Morning Media Newsfeed: Gawker Shakes Up Leadership | Guardian EIC to Step Down

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Gawker Makes Leadership Changes (FishbowlNY)
Nick Denton has announced some major changes to the leadership structure at Gawker Media. Instead of Denton having all the oversight, a collective of seven managing partners (including Denton) “will consult on major matters such as tech investments and the reassignment of department heads,” according to a memo. NYT The move was in part because of the company’s editorial failures in the last year. Denton said he would stay on as chief executive and remain involved in the company’s future, but that recent failures in management had shown he needed more support. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The move, Denton said, was part of an effort to scale back his day-to-day managerial roles and return to blogging, which he called “the only truly new media in the age of the Web” and “the essential act of journalism in an interactive and conversational age.” The move also suggests that Gawker Media may be gearing up for an acquisition or merger of some sort. Denton said that no such activity was afoot. GigaOM The new management structure will make it easier to respond to the increasing competitive threat from sites like BuzzFeed and Vox, Denton said, since decisions will be made by the committee as a whole rather than everyone having to try and get the founder’s attention at the same time. The new group includes former Deadspin editor Tommy Craggs as head of editorial operations, effectively replacing editor-in-chief Joel Johnson, who announced recently that he had been fired. Capital New York The rest of the managing board includes president Heather Dietrick, chief strategy officer Erin Pettigrew, advertising head Andrew Gorenstein, chief operating officer Scott Kidder and chief technology officer Tom Plunkett, who will continue to work on the product side but shed the title of CTO. The memo also mentions that Gawker’s revenues are up 30 percent year-over-year and the company has hired Paul Sundue to head Studio@Gawker, the company’s in-house native advertising agency.

Alan Rusbridger to Step Down as Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian (The Guardian)
The Scott Trust, which safeguards the editorial future and independence of The Guardian, has appointed Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media, to succeed Dame Liz Forgan as its chair. Rusbridger will step down as editor-in-chief in summer 2015, following the appointment of his successor. He will become chair of The Scott Trust in 2016, when Liz Forgan reaches the end of her term. HuffPost Rusbridger gained worldwide recognition in 2013 for defending the paper’s reporting of leaked National Security Agency documents provided by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. The Guardian and The Washington Post went on to receive the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the NSA and its mass surveillance programs. Poynter / MediaWire For his leadership on those stories, Rusbridger was also awarded the European Press Prize. After he accepted the award, Rusbridger held one of the hard drives the British government made Guardian staffers destroy after the news organization revealed it was in possession of documents leaked by Snowden. NYT Rusbridger became editor in 1995, in a very different media landscape. He steered The Guardian, traditionally Britain’s most liberal major newspaper, through the spread of online journalism, and expanded it to the U.S. in 2011.

Politico, Axel Springer Acquire European Voice (FishbowlDC)
Politico and Axel Springer, owners of the Politico joint venture in Europe, announced Wednesday the acquisition of Brussels publication European Voice. Capital New York European Voice will cease to exist in early 2015. The new publication, with a mission of “covering the politics, policies and personalities in the EU and the continent’s most powerful nations,” according to Politico CEO Jim VandeHei, will take the flagship’s model of high-volume politics and policy news and tailor it to a European audience through a combination of free digital content, a subscriber service and an advertiser-supported print edition. Politico Europe also will come with its own, EU-centric version of chief White House correspondent Mike Allen’s popular morning email tip-sheet, Playbook. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Shéhérazade Semsar-de Boisséson, the owner and publisher of European Voice, will become managing director of the new venture. Matthew Kaminski, of The Wall Street Journal, will serve as executive editor, overseeing more than 30 journalists in Brussels, as well as reporters in Europe’s major capitals. Kaminski will report to Politico co-founder and editor-in-chief John Harris, who will serve as chairman of the joint venture’s editorial committee. Poynter / MediaWire The acquisition is the latest step in Politico’s plan, announced in September, to expand into Europe. The launch will transplant many staples of Politico’s current business model to Europe; it will include the release of a new website, Politico.eu, a weekly newspaper in Brussels, a series of events and conferences and a European edition of Politico Pro.

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Bloomberg, Businessweek to Merge Sites, Become ‘Bloomberg Business’ (Financial Times)
Businessweek is looking to replicate the overhaul of the print title with a digital relaunch. Bloomberg Business will replace bloomberg.com and businessweek.com early next year. It follows October’s debut of Bloomberg Politics, helmed by well-regarded political journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, the first in a series of new advertising-supported “verticals” meant to lure a wider swath of readers. FishbowlNY As of now, bloombergbusiness.com directs to bloomberg.com. Justin Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group, said that Bloomberg Business “is going to be our flagship” and ”be the broadest-facing brand, like Businessweek is in magazines.” USA Today Bloomberg bought Businessweek in 2009 for $5 million and has invested heavily in beefing up its content and trying to broaden its distribution beyond the company’s trading terminals. Businessweek’s advertising revenue has increased 24 percent since then and circulation is up 9 percent, to 980,000. Earlier this week, it named John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of The Economist, to head Bloomberg’s editorial operations. Longtime editor Matt Winkler was bumped upstairs to editor emeritus.

David Letterman’s Final Late Show Date Set (THR / The Live Feed)
David Letterman will host his final episode of CBS’ The Late Show on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, it was announced Wednesday by CBS and Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants. Variety Stephen Colbert will take over for Letterman on an as-yet unspecified date in 2015, after airing his final episode of The Colbert Report on Dec. 18. Comedy Central will fill Colbert’s slot with The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore beginning Jan. 19. The Colbert-Letterman transition is not the only hosting shuffle on the cards at CBS; Craig Ferguson is departing The Late Late Show on Dec. 19, with replacement James Corden making his debut on March 9. Mashable Letterman, 67, has hosted the Late Show for 22 years, and in that time it has won nine Emmy Awards and earned 73 Emmy nominations.

NBC, ESPN Among ‘Best Places to Work’ (TVNewser)
Glassdoor has announced its seventh annual Employees’ Choice Awards, ranking the Best Places to Work across the U.S. and the U.K. NBCUniversal and ESPN made the list. SocialTimes Google, it should come as no surprise, ranks first on the list. Facebook comes in at lucky 13, with employees citing “transparency, trust, compassion and food” as some perks to working for the social network. AllTwitter Last year Twitter finished first amongst tech companies in the poll, and second overall. This year, Twitter didn’t even make the top 50. PRNewser Edelman is the only PR firm to appear on the list at No. 43.

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Instagram Tops 300 Million Users, Adds Verified Badges, Goes After Spammy Accounts (AllFacebook)
Filter this: Instagram topped the 300 million user mark, co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom revealed in a blog post, in which he also announced that the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network was adding verified badges for celebrities, athletes and brands, as well as deactivating spammy accounts. AllTwitter Instagram is now bigger than Twitter. In its last quarterly earnings report, Twitter revealed that it had 284 million active users, which, while up 13 million from Q2 2014, represented year-on-year growth of just 23 percent — the lowest 12-month total Twitter has ever seen.

Melville House to Publish The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture (GalleyCat)
Melville House plans to publish The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture. The book will contain the results of the Senate committee’s study of the detention and interrogation techniques utilized by the Central Intelligence Agency in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. A release date for both the paperback and eBook editions has been scheduled for Dec. 30. NYT Unlike some other publishers that have printed earlier government reports, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, says it is not getting any financial or other support from the government to offset production or shipping costs.

Detention Taking ‘Devastating Toll’ on WaPo Reporter Detained in Iran (The Washington Post)
More than five months after Jason Rezaian’s still-unexplained arrest, family members say conditions in Iran’s notorious Evin prison are taking a fearsome toll on the 38-year-old Tehran correspondent for The Washington Post. FishbowlDC According to his employer, Rezaian has been forced to sleep on the floor of his cell, suffering back pain and chronic eye infections that his family fear will result in permanent damage to his vision. He has yet to receive treatment for any of these ailments. Furthermore, the psychological toll of solitary confinement has been exacerbated by Sunday’s news that the Iranian government has filed formal charges (despite any specificity).

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Racked Promotes Leslie Price, Izzy Grinspan (FishbowlNY)
There’s a whole lot going on at Vox Media fashion vertical Racked. A few months ago, Racked national staff moved into Vox’s Midtown offices. The site now has 16 full-time staffers, triple the number in place at the time Vox acquired the property in 2013. And this week, Leslie Price was promoted to editor-in-chief while Izzy Grinspan was named executive editor.

FCC on Verge of Giving Online Video Providers Key Ruling (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
With votes coming any day now, the Federal Communications Commission could be primed to begin a process that would give online video providers like Aereo access to some of the advantages enjoyed by cable and satellite TV services.

Casey Wasserman Joins Vox Media Board of Directors (THR)
Vox Media has named sports management and marketing executive Casey Wasserman to its board of directors. His appointment comes a little more than a week after Vox announced that it had raised nearly $47 million in funding from General Atlantic.

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The Dish on Christmas at The White House, Mrs. Howard Stern And The Social Swans (FishbowlNY / Lunch)
With Tuesday’s monsoon a not-so-distant memory, an SRO crowd of the usual suspects at Michael’s showed up at 55th and Fifth Wednesday.

Condé Nast, Rogers Communications Strike Canadian Distribution Deal (THR)
TV, film and digital content based on Condé Nast media brands is headed to Canada via a distribution deal with local media giant Rogers Communications. Rogers has inked a partnership with Condé Nast Entertainment to get its premium video content from brand sites such as Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair and Style.com distributed north of the border.

Court Asked to Quickly Dismiss College Athletes’ Class Action Against ESPN, Broadcasters (Variety)
ESPN, major broadcasters, athletic conferences and WME Entertainment and IMG Worldwide are seeking dismissal of a class action lawsuit filed by 10 college athletes, claiming profits from game telecasts using their names and likenesses without their permission.

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