Texas Monthly Sues Times Co. Over New Hire (NYT)
The publisher of Texas Monthly filed a lawsuit on Friday against The New York Times Company related to the Times’ hiring of the magazine’s departing editor-in-chief, Jake Silverstein. FishbowlNY Emmis Publishing is claiming that the Times influenced Silverstein into breaching his contract. The lawsuit states that Silverstein’s contract expires in February of next year. NY Post The six-page Texas state court action alleges that Times executive editor Jill Abramson started recruiting Silverstein in December 2012 — a full year before then-magazine editor Hugo Lindgren was ousted. Greg Loewen, president of Emmis, said the company has been “damaged by the Times and expects to be compensated.” Capital New York The suit, which seeks damages between $200,000 and $1 million, names only the Times, not Silverstein, as previously reported. Loewen said the company never intended to stand in the way of Silverstein’s pursuit of the Times Magazine editorship. Loewen said that after Silverstein told his employer last month that he was being considered for the job, Emmis notified the Times that they would have to reach a settlement on the termination of his contract with Emmis to account for the costs associated with finding Silverstein’s replacement, as well as the damage of losing a star editor. New York Magazine / Daily Intelligencer In a statement, Emmis said, “No such agreement was reached and, to date, the Times has refused to even participate in settlement discussions despite numerous attempts” by Emmis to do so.
Layoffs at Al Jazeera America (TVNewser)
As it nears eight months on-air, Al Jazeera America is laying off a few dozen staff employees, as well as freelance employees, with the majority of cuts coming from the sports and business units. THR The network launched last August with nearly 850 employees and 12 news bureaus in the United States. The channel is disbanding its sports unit and scaling back its social-media-driven show The Stream from a daily show to a once-a-week program. In a note to employees on Friday, the cable news channel’s president, Kate O’Brian, stated that staff reductions were part of a process of restructuring after initial hires were made for the launch. Deadline New York She said that after the cuts, the operation will have “more than 800 staff around the country.” Still, some people there speculate that the channel will shift its focus toward documentary pieces instead of live reports. HuffPost The channel has faced some struggles over the past year, including image problems and scrutiny over its ratings. It did, however, get some good news in New York at the beginning of the year when it got a more optimal channel placement on Time Warner Cable.
Turner Entertainment Networks President Steve Koonin Exits to Become CEO of Atlanta Hawks (Deadline Hollywood)
After 14 years as Turner Broadcasting, Tuner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin is leaving for what he describes as a dream job, to become CEO of NBA team Atlanta Hawks. ESPN NBA owners have also approved Koonin as a part-owner of the team. Koonin has been the president of Turner Entertainment Networks since 2000, overseeing TNT, TBS and TruTV. He also spent 14 years at Coca-Cola and is recognized as one of Atlanta’s business leaders. LA Times / Company Town TNT has carried NBA games for several years, and Koonin has close ties to both the Hawks and the league. Known for his jocularity and down-to-earth persona, Koonin has always been a huge sports fan who often spends his mornings listening to sports radio, particularly the Dan Patrick Show. In a statement, Koonin cited his Atlanta roots as being a major motivation in leaving Turner and its parent Time Warner for the Hawks. The Wrap Turner president David Levy, who is expected to guide the Turner networks through the upcoming upfront ad sales, said Sunday that a search for a replacement would begin immediately.
Michael Isikoff Out at NBC News (TVNewser)
Friday was Michael Isikoff’s last day at NBC News. Isikoff joined NBC News in 2010 as a Washington, D.C.-based investigative correspondent, after 16 years with Newsweek. NYT Perhaps best known for his coverage of the liaison between former President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, Isikoff has also reported extensively on the war on terror, the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, the Penn State sex abuse case and other national issues. He was named an MSNBC contributor in January 2009. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple Isikoff said, “I had a good ride at NBC, and I’m glad I did this. But it’s fair to say there was a mutual agreement that this was a situation that was no longer working out.”
Sid Evans Named Editor of Southern Living (FishbowlNY)
Sid Evans has been named the new editor-in-chief of Southern Living. Evans, a Time Inc. group editor, now has editorial oversight of Southern Living, Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Sunset, and This Old House. NY Post After 17 years at Time Inc., including the last four in the top spot at Southern Living, former editor-in-chief Lindsay Bierman is leaving for a top post in academia at the University of North Carolina. The 48-year-old editor on Friday was revealed as the new chancellor of the UNC College of the Arts at the Winston-Salem campus. WWD / Memo Pad Prior to rejoining Time Inc. in 2011, Evans served as editor-in-chief of Garden & Gun. He was also the editor-in-chief of the then-Time Inc.-owned Field & Stream from 2002 to 2007.
Myanmar Newspapers Go Black to Protest Over Jailed Journalist (BBC News)
Several newspapers in Myanmar printed black front pages Friday to protest against recent arrests and jail terms handed out to journalists. Media in the country, also known as Burma, was heavily censored by the government until recently. The Associated Press / The Big Story The black front pages — which included a protest message — in the influential Daily Eleven newspaper, its Sports journal and other papers follow a court decision in which a video journalist for Democratic Voice of Burma was sentenced to one year imprisonment for trespassing and obstructing a civil servant while doing a story on education.
Inc. Editor Brings in New Leadership (NY Post / Media Ink)
Inc. editor Jim Ledbetter, who jumped to the job in January from the tumultuous Thomson Reuters, is starting to put his own stamp on the monthly title for entrepreneurs. He’s tapped veteran media reporter Jon Fine to be executive editor, starting May 5, and raided Boston-based Fortune writer David Whitford to return to Inc. as editor-at-large. FishbowlNY Fine is a veteran media journalist, having spent nine years at Ad Age and Businessweek. Whitford wrote for Inc. before leaving for Fortune in the late 1990s.
David Butler, 63, Will Now Oversee 75 Daily Newspapers (FishbowlNY)
Digital First Media, headquartered in New York City, has promoted David J. Butler, editor and senior vice president of the San Jose Mercury News — as well as West editor for the company — to chain editor-in-chief. As such, Butler, age 63, will oversee 75 daily newspapers and other weekly publications that publish across the country. Poynter / MediaWire Butler succeeds Jim Brady, who announced he would leave DFM after it cut its Thunderdome project. Butler will remain editor of the BANG newspapers, the company says in a release.
Amazon Preparing to Release Smartphone (WSJ)
Amazon.com Inc. is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of this year, according to people briefed on the company’s plans, part of a broad push into hardware that would pit it against Apple and Samsung Electronics. Mashable Slated to begin shipping toward the end of September, the phone will reportedly feature four front-facing cameras or sensors to track the user’s gaze, and offer a glasses-free 3D-viewing experience. GigaOM A September sale would likely pit Amazon directly against a new iPhone (or two) when vying for consumer purchases. Unlike Apple, however, Amazon typically doesn’t seek to earn profits from hardware sales but instead offers devices at lower prices and make money from related software, services and goods sold through Amazon.com.
Peter Liguori to Leave Yahoo! Board (Deadline New York)
Tribune CEO Peter Liguori told Yahoo! that he won’t seek re-election at the next annual meeting, when his term expires. Liguori, formerly a honcho at Fox and Discovery, joined the board in 2012. Yahoo! had hoped that the appointment of an independent director would help to derail a planned proxy fight by Third Point’s Daniel Loeb who said, among other things, that the company was underperforming in part because directors were too closely aligned with management. Last year, Liguori also left the MGM board.
CBS Chief Leslie Moonves Received $66.9 Million Pay Package for 2013 (Variety)
CBS Corp. prexy-CEO Leslie Moonves took home a whopping $66.9 million in 2013, according to the company’s SEC proxy filing on Friday. CBS Corp. chairman Sumner Redstone saw a windfall of $57.1 million, an 83 percent increase from the $31.2 million he received in 2012. Moonves’ salary, stock awards and other bonuses grew 8 percent over its 2012 pay package. But that still wasn’t as much as the $69.9 million he netted in 2011.
Sprint, Spotify Plan to Partner Up (Re/code)
Sprint and Spotify are working to push the streaming music service out to the wireless carrier’s customers. A planned tie-up between the two companies, similar to one already under way with AT&T and Beats Music, will feature free Spotify trials for Sprint customers and will give them the ability to pay for the service using the carrier’s billing system, according to people familiar with the plan.
Zain Verjee Leaving CNN (TVNewser)
After 14 years at CNN, Zain Verjee is leaving the network to start her own production company. Verjee anchors World One on CNN International. Verjee says she will be “creating and writing, which I find personally fulfilling.”
TED Partners With Simon & Schuster to Publish TED Books (GalleyCat)
TED Conferences LLC and Simon & Schuster will partner together to publish a 12-title series called TED Books. Renowned book designer Chip Kidd, a past TED speaker, will create the cover art for all of the projects. The publisher plans to release one book every one-to-two months beginning in September 2014. Some of the books set to be published include The Virtue of Stillness by Pico Iyer, How We’ll Live on Mars by Stephen Petranek, and Follow Your Gut by Rob Knight.
Time Inc. to Kick Off Road Show in May (WWD / Memo Pad)
Executives from Time Inc. will kick off the company’s formal road show in early May. The road show — a presentation to potential investors — is part of any company’s process to go public. Sources with knowledge of the situation said chief executive officer Joe Ripp, executive vice president and chief financial officer Jeff Bairstow and executive vice president and chief content officer Norman Pearlstine are likely to be involved.
What do you think of Colbert taking over for Letterman?
Whatthefluxx Late night needs diversity. Not another straight old white man.
Michael Harpe Rush Limbaugh hates it so I’m all for it.
Laura J Crary I’ll miss the character from the Report.
Jeff H Luedtke Well maybe he will be ok. But there are better ones out there.