Morning Media Newsfeed: Sun-Times Staff Laid Off | Spin Fires EIC | New Robin Roberts Gig?

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Chicago Sun-Times Lays Off Its Photo Staff (Chicago Tribune)
The Chicago Sun-Times has laid off its entire photography staff, and plans to use freelance photographers and reporters to shoot photos and video going forward, the newspaper said. A total of 28 full-time staffers received the news Thursday morning at a meeting held at the Sun-Times offices in Chicago, according to sources familiar with the situation. Crain’s Chicago Business The Chicago Newspaper Guild, the union that represents the photographers, immediately said it would consider taking action against the company over the cuts. It’s in negotiations on a new contract for the reporters, photographers and other workers it represents. Before the cuts, it had about 150 members at the company. Gawker A photojournalist is a photojournalist, even in times when he maybe shouldn’t be. Which is why when Sun-Times photographer Al Podgorski discovered Thursday morning that his entire department was being wiped out, the first thing he did was reach for his camera to capture the moment. National Press Photographers Association The layoffs included Chicago photojournalism icon and Pulitzer Prize-winner John H. White. Rob Hart, a Sun-Times Media photojournalist at the suburban Pioneer Press and an adjunct faculty member at the Medill School of Journalism, was in the room Thursday morning with the entire staff when they were told of the layoffs. “Being in the room with John White when we got laid off was a highlight of my career,” Hart told News Photographer magazine. MediaJobsDaily Apparently the 10th largest circulating newspaper in the country plans to rely on freelancers and reporters using their smartphones.

Spin Lets Its Editor-in-Chief Go (Poynter / MediaWire)
Spin has parted ways with editor-in-chief Caryn Ganz. Jeff Leeds, the editorial boss of parent company SpinMedia, gave the news to staffers in a meeting Wednesday night in Spin’s New York office. Reached by phone, Ganz confirmed her departure, which she called “surprising,” noting that Spin’s website had just had the second-biggest month traffic-wise in its history. FishbowlNY Here’s what a SpinMedia spokesperson had to say about Ganz’s firing: “Spin has grown steadily as a result of a concerted team effort since SpinMedia purchased it in July 2012. But we felt it required new leadership to help take it to the next level as a digital brand. Personnel shifts are never easy, and we’re deeply respectful of the enormous contribution Caryn made to help us get this far.”

Robin Roberts’ Name Floated for Daytime (B&C)
Robin Roberts has been key to elevating Good Morning America ahead of Today, and keeping it there. But does the a.m. anchor have the star power to make her own daytime show fly? That’s what execs in the station and syndication community have been buzzing about in recent days since word spread quietly that Disney/ABC might consider a Roberts-led syndicated talk show as one of the next possible GMA spinoff projects, according to multiple sources. TVNewser Roberts could head to daytime as an expansion of GMA, though it certainly sounds as though no move is imminent.

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Eric Holder’s ‘Off-The-Record’ Meeting (Politico)
Attorney general Eric Holder expressed concern on Thursday about how the Department of Justice has handled recent media investigations at an off-the-record meeting with leading representatives of the press, according to those who were present. At the session, Holder and deputy attorney general James Cole expressed a willingness to revise the guidelines for such investigations, journalists present at the get-together told Politico. HuffPost Journalists from five news outlets — The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Politico, the New York Daily News and The Wall Street Journal — attended Thursday’s meeting with Holder. CNN and McClatchy said Thursday morning that they had joined The New York Times, The Associated Press and The Huffington Post in declining Holder’s invitation to the meeting. National Journal The dustup over whether journalists should meet privately with Attorney General Eric Holder is a forest-for-the-trees flap. The existential issue still tangling Washington in knots a dozen years after 9/11 is how to balance our primal need to protect U.S. security with our fundamental belief in civil liberties.

Rogers Media Shuts Down CityNews Channel in Toronto (THR)
Citing a tough TV advertising market, Rogers Media has shuttered its CityNews Channel in Toronto. The broadcaster in late 2011 launched the 24/7 local TV news service by exploiting its City conventional TV station brand and adapting a 30-minute news wheel format used by one of its local all-news radio stations, 680 News. Now Rogers Media is back-pedaling, shutting down CityNews Channel and focusing its Toronto news-gathering operations on 680 News and the CityNews team at the City network. Toronto Star A spokeswoman said 62 full-time jobs will be eliminated in areas including operations, production, writing and reporting.

Warren Buffett’s Newspaper Group Buying The Roanoke Times (The Roanoke Times)
After spending the past five years on and off the market, The Roanoke Times has a buyer: a newspaper company owned by billionaire businessman Warren Buffett. Buffett’s BH Media Group will purchase the newspaper from Landmark Media Enterprises, the companies announced Thursday. The Times joins a growing number of Virginia daily newspapers — including those in Bristol, Charlottesville, Danville, Lynchburg and Richmond — to be acquired in recent years by BH Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

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New York Times Is Said to Consider More Sponsored Stories (Bloomberg)
New York Times Co., looking to imitate the business models used by startups such as BuzzFeed Inc., is considering letting advertisers sponsor more stories on its website, two people with knowledge of the situation said. In a series of meetings with senior sales and editorial staff last month, chairman Arthur Sulzberger and CEO Mark Thompson discussed the idea of offering bigger sponsorship opportunities to advertisers, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks were private.

Hollywood YouTube Channels Hit With Hidden Cost (THR)
YouTube’s fledgling subscription channels, introduced in early May, promise to be a golden opportunity for distributors and content owners to monetize movies and TV shows without a huge new investment. However, for a small but significant minority of content owners, there’s a hidden cost.

Parade Magazine Tries to Improve Appeal to Digital Readers (Ad Age / Media News)
Parade magazine is introducing a new logo this Sunday for the first time in more than 30 years, adopting a look reminiscent of Parade in the 1950s. But the retro look is just part of a series of changes the 72-year-old Sunday newspaper insert is pursuing this year, with the bulk coming online and on mobile devices, in an effort partly meant to reach younger readers than it finds in print. FishbowlNY To get the word out on these updates, Parade is taking an unusual route: By plastering it on a car. Specifically, a Chevy driven by Jamie McMurray in NASCAR’s FedEx 400. The race is this Sunday, the same day the new issue debuts.

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Newspaper Reporter Arrested for Assault And Battery at Moore High School Graduation (KOKH)
A reporter for The Oklahoman was arrested on assault and battery charges after several women complained he continually bumped into them and took pictures up their dresses after the graduation ceremonies for Moore High School. New York Daily News Witnesses said they saw Nathaniel Zeke Campfield aiming his camera up the girls’ dresses. One heard “clicking noises” while the camera was under a dress and another saw a flash go off. Others, who helped to detain him at the scene, said Campfield appeared to try to delete photos from his Nikon camera before attempting to leave.

Newsrooms Say Referrals From Reddit Are Increasing (Poynter / How To’s)
Throughout 2013, Reddit has been referring more and more users to news sites, according to several online editors. Gary Nielson, digital news specialist at McClatchy Interactive, noticed this recently. First, an online producer in Charlotte spotted huge traffic for a particular story that had been posted on Reddit. Then, a monthly report came out, Nielson said in a phone interview. Reddit had moved up to No. 10 as a referral site. Previously it sat down at No. 22.

BBC Faces New Allegations of Sexual Abuse
Since the case involving television personality Jimmy Savile came to light in October, the British Broadcasting Corporation has received 152 new allegations of sexual abuse and harassment by 81 current and former employees, the broadcaster said Thursday.

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Could The NYT Mag‘s ‘My Plane Almost Crashed’ Story Actually Be True? (The Atlantic)
Two weeks ago I read the New York Times Magazine‘s back-page story on a harrowing brush-with-death encounter when pilots had to land an airliner while thinking that its wheels had not come down. I was about to head off on a trip so I didn’t take the time to write what I was thinking, which was: this doesn’t sound right. The Atlantic A few minutes after 5 p.m. Thursday Hugo Lindgren, editor of The New York Times Magazine, sent me this official response to questions about the veracity of the back-page article it published two weeks ago.

Google Now Believed to Be World’s Biggest Media Owner With Revenue of $37.9 Billion (PressGazette / The Wire)
Google is now the world’s largest media owner, according to ZenithOptimedia’s Top Thirty Global Media Owners report. It estimates that in 2012 Google accounted for 65 percent of all Internet searches across the world and 82 percent of all paid search advertising. With its investment in YouTube, ownership of Google+ and moves into mobile advertising, ZenithOptimedia estimates that Google has 15 percent of display advertising worldwide.

Philip DeFranco Sells His YouTube Networks to Revision 3 (TheWrap)
Philip DeFranco, one of the most prominent show hosts and producers on YouTube, has sold his network of channels to the Discovery-owned online video network Revision3, the company announced on Thursday. DeFranco’s assorted channels now average about 50 million views a month, and, like many of the more prominent personalities on YouTube, he has established a secondary revenue stream through selling merchandise.

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Mediabistro Chats


“The social media editor is dead.” Do you agree? (via @BuzzFeed)

twitter theEvenStephens Maybe the SM editor is dead in the news room, but for small business owners a social media manager is essential.

twitterBenjaminKepner I don’t think the #socialmedia editor is dead, but just another term for a manager or Publishing director.

twitter Des Bonbon Hah. My workplace is still going through the motions of deciding what our social media strategy should be, and it’s already dead.

twitter Stephanie Romanski No not at all. As is often the case in the newspaper business, these kinds of stories tend to focus on the big newspapers and rarely bother to see what it’s like in smaller markets.

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