Morning Media Newsfeed: NewsHour Names Just EP | Discovery, Sony Make Gains

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PBS NewsHour Names ABC’s Sara Just Executive Producer (FishbowlDC)
PBS NewsHour announced Thursday that 25-plus year ABC News-er Sara Just has been tapped to serve as the program’s executive producer and SVP of NewsHour Productions LLC. Variety Just will oversee the daily operations of the nightly news program, co-anchored by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff. Deadline Hollywood Just, who has been ABC News’ deputy Washington Bureau chief since April, will join NewsHour on Sept. 2, succeeding Linda Winslow, who is retiring. Just’s hire comes on the heels of WETA taking over NewsHour from MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, the company named after former anchors Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, on July 1. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Before becoming deputy Washington bureau chief at ABC, Just was senior Washington producer for Good Morning America and had spent 17 years at Ted Koppel’s Nightline. ABC News president James Goldston said in a memo to staff Just was integral to the innovation of their digital political coverage. NYT NewsHour has struggled in recent years to raise enough funds to meet its annual budget of $25 million to $30 million, although WETA officials said at the time of the ownership transfer they were confident they could find the money. With money tight, the program has not been able to do as much field reporting as some critics would like. Just said that she would better understand the program’s budget challenges once she started, but added “I think reporting from the field is essential,” when paired with insightful analysis.

Discovery Communications Profit Rises, Buoyed by Expansion (WSJ)
Discovery Communications Inc. boosted net income 26 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, buoyed by its expanding international presence, though it lowered its earnings guidance slightly due partly to a slowing U.S. advertising market. Discovery posted a profit of $379 million, or $1.09 per share, up from $300 million, or $0.82 per share, in the same quarter last year. THR On an earnings conference call, CEO David Zaslav added that the company is always looking for deal opportunities though, including in Europe and Asia, and reiterated his long-term stance that deals that add intellectual property or accelerate growth are attractive, but they would have to come at a good price. He vowed that the company would stay financially disciplined in any potential deals. Variety Troubled electronics giant Sony has flummoxed nay-saying analysts with a six-fold increase in net income in the three months to June of JPY26.8 billion ($261 million). For the April-June period total sales advanced by 6 percent to $17.9 billion and the company also recorded a JPY34.3 billion operating profit rise year-on-year, to 69.8 billion yen ($691 million), which it attributed to stronger earnings in the Games & Network Services division. Deadline Hollywood With films like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 22 Jump Street leading a recovery in its entertainment division, Sony posted a surprise profit and beat analyst expectations, but Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai maintained a previous full-year forecast for a net loss of JPY50 billion and an operating profit of JPY140 billion.

Time Warner Cable Reports Best Second-Quarter Sub Trends in Years (THR)
Time Warner Cable on Thursday said it lost 152,000 residential pay TV subscribers in the second quarter, down from a loss of 191,000 in the year-ago period. It said that was its best second-quarter overall subscriber performance in years. WSJ Charter Communications’ second-quarter loss narrowed as revenue rose and the company continued to benefit from growth in its online customer base. The bottom line fell short of analysts’ expectations. THR DirecTV on Thursday reported improved second-quarter earnings amid continued subscriber gains in Latin America, helped in part by the World Cup and lower U.S. subscriber losses. The satellite TV giant, led by CEO Mike White, lost 34,000 U.S. TV customers in the period, compared with a loss of 84,000 in the year-ago quarter and a loss of 52,000 in the second quarter of 2012. TVSpy Meredith reported $111 million in Local Media Group revenues for the second calendar quarter (fiscal fourth quarter) of 2014, an increase of 20 percent compared to the year-ago quarter.

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Kevin Magee Stepping Down From Fox (TVNewser)
After 13 years with Fox, Kevin Magee is stepping down from his positions. Magee has been EVP of Fox Business Network since it launched nearly seven years ago. He’s been EVP of Fox News Radio since 2005. Mediaite Magee has been part of the Fox family since 2001. Prior to that, he was an executive producer for CNBC and a senior producer for Good Morning America. Variety While the network is led by Roger Ailes, the force behind the successful Fox News, Magee was the person who steered its daily operations and often was the one charged with articulating the network’s goals and mission.

Netflix Meets With FCC on Net Neutrality, Comcast-TWC Merger (Capital New York)
On Monday, Netflix executives met with Federal Communications Commission staffers to talk about the Commission’s “Open Internet” plans, more commonly known as net neutrality. According to a letter sent to the FCC outlining the meeting, Netflix argued that as part of its open Internet plan, the Commission should prohibit Internet service providers from charging for direct access to customers. Variety In addition, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is asking the FCC for information on how it decided to grant a waiver to a company controlled by a donor and fund raiser to President Obama’s presidential campaigns. The focus is a July 23 waiver granted to Grain Management, giving it credits to qualify as a small business in an upcoming auction of airwaves intended to increase spectrum for wireless devices.

Jay Carney Hits Up The Late Show With David Letterman (FishbowlDC)
Wednesday night on The Late Show With David Letterman, former White House press secretary Jay Carney joined as a guest while the show’s host read off several of Carney’s past responses to members of the WH Press Corps. TVNewser He said White House correspondents “tend to play for the cameras” during televised briefings. Carney says when he would conduct off-camera briefings, “The difference is like night and day, in terms of the tenor.” PRNewser “As a democracy, we would be rightfully concerned if there wasn’t that tension,” Carney said. “If the White House press corps was just happy with what they got every day and they weren’t working to get more, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs.”

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CNN Is Back on The Radio (TVNewser)
Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is launching a new news service using the resources of CNN. The service will offer radio stations nationwide access to broadcast, breaking news, wire service and digital content from CNN for use on the air and on their websites. FMQB Westwood One is a leader in news and information distribution, with 10,000 radio affiliates in the U.S., and owns the STORQ technology that provides a local feel to syndicated content. The addition of this new service will enable local radio stations to broadcast national and international news acquired by CNN but branded with their own call letters and station slogans.

George W. Bush Writing A Book About His Father (GalleyCat)
Former president George W. Bush is working on a book about his father George H. W. Bush. The book has yet to be titled but is slated for a Nov. 11, 2014 release in the U.S. and Canada by Crown Publishers. The hardcover edition’s first printing will include 1 million copies. Politico George W. Bush worked on the book in secret for two years, without a book deal, without dribbling a word out to Bush alums or other Republicans who would have leaked it in a second. As far as the outside world knew, he was just spending all of that time working on his paintings.

BuzzFeed Is Building A New Mobile App Just for News — Theirs And Everyone Else’s (Nieman Journalism Lab)
BuzzFeed is hiring product and editorial leads to build a new news app for the company, starting a team which will eventually include up to six editorial staffers. The app will focus solely on news as it unfolds online, differentiating it from BuzzFeed’s existing app, which is currently ranked sixth among free iPhone news apps. “I think the main reason to download that [existing] app is to be entertained,” says BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith. “There’s also, we think, people who want to have an app that’s primarily about telling them what’s going on in the world and what the big stories are. We felt like it made sense, given that we have this really strong news organization now, to really take advantage of that and build one.”

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Renee Peterson Named VP of HR for Hearst Newspapers (FishbowlNY)
Hearst has named Renee Peterson vice president of human resources for Hearst Newspapers, which publishes 15 daily and 34 weekly papers. Peterson joined Hearst last year. She came to the site from Hargrove, Inc., where she was director of human resources. Peterson, who recently became the San Francisco Chronicle’s VP of human resources, will continue in that role.

No, ‘Journopreneurs’ Are Not Killing Journalism (CJR / #realtalk)
Corey Pein seems to think that digitally savvy journalists have a collective case of Stockholm syndrome. “In their long and seemingly hopeless search for answers, journalists have internalized the abusive rhetoric of the ‘disruption’ brigade,” he writes in The Baffler this week, in a piece that writes off most new-media journalistic efforts as doomed to fail and to compromise Fourth Estate values in the process. I’ve chronicled many “journopreneurial” solutions proposed by the people Pein thinks are destroying the profession. Some are leading to better journalism and more stable environments in which to produce it. Some aren’t. And I agree that it’s right to be skeptical of the motives of self-proclaimed disruptive innovators in any field. But to accuse anyone trying to find new ways to make great journalism in a very tough climate of actively working against the profession doesn’t strike me as much of a solution, either.

E.W. Scripps Stock Spikes on News of Merger, Spinoff (THR)
Shares of E.W. Scripps spiked 8 percent Thursday, a reaction to an announcement late Wednesday that it will split its print assets from its broadcasting businesses, a move that is similar to those made by Time Warner, News Corp and other media companies. E.W. Scripps said the plan involves a partnership with Journal Communications, a media company in Milwaukee.

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Monica Lewinsky Now A Vanity Fair Contributor (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
We’re about to see a lot more of Monica Lewinsky. She’s officially contributing to Vanity Fair‘s website on an “ongoing basis,” Vanity Fair spokesperson Beth Kseniak said Thursday. Lewinsky posted a piece on the magazine’s website on Thursday about online rebuttals to personal attacks. In June she wrote an essay for the magazine about her experience in the public eye and her “10 years of self-imposed reticence.” In addition to the Vanity Fair pieces, she appeared in a National Geographic series about the 1990s last month.

WWE to Cut 7 Percent of Its Workforce (WSJ)
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. said Thursday that it will slash 7 percent of its workforce after costs of ramping up its online-subscription service WWE Network helped put it into the red in the second quarter. WWE reported a net loss of $14.5 million, compared with a net profit of $5.2 million a year earlier.

Canadian Cabler Buys U.S.-Based ViaWest for $1.2 Billion (THR)
Shaw Communications is expanding its data center business by acquiring Colorado-based ViaWest for $1.2 billion. The bid by the western Canadian cable giant for a bigger slice of cloud revenues, unveiled on Thursday, will see ViaWest continue to operate as a subsidiary of Calgary-based Shaw. The Canadian company will acquire a 100 percent interest in the privately-held ViaWest from Oak Hill Capital Partners and other shareholders.

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