Morning Media Newsfeed: Baquet Changes NYT Masthead | Comcast Responds to Merger Critics

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Big Changes to NYT Masthead (FishbowlNY)
Dean Baquet, the New York Times’ executive editor, has officially revamped the paper’s masthead. Gone is the “managing editor” title; it’s being replaced by four “deputy executive editors,” who “have already proven they can run stories that take on big institutions, who have covered a world of war and proven they can lead with humanity.” NYT They are Susan Chira, Janet Elder, Matthew Purdy and Ian Fisher. A fifth editor, Tom Bodkin, will be given the title of creative director, a position equal to the four deputy executive editors. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Through these changes Baquet hopes to make the relationship between the Times’ digital and print sides more fluid. “I anticipate people moving on and off the masthead as our needs evolve,” he wrote in a memo to staff Wednesday, “and it is important that these moves not be seen as measures of who is up and who is down, but rather as appointments aimed at keeping our journalism and our entire operation as vibrant as possible.” Capital New York The appointments reflect a push for better coordination and cooperation between departments as the Times works on pushing out its journalism to digital readers more effectively. Other recent appointments along these lines include Arthur Gregg Sulzberger as senior editor for strategy, Alex MacCallum as assistant managing editor for audience development and Sam Dolnick as senior editor for mobile. HuffPost Wednesday’s masthead changes are the biggest since Baquet took the reins, but there have been several other moves internally in recent months. Baquet announced the addition of several deputy-level editors in the newsroom in July.

Comcast Accuses Time Warner Cable Deal Opponents of ‘Extortion’ (THR)
On Wednesday, Comcast, led by chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, sharply criticized Netflix, Discovery Communications, Dish Network and other companies that have opposed its planned $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable, speaking of attempted “extortion.” The largest U.S. cable company made the comments in a response to comments filed by critics of the deal. NYT If approved by regulators, the deal is poised to reshape the country’s video and broadband markets, giving Comcast control of 35 percent of broadband Internet service coverage and a major presence in 16 of the top 20 cable markets. In nearly 1,000 pages of documents submitted late Tuesday to the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast said many of the media and tech companies that have urged regulators to block or add conditions to the deal were doing so out of their own business interests. Deadline Hollywood Comcast’s EVP David Cohen held a conference call with reporters to discuss Comcast’s case for the deal, reiterating the claim that Discovery and others engaged in “extortion” by demanding network carriage and contract concessions in exchange for supporting the deal. While that’s not illegal, Cohen says, “that’s not business as usual” and puts the programmers’ interest ahead of the public’s. Comcast says programmer demands would have increased consumer bills by $4 a month. He also attacked Netflix for agreeing to a peering payment deal to improve the speed of its video transmissions which it later challenged. Variety Comcast said the requests from various companies included making all of Comcast’s programming carriage agreements renewable on the same date, requests to renegotiate agreements that are not due to expire, requests to expand carriage or increase fees and “many requests to agree to carry networks that do not even exist yet — or that exist, but that are carried by no one.”

Former GMA Anchor Joan Lunden Named Special Correspondent for Today Show (TVNewser)
Joan Lunden will serve as a special correspondent for the Today show next week as the program kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Next Wednesday on Today, she’ll encourage women with breast cancer to take off their wigs on the plaza. Lunden’s old home is also planning to “Go Pink” next Wednesday. All ABC News shows will devote a full day of coverage. It was during last year’s “Go Pink” initiative that Good Morning America anchor Amy Robach got her first mammogram. It turned out to be a life-saving move, as Robach was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. Deadline Hollywood ABC News says it’s enlisted the help of celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, and Brad Paisley for its full day of coverage on Wednesday across its lineup, also including World News Tonight With David Muir, Nightline, as well as ABCNews.com and Fusion. FishbowlNY Lunden appears bald on the cover of the latest People magazine. In June, Lunden announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and she has since undergone chemotherapy. THR Lunden was the longest-running host of GMA, hosting the show from 1980-1997, and is currently a health and wellness and family caregiving advocate.

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Canned Forbes Contributor Stands by Column (FishbowlNY)
In an email to iMediaEthics managing editor Sydney Smith, Bill Frezza admits that his quickly deleted Forbes blog post was not a good fit for the site and used a photo that was in poor taste. But otherwise, he is not apologizing. New York Daily News The piece, headlined ‘Drunk Female Guests Are The Gravest Threat to Fraternities,’ was published Tuesday. It ignited a firestorm of criticism online from readers who called it sexist and apologetic of misogynistic frat culture. “Mr. Frezza’s post was removed from Forbes.com almost immediately after he published it,” Forbes spokesperson Mia Carbonell said. “Mr. Frezza is no longer a contributor to Forbes.com.” Politico / Dylan Byers on Media “As recriminations against fraternities mount and panicked college administrators search for an easy out, one factor doesn’t seem to be getting sufficient analysis: drunk female guests,” Frezza, also a fraternity alumni president at MIT, wrote in the column. “…we have very little control over women who walk in the door carrying enough pre-gaming booze in their bellies to render them unconscious before the night is through.”

Roxanna Sherwood Named EP of Nightline (TVNewser)
Roxanna Sherwood has been named executive producer of Nightline. It’s an internal move. Sherwood, a 19-year ABC News veteran, was most recently a senior producer on 20/20. Deadline Hollywood Sherwood replaces Almin Karamehmedovic, who was recently named executive producer of World News Tonight With David Muir. Sherwood was part of the first wave of producers trained to shoot, produce and edit, and she shot, edited and produced the four-hour series about the brain that was Nightline’s first foray into primetime. Variety She assumes her new role immediately.

Premiere Week Brings More Success for NBC, CBS (NYT)
Night two of television premiere week continued the success stories for NBC and CBS, while bringing some disappointment for both ABC and Fox. CBS dominated on Tuesday night in terms of reaching the most viewers, while NBC dominated among the ones many advertisers pay a premium to reach — those between the ages of 18 and 49. THR / The Live Feed For NBC, the Voice’s second episode of the season averaged a 4.0 rating among adults 18-49 — up a shade from Monday but still down about 15 percent from the comparable episode last fall. Chicago Fire saw no such year-to-year fatigue. The episode pulled in an average 2.7 rating in the key demo for its live-plus-same-day showing. For CBS, NCIS pulled 18 million viewers and a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49, while new spinoff NCIS: New Orleans opened its slot in slightly better shape than NCIS: L.A.’s viewership last fall, averaging 17.1 million viewers and a 2.5 in the key demo — the latter off half of a ratings point. Deadline Hollywood ABC’s Forever held onto the bulk of its lead-in, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which made a quiet season 2 return in its new 9 p.m. slot after the fireworks surrounding its big series premiere at 8 p.m. last fall when it nabbed a 4.6 fast national and 4.7 live-plus-same-day rating in adults 18-49. Compare this to Tuesday night’s 1.9 fast national (down 59 percent). Also taking a hit was Fox’s Tuesday lineup, which too debuted a week earlier. Utopia (0.8) was down 20 percent, New Girl (1.3) was down 24 percent and The Mindy Project (1.0) was down 23 percent.

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Penguin Random House Inks First-Look Deal With Universal (THR)
Universal is taking more pages from Random House books — literally. The studio has inked a two-year, first-look production deal with Penguin Random House, whose Unbroken and Fifty Shades of Grey it already has adapted. GalleyCat Universal will examine the publishing house’s recent publications, upcoming releases, backlist titles and original ideas for movie projects. This also means that the Random House Studio (RHS) team will serve as a producer on future films. Back in 2005, RHS had launched a co-venture with Focus Features.

Bill Mulvihill Joins The Atlantic as Associate Publisher (FishbowlNY)
Bill Mulvihill has been named associate publisher of The Atlantic. Mulvihill comes to the company from Vanity Fair, where he most recently served as national advertising director. He had been with Vanity Fair since 2011. FishbowlDC The last person in the associate publisher role was Hayley Romer, who currently serves as Atlantic publisher and VP. Prior to joining VF, Mulvihill served as the East Coast advertising director for Entertainment Weekly and has been in sales for The Week, Cookie magazine and The Chicago Tribune.

Threat to Leak Nude Emma Watson Pics Was Agency Hoax (The Drum)
A site threatening to publish stolen images of Emma Watson this Saturday has been outed as a hoax developed by Rantic Marketing designed to deliver a killer blow to online forum 4Chan where earlier iCloud leaks first emerged. PRNewser While Rantic — which calls itself a “viral marketing agency” — claims that the point of the stunt was to take down 4Chan, infamous distributor of stolen images, it looks a whole lot like an exercise in tasteless self-promotion. There was a leak countdown, a “letter” to President Obama and some cryptic tweets.

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ESPN Suspends Bill Simmons for Tirade on Roger Goodell (NYT)
On Monday, ESPN’s Bill Simmons challenged his employer to discipline him for excoriating NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case. Simmons, on his Grantland.com podcast, repeatedly called Goodell a liar for saying that he had not seen the elevator video of Rice punching his fiancée. ESPN did not wait long to discipline Simmons. On Wednesday, it suspended him for three weeks from all his activities: a long menu that includes columnist, podcast host, editor-in-chief of Grantland and executive producer of the 30 for 30 documentary series.

Amazon’s Head of Digital Music, Video Is Leaving (WSJ / Digits)
Amazon.com’s head of digital music and video is leaving after a 15-year stint with the company. Bill Carr, a 47-year-old vice president, announced his decision internally Tuesday. It was unclear whether Carr has another job lined up when he exits at the end of the year. An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed the news Wednesday, saying Carr planned to spend time with family and travel. “He has other plans after that but not in the near term and nothing to share now,” she said.

Daily Mirror Publisher Agrees to Pay Some Phone-Hacking Claimants (THR)
U.K. newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror, owner of The Daily Mirror, on Wednesday said it has admitted liability and agreed to pay compensation to some victims of alleged phone hacking. Emphasizing that the alleged hacking took place “many years ago,” it said: “The company today confirms that its subsidiary MGN Ltd has admitted liability to four individuals who had sued MGN for alleged interception of their voicemails many years ago.”

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The Dish on A Formidable Female CEO from Inc.’s List of Fastest Growing Companies (FishbowlNY / Lunch)
With much of Manhattan tied up in the nightmare traffic scenario that comes courtesy of the spate of diplomats and politicians in town for the United Nations Climate Summit this week, we were happy to make it to Michael’s for our regular Wednesday confab with this week’s movers and shakers and, boy, are we glad we did.

Nylon Names Editorial Director (FishbowlNY)
Leila Brillson has been named Nylon’s digital editorial director, a new role at the brand. She comes to Nylon from Refinery29, where she served as entertainment director.

Zucker: ‘Complete Confidence’ in Zakaria (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
CNN president Jeff Zucker said he continues to have confidence in Fareed Zakaria in the wake of charges the CNN host plagiarized material. When pressed further if that meant Zakaria would continue appearing on CNN, Zucker repeated that they have complete confidence in the host. Two anonymous media watchdogs who helped bring down former BuzzFeed viral politics editor Benny Johnson over plagiarism charges have zeroed in on Zakaria as their next target. Their most recent report, focusing on 24 instances of plagiarism on his CNN program, was the most damning.

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