Morning Media Newsfeed: Bashir Resigns | Sambolin Out At CNN | Shakeup at HLN?

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Martin Bashir Resigns From MSNBC (Mediaite)
Just over two weeks ago, MSNBC host Martin Bashir delivered a harsh piece of commentary that culminated in the suggestion that someone should “s-h-*-t” in former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) mouth. Bashir offered an abject apology on his next broadcast, but a chorus of critics continued to demand action against the host. After a reported “vacation” for the host earlier this week, Bashir announced, in a statement to Mediaite Wednesday afternoon, that MSNBC and Martin Bashir are parting ways. TVNewser “After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday,” Bashir said. “Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the president of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation. It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments. I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers – who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences.” Bashir joined MSNBC in the summer of 2010, after six years with ABC News, part of that time as a host of Nightline. Fox News In his own statement, MSNBC president Phil Griffin said: “Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC. Martin is a good man and respected colleague — we wish him only the best.” Politico / Dylan Byers on Media MSNBC spokesperson Lauren Skowronski told Politico that Joy-Ann Reid, who has been hosting while Bashir was out for Thanksgiving vacation, will continue to serve as substitute host. The network will have “an announcement about a permanent replacement host in the coming weeks,” she said. Reuters Bashir is the second high profile host to leave the network in a matter of weeks. MSNBC canceled actor Alec Baldwin’s late night talk show in late November after Baldwin was caught in a video posted on the celebrity website TMZ using a homophobic slur during a confrontation with a New York photographer.

Zoraida Sambolin Leaving CNN (TVNewser)
Zoraida Sambolin, who joined CNN two years ago, is leaving the network and returning to Chicago, TVNewser has learned. Sambolin, the host of Early Start, said battling cancer this year put life in perspective. “I love my job and the gifted and committed people I’ve had an opportunity to work with but life is beckoning me back to Chicago,” she wrote in a note to staff. THR / The Live Feed Her final day will be Dec. 13. Sambolin joined the cable news network from Chicago’s NBC 5 in November 2011 to co-anchor the 5 to 7 morning block. This past May, she revealed on the air plans to undergo a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. “Zoraida Sambolin is one of the best journalists in the business,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement about the anchor’s exit. “Her insightful reporting, kind nature, strength and resilience are universally admired. Although we will miss her, we understand and support her decision and wish her and her family only the best.” TheWrap Sambolin said that she will continue to raise breast-cancer awareness and raise funds to find a cure. A replacement for Sambolin will be named soon. HuffPost Her departure is the latest shakeup for CNN, which is slated to see some other changes in the coming months.

CNN Expects a Big News Update From Jeff Zucker (New York Daily News)
CNN boss Jeff Zucker is a step closer to shaking up HLN, the cable news network’s sister channel, sources told the Daily News. While Zucker has remained elusive about changes in mind for HLN, a source close to the situation said that “nothing is off the table.” That includes possibly dumping firebrand Nancy Grace, whose acerbic personality was a huge part of last winter’s highly rated coverage of the Jodi Arias murder trial. TVNewser HLN Network president Albie Hecht is in Atlanta for a two-day network meeting with all production staff, TVNewser has learned. We heard the plan includes making HLN the “social media network,” bringing the immediacy of social media and translating it to TV. Most of Wednesday’s shows were on tape or replaced by weekend programming. LostRemote What would the “social media network” look like? Could hosts, producers and bookers take their story cues from social media users? Will HLN look to its reporters and producers to break news, or empower social media to be the citizen digital journalists?

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For News Media, a Mostly Cautious Approach to Newtown Tapes (NYT)
Media outlets reacted mostly with caution on Wednesday to the release of 911 calls from inside Sandy Hook Elementary School during last year’s shooting rampage in Newtown, Conn. While two local Connecticut newspapers rushed to make the full recordings available on their websites, the state’s largest paper, The Hartford Courant, initially posted only a story about the tapes, before adding a video with excerpts later in the afternoon. On television, national news organizations held off from broadcasting any excerpts as they were released Wednesday afternoon. Both CNN and MSNBC led their 2 p.m. newscasts with reports about the release of the tapes, but in both cases refrained from airing them. The Fox News Channel did broadcast several seconds from the calls. TVNewser “This is an extraordinarily difficult story to cover today. The release of the 911 tapes obviously extremely sensitive,” CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, who covered the shooting from Newtown, said at the top of the 2 p.m. hour. On MSNBC, Tamron Hall said NBC News is “choosing not to air them out of respect for the families and the sensitivity of the issue.” TVSpy Hartford-New Haven stations are being cautious about broadcasting the audio from the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting 911 tapes. CBS affiliate WFSB, which said earlier this week it would honor Newtown’s request to stay away on the first anniversary of the shooting, announced on Facebook it would not air the audio of the 911 calls. Same for NBC-owned WVIT, which is consistent with the policy NBC News announced. TVSpy Hartford CBS affiliate WFSB would not report from Newtown on the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, anchor Dennis House wrote on his blog.

New York Observer to ‘Tweak’ Pink Paper Stock (Capital New York)
The New York Observer is getting ready for yet another makeover. Plans are in motion for a redesign of the weekly paper that’s expected to debut in February, Capital has learned, though sources cautioned (as is always the case with these sorts of the things), that the street date could end up changing. One of the most notable aspects of the new design, according to people familiar with the plans: The Observer will likely tweak the signature salmon-hued paper that has distinguished it on the newsstand (or confused it with The Financial Times), since its creation in the late ’80s.

Joel Johnson Named Gawker Media Editorial Director (Capital New York)
Joel Johnson, founding editor of Kotaku, Gizmodo and The Consumerist, has been named editorial director of Gawker Media, Nick Denton told staff in a memo Wednesday. Johnson, currently an editor-at-large at Gawker and contributing editor at The Wirecutter, will report for duty in January. The position had been unfilled since the respective departures of Lockhart Steele (2007) and Noah Robischon from Gawker. FishbowlNY Johnson tweeted that he was “Happy to return to my ancestral homeland Gawker Media.”