Morning Media Newsfeed: Condé Ditches Interns | SpinMedia Cuts Staff | Layoffs at HuffPost

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Condé Nast Discontinuing Internship Program (WWD / Memo Pad) Condé Nast has decided to discontinue its internship program starting in 2014, WWD has learned. The end of the program comes after the publisher was sued this summer by two former interns who claimed they were paid below the minimum wage during internships at W and The New Yorker. The Guardian The pair suing Condé Nast claim the law was breached because the publisher was gaining an advantage from their labor. Lauren Ballinger, who worked at W magazine in 2009, compared her work there unfavorably with Anne Hathaway’s experience in the film The Devil Wears Prada, after she spent days packing accessories for editors. The other, Matthew Leib, said he was paid between $300 and $500 for the two summers he worked for the New Yorker‘s cartoon archives. FishbowlNY Condé isn’t the only media company brought to court over failing to pay interns. Gawker, Fox Searchlight and Hearst have all been sued for the same reason. The difference is that Condé has now taken the bold step of eliminating the issue completely. If you have no interns, there’s no way to get sued for not paying them. Gawker The media class comprises thousands of former unpaid interns, so you’re going to hear a lot about how their internships were so valuable, so demanding yet fulfilling — look at them now! — that they just can’t believe Condé would do such a thing. Gosh, kill their internship program! You’d think the company, and maybe the entire media industry, was closing down for good. BuzzFeed / Politics While the end of Condé Nast’s sought-after internship program might irk some job-seekers looking for a way into the media’s biggest names, advocates fighting to get interns paid say the elimination of internships at the company signals that there will be better opportunities for job seekers down the road.

SpinMedia to Slash Staff Again (NY Post)
SpinMedia, the digital celebrity and pop culture network that owns Vice and Spin, is expected to lay off 15 percent of its workforce, about 30 people, and cut loose about eight of its smaller websites. Chief executive Dale Strang told staffers Wednesday he planned to convert sites from owner-operated to partnerships — a move that will still keep them in the ad network but make them independent. Poynter / MediaWire “As you can expect, some of these changes involve personnel reductions,” Strang said. Management will be “communicating those changes” in meetings Wednesday. The company’s namesake publication (where I used to work) is losing several staffers. Strang mentions no specific number of layoffs. In addition to Spin, SpinMedia owns or sells ads for quite a few publications, including Vibe, The Frisky and Celebuzz. Poynter / MediaWire A.J. Daulerio is leaving SpinMedia, he confirms to Poynter in an email. The company named the former Gawker editor-in-chief to the role of editorial director in August. Billboard / Biz In an email, company spokesperson Julia Walker explained to Billboard.biz that the company is restructuring its relationship with several properties it owns. “We’re converting select sites from the SpinMedia collection from wholly-owned to partnerships, consolidating some of our back office functions and streamlining various other parts of our organization,” Walker said, in an effort to “focus on sites that matter most to entertainment-savvy millennials.”

Layoffs Hit Huffington Post Entertainment as Part of Restructuring (TheWrap)
Huffington Post laid off three of its television section reporters on Wednesday as part of its restructuring plans for its entertainment coverage. Maggie Furlong, Laura Prudom and Alex Moaba were laid off on Wednesday, their co-worker Maureen Ryan tweeted. “It’s been my great honor & privilege to work with @MaggieFurlong, @LauInLA & @AlexMoaba. If you’re hiring, hire them fast. They’re awesome,” Ryan wrote. An individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap that the layoffs may just be the beginning, and more are “expected” to hit the New York offices.

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Time Warner Cable Reaches Agreement to Distribute Al Jazeera America (NYT)
Time Warner Cable, one of the country’s biggest cable operators, has agreed to carry Al Jazeera America, giving the Qatar-owned broadcaster exposure to millions more households as it seeks to build an audience in the United States. The contract, to be announced on Thursday, is vital for Al Jazeera because Time Warner Cable supplies television to millions of households in New York and Los Angeles, two essential markets. Al Jazeera America will be added to the channel lineups in those markets this year, and in Time Warner Cable’s other markets by March.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Apologizes for Weird Tweet (Poynter / MediaWire)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution apologized Wednesday for a tweet about a lottery winner that said he could now “get 40 acres and a whole lotta mules.” “The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sincerely regrets an earlier Twitter message that contained an inappropriate statement,” editor Kevin Riley said in a statement emailed to Poynter. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple The problem with the tweet is familiar to all those who’ve taken high school American history: “40 acres and a mule” were promised to former slaves as reparations. Not an ideal analogy, in other words, for some guy winning the lottery in 2013. FishbowlNY The Georgia paper is the latest victim of an epic-fail attempt at edgy humor, on the heels of even The Onion finding out that this general racist territory is no place to joke.

Sally Kohn Parts Ways With Fox News (NYT)
Sally Kohn, one of the Fox News Channel’s most visible liberal pundits, parted ways with the network this week and turned up almost immediately on one of its rivals — MSNBC. MSNBC wasted no time booking her Tuesday evening to discuss a commentary she had written for the FoxNews.com site, “I was an ObamaCare Guinea Pig.” The article praised the new health care insurance program for saving her family money in the coming year and drew a favorable Twitter post on Tuesday from President Obama’s account. TVNewser Kohn‘s exclusive contributor contract with Fox News ran out at the end of 2012. She still appears on the network — all very amicable an FNC spokesperson tells us — and she writes for FoxNews.com. But she’s freed up to appear on other networks.

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NBC News Chief on Ronan Farrow at MSNBC, Matt Lauer’s Value And The Future of Today (THR)
Since NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke pressed Patricia Fili-Krushel into service in July 2012 in a newly created position designed to leverage the company’s vast news assets — and reduce Burke’s direct reports — the executive is back to sleeping with her iPhone on the nightstand. Little wonder: Her vast portfolio includes NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, The Weather Channel, NBC News Digital, MSNBC.com and CNBC.com. TVNewser She answers questions on MSNBC’s ratings, the now-canceled Hillary Clinton miniseries project and Matt Lauer‘s future at the Today show.

MSNBC: Glitch Caused Tweet, Story on Bill Young Retirement (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
On Wednesday MSNBC tweeted and appeared to publish a new story online reporting that Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) has announced he is retiring — except Young passed away last week. The MSNBC account tweeted out “A Florida GOP rep is retiring, and Dems are hoping to pick up his seat in 2014” Wednesday afternoon with a link to a story on MSNBC’s website about Young announcing his retirement.

Chris Hughes: The New Republic Will Be in Print for as Long as There Is A Postal Service (Capital New York)
Chris Hughes, the Facebook millionaire who purchased The New Republic in 2012, said Tuesday night that he thinks his magazine will still be printing 10 years from now — “assuming the U.S. Postal Service is still delivering five days a week.” It wasn’t a particularly surprising position to take for the man who had made a clear bet on magazines already, nor was it controversial given that his remarks were given in a panel discussion organized by the American Magazine Media Conference, an annual conference that gathers people who work in the magazine industry, and moderated by NBC’s Willie Geist.