Morning Media Newsfeed: Hackers Threaten Violence Over Interview | NYT Layoffs Begin

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Sony Hackers Threaten Violence Over The Interview (Re/code)
A new message from the hackers who have infiltrated Sony Pictures Entertainment appeared to threaten violence at or near movie theaters where the studio plans to show The Interview. The group mentioned the film for the first time by name and threatened to take unspecified actions against its premiere, set for Dec. 25, writing, “The world will be full of fear” and “Remember the 11th of September.” WSJ A Department of Homeland Security official said Tuesday afternoon the agency was aware of the threat but added: “at this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States.” Variety “We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment,” the message reads. There have been suspicions that the attack may have been launched by North Korea in retaliation for the Interview’s depiction of an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un. The country has denied involvement but praised the attacks. THR The Sony hackers also made good on their promise to release a so-called Christmas gift by posting an eighth batch of documents to the Internet on Tuesday. The documents appear to be the entire email account of Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton. Lynton’s email account contains 12,466 messages, which presumably contains deleted messages, dating from Nov. 12, 2008 to Nov. 21, 2014, three days before the hack was first noticed by the studio. A special screening of the film took place in Los Angeles last week without incident. Deadline Landmark Theatres said Tuesday night that the New York premiere of the film has been canceled. The event was set for Thursday night at the Sunshine Cinema on the Lower East Side. BuzzFeed The film’s stars, Seth Rogen and James Franco, have withdrawn from all media appearances in the lead-up to the release of the film.

NYT Layoffs Begin (FishbowlNY)
Those layoffs at The New York Times that we’ve been hearing about have officially begun. According to a memo from the Newspaper Guild of New York, the Times is cutting 21 union members, with employees receiving notice Tuesday or Wednesday. NYT The newspaper accepted buyout applications from 57 members of the Newspaper Guild of New York, the Guild said in an email, and from nearly 30 nonunion members. Though the precise number of staff members who will lose their jobs was not yet clear, the Guild said, “the company clearly will exceed its stated goal of 100 job cuts.” New York Post / Media Ink The fired employees are getting far skimpier buyouts than those who opted for the voluntary packages. To get veterans to accept the buyout, the Times offered a one-time bonus equal to 35 percent of the final year’s pay for employees with 20 or more years’ employment. In contrast, the fired employees with 20 years will get about 28 percent of their final year’s pay. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The layoffs are the final element of a plan to eliminate some 100 positions in the newsroom as part of the Times‘ larger effort to stem costs and restructure for a more digital future. Media reporters Bill Carter and Christine Haughney, labor reporter Steven Greenhouse, editorial page writer David Firestone and chief financial correspondent Floyd Norris are among those who accepted buyout offers.

New York Mag Apologizes for Completely False Story on Teenage Stock Trading Whiz (Mashable)
New York Magazine has issued an apology after running a recent story about a high school student’s $72 million fortune amassed through stock trading turned out to be entirely false. The original story focused on Mohammed Islam, a senior at Stuyvesant High School in New York City. Islam purportedly had put together a net worth in the “high eight figures” through his market magic, a fact that the magazine said they believed confirmed by a Chase bank statement. PRNewser Once the lie was exposed by the New York Observer, Islam did what any embarrassed teenager in the spotlight would do: He hired 5WPR for crisis communications. TVNewser Just hours earlier, Islam and his friend, Damir Tulemaganbetov, were at CNBC prepared to do an interview about their multi-million dollar stock trading prowess, when the teens decided it was time to come clean. FishbowlNY Jessica Pressler, the bylined author of the New York magazine item, was hired by Bloomberg earlier this month.

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First Hack-Related Lawsuit Filed Against Sony by Ex-Employees (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
Sony Pictures Entertainment will now be forced to defend the security measures it took in advance of the hack thanks to a lawsuit that was filed in California federal court on Monday. Variety The class-action suit was filed by Michael Corona and Christina Mathis, both of whom had their social security numbers made public after a hacking group calling itself Guardians of Peace dumped studio documents, employee information and salary charts online. The suit is being filed on behalf of current and former employees of the studio. GigaOM They accuse Sony of negligence for failing to secure its network and not taking adequate steps to protect employees once the company knew the information was compromised. The lawsuit, which also accuses Sony of violating state laws in California and Virginia, also says that the company should have tightened up its security practices after a previous incident in 2011 that saw hackers steal information from millions of PlayStation owners. FishbowlNY As the inevitable class action suit arrives in reaction to the breach of Sony data, a small group of awards show writers and two extremely talented hosts are probably debating if and how it’s possible to joke at the 72nd Annual Golden Globes about this horrible hack, without deeply offending executives, actors and talent reps in the room. If anyone can pull off this high-wire riff rope act, it’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, back for another dazzling tag-team effort as hosts on NBC Jan. 15. But it’s not going to be easy.

Time Inc. Now Accepts Bitcoin (FishbowlNY)
Bitcoin enthusiasts rejoice — you can now pay for your Time Inc. magazines with the digital currency. The publishing house has partnered with Coinbase, a bitcoin wallet, to integrate payments for subscriptions to Fortune, Health, This Old House and Travel + Leisure. NYT / DealBook Other Time Inc. publications, including People, Sports Illustrated and Food And Wine, have been excluded for now. Many companies that have begun allowing users to transact with bitcoin have been rooted in technology, including Overstock, Dell and Expedia. Time Inc.’s decision is a sign that even once-traditional businesses are now seeing opportunity. WSJ Despite volatility in the price of bitcoin over the past year, more businesses have begun to accept it as payment for goods and services, often hedging the risk of holding the digital currency by quickly converting it into dollars.

Apple Wins iPod Antitrust Trial (WSJ)
A jury ruled in favor of Apple Inc. on Tuesday in a class-action lawsuit that accused the technology giant of violating antitrust laws by suppressing competition for its iPod music players. Mashable An eight-person jury came to the verdict after fewer than four hours of deliberating. The suit hinged upon Apple’s deletion of competing music services’ songs from customers’ iPods without notifying them. This would have happened between 2007 and 2009, the lawsuit contended. Users were prompted to restore the iPod to factory settings during an update, which would then erase the songs. GigaOM The case could have potentially been a $1 billion judgment. The jury specifically decided that Apple’s tweaks to iTunes (in 2006) were a “genuine product improvement” and they did not violate antitrust laws.

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Ahead of Announcement, Jeb Bush Talked 2016 With WPLG (TVSpy)
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush shook up the Republican side of the 2016 presidential race with a tweet Tuesday morning, saying he had decided to “actively explore the possibility” of running. Miami ABC affiliate WPLG political reporters Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg got a hint, talking to Bush Saturday for Sunday’s This Week in South Florida. NYT The announcement by Bush does not say he has formed an exploratory committee, just that he will form a leadership PAC in January, which will pull him in line with other potential candidates who have already launched such PACs, like Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

External Traffic to Spanish News Sites Plummets After Google Move (GigaOM)
As expected, Google removed all Spanish publishers from its Google News index on Tuesday. According to the Web-analytics service Chartbeat, within hours of their removal from the Google service, Spanish media sites saw their external traffic fall by double digits. WSJ / CMO Today Chartbeat tracks data across approximately 50 publisher sites in Spain of varying sizes, and said traffic to those sites was down between 1 percent and 4 percent by Tuesday evening, compared with last Tuesday. The data suggests the Google News closure might therefore be negatively affecting traffic to publisher sites in the country.

Newsweek Adds Seven to Editorial Staff (Poynter / MediaWire)
Newsweek has recently added to its editing and reporting ranks, according to a staff email from managing editor Kira Bindrim. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Matt Cooper is now politics editor, having previously covered politics as a reporter for Newsweek. Ross Schneiderman will be senior editor, Jonathan Broder will be a senior writer, Winston Ross will serve as national correspondent, Azeen Ghorayshi and Max Kutner will serve as staff writers, and Polly Mosendz will serve as a breaking news reporter. The magazine, which temporarily ceased publication at the end of 2012, has been trying to rebuild under its new owners, IBT Media.

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NBC Will Begin Live Streaming — But Not So Fast, Cord Cutters (Mashable)
NBC has announced plans to begin live streaming its network shows, but cord cutters won’t have access to the new service. The peacock network began streaming to mobile and desktop devices on Tuesday, but viewers will need to provide a login tied to a cable subscription to gain access.

Prosecutors Refuse to Pursue New Allegation Against Bill Cosby (The Guardian)
Los Angeles prosecutors have refused to take up the case of a woman who alleges she was sexually molested by the TV comic Bill Cosby 40 years ago when she was 15 years old. The LA county district attorney’s office released a charge evaluation sheet on Tuesday that explained the office had declined to prosecute Cosby because the alleged incident occurred so long ago that it falls beyond California’s statute of limitations.

Ross Levitt to Lead CNN’s National Security Team in Washington (FishbowlDC)
Ross Levitt will be joining CNN’s Washington bureau to lead their National Security team, announced managing editor of the bureau, Adam Levine, on Twitter. Ross, who has been with CNN since 2006, most recently worked as a field producer at its New York bureau, covering national security and law enforcement related stories.

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Shelly Banjo Joins Quartz (FishbowlNY)
Shelly Banjo is leaving The Wall Street Journal and joining Quartz as a finance reporter. Banjo had been with the Journal since 2007, most recently as a corporate reporter focusing on retail.

Court Orders NYT Reporter James Risen to Testify (HuffPost / AP)
A New York Times reporter will be subpoenaed to answer questions ahead of an upcoming trial of a former CIA officer accused of leaking classified information, though a Tuesday hearing indicated there is much confusion about what the journalist may be asked to reveal.

Jon Gruden Staying in Monday Night Football Booth Through 2021 (Deadline)
If your favorite NFL team will be looking for a head coach this offseason, you can cross at least one guy off your wish list. ESPN has signed Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden to a long-term contract extension that will keep him in the booth at least until the network’s current NFL deal expires in 2021.

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