Morning Media Newsfeed: Klein Out at WaPo | Dow Jones Chief Resigns | Newsweek Delays Print

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Ezra Klein Out at Washington Post (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
The Washington Post announced Tuesday that its star economics blogger Ezra Klein will be leaving the paper to start a new venture. “When Ezra joined us in 2009, he was a wunderkind blogger with brash confidence and a burning desire to write a column in the print newspaper,” Post editors wrote in a memo to staff. “As he leaves us, Ezra is still a brash wunderkind, but now his burning desire has a grander scope: He is looking to start his own news organization, an ambition that befits someone with uncommon gifts of perception and analysis.” FishbowlNY Also leaving are Melissa Bell, WaPo’s director of platforms, and Dylan Matthews, a Wonkblog reporter. FishbowlDC “As early as this week, Klein is expected to announce a new venture — described in a memo to Post staffers as a new ‘news organization’ — that will look to staff more than 30 people on the editorial side alone.” Politico For nearly five years, the Post has steered a bounty of financial resources to its star economics columnist and blogger. It has allowed him to have a contributor deal with MSNBC, a column with Bloomberg View, and to write long-form for The New Yorker. It has provided him with eight staffers to keep Wonkblog, his popular policy vertical, flowing with up-to-the-minute charts and analysis. The PR department has promoted him in profile upon profile. But when Klein proposed the creation of an independent, explanatory journalism website — with more than three dozen staffers and a multiyear budget north of $10 million — the Post said enough is enough. BuzzFeed A quick look at Klein’s “following” list reveals he’s quite recently followed Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff as well Vox property editors-in-chief Joshua Topolsky (The Verge) and Lockhart Steele (Curbed Network). So are Klein and Vox in talks? BuzzFeed reached out to both Klein and Bankoff, both of whom declined to offer comment on the speculation. NYT / Paul Krugman May I say respectfully to the Post: You idiots! You see, Ezra and his team filled a huge gap. That gap exists throughout the news media, although the Times has, I believe, largely closed it in other ways. But it was especially severe at the Post. CJR / Behind The News Although there had been rumblings of his departure for several weeks, news of Klein’s exit drove enough traffic to temporarily crash Poynter’s website, a fact not lost on some observers. Digiday Digital publishing executives have a message for him: Good luck — you’re going to need it. Starting a sustaining publishing venture is harder than ever. It’s easy to be seduced by the current vogue for “personal brands” and the ability of superstars like Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg to plant their own flag. But when it comes down to it, this is a roll of the dice for a 29-year-old journalist steeped in the wonkier (and less profitable) public policy parts of the media world.

Lex Fenwick, Dow Jones Chief, Resigns in Shift by News Corp. (NYT)
Lex Fenwick, the hard-driving chief executive who stumbled in his efforts to transform Dow Jones, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, has resigned effective immediately as the company rethinks its strategy. The resignation was announced on Tuesday by Dow Jones’ parent company, News Corporation, which is controlled by billionaire Rupert Murdoch. Quartz His brash style was supposed to give Dow Jones an energy boost, but many of the changes ended up looking superficial after they weren’t accompanied by a boost in revenue. Bloomberg Dow Jones will replace Fenwick on an interim basis with William Lewis. The company is now reviewing its strategy and planning changes for the DJX service, which debuted last year, according to the statement. That may include making the product more flexible, rather than selling it as an all-in-one bundle. FishbowlNY The company also proclaimed that it “plans to review Dow Jones’ institutional strategy.”

Newsweek Delays Return of Print Edition to March (Ad Age / Media News)
Newsweek has delayed the rollout of its new print edition until early March, with a cover date of March 7, according to Jim Impoco, its editor since September. The brand, which went all-digital at the end of 2012, had said last month that it planned to roll out a print revival in January or February. NY Observer Newsweek merged with The Daily Beast in 2010 and Tina Brown presided over the uneasy marriage between print and website. In 2012, the magazine announced that it would cease printing at the end of the year. And then this past August, International Business Times (IBT) bought Newsweek (but not The Daily Beast). IBT brought Impoco over from Reuters to lead the magazine. In December, Impoco announced the return of the print edition of Newsweek. So after the long saga, what’s another month or two, really?

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Weather Channel: DirecTV Subscribers Should Be Able to Switch, Without Penalty (TVNewser)
The Weather Channel is ratcheting up the rhetoric in its fight to get back on DirecTV. The leading weather TV channel, which Monday began a ninth day off the nation’s second-largest pay TV service, has taken out full-page ads in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal Wednesday that feature an open letter to DirecTV’s chairman and CEO Michael White from the Weather Channel’s chairman and CEO, David Kenny. Kenny is asking DirecTV to return to the negotiating table, and its hoping viewer response will help make that happen.

The Volokh Conspiracy Announces Move to Washington Post, Will Be Paywalled (Mediaite)
The Washington Post revealed Monday that it would host The Volokh Conspiracy, a prominent libertarian-leaning politics and law blog, on its website. In his first WaPo post, UCLA law professor and site founder Eugene Volokh assured readers that he and the blog’s contributors would retain full editorial control of what they publish (they have day jobs as tenured law professors, after all), and would be featured occasionally on the Post’s homepage, but there’s one tiny little catch: After six months, most of their content will live behind the Post‘s paywall.

NY1 Temporarily Takes Down Website Paywall (NY Observer)
Good news for New Yorkers who like watching Pat Kiernan read the newspapers but don’t subscribe to Time Warner. For the next two weeks, is going to take away its paywall. The news was announced via Twitter, as things these days are. So for all those people whose buildings are magically wired for the semi-mythical FiOS or have cut their cords like all those Girls-watching millennials and instead rely on BuzzFeed links on Facebook and their parents’ HBO GO passwords, they are in luck.

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Time Adds Four (FishbowlNY)
Time magazine has added four staffers. Nikhil Kumar joins as senior editor of Time International. Kumar comes to Time from The Independent, where he was New York correspondent. Dan Stewart joins as deputy editor for Time’s continuous news desk. Stewart was previously a senior editor at The Week. Sam Lansky joins as deputy culture editor. He most recently worked as a senior editor for Idolator. Sam Frizell comes to Time as a breaking news reporter. Frizell has written for Reuters, The Atlantic and more.

BuzzFeed’s Peretti: Mobile Is A Better Ad Vehicle (Adweek)
The Web publishing world has been slightly panicked over the growth of mobile consumption — mostly because for individual sites, the money isn’t there. Mobile banners are seen as a lousy brand vehicle, which is why so many are rushing to native ads. BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti might as well be telling the industry: rush faster. (And while you’re at it, write longer stories instead of short blog posts and cheap slide shows.)

Yahoo!’s Next Problem: Tumblr’s Traffic Isn’t Growing (Forbes / Jeff Bercovici)
The past year has been an up-and-down affair for Yahoo!, with the company and its CEO, Marissa Mayer, scoring numerous PR coups while failing to make headway in its core business of selling digital advertising. One of those coups was the $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr, the social blogging platform, which had drawn interest from the likes of Facebook and Microsoft despite having negligible revenues. Like Snapchat, Tumblr justified its sale price with its astonishing rate of user growth. But since the acquisition, that growth — or at least the portion of it subject to public verification — has come to a screeching halt.

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Agencies, Media Owners Aren’t Interested in Owning Ad Tech (Adweek)
Ad technology companies are hot, with some selling for as much as eight times what they earn before taxes. Nevertheless, a new survey finds that most ad agencies and media owners aren’t looking to buy them. Just 27 percent of the agencies and media owners polled by AdMedia Partners in its annual survey on mergers and acquisitions expressed interested in ad tech firms.

News in Your Pocket: Mobile-First Journalism at WSJ (Tumblr / Sarah Marshall)
In one of the sessions at DJ@DJ, a Wall Street Journal training course which I dropped into when I was at head office in New York last week, Neal Mann talked through developments in mobile at the Journal and beyond. Neal, who is multimedia innovations editor (and @fieldproducer on Twitter), pointed out a WSJ video on how mobile phone consumption is changing journalism.

From Medium Blog Post to Book: Dinovember Comes to Life in Print (Mashable)
Refe Tuma had always dreamed of writing a book, but he never thought it would be about dinosaurs. After having their fourth child, Refe and his wife Susan found themselves looking for ways to get their kids excited, and as Refe puts it, “give them something to look forward to each day even though mom and dad were tired.” The solution came almost by accident.

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Amazon Denies It Has Plans to Create Over-The-Top TV Service (Variety) denied a report that it was seeking to license TV channels to launch a broadband-delivered television service. The e-commerce colossus has approached at least three unidentified entertainment companies about licensing TV channels for an over-the-top video service, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous sources. But an Amazon rep said Tuesday that the company has no such plans.

Sports Illustrated’s Highest Traffic Day Ever Comes Via Richard Sherman Column (FishbowlNY)
Sports Illustrated just experienced its highest traffic day ever, and it all it took was a column from the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman. Sherman has been contributing to SI’s MMQB throughout the NFL season, but Monday’s installment garnered more than 4.3 million unique visitors, making it a record breaker. Sherman’s piece was so popular because it came after his “rant,” which was really just a pro athlete voicing his opinion in a post game interview.

The Oregonian Is Going From Broadsheet to Compact Format (
Some sections of The Oregonian — including arts and entertainment, food, health, and Sunday Business and Opinion — will convert to the new format of 15 inches tall by 11 inches wide in February; the entire paper will be the new size by April 2.

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