Morning Media Newsfeed: Google News Axed in Spain | Sony Execs Apologize for Emails

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Google News to Shut Down in Spain Over ‘Google Tax’ (Mashable)
Google said Thursday it will shut down its Google News service in Spain to prevent publishers’ content from appearing on it — ahead of a new law requiring the Internet search company to pay Spanish news organizations for linked content or snippets of news. NYT / Bits The website, which compiles headlines and summaries of news articles from various sources, will go dark in Spain on Dec. 16. Google plans to shut the site there in protest of the new law. The rules, which come into force in January, do not specify how much Google and others like Yahoo! News would have to pay per article. But they carry a potential one-time $750,000 fine if companies do not comply with the law. WSJ / Digits Google also is removing Spanish publishers from Google News world-wide. Those publications will still show up in general Google searches, but that’s less significant than it appears. That’s because the news “cluster” that appears with many general search results is fed by Google News. So if Spanish publishers are excluded from Google News, they won’t appear in the news cluster of ordinary search results — meaning much less traffic from Google. GigaOM Spain is not the first European country to pass a so-called ancillary copyright law — Germany did so in March 2013 — but Spain’s version is much more heavy-handed. Variety In Germany, the ancillary copyright law, introduced in July after lobbying by VG Media and backed by Axel Springer, obliged Google to pay publishers for news snippet texts on its search engine. After Google News removed the snippets from its search engine, traffic to publishers’ websites fell by 40 percent over two weeks. VG Media was forced to authorize the snippets. Demonstrating Google’s massive market power, Axel Springer CEO Mathias Dopfer dubbed its move to charge for snippets “the most successful failure in our history.”

Sony Film Executives Apologize for Racially Tinged Emails About Obama (NYT)
Embarrassing, racially tinged emails about President Obama’s imagined movie tastes, posted online by hackers and reported by news sites, prompted public apologies on Thursday from Sony Pictures Entertainment’s movie chief and one of its top producers. THR The email exchange, which was part of documents that have been posted after a massive Sony hack, discussed how Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal should handle a meeting with President Obama at a Jeffrey Katzenberg fundraiser. Pascal and producer Scott Rudin appeared to mock movies featuring black casts and the president’s possible interest in them. Rudin suggested that the president might especially like comedian Kevin Hart. Variety “The content of my emails [was] insensitive and inappropriate but [is] not an accurate reflection of who I am,” Pascal said in a statement, adding that “although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was offended.” Deadline Rudin also issued an apology Thursday. “Private emails between friends and colleagues written in haste and without much thought or sensitivity, even when the content of them is meant to be in jest, can result in offense where none was intended,” he said. “I made a series of remarks that were meant only to be funny, but in the cold light of day, they are in fact thoughtless and insensitive — and not funny at all. To anybody I’ve offended, I’m profoundly and deeply sorry, and I regret and apologize for any injury they might have caused.” TVNewser National Action Network president and MSNBC host Al Sharpton denounced the emails as “offensive” and “insulting,” and revealing of casual racism in Hollywood. “What is most troubling about these statements is that they reflect a continued lack of diversity in positions of power in major Hollywood studios. The statements clearly show how comfortable major studio powers are with racial language and marginalization,” said Sharpton in a statement.

Warner Bros. Names Kim Williams New CFO (THR)
Kim Williams has been named executive VP and chief financial officer of Warner Bros., it was announced Thursday by chairman/CEO Kevin Tsujihara. She replaces Ed Romano, who on Wednesday was promoted to vice chairman of Warner Bros. after a long tenure as CFO. Variety Williams will begin working at the studio Jan. 15. She will have responsibility for all financial activities, including financial reporting, budgeting and planning for future business growth. She will report to Tsujihara and work closely with the corporate officers and senior management. TheWrap Prior to joining Warner Bros., Williams served as CFO for CORE Media Group. Before that, she served as COO of NFL Network, responsible for the NFL’s cable television assets as well as administrative oversight of the NFL’s facilities and studios in Culver City. Deadline Tsujihara has also promoted vet SVP and controller Reg Harpur to the role of EVP Operations and Planning. Previously at Ernst & Young, Harpur joined WB in 1992 and got his controller job two years later.

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Dick Cheney Scheduled For Meet The Press (FishbowlDC)
After describing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture as “full of crap” on Special Report With Bret Baier Wednesday evening, former VP and Emperor Palpatine impersonator Dick Cheney is scheduled to appear on Meet The Press with Chuck Todd Sunday — most likely to spread some holiday cheer. Mediaite Cheney is scheduled to discuss the just-released and extra-gruesome Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques performed during the Bush/Cheney administration. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The former vice president will also be asked “what the Bush White House knew about the details of the program at the time” and “will also address the state of the Middle East, immigration reform and the race for 2016,” NBC announced. The new Senate Intelligence Committee report concluded that the CIA repeatedly misled the public, Congress and the White House about the agency’s aggressive questioning of detainees.

CBS Extends Leslie Moonves Contract Into 2019 (THR)
CBS will keep Leslie Moonves as its CEO through June 30, 2019, the company said Thursday. The CEO’s previous contract had him relinquishing his title in mid 2017. Variety According to CBS, Moonves’ base salary will remain unchanged under the new deal, although he will be eligible for a performance-based bonus, which is where the lion’s share of his considerable compensation has come from. At the end of his exec contract, Moonves, 65, will become an executive adviser to the company for five years and have the option to launch a CBS-based production company. Deadline The new terms should assure Wall Street and business partners that there’ll be stability at the broadcast company at a time when many wonder about the health of CBS’ 91-year-old owner Sumner Redstone, who also controls Viacom. CBS shares are up more than 100 percent since early 1998, when Moonves was named president and CEO of CBS Television, though they’re down about 10 percent over the past 12 months.

Zakaria Critics Turn Their Attention to Malcolm Gladwell (Poynter / MediaWire)
Delphic media bloggers @crushingbort and @blippoblappo say New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell “lifted quotes and other material without attribution” in his work for the magazine. Mediaite For instance: In a story he wrote for The New Yorker about Apple founder Steve Jobs, Gladwell referred to an incident in which Jobs wheedled Xerox executives into letting him into their research facilities, and cited a Xerox engineer named Larry Tesler. “If you read Gladwell’s article — and noted how ‘Tesler recalled’ the story of Jobs’ reaction to no one in particular — you’d naturally assume that Gladwell had interviewed Tesler himself,” @crushingbort and @blippoblappo write on their Our Bad Media blog. “He didn’t.” Instead, he lifted the story, complete with similar phrasing and details, from a 1988 biography written by “Steve Jobs expert Jeffrey S. Young.” Capital New York New Yorker editor David Remnick responded, at length, saying, “The issue is not really about Malcolm. And, to be clear, it isn’t about plagiarism. The issue is an ongoing editorial challenge known to writers and editors everywhere — to what extent should a piece of journalism, which doesn’t have the apparatus of academic footnotes, credit secondary sources?”

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Pulitzer Winner Michel du Cille Dies on Assignment in Liberia (The Washington Post / In Sight)
Michel du Cille, Washington Post photojournalist and winner of three Pulitzer Prizes died of an apparent heart attack on Dec. 11 while on assignment for the Post in Liberia. He was 58. Sydney Morning Herald He collapsed while returning on foot from a village in the Salala district of Liberia’s Bong County, where he had been working on a project. He was transported over dirt roads to a hospital two hours away but was declared dead on arrival of an apparent heart attack.

Vogue.com, Style.com to Share Real Estate at Condé Nast’s New HQ (WWD / Memo Pad)
Employees from Vogue.com will be sharing a floor with Style.com in Condé Nast’s new headquarters at One World Trade Center. This follows last month’s news of a restructuring of Style.com’s reporting structure. FishbowlNY Initially, the plan was for Vogue’s staff — both digital and print — to occupy the 25th floor. This would’ve been a change for Vogue, which had kept digital and print staff separate at 4 Times Square. But in a dramatic change of events, Vogue.com and Style.com staffers recently learned they would both be taking over the 29th floor.

TruTV, Tumblr Partner on ‘Big Deal’ Development Contest (TheWrap)
TruTV and Tumblr are partnering on a TV-meets-social deal that could net Tumblr users a possible show on the network. LostRemote To enter the “Big Deal,” Tumblr users have to submit a Tumblr URL with a video pitch for a show. The partnership taps into some social TV trends: empowering creators and keeping it unscripted. The social network blogs will be used to take the treatments from pitch to pre-production. One treatment will be chosen to run on-air on the new TruTV and another will be a digital series.

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Golden Globes: Birdman, Fargo Top Nominations (Variety)
Fox Searchlight’s Birdman is flying high with seven nominations for the 72nd annual Golden Globes, followed by five apiece for Boyhood and The Imitation Game. Thursday’s nominations also give a leg-up to the Martin Luther King drama Selma and box office smash Gone Girl, with four apiece, while Tim Burton’s Big Eyes scored three noms. THR FX miniseries Fargo, fresh off of a fairly spectacular showing at the Emmys, led TV mentions with five — but there were also multiple nominations for outlets unfamiliar to the awards show circuit. Both Amazon’s Transparent and The CW’s Jane The Virgin broke through in the comedy categories.

Mike Hofman Named Exec Digital Director of GQ (FishbowlNY)
Mike Hofman has been named GQ’s executive digital director. Hofman comes to GQ from Glamour, where he held the same role. Prior to Glamour he served as editor of Inc.com from 2008 to 2011.

Movie Attendance Among Younger ‘Digital’ Audiences Drops 15 Percent in 2014 (Variety)
The silver screen continues to lose sway among younger, more digitally oriented consumers — the most coveted demo for Hollywood. Americans aged 12-24 said they saw 15 percent fewer films in cinemas versus 2013, according to new research from Nielsen.

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Journalists From BuzzFeed, Re/code, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Honored by National Press Foundation (HuffPost)
The National Press Foundation announced the winners of its highest journalism awards on Thursday. Among the winners is St. Louis Post-Dispatch editor Gilbert Bailon for his coverage of the unrest in Ferguson, following the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Bailon will receive the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of The Year Award.

AMC Taps NBCUniversal Alum Rick Olshansky to Head Business Affairs (Variety)
AMC has hired Rick Olshansky as head of business of affairs, the network announced Thursday. Olshansky will oversee all business affairs functions, including negotiations of all agreements around AMC’s original programming, productions, acquisitions and development, as well as licensing agreements.

Stephen Fry to Host BAFTA Film Awards for 10th Time (Deadline)
BAFTA has invited the U.K.’s resident renaissance man, Stephen Fry, to host the EE British Academy Film Awards in February, and he has accepted. This marks the 10th time he will handle the emcee role.

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