The man who chose Craig Silverman for the job of BuzzFeed media editor, Ben Smith, fired a great warning shot in his comments to Fortune’s Mathew Ingram, who broke this news today:
Smith said that the rise of Facebook as a distribution force and the impact that has had on media is “the real story of media right now, not the comings and goings at traditional media companies in New York.”2. Craig Silverman
When Twitter user Nick Andersen wrote that he was excited for Silverman but also somewhat worried, given BuzzFeed’s previous patterns with media reporters, Silverman himself jumped in.
@nicktheandersen omg don’t jinx me
— Craig Silverman (@CraigSilverman) December 2, 20163. Anna Tarkov
A journalist, columnist and keen-eyed observer, Tarkov caught a bit of semantics that we also noticed involving Silverman’s background.
@tempest537 LOL, he is not a fake news editor. He is a fake news EXPERT who will oversee BuzzFeed’s media coverage.
— END WHITE SUPREMACY (@AnnaTarkov) December 2, 20164. Jennifer Hollett
The story was broken by Toronto-based Ingram and involves Toronto-based Silverman. So we naturally had to include at least one kudo from a fellow Hogtown media titan. Hollett is head of news and government for Twitter Canada and delivers a nice wink here.
— Jennifer Hollett (@jenniferhollett) December 2, 20165. Twelve Thirty Six
This operation calls itself Toronto’s news burrito. Tasty observation here. Well done.
— Twelve Thirty Six (@1236) December 2, 20166. Henry Fuhrman
Fake news, real news. As touched on above by Tarkov, the hyphen always matters. Former Los Angeles Times standards-bearer Fuhrman got Buzzfeed to adjust the headline.
— Henry Fuhrmann (@hfuhrmann) December 2, 20167. Drake Fenton
When Silverman shared today’s news and doffed his cap at Toronto media desk colleague Jane Lytvynenko, it prompted a quick and fun exchange of Star Wars gifs. Something about Silverman’s surprise, twist-ending connection. To which Fenton added the perfect stock-photo punchline.8. Tanya Chen
Chen wins for best internal BuzzFeed News chatter. At least until Happy Hour(s) tonight on both sides of the border.
@CraigSilverman hey so if u’re watching watchdogs who watches u? i can resume “Media Editor Editor,” editor of media editors
— Tanya Chen (@Tanya_Chen) December 2, 20169. Eric Lawson
A certain BuzzFeed debacle this week wrought by L.A.-based staffer Kate Aurthur was bound to come up. This, in context, was one of the cleverer mentions.
— Eric Lawson (@EL001) December 2, 201610. Kelly Maria Korducki
Some pungent big-picture framing of Silverman’s move, in the shadow of HBO’s Westworld.11. Mathew Ingram
When the guy who broke the news about a fake-news expert’s next move, and the fake-news expert himself, exchange pleasantries on the platform that has fueled the fake-news phenomenon. Well, that’s when it got REAL.
Elamin runs the @BuzzFeedCanada account, which is very late to the Silverman congrats party. But at his personal twitter end, there is this from right around the time the news started circulating. In BuzzFeed terms, it’s perfect.
December means you have to put up with my year end lists. Still working on best albums of 2016, but the best songs of 2016 to me are: pic.twitter.com/RcG4UXjXQj
— Elamin Abdelmahmoud (@elamin88) December 2, 201613. Craig Silverman
Finally, we circle back to the man of the hour, even though this was tweeted just before Ingram’s scoop hit the Twitter wire. Why? Because it’s about as TGIF a way to frame some starchy corporate news as one could hope for.
I’m hungover, my bike tire popped on the way to work, and someone in our office changed my desktop wallpaper to this last night. pic.twitter.com/vBWLCPB40O
— Craig Silverman (@CraigSilverman) December 2, 2016
W and Politico are losing two prominent staffers.
Jane Larkworthy, W magazine’s executive beauty director, is leaving the title. According to WWD, Larkworthy was let go along with three other staffers. Larkworthy had been with W since 2000.
Poynter reports that Kristin Roberts, Politico’s national editor, is also moving on. She joined Politico in 2015.
The New York Times has hired Kate Kelly to cover Wall Street for its business desk.
Kelly most recently worked for CNBC as a reporter covering the same beat. She had been with CNBC since 2010. Kelly previously served as a reporter fro The Wall Street Journal and The Observer.
“You may know her for coverage of hedge funds on CNBC,” wrote Times business editor Dean Murphy, in a memo. “Or for having won multiple awards for hard-hitting finance reporting at The Wall Street Journal. Or for being the best-selling author of a book on the final days of Bear Stearns. Kate Kelly is a business journalist extraordinaire, and I’m excited to announce that she is coming to the Times.”
GLAAD is taking on the exhaustive project of chronicling every anti-LGBTQ statement and action from Donald Trump and his associates with the launch of the Trump Accountability Project (TAP).
“This information will equip journalists, as well as everyday people, to hold Trump and his administration accountable for their words and actions,” explained GLAAD. “It will also serve as a reminder that many in the incoming administration have blatantly pledged to dismantle the legal protections that LGBTQ people, as well as other communities, have achieved over the past several years.”
This is a noble move by GLAAD, even if it will mostly fall on deaf ears. Trump and his team’s bigoted, disgusting, misogynistic, racist ways well documented in the months leading up to the election, and… America elected him president.
Still, TAP is important. There should be a place to easily access Trump’s horrific statements and behavior. Our hats are off to GLAD for doing this.
The Wall Street Journal has made a few changes to its U.S. news team. Details are below.Kate Linebaugh will now oversee East Coast news. She most recently served as deputy chief of the Journal’s corporate bureau. Linebaugh has been with the paper since 2004. Vanessa O’Connell has been named deputy U.S. editor. She previously served as East Coast U.S. News chief. Neal Templin will now lead New York coverage within the paper’s U.S. News regional structure. He has been with the Journal since 1989.
Time Inc. has revamped its editorial structure into a shared digital newsroom.
In a memo to staffers, chief content officer Alan Murray explained the new look as 10 different desks led by 10 different editors. Each editor will work to curate content according their respective desk. Below are the new desks and editors that will lead them:Celebrity – People.com executive editor Sara Nathan News – Time news director Dan Hirschhorn Sports – Sports Illustrated digital editor Mark McClusky Entertainment – EW.com editor Christopher Rosen Style and Beauty – People style and beauty director Andrea Lavinthal Food – Cooking Light and MyRecipes digital director Stacey Rivera Health – Health.com executive editor Theresa Tamkins Home – RealSimple.com executive editor Laura Schocker and Coastal Living editor Steele Marcoux Technology – Fortune digital editor Andrew Nusca Travel and Luxury – Travel + Leisure digital director Miles Stiverson
Edward Felsenthal oversee the Food, News, Home, Technology, Health and Travel desks. Will Lee will oversee the Sports, Beauty and Style, Celebrity and Entertainment desks.
“While most routine assignments will continue to be handled within the brands, it will be the role of the desk leaders to ensure that we are collaborating in real-time, quickly seizing opportunities to win in social and search and steering our collective resources where we can have the most impact,” explained Murray, in his memo. “We will track our audience growth not just across brands, but also across the desks.”
Business Insider has named Steve Lagnado chief financial officer and Mike Kingfield general counsel.
Lagnado most recently served as BI’s senior vp of finance since 2015; Kingfield as senior vp of legal affairs.
“Both Mike and Steve exemplify the BI mission of getting better every day and it’s great to see them be recognized for it,” wrote BI president Julie Hansen, in a memo obtained by Talking Biz News.
First stop on the Mel Gibson Hollywood redemption tour was the weekend of Nov. 5-6. That Saturday, Gibson took part in a Q&A at Deadline’s annual Contenders event at the DGA Theatre in Hollywood, followed by a Sunday evening appearance at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where he was presented with the Hollywood Film Awards Director prize by Hacksaw Ridge co-stars Andrew Garfield and Vince Vaughn.
Next stop will be Sunday Dec. 11 at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. As announced today, Gibson is among the seven nominees for the Critics’ Choice Awards category of Best Director. One voting member, Fox 5 San Diego’s Josh Board, is less than thrilled. He writes:
I might have to refrain from saying something rude to Gibson. I was disappointed to see his Hacksaw Ridge got a few nominations. That has to do with the fact that I don’t think Gibson is a changed person, and with Hollywood so quick to slap labels on Donald Trump being a racist and all these other things, Gibson has said and done much worse. Yet here he is, being praised for a movie that was actually poorly done in a number of ways.
Another voter, Christian Toto, has a reaction post that does not clearly disclose his connection to the proceedings. He lists Hacksaw Ridge’s seven nominations as the top takeaway from this year’s BFCA kudos slate:
1. We Forgive You, Mel: Troubled auteur Gibson rebounded in a huge way with his World War II epic Hacksaw Ridge. The film netted seven Critics’ Choice nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Garfield) and Best Director. Will Gibson’s past continue to haunt him through Oscar season? Too soon to tell, but it’s hard not to remember the standing ovation given to Roman Polanski for his Best Director win on behalf of The Pianist.
Finally, Scott Feinberg, best known as THR’s awards pundit but also a Critics’ Choice voting member, thinks the momentum could be definitely building:
Hacksaw Ridge and Gibson landed picture and director noms, respectively, which is a very big deal, in that it may sort of cue the rest of the Hollywood community, and other awards groups, that it’s time to forgive, if not forget, Gibson’s past indiscretions.
Golden Globes host Jimmy Fallon might want to start writing his Gibson material now.
The print media industry news is grim everywhere. From Down Under, for example, comes word that Dolly magazine, a publication aimed at teenage girls launched in 1970, could not make a go of its recent switch to a bi-monthly print schedule. And so, we are treated once more to that dreaded directional term: “digital-only.”
— Hannah Paine (@hannahpaine_) December 1, 2016
Former Dolly editor Lisa Wilkinson was on Autralian TV today remininiscing about a July 1983 cover that effectively launched the career of Nicole Kidman. Hannah Paine, a reporter for Daily Mail Australia, has a good look at that history.
One amazing tidbit concerning Wilkinson is that she was just 21 when she first became editor of Dolly back in the 1980s. To borrow a Kidman movie title, back then such an opportunity was To Die For. Today, churning out content has become more synonymous with Dogville.
Welcome back to another edition of FishbowlNY’s weekly Cover Battle. This round we have Interview taking on WSJ.
Interview’s latest features Adam Driver, who has been kidnapped and forced to bathe fully-clothed in a dirty bathtub. Someone call the police….. The sexy police!!!
WSJ., meanwhile, has Stephen Curry still wondering why they hell he sucked during last year’s playoff run. Probably.
So readers, which cover is better? You can vote, comment, or do both.
The Monday blues will never feel so good.
On Dec. 5, from noon to 4 p.m. at Lincoln Center’s Hearst Plaza, New Yorkers will be offered the chance to gather together in memory of Leonard Cohen. Organized by Lincoln Center’s Public Programming Department and producer Hal Willner, songs by Cohen will be played over a PA system.
The event is one of many unfolding in memory of the departed 82-year-old troubadour. In San Francisco this past Sunday, Cohen’s recent biographer Sylvie Sommons co-organized a concert held at The Chapel. The performance above, by Tim Bluhm, is from that event.
Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated has named LeBron James the 2016 Sportsperson of the Year.
SI has been awarding the SOTY since 1954. James, who previously won in 2012, is now only the second two-time winner (Tiger Woods won in 1996 and 2000).
It’s almost impossible to argue with the choice. James won his third NBA title in historic fashion. His Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, and in doing so, brought Cleveland its first major sports championship in more than 50 years.
James will be honored at an event at Barclays Center on December 12.
“It’s not just the way he took over the NBA Finals—though that performance was epic,” said SI editor in chief Chris Stone, in a statement. “It’s that LeBron was also carrying the weight of that promise he made when he returned to Cleveland in 2014. It’s a special thing for a favorite son to follow through on that kind of commitment to his hometown. Especially since he doubles down on that commitment off the court, with the work his foundation does for underserved kids in Akron and with his increasing willingness to speak out in the fight for social justice. On court and off, James was the athlete in full in 2016.”
(Image: Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated)
Hearst Magazines has named Lauren Johnson integrated advertising director for Esquire.
Johnson was most recently The New Yorker’s advertising director. She previously spent more than a decade with Hearst, most recently serving as group advertising director for Hearst Integrated and Digital Media.
“Lauren’s success across brand platforms is impressive,” said Jack Essig, senior vp, publishing director and CRO of Hearst Men’s Group, in a statement. “Her extensive expertise in both the print and digital sales environments mirrors Esquire’s multi-media approach to reaching readers and advertisers, whether that’s in the magazine, online or a combination of both.”
Johnson will report to Essig. She starts December 15.
Condé Nast is cutting back on Self. The magazine’s last regular print edition will be its February 2017 issue. Going forward, Self will publish special print editions focused on health and wellness.
As a result of the change, Carolyn Kylstra has been named editor in chief of Self. She succeeds Joyce Chang, who is leaving the brand.
Kylstra was most recently Self’s executive digital director. She previously served as BuzzFeed’s health editor and Women’s Health’s site director.
“Audiences are more discerning than ever about how they live, and in Self, we have a popular and established brand that speaks directly to the burgeoning health and wellness movement,” said Anna Wintour, artistic director of Condé Nast and editor in chief of Vogue, in a statement. “Carolyn has played a pivotal role in refining and focusing Self and understands how to create content that excites and inspires our audiences.”
A subscription to Axios—the upcoming site from former Politico CEO Jim VandeHei—will (eventually) run you about $10,000 or more a year. What a steal! We’ll take five.
VandeHei mentioned the insane price tag during a talk with Recode. When asked about the site’s cost, VandeHei said he couldn’t imagine being “super intrigued with a subscription less than $10,000.” Coincidentally, we couldn’t imagine being super intrigued with a site costing $10,000.
Not that all of Axios will cost that much. VandeHei plans to launch the site as free to readers at first. In year two or three, his goal is to have half of revenue from ads and half of revenue from subscriptions and live events.
Politico has named Josh Dawsey a White House correspondent.
Dawsey joins Politico from The Wall Street Journal, where he served as a reporter for its (now reduced) Greater New York section. He had been with the Journal since 2012.
Politico editor Carrie Budoff-Brown tweeted of Dawsey, “He’s got some moves. Can’t wait to see him do his thing in DC.”
Brian Hoar, a veteran Playboy Enterprises exec, has rejoined the magazine as senior vp of sales and publisher.
Hoar returns to Playboy from the ad agency R&R Partners, where he served as vp of development. He previously worked for Playboy Enterprises in a variety of roles, most recently vp of sales and associate publisher.
“Brian brings with him an intuitive knowledge of the unique power of the Playboy platform to amplify brands all over the world,” said Playboy Enterprises’ COO and CFO, David Israel, in a statement. “We are thrilled to have him back in the fold.”
With the place festooned in all its holiday finery, the mood at Michael’s was, dare I say, downright festive. (Even the coming apocalypse can’t deter this crowd from their Wednesday lunches at 55th and Fifth.) There were plenty of handshakes and air-kisses being exchanged in the dining room today. I was thrilled to see ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, who decamped some time ago for his home state of Texas, back at his usual perch (Table Three) and receiving hearty hellos from several pals including Discovery ID’s Henry Schleiff. Welcome back, Mr. Mayor, you have been missed!
I was joined today by Benjamin Alfonsi, the creator of Metabook, an exciting new multisensory digital publishing platform that he co-founded with publishing industry veteran Ken Siman, the company’s publisher and editor in chief, Christian Alfonsi, president and CEO, and strategic advisor Mark Andersen.
I first learned of Metabook last year when I was introduced to Ken by Judy Twersky (who knows everyone) when Metabook launched with their version of John Berendt’s worldwide bestseller, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Last week marked the release of Metabook’s first original title, I’ll Take You There, the new novel by New York Times bestselling author and Oprah Winfrey favorite, Wally Lamb, so it was time for a catch-up.
“Ken knew Wally, who saw an early version of ‘Midnight,’ and he wanted to do something different for his next book.” Evidently, Wally is a “pop culture savant” with “an encloypedic knowledge of television, film and music.” “His CD collection numbers in the hundreds, maybe thousands,” Benjamin told me.
In I’ll Take You There, Wally taps into his well-known expertise in writing in a female voice (the book is dedicated to “Feminists everywhere of every era.”) to tell the story of one man’s life and the various women who shaped it against a backdrop of Hollywood. It features appearances by real-life (or in this case the ghosts of) legends, including silent film director Lois Weber and Ingrid Bergman. The protagonist, Felix, is a film scholar who runs a Monday night movie club in an old vaudeville theater. One evening he’s visited by the ghost of Weber, who invites him to revisit and relive scenes from his past as they are projected onto the theater’s big screen.
As a screenwriter who has done his time in “development purgatory,” Benjamin likened the title to a Fellini film. “I relate everything to Italian cinema and it’s like the American version of 8 1/2.”
The combination of colorful characters and the opportunity to work in a new medium were intriguing enough to get some big names to sign on to the project. Kathleen Turner, as Weber, headlines the cast in the audiobook, which also includes Laura Benanti (whose brilliant impersonation of Melania Trump on Stephen Colbert’s late night talk show is sure to keep her busy for the foreseeable future), Dana Delany and Jeremy Sisto. Elizabeth Banks stars in and is the executive producer of Yours Sincerely, Lois Weber, one of two short films included in the Metabook. The film’s director is Academy Award nominee Svetlana Cvetko.
“We were really excited about the talent we were able to attract for this,” said Benjamin, as we tucked into our beet salads. “Hollywood seems very game to do more with us.”
Before our main courses arrived, Benjamin pulled out his iPad for a tour of the Metabook of I’ll Take You There. (Hey, it is Michael’s after all.) Besides the dramatization of the audiobook and the accompanying digital version, there are a slew of extras in addition to the two short documentary films, including lots of behind the scenes extras with the actors, a virtual tour of an art galley filled with pop culture- and politics-themed art curated by Wally and Benjamin and modeled on The Whitney, and an eight-song soundtrack featuring Janis Ian’s acoustic version of her Grammy-winning classic At Seventeen. Other songs include I’ll Take You There, performed by Britain’s Croydon SDA Gospel Choir and Change by Hélène Muddiman.
For the reader who ‘casts’ their own movie versions of the books they read, Metabook offers an immersive experience not found anywhere else. Benjamin estimates the app for I’ll Take You There gives the reader-viewer a “binge experience” and weekend’s worth of entertainment — “depending on how fast you read.”
Even though Metabook offers readers the opportunity to experience a title in so many different ways, Benjamin explained, “It starts with the book which is published digitally first.” The app for the title is available exclusively for the iPad and iPhone in Apple’s App Store for $14.99. Metabooks license the print versions of their books here and in the U.K. I’ll Take You There was published by HarperCollins in the States and by Penguin/Random House in the U.K.
Benjamin explained that Metabook authors receive advances like they would from “normal publishers” and “participate very generously” in the profits from the licensing agreements with the company’s print publishing partners.
“We have created a different genre,” said Benjamin, who told me plans for 2017 include publishing Gregg Olsen’s next true crime title as well as introducing a ‘Classics Collection’ that will include works like The Scarlet Letter that are sure to entice educators, eager to explore how Metabook can be used in the classroom.
“The most exciting thing about being involved with this is that we’re doing something completely original,” said Benjamin as we finished up our coffee. “We did a full page ad in last week’s New York Times’ Book Review announcing we’re here. It’s like sticking our flag on the moon.”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Paul McDonald and some well-heeled pals
2. Brother and sister Patrick Murphy and Mary Murphy
3. Joe Armstrong dining with pals Dorothy Kalins and Steven Wagner. Joe told me he is loving life in Texas but is busier than ever with his work on behalf of Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang which has taken him to Israel where he works with children in need. We’re happy to report Joe will be staying in town for the next week or so.
4. Gayle King and Don Peebles
5. Allen & Co.’s Stan Shuman
6. MGM’s former chairman Frank Mancuso
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia and Ambassador John Loeb
11. Andrew Stein and Michael DelGuidice
12. Matthew Doull, Arrif Ziaudeen and Euan Rellie
14. Gerry Laybourne
15. Henry Schlieff
16. Andrex Essex
17. Drew Schiff
18. Town & Country scribe Steven Deluca
20. Vicky Ward
21. Josh Harlan
22. James Prentice
27. Benjamin Alfonsi and yours truly
Diane Clehane is a FishbowlNY contributor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.