Morning Media Newsfeed: Hundreds Fired at Patch | SOTU Ratings Down | WaPo Expanding

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Report: Hundreds of Patch Employees Laid Off (
I’m told that hundreds — two tipsters claim two-thirds of the editorial staff — have been laid off by Patch’s new owner, Hale Global. Patch senior vice president/revenue Jim Lipuma has left the company. He wrote on his blog Wednesday: “I am unemployed. Long and short of it, I chose ‘Happiness.’ Now, I won’t go into details, as I have nothing but love for my organization and the people in it. It was an amazing journey, but today it ends.” FishbowlNY In a conference call from Leigh Zarelli Lewis, Patch’s COO, the news was laid out in blunt terms. Here’s how it went, according to a transcript: “Hale Global has decided which Patch employees will receive an offer of employment to move forward in accordance with their vision for Patch and which will not. Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated and you will no longer have a role at Patch and (Wednesday) will be your last day of employment with the company.” NYT Later in the morning, there was a conference call for employees who were staying on. Patch had roughly 450 employees before the layoffs Wednesday. In the call, remaining employees, including journalists as well as advertising sales employees and engineers, were told that all 900 Patch sites would remain open. Gawker Patch never made money. Even after it was bought by AOL in 2009, it didn’t make money. When AOL finally realized it was never going to make money, it first shuttered a bunch of Patch sites and then decided to get rid of it entirely. NY Post The move is a black eye for AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who had co-founded the site as a side venture when he was still a Google executive and then acquired the site for AOL for a reported $7 million in 2009 shortly after he became its CEO. Poynter / MediaWire People who worked for Patch worked from home, on their own, but they had each other to reach out to, former Patch editor Anthony Leone told Poynter via phone. That network has held up through the rounds of layoffs. “We’re still helping each other out,” he said. “Most of the people there have never met face to face at all.”

33.3 Million Watch 2014 State of The Union, Lowest Audience Since 2000 (TVNewser)
According to Nielsen, 33.3 million viewers watched the President’s fifth State of the Union address across 13 networks, down from 33.5 million viewers last year. It was the lowest audience for the State of the Union since Bill Clinton delivered the address in 2000. The networks carrying the address live were CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, Azteca, Fox Business, Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Al Jazeera America, Galavision and Mun2. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media President George W. Bush’s former speech writer said that Obama plagiarized his former boss in Tuesday’s State of the Union address. Speaking to Fox News’s Megyn Kelly, Marc Thiessen, the lead writer on Bush’s 2007 State of the Union address, said he found Obama’s speech Tuesday night “eerily familiar.” E! / TV Scoop The Internet loved Obama’s Mad Men comment during the speech. It generated close to 34,000 tweets per minute. Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner issued a statement following Obama’s State of the Union Mad Men shout out. “I support the president, and I’m honored that our show is part of a much-needed national conversation,” Weiner said in a statement released to E! News. NY Observer / Politicker Congressman Michael Grimm called NY1 reporter Michael Scotto Wednesday morning to apologize for threatening to physically injure him after President Obama’s State of the Union address. In an interview, Scotto told Politicker that Grimm called him around 10:45 a.m. to make amends for the headline-grabbing eruption. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media “I’m a human being, and sometimes your emotions get the better of you,” Grimm said. “The bottom line, though, is it shouldn’t happen, you shouldn’t lose your cool. That’s why I apologized. When you’re wrong, you’re wrong, and you have to admit it. It shouldn’t happen.”

Washington Post Plots Web Expansion (Capital New York)
The Washington Post is going into hiring mode in preparation for a Web expansion and site redesign, Post executive editor Marty Baron wrote in a staff memo sent out on Wednesday. Baron said the paper is in the market for bloggers to lead an expansion into more verticals that will cover “a wide array of subjects,” but also deepen their reporting in existing areas. NYT There will be five new politics reporters as well as photo editors, data visualization specialists, news desk staff and Web designers. It will add a breaking news desk and a Sunday style and arts section, as well as a revamped Sunday magazine that will be “bigger in dimension and in the number of pages, with a new design and a range of new features.” The Washington Post Baron: “We also will embark on a long-planned site redesign that should improve load speeds and navigation while enhancing the overall reader experience. That will involve new hires.” FishbowlDC Baron cited the recent hires of Adam Kushner, Fred Barbash, Jim Tankersly, Helena Andrews and a bevy of younger guns who will contribute to The Fix as evidence of the paper’s renewed commitment to digital. He also announced plans for developing “verticals,” or areas of specialization within the website, a “long-planned website overhaul” and the creation of an overnight breaking news desk.

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Atlanta Snow Snarls Commute for CNN Staffers (TVNewser)
Atlanta-based CNN staffers ran into some traffic problems caused by the winter storm during their commute Tuesday. On Twitter, Carol Costello detailed the experience of being stuck in the CNN parking lot for an hour before finally giving up and going back inside. HuffPost Costello was not happy with the way Atlanta has responded to its extreme weather emergency, and she made that clear in interviews with local officials on Wednesday. “I’m just expressing the frustration of a city, as a person who was stuck in traffic for hours and hours and hours,” Costello told Matthew Kallmyer, the director of Atlanta’s emergency management agency.

Breaking News From Twitter: There’s Breaking News on Twitter (Re/code)
News Wednesday from Twitter: Twitter would like to provide more of your news. That’s the upshot of a press event in New York Wednesday, where Twitter, CNN and Dataminr, a Twitter-blessed data company, announced a new tool designed to help journalists find news on Twitter. There are a bunch of companies that already do this — starting with Twitter itself — but the folks involved swear that “Dataminr for News” is much more sophisticated. CNN has been using the tool for some time, and Dataminr says it will be available to other news outlets this year. TechCrunch The CNN team cited a few examples of how they’ve used Dataminr for News already — they said it helped them spot stories or find eyewitness sources in the past weekend’s mall shooting, in the recent Beijing-bound flight that had to turn around due to turbulence, and in the story of a Brooklyn cupcake shop that was bombarded with Obamacare-related calls.

Larry King: ‘CNN’s Got Problems’ (TVNewser)
Larry King said he occasionally misses CNN, but he’s not ignoring his longtime network’s ratings woes. “I miss it when there’s big stories but on a day-to-day basis I don’t,” King said in an interview with HuffPost Live Wednesday. The former network star also addressed the network’s struggles: “CNN’s got problems,” he said. “I don’t know what they’re going to do.” HuffPost Luckily, King had some advice for CNN and Jeff Zucker on how they can achieve a new vision for the network. “Cartoons,” he said. “Put Spongebob on CNN — 24 hours — until a big story breaks. Then we break into Spongebob and go to the hurricane, and then back to Spongebob.”

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Earnings, Ad Pages Down at Meredith Corp. (WWD / Memo Pad)
Meredith Corp., owner of a smattering of shelter, family-centric and food magazines, as well as a handful of local television stations, isn’t so optimistic about the advertising environment this year. Despite improved March ad numbers from rival titles at Hearst Magazines and Condé Nast Publications, Meredith noted that its magazine and digital ad business this year will likely be flat versus 2013. On its second-quarter earnings call Wednesday, the company said magazine advertising in the first quarter would be down more than the mid-single-digit drop it expected. TVSpy Operating profit for the quarter was $35 million, compared to $45 million in the year-ago quarter. Meredith had $25 million less of political advertising revenues than last year, which is expected in a non-election year.

Inc. Media Hires Jim Ledbetter From Thomson Reuters (Adweek)
Mansueto Ventures’ Inc. Media is hiring Jim Ledbetter from Thomson Reuters as editor of its namesake magazine and website. The veteran business journalist was named the first op-ed editor at Reuters as part of a hiring spree three years ago. There, he brought on names like Jack Shafer, Bethany McLean and David Rohde to raise the financial news and information provider’s profile as a source of commentary.

The New York Times‘ Video Dilemma (Capital New York)
Early last year, The New York Times was making its first big sales push since revving up its digital video strategy, and it locked down two large upfront deals with two tony advertisers. One was Acura, which signed on for a full year. The other was Microsoft, which wanted a commitment closer to half a year. Both deals guaranteed these advertisers a “ton” of placement at the beginning of videos, according to a person familiar with the transactions, who said the deal with Acura was worth more than $1 million and Microsoft north of $500,000. The good news was that the Times was finding customers for the sort of lucrative video buys that legacy outlets are eager to secure as they hustle to shore up digital revenues in the face of a spiraling print market. The bad news was that by springtime, it had become apparent that the Times wouldn’t be able to deliver on both of these buys.

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Study: Print Coupons Are Still More Popular Than Digital Deals Among Moms (Adweek)
Digital, evidently, hasn’t destroyed the newspaper coupon. Heads of household still search paper media for deals more than they do Google, per a study by, which surveyed 2,200 moms. Good old-fashioned print ads (78 percent) and supermarket circulars (65 percent) take the lead when it comes to how mothers find coupons, while 55 percent of those questioned said they often get coupons online, too.

Why The Mobile-Preview Feature in BuzzFeed’s CMS Should Matter to You (Poynter)
When Dao Nguyen forgot to check a piece she wrote on a mobile device before it went live, she knew BuzzFeed had a problem. Nguyen is BuzzFeed’s vice president of growth and data, and “obviously it’s not my job to write a post,” she said by phone. But writing a big list post is a lot of work, she said, and previewing it on a non-desktop platform was a task easily forgotten.

Media Reporting’s Blind Spot (BuzzFeed)
Most of the “future of media” columns this week, written largely by established, authoritative critics at legacy media properties, lacked crucial context. This is a crowd that deeply understands the players in and economics of the media business, but that privileges old media over new (or even just old-new over new-new).

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FTW: How USA Today Mastered Viral Sports Content (Digiday)
Who said old dogs can’t learn new tricks — and get them shared on Facebook millions of times. USA Today has looked for inspiration in the current crop of viral media darlings, BuzzFeed and Upworthy, for a sports section that mixes original and aggregated content with you-gotta-click-to-see-what-happens headlines. In just nine months, USA Today’s For The Win has shown “legacy” publishers can win in the social-sharing game.

Bonnie Fuller, Jill Zarin And Why Jeff Greenfield Skipped This Year’s State of The Union Address (FishbowlNY / Lunch)
You’d never know hell had officially frozen over if you’d been at Michael’s Wednesday. The forsythias were in bloom, a few intrepid media mavens were barelegged (I kid you not) and the power-lunch scene was firing on all cylinders. Unfortunately, my date was detained in the studio shooting a popular television show, but I soldiered on into Manhattan, bundled up in my long-forgotten fur coat (No judgment, thank you) that makes me look like Yogi Bear’s wife to make my appointed Wednesday rounds.

As I Was Saying About Web Journalism… A Bubble, or A Lasting Business? (NYT)
It is clear there has been a rapid migration of capital and interest toward news coverage and analysis, which had been the odd man out for much of the tech boom. Is there a big and lasting business being built or simply a lot of to-ing and fro-ing by entrepreneurs and investors taking advantage of suddenly fast and loose cash?

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Mediabistro Chats

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twitter ThCmpltLndLvlc Monster: Living Off the Big Screen by John Gregory Dunne. Book couldn’t be more on the mark, unfortunately.

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twitter ShafiqDe Trust Me I’m Lying

twitter amylena17 absolutely The Media is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan

twitter alexremington @rocketsurgery99 Paul Starr’s Invention of the Media, Katharine Graham’s Personal History.

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