Morning Media Newsfeed: FBI Backs Agent, Fake AP Story | Reuters Ends Comments

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FBI Chief Backs Agent Who Posed as Reporter (Mashable)
An FBI agent tells an anonymous suspect online that he is a reporter with the Associated Press. He sends a link to a fake news story, and the suspect clicks. The trap is set, and a 15-year-old accused of making bomb threats is captured. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Two weeks ago, The Seattle Times revealed that the FBI had written the fake Associated Press story and used a fake Seattle Times-like Web address in order to catch the suspect in the bomb threat. Kathy Best, the editor of the Times, said the newspaper was “outraged”; the AP and Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, wrote letters to attorney general Eric Holder expressing concern. NYT Then, James B. Comey, the director of the FBI, in a letter published Friday in The New York Times, defended the practice and said that an agent had impersonated an AP reporter in the email. The disclosure caused further outrage at the news organization. The Associated Press / The Big Story “That technique was proper and appropriate under Justice Department and FBI guidelines at the time. Today, the use of such an unusual technique would probably require higher-level approvals than in 2007, but it would still be lawful and, in a rare case, appropriate,” Comey wrote. Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of the AP, said the FBI’s actions were “unacceptable.” New York Daily News “No actual story was published, and no one except the suspect interacted with the undercover ‘AP’ employee or saw the fake draft story. Only the suspect was fooled, and it led to his arrest and the end of a frightening period for a high school,” Comey added. But the AP said the “unacceptable tactics undermine AP and the vital distinction between the government and the press.”

Reuters Kills Comment Sections (Reuters)
During the past few years, much has changed about how readers interact with news. They find coverage in diverse places and in new ways. They watch video, use graphics and calculators and relate to content far differently than in the past. Considering these dynamics, is ending user comments on news stories. SocialTimes Dan Colarusso, executive editor of Reuters Digital, links to the Reuters Facebook and Twitter handles for readers to discuss news there and explains that comments will remain open on opinion pieces so that columnists and readers can “exchange ideas on interesting and controversial topics.” But general discussion of the news is to be had elsewhere. Poynter / Top Stories Comments will still be allowed on opinion pieces and blog posts, the notice says. The Huffington Post announced last year it would end anonymous comments. Some sites have eliminated comments altogether: Popular Science doinked them last September, and the Chicago Sun-Times eliminated them this summer, saying they contributed to a “morass of negativity, racism, hate speech and general trollish behaviors that detract from the content.” The Drum Recently, Guardian chief executive Andrew Miller called on Google, Facebook and Twitter to take more editorial responsibility over what their platforms publish. Meanwhile in September, YouTube’s most followed account, PewDiePie, also ditched comments as he felt it was predominantly spam and self-promotional content.

Lionsgate Shares Jump Amid Talk of Alibaba Deal (THR)
As stock in Lionsgate soared in morning trading on Friday, top execs at the mini-studio did little to discount speculation a major stake could be sold to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Deadline Hollywood Lionsgate execs wouldn’t bite Friday when analysts invited them to address the most important question facing the independent studio: Whether there’s anything to the report that its largest investor, co-chairman Mark Rachesky, is considering selling his 37.4 percent stake to Alibaba. But they don’t seem to mind having a closer relationship with the Chinese e-retail colossus — its partner there in a new subscription streaming service, Lionsgate Entertainment World, which features Lionsgate’s movies and TV shows. Variety Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer was in Hong Kong recently to deliver an address at the CASBAA Convention 2014, an engagement that was scheduled six months ago. Alibaba is flush with cash following its $25 billion IPO and CEO Jack Ma met with Hollywood studio execs two weeks ago.

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Scripps Q3 TV Station Revenue Grows 22 Percent (TVNewsCheck)
The E.W. Scripps Co. Friday reported that its television station revenue in the third quarter of 2014 was $121 million, up $21.8 million or 22 percent from the same quarter in 2013. TVSpy High network fees linked to the increase in retransmission revenue was responsible for $2.3 million of the $10.9 million increase. WSJ Family-controlled E.W. Scripps owns 21 local television stations in markets including Denver, San Diego and Cincinnati, as well as daily newspapers in 13 markets, such as the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn. Overall, E.W. Scripps reported a loss of $1.34 million, or two cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $8.9 million, or 16 cents a share. Excluding special items such as acquisition costs, per-share earnings were four cents a share.

Former Murdoch Editor Jailed for Eight Months Over Phone Hacking (HuffPost / Reuters)
A former newspaper executive whose emails led to the exposure of widespread phone-hacking at Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct British tabloid, the News of The World, was jailed for eight months on Friday. Ian Edmondson, 45, worked as news editor on the paper, which was closed three years ago when revelations about the extent of criminal activity became public, sending shockwaves through Murdoch’s News Corp and the British establishment. Mashable Edmondson is the eighth journalist from the now-defunct Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid to be convicted over illegal activities. Edmondson initially went on trial at the Old Bailey last year alongside his colleagues, including former editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, but was dropped as a defendant after a judge declared him unfit to stand trial. He pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to intercept voicemails between 2000 and 2006.

Fox News Cuts Ties With Ben Carson (The Washington Post / Erik Wemple)
Following an ABC News report that Fox News contributor Ben Carson is set to air an hour-long ad/documentary “introducing himself to the American people” as part of a 2016 Republican presidential bid, Fox News has cut ties with him, according to a Fox spokeswoman. TVNewser Dr. Carson, most recently on Hannity last Monday night, has been an FNC contributor since October 2013. This is not the first time Fox News has cut ties with paid contributors who sought higher office: In 2011 the network suspended Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, who later ran for the 2012 GOP nomination.

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Michelle Tan Named Editor of Seventeen (FishbowlNY)
Michelle Tan has been named the new editor-in-chief of Seventeen. Tan comes to Seventeen from People, where she most recently served as special projects editor. New York Post / Media Ink She will be reporting to Joanna Coles, Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief, who also added overseeing the Seventeen staff as its editorial director. Tan replaces Ann Shoket, who left at the time of Coles’ consolidation in late September.

The Standard Hotel Adds A Print Magazine (NYT / In Transit)
The Standard, a chain of five boutique hotels with properties in Los Angeles, New York City and Miami, has introduced a print edition of its cultural website, The publication replicates the online content of the five-year-old site, which has 55,000 unique visitors a month and features interviews with artists, actors and musicians. FishbowlNY The Standard will issue its print magazine quarterly, and it will also be available at select non-hotel locations.

Happy 60th Birthday, Face The Nation (TVNewser)
President Barack Obama and his predecessor President George W. Bush were Bob Schieffer’s guests Sunday as Face The Nation celebrated its 60th anniversary. FishbowlDC Face debuted on Nov. 7, 1954. At the time of its launch, the show was hosted by Tedd Koop. Face is the second-longest running television program currently on air, second to NBC’s Meet The Press, which celebrated its 67th anniversary last week.

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Lara Logan Self-Quarantines Following Reporting Trip to Africa (TVNewser)
It’s rare for a 60 Minutes correspondent not to introduce their own story. Sunday night, Lara Logan, back for her second story this season, reported from Liberia on the Ebola outbreak, and the American medical professionals trying to help contain it. Scott Pelley introduced Logan’s story, adding that she was on a 21-day self-quarantine.

Fox News Edge Welcomes Joel Waldman as D.C. Correspondent (FishbowlDC)
Joel Waldman was recently named a Washington correspondent for Fox News Edge, Fox News’ affiliate service. Waldman joins from Fox 5 in New York City, where he served as an investigative reporter since 2011. Prior to that he was with KGUN in Tucson, Ariz., WFOR in Miami, and WPBF in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The Washington Post Announces New CFO, Names Two New VPs (FishbowlDC)
The Washington Post Friday named Stephen P. Gibson CFO and VP of finance and administration. The announcement was made by publisher Fred Ryan and president and general manager Steve Hills in a memo to staff.

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Marie Nelson Named PBS VP News, Public Affairs (Deadline Hollywood)
PBS has tapped Marie Nelson as its new vice president news and public affairs. Nelson most recently served as executive producer of national programs at PBS member station WGBH, where she oversaw production of eight-part docu-series America After Ferguson, exploring the impact of America’s changing demographics.

‘Netflix Tax’ Will Not Happen, Says Canada’s Broadcast Regulator (GigaOM)
Netflix will not have to pay fees to subsidize Canadian TV production, nor will the company have to comply with so-called “Canadian content” quotas, the head of the country’s broadcast regulator told media outlets last week.

FCC Likely to Delay Net Neutrality Rules Until Next Year (WSJ)
Emerging Federal Communications Commission rules on how broadband Internet providers can treat traffic on their networks are so complicated that they may be delayed until next year as the agency works to ensure they are defensible in court and people understand them, according to FCC officials.

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