Morning Media Newsfeed: Journo Beaten in Ukraine | Snowden’s Xmas | Rap Genius Demoted

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Journalist Is Beaten in Latest Attack on Ukrainian Opposition (NYT)
A crusading antigovernment journalist and activist in Ukraine who became famous last year after documenting the opulence of the heavily guarded residential compound of President Viktor F. Yanukovich was savagely beaten early Wednesday. The assault on the activist, Tetyana Chornovol, 34, just outside the capital, Kiev, was the latest attack on government opponents who have been participating in sustained protests that have shaken the country. Kyiv Post The brutal Dec. 25 attack and beating of Chornovol has enraged politicians and the public. Chornovol was driving in a village near Kyiv Oblast, reportedly looking to take a break from the EuroMaidan demonstrations in which she has been a constant presence, when men stopped her vehicle and started beating her. They left, leaving passersby to call police. She remains hospitalized. Mashable News of the beating flooded social media and triggered fresh protests, including many people holding up pictures of a heavily-bruised Chornovol. BuzzFeed / World Hours before the attack, Chornovol published photos of luxury homes she claimed belonged to the country’s interior minister on the website of Ukrainskaya Pravda, which has changed its name on its website to European Pravda out of solidarity with the protest movement, which Chornovol also covered. She had previously published pictures of homes allegedly belonging to other top officials, highlighting Ukrainians’ anger with rampant corruption.

Edward Snowden Calls for A Restoration of Privacy in Channel 4′s Alternative Christmas Message (The Next Web)
Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked intelligence about the security agency’s surveillance activities, broadcasted a Christmas message to the world. This is the first time he has made a public statement and it was aired as the “Alternative Christmas Message” on the U.K.’s Channel 4 network. In the 1 minute, 43 second video, Snowden spoke about the erosion of privacy in the world and that there was a “concert of governments” that has created a worldwide surveillance network. The Guardian The short film was recorded for Channel 4, which has a 20-year history of providing unusual but relevant figures as an alternative to the Queen’s Christmas message shown by other U.K. broadcasters. HuffPost Snowden’s words come days after The Washington Post reported he was already satisfied with the outcome of the NSA surveillance leaks. Snowden pointed to journalists’ enhanced ability to tell stories about the practice that has significantly spiked since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won.”

Google Destroys Rap Genius’ Search Rankings as Punishment for SEO Spam, But Resolution in Progress (TechCrunch)
Google hit back hard Wednesday after it learned lyrics site Rap Genius had been using dubious SEO tricks to attain top spots in search results. Now RapGenius.com doesn’t appear on the first page of results for a search of “Rap Genius,” and popular queries like “Jay-Z Holy Grail Lyrics” don’t bring up the startup like they used to. ValleyWag If you search for Rap Genius on Google right now, the homepage for the startup is conspicuously absent from the first page of search results. You won’t find it on the second, third, or fourth page either. Instead what you’ll see on the first page of results are stories about how Rap Genius got smote by Google, links to their Twitter and Facebook and, at least for me, a link to a Billboard article about “How Rap Genius Won The SEO Game.”

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Post Office Approves Extra Rate Hike on Christmas Eve (Adweek)
As feared, the U.S. Postal Service passed a 4.3 percent exigent rate increase on Christmas Eve, delivering a lump of coal to magazines, newspapers and direct mailers. The Postal Regulatory Commission voted for the increase on top of the annual postal rate that is capped by the consumer price index, making it the largest postal hike in more than a decade. Stamps for first-class letters will go up three cents to 49 cents on Jan. 26, while bulk mail and periodicals will go up 6 percent, a serious blow to mail-dependent industries.