Morning Media Newsfeed: Martha Stewart Axes 100 | Twitter Faces Backlash | SNL Seeks Black Comic

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Martha Stewart Axed 100 Staffers (NY Post)
The ax started swinging early Thursday morning as home-entertainment diva Martha Stewart fired about 100 people from her namesake company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. It is the first major move since scrap-metal executive Daniel Dienst was tapped to be the new CEO in late October, sparking speculation — now realized — about major cutbacks. NY Post / Media Ink The layoffs, coming only a week and a half before Christmas, unnerved employees, many of whom left in tears, carrying their belongings in Martha Stewart bags. Stewart spent last week in Miami at Art Basel, the winter playground of the beautiful people, where dozens of private jets landed to party and peruse the international art market. FishbowlNY The downsizing will impact about 25 percent of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s workforce. So if you work there, and were planning on getting Dienst or Stewart a present, perhaps a better idea would be donating money in their names to The Human Fund. WSJ The job cuts follow years of weak financial performance at the company, which has lost money in all but one year of the past 10 due to declines in its TV business and print magazine ad revenue. One person familiar with the layoffs said they were made to bring the company more in line with its current revenues, which have declined sharply in recent years. Adweek One Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia staffer described the current office atmosphere as “really awful,” adding, “It’s really scary and terrible right before the holidays.”

Twitter Reverts Changes to Blocking Functionality After Strong Negative User Feedback (TechCrunch)
Twitter has reverted the changes to blocking functionality that it made earlier Thursday. After the changes, an outpouring of negative user feedback appeared on Twitter, blogs and other services. We hear Twitter executives began hashing this one out in internal discussions almost immediately after negative sentiment started to rise and Reuters reported that an emergency meeting was held to discuss the changes. Twitter / Blog Earlier Thursday, we made a change to the way the “block” function of Twitter works. We have decided to revert the change after receiving feedback from many users — we never want to introduce features at the cost of users feeling less safe. Any blocks you had previously instituted are still in effect. Reuters The humbling reversal on one of the most sensitive policy issues facing the social network came as Twitter encountered user revolt for the first time as a public company. Under the short-lived change on Thursday, a blocked Twitter user could view or tweet at the person who blocked him or her, but that activity would have been rendered invisible to the victim as if the offending account did not exist.

SNL to Add Black Female Performer (NYT)
How seriously did Saturday Night Live take the furor around its lack of a black female performer? Seriously enough to hold a special audition Monday night on the SNL stage for seven or eight candidates, one of whom will be hired and will join the cast for shows beginning in January. The show’s creator and executive producer, Lorne Michaels, said in an interview on Thursday that he had committed to that timetable to add the show’s first black woman since Maya Rudolph left the series in 2007. New York Daily News The show has faced mounting pressure from critics about the lack of a black female cast member, a topic that the show skewered on a recent, Kerry Washington-hosted episode. With cast member Seth Meyers exiting in 2014 to anchor Late Night, there’s an opening for a player.