Morning Media Newsfeed: Baquet Changes NYT Masthead | Comcast Responds to Merger Critics

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Big Changes to NYT Masthead (FishbowlNY)
Dean Baquet, the New York Times’ executive editor, has officially revamped the paper’s masthead. Gone is the “managing editor” title; it’s being replaced by four “deputy executive editors,” who “have already proven they can run stories that take on big institutions, who have covered a world of war and proven they can lead with humanity.” NYT They are Susan Chira, Janet Elder, Matthew Purdy and Ian Fisher. A fifth editor, Tom Bodkin, will be given the title of creative director, a position equal to the four deputy executive editors. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Through these changes Baquet hopes to make the relationship between the Times’ digital and print sides more fluid. “I anticipate people moving on and off the masthead as our needs evolve,” he wrote in a memo to staff Wednesday, “and it is important that these moves not be seen as measures of who is up and who is down, but rather as appointments aimed at keeping our journalism and our entire operation as vibrant as possible.” Capital New York The appointments reflect a push for better coordination and cooperation between departments as the Times works on pushing out its journalism to digital readers more effectively. Other recent appointments along these lines include Arthur Gregg Sulzberger as senior editor for strategy, Alex MacCallum as assistant managing editor for audience development and Sam Dolnick as senior editor for mobile. HuffPost Wednesday’s masthead changes are the biggest since Baquet took the reins, but there have been several other moves internally in recent months. Baquet announced the addition of several deputy-level editors in the newsroom in July.

Comcast Accuses Time Warner Cable Deal Opponents of ‘Extortion’ (THR)
On Wednesday, Comcast, led by chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, sharply criticized Netflix, Discovery Communications, Dish Network and other companies that have opposed its planned $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable, speaking of attempted “extortion.” The largest U.S. cable company made the comments in a response to comments filed by critics of the deal. NYT If approved by regulators, the deal is poised to reshape the country’s video and broadband markets, giving Comcast control of 35 percent of broadband Internet service coverage and a major presence in 16 of the top 20 cable markets. In nearly 1,000 pages of documents submitted late Tuesday to the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast said many of the media and tech companies that have urged regulators to block or add conditions to the deal were doing so out of their own business interests. Deadline Hollywood Comcast’s EVP David Cohen held a conference call with reporters to discuss Comcast’s case for the deal, reiterating the claim that Discovery and others engaged in “extortion” by demanding network carriage and contract concessions in exchange for supporting the deal. While that’s not illegal, Cohen says, “that’s not business as usual” and puts the programmers’ interest ahead of the public’s. Comcast says programmer demands would have increased consumer bills by $4 a month. He also attacked Netflix for agreeing to a peering payment deal to improve the speed of its video transmissions which it later challenged. Variety Comcast said the requests from various companies included making all of Comcast’s programming carriage agreements renewable on the same date, requests to renegotiate agreements that are not due to expire, requests to expand carriage or increase fees and “many requests to agree to carry networks that do not even exist yet — or that exist, but that are carried by no one.”

Former GMA Anchor Joan Lunden Named Special Correspondent for Today Show (TVNewser)
Joan Lunden will serve as a special correspondent for the Today show next week as the program kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Next Wednesday on Today, she’ll encourage women with breast cancer to take off their wigs on the plaza. Lunden’s old home is also planning to “Go Pink” next Wednesday. All ABC News shows will devote a full day of coverage. It was during last year’s “Go Pink” initiative that Good Morning America anchor Amy Robach got her first mammogram. It turned out to be a life-saving move, as Robach was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. Deadline Hollywood ABC News says it’s enlisted the help of celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, and Brad Paisley for its full day of coverage on Wednesday across its lineup, also including World News Tonight With David Muir, Nightline, as well as ABCNews.com and Fusion. FishbowlNY Lunden appears bald on the cover of the latest People magazine. In June, Lunden announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and she has since undergone chemotherapy. THR Lunden was the longest-running host of GMA, hosting the show from 1980-1997, and is currently a health and wellness and family caregiving advocate.