Morning Media Newsfeed: Sony Demands News Orgs. Delete Data | Denby to Step Down

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Sony Pictures Demands News Agencies Delete ‘Stolen’ Data (NYT)
Sony Pictures Entertainment warned media outlets on Sunday against using the mountains of corporate data revealed by hackers who raided the studio’s computer systems in an attack that became public last month. THR Sony Pictures Entertainment lawyer David Boies sent a letter to news organizations Sunday, referring to leaked Sony documents as “stolen information” and demanded that the files be ignored, or destroyed if they had already been downloaded. “We are writing to ensure that you are aware that SPE does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading or making any use of the stolen information, and to request your cooperation in destroying the stolen information,” the letter reads. Variety The security breach and subsequent data dump has made public such internal financial documents as film budgets, earnings statements and emails from top Sony executives. It’s also resulted in a series of embarrassing revelations such as an email exchange between Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin in which the two made a series of racially charged jokes about President Barack Obama’s favorite movies. Both Rudin and Pascal have since apologized. Deadline The Sony information continues to be released in batches from unknown sources, including one Sunday in an email to news organizations that included a link to more information cached in online sites and promised an unspecified “Christmas gift” to come. Re/code A group claiming responsibility for the devastating hacking attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment on Sunday offered to selectively hold back on releasing email correspondence of its employees, provided that they write in and ask. The offer, apparently from the Guardians of Peace, a group that says it has carried out the attacks, marks a new twist in its ongoing campaign of embarrassing leaks of data stolen from the studio’s computers, now entering its third week.

David Denby to Step Down as New Yorker Film Critic (FishbowlNY)
David Denby joined The New Yorker full-time in 1998 as a staff writer and film critic; now, per a tweet from colleague John Lahr, that phase of his service has come to a close. NYT He will remain a staff writer. Denby, who had previously been a film critic at New York magazine, will contribute “longer critic-at-large pieces to the magazine” on films, books and other topics, said Natalie Raabe, a spokeswoman for The New Yorker. Deadline Denby won’t be replaced in the reviewers’ musical chair, according to a statement from Raabe: “He is going to give up his fortnightly reviewing in early 2015… Anthony Lane will become the magazine’s sole film critic and Richard Brody will continue at The Front Row on newyorker.com.”

Sony Corp Comms Leader Canned After Email From Studio Head’s Hubby (PRNewser)
The Sony leak is seriously the hack that keeps on giving. The head of corporate communications for the entertainment company, Charles Sipkins, lost his job shortly after emails calling for his dismissal passed between Bernie Weinraub, a New York Times reporter, Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Weinraub’s wife, and Sony’s HR head George Rose. BuzzFeed Leaked emails from Sony suggest that Times columnist Maureen Dowd promised to show Weinraub a version of a column featuring Pascal before publication. The end result was a column that painted Pascal in such a good light that she engaged in a round of mutual adulation with Dowd over email after its publication. It also scored Pascal points back at the studio, with Sony’s then-communications-chief calling the column “impressive.” Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The emails show Pascal was hesitant to participate, telling her husband she didn’t want to speak with her if Dowd was going to “slam” her. One email from Weinraub to Pascal appears to show that Dowd was sharing the column with him before publication, writing “you can’t tell a single person that I’m seeing the column before it’s printed… its [sic] not done…no p.r. people or Lynton or anyone should know.” In an email though, Dowd says she “never showed Bernie the column in advance or promised to show it.” THR In a statement to Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, Weinraub also denied that he was sent the column in advance. “Maureen has never sent me a column,” Weinraub told the Times. “She checked certain things with me, to see if they were right, but she didn’t read it to me and I didn’t see it.”

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President Obama: ‘I Spend Most of My Time Watching ESPN in The Morning’ (TVNewser)
President Barack Obama was a guest on ESPN’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd Friday morning. Obama started with a plug for the Obamacare website and how it’s working these days, but he went to on to discuss sports, his viewing habits and not wanting to hear political talk on TV. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Obama said he understands why some people don’t want athletes to be activists, since he himself mostly watches ESPN to get away from politics. “I spend most of my time watching ESPN in the morning. I get so much politics I don’t want to be inundated with a bunch of chatter about politics during the day,” Obama said. And at night, while reviewing the presidential briefing book, Obama said he tries to catch up on sports. HuffPost In October, former White House press secretary Jay Carney divulged that Obama doesn’t bother watching the big cable news channels, but he somehow failed to mention that SportsCenter makes up the majority of the president’s morning news diet.

NYT’s Dean Baquet Blasts ‘Ham-Handed’ New Republic Owner Chris Hughes (WWD)
During an interview with WWD’s Alexandra Steigrad, published Friday, Dean Baquet was asked what he thought about the mass exodus from The New Republic. “I have to say, it sounded ham-handed the way the guy handled it,” Baquet said. “I think when all of your writers leave, you’ve done something really bad.” Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The majority of the New Republic’s masthead resigned en masse two weeks ago following owner Chris Hughes’ decision to force out the editorial leadership, move the magazine to New York, and rebrand the venerable, century-old publication as a “digital media company.” Baquet said it would be a mistake if the magazine’s new leadership wanted to change the character of TNR. HuffPost Baquet also weighed in on the recent scandal at Rolling Stone, which has been criticized as a blockbuster story detailing a gang rape at the University of Virginia and has rapidly unraveled under increased scrutiny. “If we did that story, I would have insisted that we talked to the accused,” said Baquet. “I just would have insisted on that. That’s sort of like rule No. 1 in journalism: You go to the accused. That’s a gimme.”

Journalists, TV Producers Detained in Turkey Crackdown (Mashable / AP)
The chief editor of a Turkish newspaper and two dozen other journalists, TV producers and police were detained Sunday in a series of police raids aimed at supporters of a U.S.-based moderate Islamic cleric who is a strong critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It was the latest crackdown on cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement, which the government has accused of orchestrating an alleged plot to try to bring it down. CNN Turkish police on Sunday arrested senior journalists, media executives and even the scriptwriter for a popular television series on charges of “forming, leading and being a member of an armed terrorist organization.” The Telegraph The arrest of Ekrem Dumanli, the editor-in-chief of Zaman newspaper, was broadcast live on television. Since Erdogan first rose to power, Turkey has become the biggest jailer of journalists in the world, according to freedom of speech groups. He has also pushed an increasingly Islamist agenda.

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Fusion Live Canceled, Staffers Shift as New Specials Are Planned (TVNewser)
Fusion Live, the nightly newscast of the 14-month-old ABC-Univision network, has been canceled. It marked the second cancellation in one week of a nightly newscast geared toward millennial viewers. Last Monday, Pivot shelved Take Part Live. Fusion Live had been a part of the network’s primetime since March. Anchored by Mariana Atencio, Pedro Andrade and Yannis Pappas, who had been the hosts of The Morning Show, Fusion Live aired at 8 p.m. ET.

Forbes Makes Four Editorial Moves (FishbowlNY)
Forbes has announced four editorial appointments. Miguel Helft has been named San Francisco bureau chief. Loren Feldman joins Forbes as a senior editor of the title’s entrepreneurs coverage. Josh Robinson will oversee the creation and management of sponsored editorial packages. And Thomas Fox-Brewster is joining as a staff writer in Forbes’ London office.

Sports on MSNBC? News Outlet Will Launch Streaming-Video Hub to Test New Shows, Hosts (Variety)
MSNBC is getting ready to debut a new show about sports. And one focused on books. And another that will examine celebrity and popular culture. In all, the NBCUniversal-owned cable-news network has 14 new programs ready to roll. The cable-news outlet best known for progressive commentary is launching a portal of streaming-video programming that its top executive, Phil Griffin, expects to have a great deal of influence on the cable network in months to come. Through the new digital initiative, known as “Shift by MSNBC,” the network will serve up new topics and introduce new contributors that could gradually make their way to the cable network, Griffin believes — depending on the traction they gain among audiences.

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CNN Named Cable & Satellite Channel of The Year (TVNewser)
For the second consecutive year, CNN was named Cable & Satellite Channel of the Year at the Asian Television Awards in Singapore. The network also won four other awards including for Best Current Affairs presenter, which went to Kristie Lu Stout.

Hollyn Baron Named Nylon’s Fashion Manager (FishbowlNY)
Hollyn Baron has been named Nylon’s fashion manager. Baron was most recently integrated account manager for New York magazine.

Canada’s CBC Cutting Down Local TV Newscasts, Jobs in Restructuring (THR)
Struggling Canadian public broadcaster CBC is cutting down regional newscasts and putting morning radio shows on TV as it restructures for a digital future. The latest radical cuts to the CBC will see local supper-hour newscasts in all major Canadian TV markets shortened from their current 90-minute run times to either 60- or 30-minute editions in fall 2015.

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Daily News Politics Editor Shifts to NY1 (Capital New York)
NY1 has found a replacement for retired managing editor Peter Landis. Joel Siegel will join Time Warner Cable’s 24-hour news channel, a NY1 spokesperson confirmed, after two years in his current role as managing editor of the New York Daily News’ politics desk.

Pirate Bay Shutdown Has Had Virtually No Effect on Digital Piracy Levels (Variety)
The Pirate Bay was deep-sixed last week in its home port of Stockholm, Sweden, after cops raided a data center hosting the world’s most famous piracy organization. But its absence appears to have put hardly a dent in global piracy activity in the days since.

Online Trail Leads to Arrest of Indian as Man Behind Posts Backing The Islamic State (NYT)
Police in Bangalore, India arrested on Saturday the man accused of being behind @ShamiWitness, the Twitter handle of a fervent and widely followed English-language supporter of the Islamic State extremist group.

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