Morning Media Newsfeed: Mandela Dies | AOL Lays Off 20 | Rolling Stone Expands

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Nelson Mandela Dies at 95
(TVNewser)
Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, has died at the age of 95. His death was announced by Jacob Zuma, the current president of South Africa. NBC News and CBS both produced special reports beginning at 4:45 p.m. ET, with Brian Williams anchoring on NBC and Scott Pelley anchoring on CBS. David Muir anchored a special report on ABC News at 4:46 p.m. ET. On the cable networks, CNN joined Zuma’s press conference at 4:44 p.m. ET. MSNBC began broadcasting NBC News’ special report at 4:45 p.m. ET, and Fox News joined Zuma’s press conference at 4:46 p.m. ET. Variety The news cablers went into wall-to-wall coverage mode. CNN bumped the planned premiere of its documentary An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story for a primetime block anchored by Anderson Cooper. CNN also has correspondent Robyn Curnow on the ground in Johannesburg. Poynter / MediaWire The Associated Press sent a “flash” alert to members Thursday about Mandela’s death. Such alerts are used “on the rare occasion when an APNewsAlert represents a transcendent development — one likely to be a top story of the year,” the AP Stylebook says. THR The death of Mandela dominated headlines on newspapers and newscasts around the globe Friday as the world mourned one of the history’s greatest freedom fighters and statesmen. UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon honored Mandela as a “giant for justice,” German chancellor Angela Merkel called him a “shining example,” while Indian media compared the late South African leader to Mahatma Gandhi. HuffPost Reporters swarmed Mandela’s home before Zuma’s announcement, according to ITV’s Rohit Kachroo. Lydia Polgreen, the New York Times‘ Johannesburg bureau chief, tweeted that “news broadcasters are deeply emotional, holding back tears as they speak about Mandela’s death.” National Journal The New Yorker, like the vast majority of global media outlets, was ready for Mandela’s death Thursday night. And they prepared a powerful cover tribute to the late South African president. The cover, which will appear next week, is titled “Madiba” and was drawn by Kadir Nelson. Nelson is also the author of a children’s book about Mandela. GalleyCat The activist and world leader was an inspired writer and the author of dozens of books.

Layoffs at AOL: 20 Slips, Mostly on Homepage Side (Capital New York)
Layoffs hit AOL this week, Capital has learned. The majority of impacted employees worked on the editorial side of the AOL.com homepage, according to sources with knowledge of the cuts, who put the total number of pink slips around 20. The culling, one of numerous that have hit different areas of the Web portal in recent months, comes amid AOL’s hiring Wednesday of HGTV executive Brian Balthazar to oversee the content strategy for the homepage, and the recent appointment of longtime marketing executive Maureen Sullivan to manage AOL.com. FishbowlNY AOL, of course, doesn’t comment on dropping people because it’s not exactly a fun thing to talk about. Instead, it issued this statement to Capital: “We are working hard to make sure AOL.com remains a valuable and meaningful product for its millions of daily viewers. It will continue to evolve in 2014 — showcasing stories from our brands and partners that inform people as their day unfolds.”

Rolling Stone Plans A Standalone Website to Cover Country Music (Ad Age / Media News)
Rolling Stone plans to introduce a new website called Rolling Stone Country in the second quarter of 2014. The new standalone site’s aim is to cover the country music scene in the same way Rolling Stone does rock and pop music, according to Gus Wenner, director of Rolling Stone.com. To that end, the magazine is opening an office in Nashville with 10 to 15 editorial staffers, said Wenner, whose father Jann is the co-founder of Rolling Stone and parent company Wenner Media. To coincide with the site’s introduction, the magazine is planning a country-themed print issue, a first for Rolling Stone.