper violated users’ privacy, added a paragraphs-long clarification at the top of a main article in the series. It also added a link to the clarification to other articles in the series and removed a commentary from its website. The Guardian’s clarification blunted its earlier reports, which had raised broader questions about so-called anonymous messaging apps that promise users the ability to post without revealing their identity. TechCrunch The juiciest part of the Guardian’s stories was the suggestion that Whisper tracks users’ locations even if they opt out of being tracked and that it was sharing that information with the U.S. Department of Defense. Whisper, however, denied that it was tracking users after they opted out, aside from using IP addresses to establish a very rough location. And while it acknowledged that it was working with the military “to lower suicide rates,” it said it was not sharing any personally identifiable information.

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Nielsen Reports Significant Increases in Households That Own, Use Mobile Devices in Fourth Quarter 2014 (THR)
Significantly more households have and are using mobile devices, including smartphones, as of the end of 2014 compared to the same period a year earlier, according to Nielsen’s fourth quarter 2014 total audience report. Variety According to Nielsen’s findings, 40.3 percent of homes in the U.S. have access to an SVOD service as of Q4 of 2014, which is an increase from the 36 percent reported in Q4 of 2013. Over the same period, the average adult over 18 years old watched four hours and 51 minutes of live TV, down from five hours and four minutes in the same time frame in 2013, and five hours and 10 minutes in Q4 of 2012. Deadline Traditional TV viewing stayed steady with the year before. Compared to Q4 2013, that manner of viewing dipped just 4.1 percent to 149:14 hours a month on average. CNNMoney Some families subscribe to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus, but most have just one of the services: Netflix. In fact, Netflix is in 36 percent of all American TV households, while Amazon is in 13 percent and Hulu Plus is in 6.5 percent, according to Nielsen.

AP Announces 2016 Political Team (FishbowlNY)
The Associated Press has announced its 2016 political team, which is led by political editor David Scott. Lisa Lerer joins the AP as a political reporter with a focus on Hillary Clinton. Lerer comes to the AP from Bloomberg, where she most recently served as a report for Bloomberg Politics. The AP’s White House correspondent Julie Pace will add campaign coverage to her role. Poynter / MediaWire Some other team members include: Tom Beaumont, a national political writer, who will report on Jeb Bush. Phil Elliott, a reporter, who will cover Republican presidential hopefuls in the senate. And Cal Woodward, a lead writer and reporter, who will help edit political coverage.

Paramount Pictures Undergoes Round of Layoffs (THR)
Paramount Pictures laid off between 30 and 40 employees across all its departments on Wednesday as part of parent company Viacom’s ongoing restructuring. Deadline Paramount isn’t the only part of Viacom hit by cuts Wednesday, as staff at kids-friendly Nickelodeon were informed. “As announced, we are in the process of restructuring and there will be employees leaving the company as a result,” a Nickelodeon spokesperson said Wednesday. “We are so grateful for the contributions they have made to Viacom.” Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told investors earlier this week that the layoffs and restructuring initiatives should save about $250 million a year. Variety Dave Sirulnick, one of the chief backers of MTV’s news and documentary efforts over the past three decades, is leaving the network in the wake of the cost-cutting efforts, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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Global Box Office Grows Only 1 Percent in 2014 (THR)
China has become the first market outside of North America to see box office revenue cross $4 billion, according to the Motion Picture Association of America’s annual report. Deadline Global box office sales hit $36.4 billion in 2014, a 1 percent increase, with $4.8 billion coming from China. Last year was the first time revenues from Asia surpassed other regions as defined by the trade group. Domestic sales at $10.4 billion were down 5 percent vs. 2013, due in part to a 2 percentage point drop in 3D sales to $1.4 billion. Some 229.7 million people in North America went to a movie theater at least once, comparable to 2013. Total tickets sold came to 1.27 billion, down 6 percent — a drop equal to the decline in per capita sales to 3.7. NYT Per-capita sales among those younger than 40 fell. The sharpest year-to-year drop, almost 20 percent, was among those 25 to 39. In one sign of industry growth, the number of films released last year by major studios and their subsidiaries rose for the first time since 2006, to 136 from 114 in 2013.

Columbia Journalism School to Reduce Enrollment (FishbowlNY)
Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism is reducing enrollment and cutting six staffers. The decline in students will take place over the next few years. NYT The job cuts do not include faculty positions, said Elizabeth Fishman, the school’s associate dean for communications. Applications to Columbia’s journalism school surged after the recession in 2008, which led the university to expand enrollment. The school now intends to “return to a smaller student body size,” Steve Coll, the dean of the school, wrote, closer to what he called “its historical norm.” There are 234 full-time students in the core degree program, Fishman said.

Leslie Moonves: Showtime Streaming Service Coming in ‘Not Too Distant Future’ (Variety)
CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves has made it clear that Showtime is poised to join HBO in offering a standalone online streaming subscription service “in the not too distant future.” LostRemote CBS’ subscription service is doing well, according to Moonves, who spoke at the Deutsche Bank 2015 Media, Internet and Telecom Conference Wednesday morning. While he wouldn’t disclose an exact number, Moonves says the service is doing “extremely well” and has more users than Dish’s Sling. CBSN, their OTT for news, is also keeping its head above water.

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FTC Targets DirecTV Over Advertised Discount Service (Re/code / Reuters)
U.S. regulators on Wednesday filed a complaint against satellite television provider DirecTV for what they called deceptive advertising for a 12-month discounted service that did not make it clear consumers’ costs would later rise. Variety The FTC contends that the advertisements fail to clearly disclose that the 12-month package requires a two-year contract, and that the cost increases by up to $45 per month in the second year. It also says that DirecTV does not clearly disclose that early cancellation fees of up to $480 apply if subscribers cancel before the end of the two years.

Verizon Inks AwesomenessTV Deal for 200-Plus Hours of Content (Variety)
Verizon, placing a big new bet in over-the-top video, has announced a multiyear deal with AwesomenessTV for more than 200 hours of original content to be available to wireless subscribers later this year.

Snapchat Is Raising Money From Alibaba at $15 Billion Valuation (Bloomberg)
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. plans to invest in Snapchat Inc., the mobile application for sending disappearing photos, at a valuation of $15 billion, people familiar with the situation said.

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Jerry Springer, Harold Ford Jr. And The Designer Who Dressed Bryant Gumbel (FishbowlNY / Lunch)
We missed Sigourney Weaver by a day. Oh well. As much as we felt like heading to the beach Wednesday, the siren’s call of Michael’s beckoned, so we made our way to 55th and Fifth for our weekly lunch.

Vox Media Launches Entertainment Division, Signs With WME (THR)
Vox Media, which owns and operates a collection of seven editorial sites, is launching Vox Entertainment to build out its online video capabilities and talent partnerships.

Scripps, Journal Communications Shareholders Approve TV Merger, Print Spinoff (Variety)
The uncoupling of newspaper and television chains into separate operations continued Wednesday, as shareholders for E.W. Scripps Co. and Journal Communications approved a merger that creates separate TV and print companies.

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