Journalist Is Beaten in Latest Attack on Ukrainian Opposition (NYT)
A crusading antigovernment journalist and activist in Ukraine who became famous last year after documenting the opulence of the heavily guarded residential compound of President Viktor F. Yanukovich was savagely beaten early Wednesday. The assault on the activist, Tetyana Chornovol, 34, just outside the capital, Kiev, was the latest attack on government opponents who have been participating in sustained protests that have shaken the country. Kyiv Post The brutal Dec. 25 attack and beating of Chornovol has enraged politicians and the public. Chornovol was driving in a village near Kyiv Oblast, reportedly looking to take a break from the EuroMaidan demonstrations in which she has been a constant presence, when men stopped her vehicle and started beating her. They left, leaving passersby to call police. She remains hospitalized. Mashable News of the beating flooded social media and triggered fresh protests, including many people holding up pictures of a heavily-bruised Chornovol. BuzzFeed / World Hours before the attack, Chornovol published photos of luxury homes she claimed belonged to the country’s interior minister on the website of Ukrainskaya Pravda, which has changed its name on its website to European Pravda out of solidarity with the protest movement, which Chornovol also covered. She had previously published pictures of homes allegedly belonging to other top officials, highlighting Ukrainians’ anger with rampant corruption.
Edward Snowden Calls for A Restoration of Privacy in Channel 4′s Alternative Christmas Message (The Next Web)
Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked intelligence about the security agency’s surveillance activities, broadcasted a Christmas message to the world. This is the first time he has made a public statement and it was aired as the “Alternative Christmas Message” on the U.K.’s Channel 4 network. In the 1 minute, 43 second video, Snowden spoke about the erosion of privacy in the world and that there was a “concert of governments” that has created a worldwide surveillance network. The Guardian The short film was recorded for Channel 4, which has a 20-year history of providing unusual but relevant figures as an alternative to the Queen’s Christmas message shown by other U.K. broadcasters. HuffPost Snowden’s words come days after The Washington Post reported he was already satisfied with the outcome of the NSA surveillance leaks. Snowden pointed to journalists’ enhanced ability to tell stories about the practice that has significantly spiked since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won.”
Google Destroys Rap Genius’ Search Rankings as Punishment for SEO Spam, But Resolution in Progress (TechCrunch)
Google hit back hard Wednesday after it learned lyrics site Rap Genius had been using dubious SEO tricks to attain top spots in search results. Now RapGenius.com doesn’t appear on the first page of results for a search of “Rap Genius,” and popular queries like “Jay-Z Holy Grail Lyrics” don’t bring up the startup like they used to. ValleyWag If you search for Rap Genius on Google right now, the homepage for the startup is conspicuously absent from the first page of search results. You won’t find it on the second, third, or fourth page either. Instead what you’ll see on the first page of results are stories about how Rap Genius got smote by Google, links to their Twitter and Facebook and, at least for me, a link to a Billboard article about “How Rap Genius Won The SEO Game.”
Post Office Approves Extra Rate Hike on Christmas Eve (Adweek)
As feared, the U.S. Postal Service passed a 4.3 percent exigent rate increase on Christmas Eve, delivering a lump of coal to magazines, newspapers and direct mailers. The Postal Regulatory Commission voted for the increase on top of the annual postal rate that is capped by the consumer price index, making it the largest postal hike in more than a decade. Stamps for first-class letters will go up three cents to 49 cents on Jan. 26, while bulk mail and periodicals will go up 6 percent, a serious blow to mail-dependent industries.
As New Services Track Habits, The eBooks Are Reading You (NYT)
Before the Internet, books were written — and published — blindly, hopefully. Sometimes they sold, usually they did not, but no one had a clue what readers did when they opened them up. Did they skip or skim? Slow down or speed up when the end was in sight? Linger over the sex scenes? A wave of start-ups is using technology to answer these questions — and help writers give readers more of what they want.
Gawker Lease Foiled by Potential Building-Mates (Capital New York)
Gawker was close to signing a lease on a new office until other tenants in the building objected, Capital has learned. Some of the tenants in the building were tech start-ups who apparently feared that Gawker reporters would overhear their employees chatting in the halls and send word of their private conversations to Sam Biddle, the senior writer for ValleyWag, Gawker’s Silicon Valley gossip blog.
Migrahack Brings Together Journalists, Programmers, Community (Poynter)
Immigration stories usually have numbers. But immigration numbers have stories of their own. Many journalists work with these numbers — they gather them, use them and report them. But while the numbers get told, the stories behind them often don’t.
Holding The Newhouses to ‘The Pledge’ (CJR / The Audit)
Once upon a time, the Newhouse family issued its employees a written guarantee that came to be called “The Pledge”: a promise of lifetime job security in exchange for keeping unions out of the family’s newspapers. But as the industry’s 30 percent profit margins evaporated, The Pledge went the way of the pica pole and employees were let go in droves without so much as a shop steward’s shoulder to cry on.
News Pro Names ’12 to Watch in TV News’ (TVNewser)
TV Week’s News Pro magazine is out with its forward-looking “12 to Watch in TV News” list. Unsurprisingly, HLN president Albie Hecht is on the list, as he’s expected to make major changes to the network early on in the new year.
Time Warner Cable, Viacom Ink New Carriage Deal (Adweek)
Five years ago, a nasty carriage feud between Time Warner Cable and Viacom brought Dora the Explorer to tears. This time around, the two sides hashed out a new affiliate agreement without causing undue distress to any Nickelodeon fans — animated or otherwise. In a joint release issued Tuesday, both parties announced a new multiyear renewal of their distribution contract, securing carriage of the Viacom networks in all homes served by Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.
Small Theaters in Adirondacks Face Choice in Switch to Digital: Pay or Perish (NYT)
Some nights, it is so cold that not even those who live in Lake Placid, N.Y. venture outside, so the Palace Theater closes early rather than show movies to an empty house. But single-digit temperatures are the least of the challenges facing the 87-year-old theater. The Palace, like many other small-town, independently owned theaters, is struggling to comply with an industry-imposed transition from 35-millimeter film to digital. “People come in and say, ‘You can’t let this go dark,’” said Reginald Clark, 84, who owns the theater with his wife, Barbara.
Justin Bieber Announces Retirement on Christmas Eve Via Twitter (AllTwitter)
In a cryptic series of tweets Christmas Eve, pop star Justin Bieber announced his retirement. The Canada native with the baggy pants and big coif took to Twitter on Christmas Eve to tell his nearly 48 million followers that he would be retiring. That startling tweet shook up his fans and garnered 273,195 retweets (as well as 208,603 favorites, possibly from a group who wasn’t too broken up at the announcement).
DreamWorks Animation to Unveil First Original Series for Netflix (LA Times / Company Town)
For more than a decade, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has defined itself on the big screen. This week, the Glendale studio will take a Shrek-size leap toward reinventing itself on the small screen.
Nielsen’s Top-Selling Books This Holiday Season in The U.K. (GalleyCat)
Alex Ferguson‘s My Autobiography has been the No. 1 book for eight weeks in a row in the U.K., according to new revelations from Nielsen. The data, which comes from Nielsen’s BookScan Total Consumer Market measuring print book sales in the U.K., also reported that David Jason’s My Life has also done well this season, taking the No. 3 position for 11 weeks in a row.
Tulsa Meteorologist Reworks Classic Holiday Poem for Forecast (TVSpy)
Tulsa’s Andrew Kozak got into the holiday spirit by reciting his version of “Twas The Night Before Christmas” for his morning forecast. The meteorologist for ABC affiliate KTUL started with a rhyming look back at the year that was, then transitioned the doggerel poem to the local forecast that included the line, “But no big storms are brewing, so there’s no need to cower. On Sunday just a 20 percent chance of a shower.”
What song puts you in the holiday spirit?
SeasonO1 Burl Ives
Social_Centric “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey! Just hit 1 million copies since going on sale in 1994
craigtimes Handel’s “Messiah.” (OK, that’s a whole bunch of songs. Still…)
MsKJHudson This Christmas by Donny Hathaway