Morning Media Newsfeed: Gov’t Shuts Down | Hillary Projects Canned | Another Paywall Drops

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Shutdown Begins: Stalemate Forces First U.S. Government Closure in 17 Years (The Washington Post)
The U.S. government began to shut down for the first time in 17 years early Tuesday, after a Congress bitterly divided over President Obama’s signature health care initiative failed to reach agreement to fund federal agencies. Hours before a midnight deadline, the Republican House passed its third proposal in two weeks to fund the government for a matter of weeks. Like the previous plans, the new one sought to undermine the Affordable Care Act, this time by delaying enforcement of the “individual mandate,” a cornerstone of the law that requires all Americans to obtain health insurance. TVNewser President Obama gave a brief statement Monday afternoon as the threat of a government shutdown loomed over Washington. He began by listing off what agencies would continue to operate and which would not. “I think it is important for everyone to understand that the federal government is the country’s largest employer,” Obama said. “A shutdown will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away.” HuffPost With the government hurtling toward a shutdown, the media dug in for some round-the-clock coverage on Monday. From the competing countdown clocks to the continuing stream of elected representatives appearing on camera, cable news was in its element: circling around and around the same few pieces of news, getting hosts and guests to argue with each other, speculating, postulating and predicting over and over again. Reuters The U.S. Agriculture Department’s public face, the usda.gov website, will “go dark” and be linked to an informational page in the event of a shutdown, allowing no access to USDA data banks, a spokeswoman said on Monday. WSJ / Washington Wire Washingtonians have remained stoic, even dismissive of news that a government shutdown could halt garbage pickup, street cleaning, and pothole-repair come Tuesday. But when the National Zoo announced Monday that continued congressional impasse would shutter the zoo and its Panda Cam, the sole window onto the zoo’s newborn cub, fans traveled the stages of grief, from rage to bargaining and grim acceptance. “This just got real,” wrote several contributors to the zoo’s Twitter feed.

NBC Scraps Hillary Clinton Miniseries (THR / The Live Feed)
NBC has scrapped its controversial Hillary Clinton miniseries project. “After reviewing and prioritizing our slate of movie/miniseries development, we’ve decided that we will no longer continue developing the Hillary Clinton miniseries,” the network said in a statement Monday. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media CNN Films is canceling its highly anticipated documentary about Hillary Clinton after director Charles H. Ferguson backed away from the project on Monday, citing a lack of participants due to pressure from Clinton-world. “Charles Ferguson has informed us that he is not moving forward with his documentary about Hillary Clinton,” CNN Worldwide spokesperson Allison Gollust told Politico. “Charles is an Academy Award-winning director who CNN Films was excited to be working with, but we understand and respect his decision.” PRNewser The minute CNN announced that it would be producing a film version of Clinton‘s career, critics pounced on the move as evidence of the network spinning its wheels on behalf of the former Secretary of State and all-but-certain presidential candidate. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus went so far as to cite the doc, along with NBC’s planned miniseries, when calling on his party to boycott both networks in 2016 due to “obvious bias.” TVNewser Commissioned by CNN in July, the project started getting push-back right away. It all started from Hillary’s camp, then from other parts of the left, and then the right. TVNewser The Clinton miniseries and film were the impetus behind an RNC effort to lock out CNN and NBC from hosting any 2016 GOP primary debates. The RNC voted to block those networks from hosting debates back in August, citing “an obvious bias.” Now the question becomes what the RNC’s preferred 2016 debate plan is, and whether CNN or NBC will be included.

Another Wall Tumbles: Dallas Morning News Dismantles Its Paywall, Tries to Sell Premium Features Instead (paidContent)
When the San Francisco Chronicle said that it was demolishing its news paywall in August, we wondered whether it might be the beginning of a paywall rollback trend. Now a second metro newspaper has decided to go the same route: The Dallas Morning News announced that its news content will once again be free to all Web visitors starting on Tuesday, Oct. 1. Poynter / MediaWire It will also offer a premium service with “enhanced design and navigation, limited advertising, and access to unique subscriber benefits” to print subscribers; nonsubscribers will pay $2.99 a week, the release says. Dallas Morning News Readers of the paid site will see an image-oriented, collage display with far fewer ads (Web pages maintained by third parties also may contain ads). Eventually, more personalization and a loyalty program will be added to the site. The free site will look just like the News’ current website with advertisements.

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The New Newsweek Staffs Up (Capital New York)
Word is beginning to leak out about the first new recruits at the legendary newsmagazine turned digital publication. Newsweek’s new international editor, Capital has learned, is Nicholas Wapshott, a veteran British journalist who’s held top positions at The Times of London in addition to a role as a contributing columnist at Reuters. Additionally, Newsweek has dipped into DNAinfo’s talent pool, poaching reporter Victoria Bekiempis from the neighborhood news venture as a senior writer.

Content Will Vanish From Shuttered Patch Sites (Poynter / MediaWire)
In a post on Facebook, Mark Maley says all content on Milwaukee-area Patch sites will get zapped when the sites close. “That includes our outstanding political coverage of the Wisconsin recall and presidential elections, our top-notch coverage of the Sikh temple shooting and other breaking news, hard-hitting investigative stories about the suburbs and thousands of wonderful feature stories about the people who live here,” Maley writes.

The MediaBriefing Editor Patrick Smith Named Media Editor BuzzFeed UK (NY Observer)
Patrick Smith, the editor of The MediaBriefing, a London-based B2B website that covers the media industry, will be the media editor for BuzzFeed UK, he announced in a blog post Monday morning. “I’m as proud of the achievements with TMB as anything I’ve done. However I’ve been a reporter/editor on the media beat in B2B publishing for seven years, so now feels like the time to move on and do something different,” Smith wrote. FishbowlNY MediaBriefing co-founders Neil Thackray and Rory Brown are surely sorry to see their editor and chief analyst go. A spokesperson for BuzzFeed tells FishbowlNY there are currently 10 editorial employees at the London office, with plans to add several more by year’s end.

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Breaking Bad Series Finale Ratings Smash All Records (Entertainment Weekly / InsideTV)
Breaking Bad will not only be remembered as a TV drama that went out on top — creatively, and in terms of popularity — but possibly as a game-changer for underdog TV shows. The second half of the fifth season premiered last month to a stunningly large audience for the long-struggling cult-favorite series, delivering a record 5.9 million viewers. A couple weeks ago, ratings notably rose to 6.4 million viewers. Then last week’s penultimate hour crept up to 6.6 million. TorrentFreak The season finale of Breaking Bad has resulted in a record number of pirated downloads for the popular TV series. Just 12 hours after the first copy appeared online more than 500,000 people had already downloaded the show via various torrent sites. Most downloaders come from Australia, followed by the United States and the UK, where thousands of file-sharers prefer unauthorized copies over legal alternatives.