AOL Chief’s White Whale Finally Slips His Grasp (NYT)
Tim Armstrong, the chief executive of AOL, is finally winding down Patch, a network of local news sites that he helped invent and that AOL bought after he took over. At a conference in Manhattan last week, Armstrong suggested that Patch’s future could include forming partnerships with other companies, an acknowledgment that AOL could not continue to go it alone in what has been a futile attempt to guide Patch to profitability. He called it, somewhat hilariously, “an asset with optionality.” There may be a few options for Patch, but none come close to the original vision for the site. The hunt to own the lucrative local advertising market, Armstrong’s white whale, is over. TechCrunch If Patch is shuttered for good, that represents a significant blow for Armstrong, who has nurtured the site as a pet project since launching it in 2007 while he was still at Google. AOL bought Patch in 2009 after Armstrong became its CEO. AOL says the report that Patch is winding down is “factually inaccurate.”
Megyn Kelly Explains White Santa (TVNewser)
On her show Friday, Megyn Kelly explained her comments earlier in the week about Santa being white. Kelly included clips from cable competitors MSNBC and CNN, as well as Jimmy Kimmel. Jon Stewart had some fun with it too. Kelly began: “Humor is part of what we try to bring to the show. Sometimes that’s lost on the humorless.” She then explained that the comments derived from the fact that through movies and TV, “we continually see St. Nick as a white man in modern day America.” “By the way, I also did say Jesus was white. As I’ve learned in the past few days, that is far from settled.” Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Kelly’s segment was widely panned by news organizations, bloggers and late-night comedians. Some, like the Washington Post‘s Max Fisher, took a factual approach to the story, interviewing religious scholars about the long debate over the race of Jesus. Others pointed to the segment’s apparent contradiction to Kelly’s assertion on Monday night during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno that she’s a “straight news anchor.” Mediaite Slate blogger Aisha Harris appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday morning to discuss the dustup that all began with Harris’ original article on the subject. “It kind of reinforced my point, actually,” Harris said of Kelly’s original comment that Santa just “is” white (Jesus, too). PRNewser If we didn’t know better, we might think that Kelly staged this dumb controversy to guarantee higher ratings for her show. But that would be ridiculous, right?
The New York Times Magazine Problem (Capital New York)
New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson had given herself until the end of the year to name a new editor for The New York Times Magazine to replace Hugo Lindgren, whose imminent departure was first reported by Capital last month. But the decision is vexing the Times masthead, and now it looks like it will take longer. One source familiar with the matter told Capital the search is likely to spill over into 2014. Adweek The New York Times is looking for more money from print subscribers in 2014 as it continues to contend with declining print and digital advertising revenues alike. Home delivery subscribers received a letter with their papers over the weekend notifying them that starting Jan. 6, the cost of home delivery would increase 30 to 60 cents per week, depending on the level of service. For a Saturday-Sunday subscription, the increase translates to a 5.6 percent hike, for example.
Matt Apuzzo, AP Reporter Behind CIA Scoop, Calls Out U.S. Government (HuffPost)
Matt Apuzzo, the reporter behind the AP’s Robert Levinson scoop, called out the U.S. government on Sunday. “I’d like to see the government talk a little bit less about the AP and little more about Bob Levinson,” Apuzzo said on CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday. Apuzzo told CNN’s Brian Stelter that the government has been quick to criticize the AP, but has yet to address its own actions. “Bob Levinson was in Iran serving his government and Bob Levinson was not well served by his government,” he added. BuzzFeed For years reporters and editors at top news organizations sat on a story that disproved the official lie about retired FBI agent Levinson — even as other outlets continued to report it as fact. But as the government’s strategy for bringing him home floundered, the AP Thursday night revealed that Levinson did not go to Iran as a private businessman as the government and his family had said, but as a CIA contractor. The report also revealed that the mission had already triggered a minor meltdown at the country’s most important intelligence agency: It lead to several firings and a rewriting of the CIA’s rules for “analyst.”
NPR Gets $17 Million in Grants to Expand Coverage, Develop Digital Platform (NYT)
NPR has amassed nearly $17 million in grants to increase substantially its coverage of education and global health and development, and finance creation of a new mobile and Web platform that is expected to allow it to reach more listeners and better compete with outside aggregators of public radio content. The grants, to be announced Monday, come just three months after NPR, which is facing a $6 million deficit in its budget of $183 million for the 2014 fiscal year, said it would cut 10 percent of its staff. An NPR spokeswoman said the new funding, because it is dedicated to projects, would not reduce the deficit.
The Huckabee Post: Is Mike Huckabee Starting A Media Entity? (Mediaite)
Mike Huckabee‘s radio show is ending, but could he be taking a stab at the written word next? An ad has popped up on Craigslist seeking reporters for a new venture called Huckabee Post, that already boasts offices in both New York City and Washington, D.C. Rumors about a Huckabee Post surfaced after his first presidential run in 2008, but perhaps now it’s coming to fruition?
Budget Travel Magazine Sees A Digital Rebirth (NYT)
Even in the financially troubled publishing world, Budget Travel stands out among magazines having a bad year. The 15-year-old magazine, which printed its last issue in October 2012, has spent 2013 fighting to survive in bankruptcy court. From Feb. 15 to March 23, its employees were not paid even as they continued to deliver updated travel tips for the Budget Travel website. And they received little recognition for their work; lawyers handling the bankruptcy case did not know that employees were still updating content. But it appears that Budget Travel may be turning a corner.
Time Inc. Considers Getting Rid of Mastheads (JimRomenesko.com)
A Romenesko reader writes: “Anonymous tip: I was in Time Inc. [Thursday] and a friend at [one of the company’s publications] told me that all of the magazine production folk at the Time Inc. titles have been told that the company is eliminating mastheads in its magazines.” I checked into it Friday afternoon and was told by a Time Inc. spokeswoman that getting rid of mastheads is being considered, but “a decision has not been made.”
Online Publications See A Future in Print (LA Times / Jacket Copy)
“What do journalists, CEOs and senior citizens have in common?” an editor for BuzzFeed tweeted the other day. “They are the only groups of people left who care about reading things in print.” So goes the digital punch line in 2013. Conventional media wisdom maintains that print is headed remorselessly toward extinction, with many old-school publications continuing to struggle and, most recently, the legendary weekly magazine New York announcing that its print edition would soon go bimonthly.
Susanna Negovan for Sale? (RobertFeder.com)
Who knows? Was it the “thousand dollars in wine and champagne” she had at the dinner? Or was it the crystal vase from Tiffany & Co. delivered to her home as a gift before the event? Whatever it was, Susanna Negovan’s report last week on Good Day Chicago struck some staffers at WFLD-Channel 32 as more brazen and more obnoxious than anything she’d ever done before. And that’s saying a lot.
How The ‘Internet of Things’ Will Replace The Web (Quartz)
We’ve already written about why 2014 is really, finally the year that the “Internet of things” — that effort to remotely control every object on Earth — becomes visible in our everyday lives. But most of us don’t recognize just how far the Internet of things will go, from souped-up gadgets that track our every move to a world that predicts our actions and emotions. In this way, the Internet of things will become more central to society than the Internet as we know it today.
Journalists: Stop Falling for Hoaxes (CJR / The Kicker)
You know how it goes. You are on Twitter. You see something outrageous. You click on the link. Really, they did that? And the next thing you know, you’re retweeting it, or posting it to Facebook. Then you frantically move onto the next thing. But in a nanosecond your friends, colleagues, strangers are sure to correct you if you have fallen for a hoax. You feel humbled. I know I did the other day when I posted a story about Kanye West saying he was going to be bigger than Nelson Mandela.
BBC Payoffs Damaged Its Reputation, Say MPs (The Guardian)
The BBC has severely damaged its international reputation by its handing over large payoffs to senior staff, according to a committee of senior MPs. The public accounts committee also accused the BBC Trust, the corporation’s governing body, of “sitting on its hands” while the payoffs were being made and challenged the accuracy of some of the evidence given to the committee by corporation executives.
‘Snark vs. Smarm’ Goes Mainstream (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
So it’s not exactly the Dreyfus Affair, but the argument over “snark” and “smarm” that Gawker’s Tom Scocca launched two weeks ago has turned into a divisive intellectual debate on which the likes of Malcolm Gladwell, Maureen Dowd and Leon Wieseltier have all weighed in. When people talk about debates in the media today, they’re often referring to trivial Twitter spats that flare out as quickly as they came. So it’s nice to see marquee writers engaging in a media debate that matters. As Dowd wrote in her New York Times column on Sunday, “All quarrels are not petty. Sometimes quarrels are about big things, and it’s an actual privilege to take a side in them.”
The Tablet Magazine Ship Is Sinking — Fast (GigaOM)
The death of the tablet magazine has been heralded for months, but here’s how publishers need to rethink their digital offerings for the tablet age.
What’s your must-watch holiday movie?
laalicia Miracle on 34th Street – the original
StephenApp National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, obviously.
lostcheerio Elf. And the Rankin/Bass stop motion special with the Heat Miser.
Keith MacKenzie Die Hard.
Eric Marin A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott