Morning Media Newsfeed: Brooks Returns to News Corp. | Leonard Nimoy Dies at 83

Rebekah Brooks returns to News Corp. Leonard Nimoy dies at 83. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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Rebekah Brooks Set for Social Media Return to Murdoch Empire (Financial Times)
Rebekah Brooks, the former tabloid editor who was cleared of all charges in Britain’s phone hacking scandal, is returning to News Corp. She will reportedly run Storyful, the company’s social media news agency. FishbowlNY Brooks resigned from her News of The World position in 2011. Recent News Corp digital investments have included Move, Inc., Elara Technologies and bigdecisions.com. Capital New York Brooks, a longtime confidante of News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, was cleared last summer of charges relating to her alleged involvement in News Corp’s phone-hacking saga while she presided over the company’s U.K. newspaper arm. In a dramatic downfall, she exited News Corp. as a result of the imbroglio and maintained a low profile as her criminal trial played out. Variety News of The World was shuttered amid the furor in Britain sparked by evidence that the paper’s reporters had hacked the voicemail of 13-year-old murder victim Millie Dowler, impeding the police investigation. If the deal comes together, Brooks would return to a different company than the one she left. In 2012, Murdoch split off his entertainment and media assets into a separate publicly held entity, 21st Century Fox, while newspapers and other publishing assets remained under the News Corp. banner. NYT She has not yet signed a contract, said two people familiar with internal plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal a confidential matter, and her precise role has not been formalized. It is likely that she will be based in Britain, though she will not work from the headquarters of News Corp.’s British subsidiary, News U.K.

Leonard Nimoy, Spock of Star Trek, Dies at 83 (NYT)
Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut Star Trek, died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83. Adweek He died from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to his family. CNN His co-stars, fellow celebrities and fans reacted with heartfelt tributes from around the world and all the way to space, where astronaut Terry W. Wirts flashed a Vulcan salute aboard the International Space Station. Longtime friend and co-star William Shatner remembered Nimoy “like a brother.” FishbowlNY On Twitter, a great many of those responding to Shatner’s call for discussion agree with his puzzlement at the “horrible” headline by the New York Daily News, calling him “Captain Jerk” for reportedly planning to skip Nimoy’s funeral. FishbowlNY Julio Ojeda-Zapata, a technology reporter and blogger with St. Paul, Minn.’s Pioneer Press, dug into his newspaper’s archives upon learning of Nimoy’s death. FishbowlNY CUNY Journalism dean Stephen B. Shepard wrote a tribute to Nimoy Saturday.

Avijit Roy, Bangladeshi-American Writer, Is Killed by Machete-Wielding Assailants (NYT)
A Bangladeshi-American blogger known for his antipathy to religion was hacked to death on the street in the capital city by two assailants wielding machetes, the police said on Friday. FishbowlNY Roy, 42, was attacked along with his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya, 45. He died as a result of the attack; she remains in critical condition. BBC News No one has been arrested but police say they are investigating a local Islamist group that praised the killing. Hundreds of people gathered in Dhaka to mourn the blogger’s death. Roy’s family say he received threats after publishing articles promoting secular views, science and social issues on his Bengali-language blog, Mukto-mona (Free Mind). The Guardian The couple were on a bicycle rickshaw, returning from a book fair, when two assailants stopped and dragged them on to the pavement before striking them with machetes, local media reported, citing witnesses. Roy is the second Bangladeshi blogger to have been murdered in two years and the fourth writer to have been attacked since 2004.

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NY Observer Rebrands Site as ‘Observer’ (FishbowlNY)
The New York Observer is dropping the best part of its title — New York — from the paper’s website. The site is now branded as “Observer” for the same reasons the New York Daily News expanded its site in 2012 — to attract a more widespread readership. Capital New York “The Observer is no longer simply the Web version of the New York Observer newspaper,” Observer Media chairman and chief executive officer Joseph Meyer wrote in a post published Friday and addressed to the website’s readers. “It is a national destination,” he continued, citing internal metrics that indicate 80 percent of Observer.com’s current audience lives outside New York.

Dominic Pagone Promoted to New Senior Communications Role at FX (THR / The Live Feed)
FX is upping Dominic Pagone. The network’s former vice president of media relations will move into its newly created position of senior vice president of communications. Variety In the newly created post, Pagone will oversee trade communications, talent relations, public affairs and photo publicity for FX, FXX, FXM and FXP. He will no longer handle consumer media relations, with FX Networks’ vice presidents of media relations Roslyn Bibby and Lana Kim leading programming publicity efforts for the FX Networks portfolio. Deadline A 14-year FX vet, Pagone served as the lead publicist for Sons of Anarchy throughout its seven-season run, The League during its first six seasons and as co-lead publicist on Justified for its entire run. More recently, he handled launch publicity for The Strain, Married and Man Seeking Woman.

Vice Media to Launch Broadly, Its First Female-Focused Channel (THR)
Vice Media is courting women. The edgy, male-driven media company is launching Broadly, its first female-focused channel, this spring. Vice’s plan for the new online vertical is to tell a range of stories that interest women, covering a variety of topics including politics, culture, lifestyle, sex and fashion. PRNewser Tracie Egan Morrissey, a Jezebel alum, will be the director of content for the channel.

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Comcast in Talks to Acquire Ad Technology Firm Visible World (WSJ / CMO Today)
Comcast Corp. is in talks to acquire the TV ad-targeting company Visible World, according to people familiar with the matter. Such a move would thrust the cable giant into a stronger position in the burgeoning market for data-driven TV advertising. Variety New York-based Visible World uses technology to help advertisers create commercials tailored to discrete segments of the TV audience, using set-top boxes. The company might help a carmaker alter the copy about the terms of sale in one ad, or change the voiceover or graphic elements in another. Advertisers can use the company to run ads that vary according to the time of day, or even the context in which it appears.

Craig Ferguson to Star in ABC Comedy Pilot (THR / The Live Feed)
Craig Ferguson has found his next broadcast role: acting. The former host of CBS’ The Late Late Show has been tapped to star in ABC’s buzzy comedy pilot The King of 7B. The ensemble comedy, already hailed as one of the season’s freshest scripts, centers on Prentiss (Ferguson), an agoraphobic recluse who ventures outside for the first time in 11 years when he spies what could be his soul mate moving into the building across the street. TV Guide The role is a return to acting for Ferguson, and his first big career move since signing off as the host of The Late Late Show in December. He previously appeared on The Drew Carey Show for eight seasons in the late ’90s and early ’00s.

GMA Sunday Beats Today for First Time Ever in February Sweep (TVNewser)
While CBS Sunday Morning is far and away the most-watched Sunday morning newscast, ABC’s Good Morning America finished the February sweep ahead of NBC’s Today for the first time ever among the adult 25-54 demo. GMA Sunday debuted in its current format in September 2004. Sunday Today still tops GMA Sunday among total viewers.

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MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Trial Set to Begin in May (TVNewser)
A case against MSNBC’s Ed Schultz is going to trial. Schultz is being sued by Michael Queen, a former Washington, D.C.-based NBC staffer, who claims the MSNBC personality didn’t properly compensate him when he landed his TV gig.

Financial Times Offers $1 Trial (FishbowlNY)
The Financial Times’ paywall typically only allows a non-subscriber access to three articles per month before prompting them to pay up. Readers can now opt for a month-long trial for $1 that gives them full access to the site.

NYT Shutters ‘Home’ Section (Capital New York)
The New York Times is closing down its “Home” section, the latest in a series of moves that have been altering the composition of the print edition. Executive editor Dean Baquet told employees in a Friday email that last week’s installment will be the section’s last.

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Kelly Osbourne Departing E!’s Fashion Police (Variety)
Kelly Osbourne is exiting Fashion Police, E! confirmed Friday. The news came just days after co-host Giuliana Rancic made remarks on the Feb. 23 show about Disney starlet Zendaya, saying her dreadlocked hairstyle at the Oscars probably “smells like patchouli oil” or “weed,” which was understood by some to be racially insensitive.

Fox Sports 1, AT&T in Dispute Over Fees for Nascar, Golf, Soccer (Variety)
At first glance, a new battle between Fox Sports 1 and AT&T U-verse would appear to be the latest in a very long line of skirmishes between media companies and video-distribution outlets over prices for programming. But this one has a twist: Fox Sports 1 will continue to be shown on the AT&T service, even though some of its bigger events may not.

Fifteen Sun-Times Staffers Take Buyouts (Robert Feder)
Fifteen editorial employees of the Chicago Sun-Times are leaving the newspaper after accepting voluntary buyouts, sources said Friday. All 15 are represented by the Chicago Newspaper Guild, which was formally notified that the buyouts had been approved.

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