Kidnapped U.S. Journalist Freed in Syria (Al Jazeera)
An American journalist kidnapped nearly two years ago has been freed in Syria following Qatari mediation and handed over to UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights. TVNewser Peter Theo Curtis, an author and freelance journalist from Massachusetts, had been held by Jabhat Al-Nusrah, an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. He was captured shortly after crossing into Syria in October 2012. Mashable Curtis writes under the name Theo Padnos, and had published two books, including Undercover Muslim: A Journey Into Yemen. Curtis was originally based in Boston and Vermont, and later worked as a journalist in Yemen, where he became interested in the stories of young Muslim men moving to the U.S. to study Islam. WSJ His family said while it didn’t know the exact terms of their son’s release, they were assured by Qatari officials “that they were mediating for Theo’s release on a humanitarian basis,” without paying ransom. Mediaite Video of Curtis was disseminated in late June, showing the journalist disheveled but otherwise in good health. Curtis’ release comes just days after ISIS posted video showing the execution of captured American journalist James Foley.
Washington Post Editorials Will No Longer Use ‘Redskins’ for Local NFL Team (The Washington Post)
The Washington Post’s editorial board Friday announced that it will stop writing the word ‘Redskins’ in reference to the Washington NFL football team. “Except when it is essential for clarity or effect, we will no longer use the slur ourselves,” the board wrote. FishbowlDC In May, 50 senators signed a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in support of a name change for the team as many consider it disparaging to Native Americans. Mediaite The editorial board clarified that the change will only effect editorials, not news or sports coverage. “Unlike our colleagues who cover sports and other news, we on the editorial board have the luxury of writing about the world as we would like it to be,” they wrote. “Nor do we intend to impose our policy on our readers. If you write a letter about football and want to use the team name, we aren’t going to stop you.” Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Other newspapers to drop the term include The Kansas City Star, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Detroit News, The Orange County Register, The Seattle Times, Slate and the Washington City Paper.
Britain Said to Be ‘Close’ to Identifying ISIS Suspect in Journalist’s Beheading (NYT)
The British ambassador to the U.S. said on Sunday that investigators were close to identifying the young militant with a British accent who beheaded American journalist James Foley on a video released by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. WSJ Ambassador Peter Westmacott declined to confirm British news reports naming the suspect in the video but told CNN that “we are close” to doing so. He said the identification was made possible through the use of sophisticated voice identification technologies and other information. FishbowlDC In memory of Foley, Reporters Without Borders created a tribute page to serve as a forum where anyone, including colleagues and members of the media, can share memories and leave messages. “To us, he was an extraordinary journalist, who abhorred violence and was motivated by the desire to highlight the plight of the victims of war,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire. HuffPost / AP Foley was living his faith by bringing images to the world of people suffering from war and oppressive regimes, a Roman Catholic bishop said Sunday at a Mass in his honor. The Mass was attended by Foley’s parents, John and Diane Foley, and hundreds of others in their hometown of Rochester, N.H.
CNN Held Talks About Joint Venture With Glenn Beck’s The Blaze (WSJ)
CNN executives have held talks in recent weeks with representatives from Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, a 24-hour news and entertainment network, about a potential joint venture to overhaul HLN, according to people familiar with the matter. TVNewser Even as Time Warner continues discussions with Vice Media, CNN executives reportedly recently met with team Beck as they plan an overhaul of HLN. The two sides reportedly couldn’t come to terms on a deal. THR Talks stretched since June and ended recently. Beck, a former Fox News host, started The Blaze as GBTV in September 2011 as a subscription-based online network. The network, which offers an array of programming anchored by the conservative personality, was later rebranded in keeping with Beck’s popular news and aggregation site, The Blaze.
Fareed Zakaria Also Allegedly Plagiarized in One of His Books (Mediaite)
Last week, Our Bad Media claimed to find multiple examples of Fareed Zakaria plagiarizing in his extensive body of work. Zakaria, of course, defended himself. But the newest allegations from the anonymous writers only known as @blippoblappo and @crushingbort may give him pause: They found many more instances of plagiarism in his bestselling book, as well as in magazines where he reprinted excerpts from his books. Slate / The Slatest A passage from Zakaria’s The Post-American World 2.0 that was also published in Newsweek resembles a Christian Science Monitor article that is apparently neither mentioned by name in Zakaria’s text nor cited in his endnotes. In another paragraph from The Post-American World 2.0, Zakaria quotes three 19th-century passages from the publications Le Figaro, Kreuzzeitung, and The New York Times; the same three passages from the same three publications are also quoted word-for-word in a single paragraph of a piece published a decade earlier by Karl E. Meyer for the World Policy Journal. Poynter / MediaWire Zakaria responded to @crushingbort and @blippoblappo’s first post about his work last week, saying their previous examples “are all facts, not someone else’s writing or opinions or expressions.” Washington Post editorial editor Fred Hiatt said the allegations were “reckless.” Time, for which Zakaria last wrote a column in March, said it planned to re-review his work. He joined Atlantic Media as a contributing editor last month.
Google Wins Victory in Row With German Publishers (Reuters)
A German regulator handed Google a victory on Friday as it said it would not pursue a complaint brought against the Internet search engine operator by a group of publishers for giving users access to their news articles. Several publishers including Axel Springer SE and Burda had banded together in a group called VG Media to demand Google pay them for making their online articles available to the public. TechCrunch But Andreas Mundt, president of Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, said in a statement on Friday that: “Sufficient suspicion is always necessary to initiate an abuse procedure. The complaint from VG Media did not establish this.” In other words, there’s no suspicion of abuse — Google is just doing the job of a search engine. German legislation came into effect a year ago stating that publishers can stop search engines from using their news articles beyond very short excerpts.
Jimmy Fallon Enlists Local NBC Anchors for Good News Segment (TVSpy)
Last week, Jimmy Fallon recruited a team of anchors at NBC affiliates to deliver the all-too-rare good news. Mediaite Fallon used his powers as the host of The Tonight Show to get the local news anchors to deliver news about the things he’d like to see in the news, like Vladimir Putin becoming a children’s books author, friendly ghosts and water slides.
Sirius XM to End The Bob Edwards Show (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Sirius XM has decided to pull the plug on The Bob Edwards Show, the award-winning weekday program hosted by the longtime NPR Morning Edition veteran, sources familiar with Sirius’ plans said Friday. The show’s last episode will air on Sept. 26, the sources said. Public Radio International, which pays Sirius XM to broadcast the show on weekends, will continue to air reruns. Edwards, 67, was the first host of NPR’s Morning Edition and anchored the show from 1979 until 2004, when he was forced out in what a spokesperson described as an effort to “bring new ideas and perspectives to the show.”
Microsoft Is Building Its Own Chromecast Competitor (GigaOM)
Microsoft is getting ready to launch its very own Chromecast competitor, according documents filed with the FCC that were unearthed by WindowsPhoneDaily last week. The FCC application for the device with the model number HD-10 is heavily redacted and doesn’t actually spell out what it can be used for, only revealing that it comes with a HDMI port, Wi-Fi and a USB connection for a power supply. Engadget Those three will sound familiar if you know what the Chromecast is, but what really demystifies the device’s nature is a separate document on the Wi-Fi Alliance website. That filing, unearthed by Nokia Power User, called the HD-10 a “Miracast Dongle.” Miracast is Microsoft’s screen-sharing technology available on Windows 8.1, Windows RT and, most recently, Windows Phone 8.1, though it’s also built into Android 4.2 (and later) and BlackBerry 10.2.1. The dongle will likely be able to mirror phone, tablet and laptop screens on a TV then, so long as they’re loaded with those platforms.
CBS Sunday Morning With Charles Osgood Averaged 5.3 Million Viewers (TVNewser)
CBS Sunday Morning With Charles Osgood averaged 5.3 million viewers last Sunday, up 16 percent from the same day last year, besting the weekday morning shows. Season-to-date, Sunday Morning is up 6 percent in viewers vs. last year, averaging 5.81 million.
HuffPost Responds to Criticisms on Crowd-Sourced Ferguson Fellowship (FishbowlDC)
Thursday, The Huffington Post announced the creation of the Ferguson Fellowship, a partnership with the Beacon Reader to enable a citizen journalist to “monitor the activity of the local and county police forces once the national spotlight dims.” Friday, HuffPost Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim and HuffPost Ferguson Fellow Mariah Stewart went on HuffPost Live to respond to criticisms. “Sure, the criticism is fair, but we are seriously investing in it,” said Grim. “Either it was going to be this way, or we weren’t going to be able to have someone on the ground.”
Nikki Finke Goes Silent in Reported Legal Dispute With Penske Media (NYT)
Hollywood journalist Nikki Finke has stopped writing about the movie industry while she and a former employer, Penske Media Corporation, try to reach a legal settlement, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. Finke built the site Deadline Hollywood into a machine for breaking industry news, and it became among the most influential news sites in the movie business. Penske acquired the site in 2009 and then in 2012 purchased the industry trade magazine Variety, setting off a dispute that caused Finke to leave the company.
To Lure Subscribers, NYT Debuts Free Mini Crossword (Capital New York)
The New York Times is launching a free daily mini crossword puzzle for users of its crossword app for iOS devices, the company said Friday. The puzzle, which is comprised of a five-by-five grid of blocks, is meant to be completed in just a couple of minutes, as opposed to the full-size puzzles, which can take far longer, depending on the skill level of the player. The Times crossword, edited by Will Shortz, is widely regarded as one of the best, and is one of the most lucrative revenue streams the paper has.
A Makeover for Vogue’s Website, With A Faster Pace for Covering News (NYT)
On Wednesday, Vogue is expected to unveil a new website, its latest attempt to reflect the magazine’s ethos online. Both the editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, and the creative director for digital, Sally Singer, acknowledge that Vogue’s site has yet to fulfill its potential and hope that this revamping represents a deeper change in what it offers Web and mobile readers.
Afghan Candidates Pledge to Welcome Reporter Back (NYT)
The two candidates for president of Afghanistan both pledged on Friday to reverse the expulsion of an American journalist as soon as they took office. Their condemnation of the Afghan government’s order expelling the journalist, Matthew Rosenberg of The New York Times, was a rare point of agreement between the rivals, who have been in deadlocked talks over the disputed results of the recent presidential election and are trying to agree on forming a coalition government.