Who doesn’t have a soft spot in his or her heart for Highlights magazine? It was the children’s publication that tracked the travails of Goofus and Gallant (who was just a little too perfect, amirite?), offered pictograms that prepped us for an emoji-laden future, and read the stories and articles that were a precursor to the adult ones we would grow up to write.
Or perhaps the audience you write for is today’s crop of 6 to 12-year-olds. Then send in your pitches — for fiction and nonfiction stories, craft ideas, puzzles and cartoons– to Highlights, and be a part of a 69-year-old tradition. What is editor Judy Burke looking for?
These stories should have an engaging plot, a specific setting and lively language. No series or continuing stories. Fiction for readers at a beginners’ level should be 475 words or less; fiction for independent readers caps at 750 words.
These stories may be about science, arts, biography, autobiography, sports, world cultures, economics, service/self-help, careers, adventure and history. Nonfiction for young readers average 400 words; nonfiction for proficient readers, 750 words.
For information on the rest, head to: How To Pitch: Highlights
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During an appearance last year on Inside the Actors Studio, Neil Patrick Harris handled an impromptu moment with the kind of ease and grace that will be no doubt in evidence several times on Oscar night. The actor had promised to say goodnight to his twin sons Gideon and Harper and, well, they just happened to dial into his iPhone during the taping of the March 27, 2014 How I Met Your Mother Bravo series episode.
Harris will soon be the answer to a killer trivia question for the James Lipton-hosted talk show: Name the actor who, within the space of 12 months, appeared twice on the program and also hosted the Oscars? As announced yesterday by Bravo, Harris will kick off the 21st season of the series Thursday February 12 with an individual sit-down.
Along with a magic trick or two, Harris during his return appearance told Lipton the following about the getting the AMPAS gig:
\"Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who are the executive producers of the [Academy Awards] show, are friends of mine and I’ve known them for some time and had been kind of, um, bummed that I hadn’t been asked earlier [laughs]. But that’s how it works out… You don’t petition for that job.\"
The app — which can be downloaded at Google Play and Apple’s App Store — can also be customized to add breaking news as part of a daily feed from Rolling Stone.
Additionally, Rolling Stone’s covers and archives will be available at a new Rollingstone.com vertical, Cover Wall (rollingstone.com/coverwall).
That’s 47 years of music journalism — from people like Cameron Crowe and Hunter S. Thompson — right at your fingertips.
The app and Cover Wall go live January 30 at 8 am. Prepare your eyeballs now.
Condé Nast Entertainment has purchased three short films from the Sundance Film Festival. Each movie — Stop, The And, and Russian Roulette — will appear on CNE’s video hub The Scene.
Stop is a nine-minute film written and directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green. The movie is set in Red Hook, and follows a young student athlete who is stopped by cops while he is walking home.
The And — written and directed by Topaz Adizes — is actually a series of five short films. Each documents real-life couples.
Russian Roulette is written by Oli Fenton and directed by Ben Aston. The film follows the adventures of “Lucy,” who meets “a libidinous cosmonaut on Chatroulette.” Hey, stranger things have happened on that site.
The New York Times has shifted Tanzina Vega — its only reporter on the race/ethnicity beat — to the Metro desk to cover the Bronx’s courtrooms. The change effectively wipes out the race beat, which is a curious move by the Times.
In a memo, Wendell Jamieson and Dean Chang, the Times’ metro editor and deputy metro editor, respectively, attempted to justify the shift.
“As we’ve told many a Foreign correspondent, you don’t need to travel abroad to find adventure: The Metro desk can accommodate you right here in New York. So too is it true that all the issues of justice, race and inequality play out in the five boroughs just as they do elsewhere, perhaps even more so. And nowhere are they more evident, and in technicolor, than in our teeming courtrooms.”
Vega has served as the Times’ race/ethnicity reporter since 2013. The way last year went, it seems we need a reporter on the race beat now more than ever. For some reason, the Times disagrees.
Meredith Corporation is growing its empire. The company has acquired Shape, Natural Health and Fit Pregnancy — along with their digital properties — from AMI. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Meredith’s takeover of Shape means the end of Fitness in print. The magazine — which debuted in 1992 will be folded into Shape, and Fitness subscribers will now be sent Shape. The last issue of Fitness will be its April edition. The new Shape debuts in May.
The resulting combination will boost Shape’s rate base from 1.6 million to 2.5 million. Shape and Fitness will retain separate websites.
Tom Witschi, president of Meredith’s Women’s Lifestyle Group, will oversee the newly acquired brands. David Zinczenko, who had served as Shape’s editorial director at AMI, will continue to work on the magazine.
We’ve reach out to Meredith for information on the fate of the Fitness editorial team and what the masthead at Shape will look like. We expect some answers later this afternoon, so we’ll update you then.
After more than a year spent tinkering with a new site, the new TheGuardian.com is live. The site features responsive design, a customizable homepage, and an easier-to-read article page.
The Guardian takes a different approach to comments than most media companies — specifically, the editors not only allow them, they celebrate them. That strategy continues with the new site. Readers have the option of making comment threads more prominent, and Guardian editor-selected “Featured Comments” are highlighted throughout articles.
After some backend construction, the new site was rolled out to a select few Guardian readers early last year. Those readers then submitted over 130,000 pieces of feedback to the Guardian’s team, led by director of digital strategy Wolfgang Blau. The hard work has paid off. The new TheGuardian.com is a great improvement over the previous version.
In 2003, actor Dylan McDermott had a small, uncredited role in the Gene Hackman courtroom drama Runaway Jury. Last night, he was responsible for some Twitter drama involving his famous co-star.
All in all, it was a strange Tuesday for Hackman. At the beginning of the day, thanks to a mildly confusing Grantland tribute headline, various folks on Twitter were expressing anger, irritation and relief over the actor’s non-passing. The headline says \"Living,\" but it also states \"Gone\" in the second part and that’s what had some folks confused.
Then came McDermott. When the actor tweeted last night – \"Rest in Peace Gene Hackman… One of the very greats\" – some (including this writer) figured he had also been duped by the Grantland headline. But no, the current star of TV series Stalker was fooled by some plain old Twitter death hoaxing apparently tied to an acceptance speech given at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Film Awards by Kevin Costner.
McDermott has since deleted the Hackman RIP tweet and replaced the errant condolences with a clarification. Meanwhile, Hackman – who turns 85 on Friday – is not on Twitter. So he blissfully missed all the \"fun.\"
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Gene Hackman Details the Spousal Connection
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CNN, Several Other Media Outlets Now on Snapchat (FishbowlDC)
Snapchat has launched a new Discover feature, which will allow users to access in-app content from 10 different media outlets. TVNewser Snapchat Discover will release a new edition of each network’s platform-specific content every 24 hours, with at least five new stories. Each story will be headlined by a 10-second video or animated teaser. Readers will then have the option to swipe up for more in-depth reporting or swipe left to the next story. FishbowlNY Publishers that have jumped aboard already include National Geographic, CNN, Vice, Yahoo!, People, Daily Mail, Cosmo, Comedy Central and The Food Network. LostRemote CNN will put out a new \"edition\" every 24 hours, including news, headlines and a video for each story. Comedy Central is using the platform to share teasers and links to full videos of shows. ESPN has Sportscenter highlights with \"heavily designed stats from major leagues.\" THR Snapchat, which started as a service for sending disappearing photo messages, has placed an emphasis on expanding beyond its initial conceit. Last year it introduced Stories, which lets users create a compilation of photos and videos that disappear after a 24-hour period, and later announced expanded feature Our Stories, which allows people at large events like the Coachella music festival to upload Snaps into a collaborative Story.
Voice Media Group to Explore Sale of Papers (FishbowlNY)
The end of The Village Voice in print could be near. Voice Media Group — publisher of the Voice, LA Weekly, Miami New Times and more — has hired merger-and-acquisition firm Dirks, Van Essen & Murray to explore the possible sale of its papers. Poynter / MediaWire Voice Media Group acquired The Village Voice and its properties in 2012, in a transaction with Village Voice Media. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The group’s other titles include Phoenix New Times, Denver Westword, The Dallas Observer, The Houston Press, Riverfront Times (of St. Louis), City Pages (of Minneapolis), and New Times Broward-Palm Beach. WSJ / CMO Today Voice Media has already decided it will sell the OC Weekly in southern California or find a partner for it. The free weekly had an average circulation of 63,249 as of June 2014, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. The move comes as alternative papers continue to struggle with competition from the Web, with sites like Craigslist eating deeply into classified advertising revenue and younger readers migrating online. The Village Voice, for instance, has seen its circulation fall 55 percent — from about 247,000 to 110,000 — since 2006.
January 2015 Ratings: Fox News Marks 13 Years at No. 1 (TVNewser)
With the final January numbers in, FNC has now been the No. 1 cable news network for 13 years straight, in both total viewers and the demo in both total day and primetime viewing. But the network shed viewers in total day viewing vs. January 2014. TVNewser CNN showed the most ratings momentum of all the cable news channels in January, beating MSNBC in all categories and narrowing the gap with Fox News Channel to the closest margin in six years. In the adult 25-54 demo, CNN is up more than 70 percent in both total day and primetime compared to last January, when the network delivered its third lowest-rated month ever. TVNewser MSNBC saw another down month in January. The network lost 23 percent of its primetime viewership and was down 39 percent for primetime demo vs. January 2014, which was the height of Bridgegate, giving MSNBC a ratings boost for the month. TVNewser The new-look HLN had a busy month, launching new programs The Daily Share and Jack Vale: Offline while posting ratings increases compared to last year. HLN is up 39 percent in total day viewers and 32 percent in the demo. In primetime, HLN is up 19 percent in viewers and 12 percent in the demo.
Yahoo! Spins Off Stake in Chinese E-Commerce Company Alibaba (SocialTimes)
Yahoo! announced Tuesday that it is spinning off its 15 percent investment in Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba, avoiding any taxes on this move. THR Yahoo! stock jumped more than 7 percent in the half-hour after chief executive Marissa Mayer announced the plans. The tax-free spin-off will see Yahoo!’s 384 million Alibaba shares, which are valued at $40 billion, become part of SpinCo, a publicly traded company whose stock will be distributed to Yahoo shareholders. Yahoo! will continue to hold a 35.5 percent interest in Yahoo! Japan following the spin-off. Variety After the spin-off, Yahoo! will have returned nearly $50 billion dollars of value to shareholders. Yahoo! said it expects the spin-off to occur in the fourth quarter of 2015 after the expiration of its one-year lockup agreement on the Alibaba shares in connection with the IPO.
Kristine Belson Named New President of Sony Pictures Animation (THR)
Kristine Belson has been named to the newly created position of president of Sony Pictures Animation. The move comes just days after Michelle Raimo Kouyate announced she was stepped down from her position as production president and transitioning to a first-look producing deal with the studio. Variety Belson, who received an Oscar nomination for The Croods, will report to Amy Pascal, co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group. The animation division had been part of Sony Pictures Digital Productions. Bob Osher remains in charge of SPDP, but the animation division no longer falls under SPDP. Deadline Belson joined DWA in 2005 as head of development, where she oversaw the development and acquisition of all feature film projects for the company.
Craig Ferguson Sets Overall Deal With Lionsgate Television (Variety)
What’s in store for Craig Ferguson now that he’s signed off of CBS’ The Late Late Show? For starters, he intends to step up production activity as his Green Mountain West production banner under an overall deal inked with Lionsgate Television. Deadline The announcement comes on the heels of the second season pickup of Ferguson-hosted Celebrity Name Game, which is co-produced by Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury and FremantleMedia North America. It also comes on the heels of news Tribune Broadcasting had thrown in the towel on plans to launch a Ferguson-hosted nightly talk show in the fall, after Tribune and Debmar-Mercury failed to line up enough clearances in key markets.
New Twitter Video Lets You Capture, Edit, Share Footage on The Fly (SocialTimes)
Twitter has launched its new video product for mobile, which allows all users to capture, edit and share videos from the official Twitter apps. Videos of up to 30 seconds in length can be recorded and shared, and Twitter for iOS users can upload videos from their camera roll as well (this feature is coming to Android soon). LostRemote The first tweet to use the new video camera was sent by Neil Patrick Harris, who made an exclusive Oscar-related announcement.
Apple’s Impressive Quarterly Earnings Propel Shares (THR)
Apple on Tuesday posted a better-than-expected $3.06 in earnings-per-share in its fiscal first quarter, in part due to the popularity of the iPhone 6 during the Christmas season. Revenue of $74.6 billion, up 30 percent over the same quarter last year, also exceeded expectations. NYT The company reported $16.1 billion in revenue from \"greater China\" — which includes mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan — in its first fiscal quarter, up 70 percent from the same period a year ago. Canalys, a research firm, estimates that Apple is now the No. 1 smartphone maker in China.
eOne Television CEO John Morayniss Inks New Long-Term Contract (Deadline)
John Morayniss has signed a new long-term agreement with Entertainment One to continue as CEO of eOne. Morayniss has led the division since its inception in 2008. THR Terms of his new long-term agreement were not disclosed, but it will run through 2018.
This Gannett Newspaper Just Added Six Staffers (FishbowlNY)
There’s certainly no shortage of bad news about metropolitan newspapers. But every once in a while, there’s also some resplendently good news. In January, The Cincinnati Enquirer added six full-time staffers.
New York, TNR Add to Teams (FishbowlNY)
Jamie Fuller is joining New York’s Daily Intel blog. She was most recently a politics writer for The Washington Post. Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig has been hired as a staff writer at The New Republic. She will focus on economic and legal polices, religion and feminism.
Ken Doctor Joins Capital New York (FishbowlNY)
Renowned media expert and Newsonomics author Ken Doctor is joining Capital New York as a media columnist. Doctor will pen two columns a week; the first — \"What Are They Thinking?\" — will be available to all readers. The second column — which will feature Doctor’s take on the latest media trends and news — will be available only to Capital Pro subscribers and published each Thursday.
Gawker Promotes Caity Weaver to Senior Editor (Capital New York)
Gawker Media has promoted Caity Weaver from a staff writer to a senior editor at Gawker.com, editor Max Read announced in a staff memo Tuesday afternoon. Weaver joined Gawker.com as a night writer three years ago, shortly after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania.
Ban on Ads on Pay TV Lifted in Russia, But Only for Local Networks (THR)
A ban on advertisements on pay TV in Russia has been lifted, but only for networks whose content is mostly produced locally. Meanwhile, Turner officials have discussed the return of CNN International to Russia with the country’s media watchdog.
Sharyl Attkisson to Testify at Lynch Hearing (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson will testify Thursday at Loretta Lynch’s nomination hearing for attorney general in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
TVNewser: CNN meteorolgoist Chad Meyers said snow predictions were way off because the model used was like a “brand new car.” If a new model was this bad, we’d hate to see the old model.
SocialTimes: A study has found that social networks account for 28 percent of all online activity. We’ll give you one guess what accounts for the most online activity.
PRNewser: The NFL’s new anti-domestic violence PSA is bone-chilling.
The cuts continue to emerge from Time Inc. Last week, we heard about Sports Illustrated’s decision to lay off the six remaining staff photographers in favor of freelance labor. Now, All You loses editor Nina Willdorf, who joined the publication in 2012 and jumped to the top spot last year. Suzanne Quint, the magazine’s publisher, is also out. Meanwhile, InStyle parts ways with at least six staffers and People says goodbye to at least one. “Since Joe Ripp became CEO, Time Inc. has been fundamentally re-engineering our business, including rightsizing in some areas and investing in others,” a spokeswoman tells Keith Kelly. “We are in a constant state of recalibration.”…
Rodale’s new Organic Life magazine, expected to debut in April, hires a host of new staffers. Former Saveur staffers Betsy Andrews and Karen Shimizu sign on as editor-at-large and deputy editor, respectively, while author Tracie MacMillan joins as political editor. The magazine also recruits about a dozen more new staffers, including creative director Chris Gangi and garden editor Doug Hall… Emmis Publishing president Elynn Russell retires, with Cincinnati president and publisher John Lunn filling the spot. Texas Monthly publisher Amy Updegrove resigns in a move that many think was forced by higher ups in the company… The New York Times Magazine snags former New Republic senior editor Julia Ioffe as a contributing writer. Meanwhile, TNR lands Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig as a staff writer. She’ll handle the religion beat… New York poaches Jaime Fuller from the Washington Post’s The Fix blog to write for New York’s Daily Intelligencer blog. The Post also loses Noah Kotch, who had been video director for two weeks… Read More
Ever since Rupert Murdoch joined Twitter, he’s been an absolute joy to follow. As you can see from the above, the 83-year-old delivered some true gems today.
The Gawker tweet was a response to a post that suggested Murdoch is a serial drunk tweeter. Ironically, Murdoch’s tweet will only further that theory. That’s not a denial, folks.
The New York Times complaint is just old fashioned hating. If you can’t appreciate a rich dude expressing irrational anger on a social network, you’re not living your life right.
The end of The Village Voice in print could be near. Voice Media Group — publisher of the Voice, LA Weekly, Miami New Times and more — has hired merger-and-acquisition firm Dirks, Van Essen & Murray to explore the possible sale of its papers.
The first to go will be OC Weekly. According to an announcement, the firm will “immediately” start considering options, “which could include the sale of the publication or a local partnership opportunity.”
VMG’s CEO Scott Tobias said that he was “proud” of owning the OC Weekly, which is nice, but won’t comfort anyone who works there.
In case you missed, the latest cover of Australia’s weekly magazine Women’s Day has been stirring up a puzzled storm. The editors took a perfectly good January 19 photo of the Duchess of Cambridge and turned it into this:
Today, in the Canberra Times, a fellow Aussie journalist breaks down the futility of these efforts:
Sydney Morning Herald photo editor Daniel Adams says this is a case of someone going a bit overboard with the retouching. “They’ve overworked the image,” says Adams. “They’ve tried to make it pop, make her sparkle. But it’s given her a really hard look; it does not look normal.”
Adams says they’ve whitened her teeth and eyes and added color to her lips and cheeks.
The Woman’s Day photograph has also been sharpened, which Adams says is completely unnecessary. “Sometimes in newsprint we sharpen images because they soften in print, but magazines print on gloss so there’s no need to do that,” says Adams.
Some thoughtful and thought-provoking ruminations today from San Francisco Chronicle executive food and wine editor Michael Bauer. On the heels of LA Times Pulitzer winner Jonathan Gold‘s front-page weekend coming out, he explains that he is not ready to abandon the veil of professional anonymity.
From Bauer’s blog post:
I’ve always said that in an ideal world I’d be unrecognized twice and recognized once, which would give me the benefit of seeing what the kitchen routinely puts out, and then witnessing the very best they can do — presuming they care about impressing critics.
While some people think anonymity is a ruse in these times, I still believe that trying to maintain a low profile has an advantage. If nothing else, it sends the message that I’m trying to emulate the experience of an average diner and it lets the restaurant know that I’m not out for free food or special treatment. Most restaurants understand the rules and how I operate so chefs rarely send out extra courses or try to comp a meal.
Bauer also revisits a recent, comical Twitter fail that revealed both his third-time destination and reservation pseudonym for an assignment encompassing Huxley. That review will be shared this weekend.[Photo via: @michaelbauer1]
Fresh from a second Park City viewing of Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Tony Ortega makes a typically astute observation about the church’s immediate PR response. And in so doing, he sets the table for one or more enterprising media outlets:
For years, former church members and some journalists have been smeared by websites that hid their ownership. We knew that Scientology operated these anonymous Web pages, and used them to post information that was in some cases gathered during confidential counseling sessions. But the church wouldn’t admit that it was really behind these websites. Now, suddenly, it’s taken a lot of the material that was on those sites which were aimed at Tom DeVocht and Marty Rathbun and Paul Haggis, and it’s put them on Freedom‘s own website.
In other words, Scientology has dropped all pretense about its smear tactics. Of course it was behind those anonymous attack sites in the past, just as we said they were. And now, instead of asking the people in this film what they think about Scientology calling them liars, why doesn’t major media ask Scientology how something that calls itself a church could operate anonymous smear websites designed to destroy reputations?
Gibney’s documentary is set to air next month on HBO. And speaking of pay cable, the film’s highlighting of explosive allegations that the church wiretapped Nicole Kidman track back, as Ortega notes, to the real-life character whose footsteps echoe throughout Showtime’s Ray Donovan: imprisoned P.I. Anthony Pellicano.[Photo of Gibney: Sam Aronov/Shutterstock.com]
There’s certainly no shortage of bad news about metropolitan newspapers. But every once in a while, there’s also some resplendently good news.
In January, The Cincinnati Enquirer added six new full-time staffers. In officially welcoming this group over the weekend, the paper began by highlighting a New York state native – sports strategist Matt Tabeek:
Where I grew up: I grew up in Binghamton, New York, which is considered the Southern Tier of upstate New York (it’s about an hour south of Syracuse and an hour north of Scranton, Pennsylvania). I also spent parts of my childhood in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Rumson, New Jersey.
What I do at the Enquirer: I oversee the sports coverage and make sure we’re generating the kind of content that Reds, Bengals, University of Cincinnati, Xavier University and high school sports fans in this region want – especially for digital/social media consumption.
Where you can find me: I just moved here in mid-January, so I’m still getting to know Cincinnati. I just got an apartment downtown (and love it), so you might see me out wandering around downtown after work looking for a good pizzeria and/or Irish pub.
The other hires are storytelling coach Amy Wilson, digital producer Gin A. Ando, sports visual journalist Kareem Elgazzar, retro Cincy reporter Joel Beall and breaking news reporter Emilie Eaton. In terms of coolest job titles, it’s probably a tie between Wilson and Beall. And in the case of the latter, since his purview is to \"connect Cincinnati’s vibrant past to the present,\" we look forward to some sort of imminent WKRP in Cincinnati filming locations feature.[Today’s Enquirer front page via: newseum.org]
Another bricks-and-mortar video store has been conquered.
And although it’s no surprise that April will mark the end of Vidiots, a friendly destination for LA westside residents and familiar sight to many more zooming off the 10 Freeway past the Pico Blvd. storefront, it’s news that still stings. Last night, Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern, who has relied many times at deadline on the inventory of Vidiots and expertise of store staff, blogged about what is truly being lost:
High on the list of losses is something that a young clerk at Vidiots referred to in a conversation a few months ago. \"I know places like this are doomed,\" he said, \"and there’s no way to stop progress. But it’s so great when someone comes in without a clue what he wants to rent, and I can suggest half-a-dozen terrific films he’d enjoy. I wonder where people will go for advice like that in the future.\" I wonder too.
The Web is awash with user comments, of course, and endless lists of best this-and-thats. But it’s not the same as walking into a neighborhood shop you know and trust, and talking to a curator who calls himself a clerk.
Indeed. Last year, Morgenstern hosted a couple of Q&As at Vidiots with filmmakers Anjelica Huston and Nicole Holofcener. He writes that even then, folks in attendance knew the end was near. The silver lining: Vidiots’ owners, rather than selling their collection for pennies on the dollar, are hoping to pass on the inventory to an organization-individuals that can continue to make the titles available somehow.[Photo via: vidiotsfoundation.org]
Snapchat — the app for sending people short, disappearing videos of your butt — is getting serious about media. The company just launched Snapchat Discover, which allows media orgs the chance to send “snaps” or “stories” to users.
“Snapchat Discover is a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams,” the company explained in a blog post. “It’s the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first.”
Publishers are obviously going to take advantage of this new tool because the kids love them some Snapchat. Those that have jumped aboard already include National Geographic, CNN, Vice, Yahoo, People, Cosmo, Comedy Central and The Food Network.