Morning Media Newsfeed: CNN Lays Off 40 | Yglesias Departs Slate | Businessweek Cuts Back?

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CNN Lays Off More Than 40 Journalists (The Financial Times)
CNN has laid off more than 40 senior journalists in its newsgathering operation — including a pregnant producer who was two weeks away from giving birth to twins — as part of a reorganization of the business under Jeff Zucker. The lay-offs at CNN and HLN, its sister network, were concentrated in Washington, Atlanta and Los Angeles at the end of 2013. Poynter / MediaWire The cuts “coincide with changes to the network’s programming,” Matthew Garrahan reports in the Financial Times. Zucker “has hired new presenters and diversified CNN’s output, adding documentary and reality series to its traditional live news coverage.” TVNewser At the time of the layoffs — which number in the dozens — a source told TVNewser there would be no reduction in headcount in the cities most affected. Our source says changes in Los Angeles are related to a planned expansion of the entertainment unit. In recent weeks CNN has churned out entertainment-focused specials, including an hour on Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, and has increased awards season red carpet specials. The Guardian / Greenslade Blog CNN recently hit a 20-year low in prime time ratings in the U.S., attracting an average of just 78,000 viewers across the whole day and 98,000 in prime time. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Zucker recently announced plans to dedicate more of CNN’s air time to documentaries and unscripted reality series like Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown.

Slate’s Matt Yglesias Joining Ezra Klein Venture (HuffPost / The Backstory)
Matt Yglesias, a prominent blogger and Slate’s “Moneybox” columnist, is leaving the site at the end of February to join Ezra Klein’s new venture, according to a staff memo. Slate editor-in-chief David Plotz described Yglesias’ departure as “a great opportunity for him to found and create an exciting new venture, working in partnership with one of his closest friends, who’s also one of the best journalists around.” NY Observer “You may recall that our last Moneybox columnist, Annie Lowrey, left Slate to go off and marry Ezra Klein. Well, it’s happening again,” Plotz wrote. Although Lowrey actually left Slate to work for The New York Times, she and Klein did get married shortly after her departure from Slate. NYT Yglesias declined to provide details of his position, or of the venture. “There’s not much to say at this point,” he said by email Thursday, “other than that I’m very excited to be part of this team and we’re hoping to announce some more stuff in the near future. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Yglesias and Klein have been friends for some time and were both members of the so-called “Juicebox Mafia”: Young, liberal, Washington-based bloggers who came to notoriety toward the end of last decade. Needless to say no one in that group has achieved as much success as Klein, whose departure from the Post was announced earlier in the week.

Bloomberg L.P. Is ‘Totally Committed’ to Print (Capital New York)
Justin Smith has been taking a close look inside every nook and cranny of Bloomberg Media Group since becoming chief executive officer of the consumer-facing division of Bloomberg L.P. roughly four months ago. Smith has set up his desk on the fifth floor of Bloomberg L.P.’s Lexington Avenue headquarters, home of the company’s troubled television operation, Bloomberg TV. That is seen as the project that will require the most attention. But Smith has his eye on the magazine stable, too, and he has considered the possibility of reducing the frequency of its star player, Bloomberg Businessweek, according to sources familiar with his thinking.

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Some CNN Social Media Accounts Hacked (CNN)
Some of CNN’s social media accounts and blogs were compromised Thursday. The affected accounts included CNN’s main Facebook account, CNN Politics’ Facebook account and the Twitter pages for CNN and CNN’s Security Clearance. Blogs for Political Ticker, The Lead, Security Clearance, The Situation Room and Crossfire were also hacked. The posts were deleted within minutes and the accounts have since been secured. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Around 5:45 p.m. ET, CNN’s account began tweeting out messages such as “Syrian Electronic Army Was Here… Stop lying… All your reports are fake!” and “Obama Bin Laden the lord of terror is brewing lies that the Syrian state controls Al Qaeda.” At one point some tweets were deleted before more followed.

SpinMedia Hires Piper Jaffray to Rescue It (NY Post / Media Ink)
SpinMedia, the financially stressed network of pop culture websites formerly known as Buzz Media, has hired Piper Jaffray to explore options as sources say its venture cash has almost run dry. The company, which has promised that it would reach profitability for the past several years, is apparently still bleeding red ink and has had three different CEO’s in less than a year. “We hired Piper Jaffray several months ago,” confirmed CEO Dale Strang when reached on Thursday. “We expect to be profitable on a quarterly basis in 2014.”

How Miami Beach Police Used Twitter to Share Justin Bieber News (Poynter / MediaWire)
Detective Vivian Hernandez got a call Thursday morning from a media outlet in the Philippines. “I’m like, the Philippines? Really?” she said Thursday in a phone interview with Poynter. Yep, the Philippines. The outlet wanted the arrest affidavit and mug shot of Justin Bieber. So Hernandez, media relations officer with the city of Miami Beach, directed them to the department’s Twitter account. TVNewser At least one cable news network is staying away from Thursday’s Bieber drama: Al Jazeera America has not covered the pop star’s arrest aside from a brief mention in the 8 a.m. ET hour. An Al Jazeera America source tells TVNewser: “It didn’t hit the level of top news for us on a day when we have the Syrian talks, the Iranian President speaking at Davos, the West Virginia chemical spill continuing and other stories.”

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What Happens When You Give TV’s Biggest Fanboy His Own TV Show? The Remarkable Rise of Brian Stelter (The New Republic)
In a recent episode of CNN’s media show, Reliable Sources, there was a brief moment when the whole enterprise threatened to collapse in on itself. The show’s new host, former New York Times wunderkind Brian Stelter, asked Walt Mossberg, a former Wall Street Journal writer, about the experience of soliciting tech-world venture capital for his own tech publication. “It was a little bit surreal, living the thing you’ve covered,” Mossberg replied. Stelter replied, “I… kind of think I know what you’re talking about, being on television now.”

How Our Hillary Clinton Cover Came About (NYT / The 6th Floor)
When we created the cover of Sunday’s magazine to accompany Amy Chozick’s article — to be published online Friday — about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s influence on the various people within her political universe, the immediate idea that came to mind was Clinton’s face embedded on a planet. FishbowlNY It’s not exactly a good look for Clinton. Although Republicans will probably appreciate it.

Highlights From The Newsweek Staff’s Reddit AMA (10,000 Words)
The Newsweek staff did a Reddit AMA Thursday. Jim Impoco, editor-in-chief, Kira Bindrim, managing editor, Alex Leo, head of product for IBT Media, Grant Burningham, homepage editor and Kate Gardiner, director of audience engagement, were all taking questions on a wide range of themes. If you take away anything, it should be that Impoco has a way with words — in that he uses very, very few. And that the new team is excited about their product, the state of the media, serious journalism and are willing to defend it against cynical Redditors.

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A ‘1984’ Reader 30 Years Later: A Brief History of Apple’s Instantly Iconic Super Bowl Commercial (Ad Age / Special Report: Super Bowl)
The rumor of the week is that Apple may be back in the Super Bowl, marking the 30th anniversary of the birth of the Macintosh and the airing of the instantly iconic “1984” spot during Super Bowl XVII. But meanwhile, to mark the 30th anniversary of “1984” and to tide you over until Feb. 2, we’ve pulled together a sort of five-part “1984” reader, starting with footage of a very young Steve Jobs back in 1983, enthusiastically screening the ad to an equally enthusiastic audience.

Time Inc. Candidates for Chief Revenue Officer Include Two Insiders
(Ad Age / Media News)
After casting a wide net in its search for a chief revenue officer, Time Inc. has narrowed the field to candidates including two current executives: Jed Hartman, group publisher of news and business, and Mark Ford, executive vice president/president of the sports group, according to people familiar with the search.

People Prefer Big, Interruptive Web Ads (Adweek)
So much for blending in. While the online ad industry falls deeper in love with native ads that fade into the background of Web pages, consumers prefer ads that get in their face by taking over their computer screens. At least, that’s according to a new study on high-impact ads conducted by Ipsos ASI on behalf of Undertone.

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This Is Danny Pearl’s Final Story (The Washingtonian)
Twelve years ago, on Jan. 23, 2002, Danny left my home in Karachi, Pakistan for an interview and never came back. Like so many of our peers, we had each put down roots in Pakistan to report on America’s so-called war on terror. I was on book leave from The Wall Street Journal, finishing a memoir. Danny, the newspaper’s South Asia bureau chief, and his wife, Mariane, were living in Islamabad. They’d come to see me for a few days so Danny could do an interview for a story about Richard Reid, the Englishman who had packed his shoes with explosives and tried to blow up an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami three days before Christmas 2001.

The Two Teenagers Who Run The Wildly Popular Twitter Feed @HistoryInPics (The Atlantic)
There is a new ubiquitous media brand on Twitter. No, I’m not talking about Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media or BuzzFeed or The Verge, or any other investor-backed startup. I’m talking about @HistoryInPics, which, as I discovered, is run by two teenagers: Xavier Di Petta, 17, who lives in a small Australian town two hours north of Melbourne and Kyle Cameron, 19, a student in Hawaii.

Should The AP Really Have Fired This Pulitzer-Prize War Photographer? (Gawker)
The Associated Press announced Wednesday that it had parted ways with Narciso Contreras, a freelance photographer who shared in a Pulitzer for his work in Syria last year. The reason Contreras was let go, basically, is that he tried too hard to meet a phony news-photo standard.

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