Morning Media Newsfeed: Reuters Axes ‘Next’ | Kucinich Meets Assad | Facebook Apologizes

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Reuters Next Canceled (NY Observer)
Reuters has decided to cancel Next, the consumer-facing website that had been in the works for more than two years, chief executive Andrew Rashbass announced Wednesday morning in a staff email. “Next is a long way from achieving either commercial viability or strategic success. In fact, I believe the existing suite of Reuters.com sites is a better starting point for where we need to go,” Rashbass wrote. TheWrap The wire service on Wednesday said it was losing new Reuters Digital executive editor Jim Roberts and design director Daniele Code, promoting Bill Riordan to publisher of Reuters.com and canceling its Next project after it failed to meet deadlines or stay within its budget. Roberts’ departure after just seven months is especially surprising — he left The New York Times after 26 years with the paper in January, taking a voluntary buyout. Shortly afterwards, he landed at Reuters as its site’s executive editor. FishbowlNY Roberts tweeted his departure, explaining “Yes, I’ll be leaving @Reuters, though not right away. & I’m not leaving news. Stay tuned.” BuzzFeed / Business Reuters insiders said Rashbass began asking skeptical questions about Next — which had at one point been slated to launch on the first of this year, and was nowhere near ready — as soon as he started. And many of the questions focused on how to make money off a venture that many inside saw as more about turning Reuters into a prestigious news brand than about generating cash flow. NYT Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard, said he was surprised by Reuters’s decision because the preview version of Next had been generating such interest. “There were a lot of really exciting ideas in Reuters’ Next,” he said. “What we saw in the preview was very forward-looking in terms of both content and technology. It generated a fair amount of excitement as a news organization doing something that looked digitally savvy.”

Fox News Interviews Assad at Palace (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Fox News interviewed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday at the presidential palace in Damascus, and aired the conversation Wednesday as part of a two-hour edition of Special Report with Bret Baier. “The interview, shot by agreement by a Syrian camera crew, was conducted with no restrictions on the questions that could be asked,” Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice president of news, said in a statement. TVNewser On Sept. 7, Fox News Channel contributor and former Rep. Dennis Kucinich told his bosses at Fox News that he was confident he could get an interview with Assad. Kucinich, in his capacity as a member of Congress, had met Assad before. Fox News then had to decide how to produce an interview, using an interviewer who isn’t a journalist, but rather a politician-turned-pundit. So they called up Palkot. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple And so, the questions: 1) If Kucinich wasn’t there in the capacity of a journalist, what was he doing “beside” Palkot? 2) If Kucinich wasn’t representing Fox News “in that role,” what role was he representing? 3) Is Fox News saying that a Fox News contributor isn’t a journalist? If not, what is a Fox News contributor? Isn’t the pursuit of an interview an act of journalism? TVNewser Following the FNC interview, the network’s State Department correspondent James Rosen said equal time might be in order for the Syrian opposition. “I predict that you may see calls from viewers, from critics, et cetera, for us to give a like amount of air time to the Syrian opposition,” said Rosen.