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Covering the pulse of New York media
Updated: 53 sec ago

Reporter Flashes Back to Some Early Leonard Nimoy Internet Business

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 22:15

Julio Ojeda-Zapata, a technology reporter and blogger with St. Paul, Minnesota’s Pioneer Press, dug into his newspaper’s archives today upon learning of the sad news of Leonard Nimoy’s death. He wrote a couple of articles about Spock back in the day, beginning with a locally flavored piece that must be logged at the opposite end of the technology spectrum celebrated in Star Trek.

As the reporter wryly notes in his blog post, the article dates back to a time when the Internet was known as the \"World Wide Web.\" Here’s an excerpt:

Nimoy is among a growing number of photographers who are pursuing a digital strategy for achieving greater [photographer] exposure.

This month, about a dozen of Nimoy’s nudes are being exhibited on a St. Paul-based World Wide Web page dubbed \"F-64\" that is the online equivalent of an art gallery – a site that selectively displays the works of accomplished photographers in a gallery-like environment.

\"Some [photography-oriented] sites sell space like a mall,\" posting the work of any amateur for a fee, says F-64 creator Scott Bourne, a photographer and a former Internet-oriented entrepreneur who recently opened a photo studio in St. Paul’s Lowertown District. \"But they can’t buy their way onto F-64.\" In this regard, f-64 is similar to a \"real-life, street-level gallery,\" Bourne says. \"Its precious retail space wouldn’t be available to just any photographer.\"

F-64 has drawn kudos from the likes of Chuck Delaney, dean of the prestigious New York Institute of Photography, who calls Bourne \"a visionary\" and says, \"Exhibiting photographs in a cyber-gallery is an innovation that is here to stay… Though the sale of fine-art photography (online) is in its infancy, others will follow.\"

Ojeda-Zapata is promising to share the other Nimoy piece he wrote shortly. Read the rest of the first one here.

FYI, the publishing use of the photography lens-aperture term \"F-64\" (or f/64) dates back many more decades. To wit, check out this manifesto published on behalf of a 1932 group that included Ansel Adams.
 
[Photo: Carla VanWaggoner/Shutterstock.com]

Categories: News

American-Bangladeshi Blogger Savagely Murdered in Dhaka

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 21:15

This is sickening and deeply upsetting news.

Per a report in the New York Times, a pair of machete-wielding attackers swooped down Thursday night in Bangladesh’s capital on author-blogger Avijit Roy, 42, and his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya, 45. He died as a result of the attack; she remains in critical condition. From the article:

Roy was a prolific writer on secularism and condemned religious extremism, particularly through his blog, Mukto-Mona, the Bengali words for Free Mind. He also wrote on the website of the Center for Inquiry, an organization based in the United States dedicated to humanist thinking and critiques of religion.

The article references a “recent article” for the Center by Roy, but it has in fact not yet been officially published. The piece will appear in the April/May issue of the Center’s Free Inquiry publication and is sadly prophetic. He was writing here about the reaction to the release of his 2014 book Biswasher Virus:

The death threats started flowing to my email inbox on a regular basis, he wrote, describing reaction after the book came out. One extremist, he wrote, “issued death threats to me through his numerous Facebook statuses.” In one, the extremist wrote: “Avijit Roy lives in America and so it is not possible to kill him right now. But he will be murdered when he comes back.”

Roy, a U.S. citizen, was born in Bangladesh. Read the Center For Inquiry’s statement here.

In December, Roy began a Mukto-Mona blog post with this quote from Salman Rushdie: “Religion, a medieval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms.” RIP.
 
[Photo via: Center For Inquiry]

Categories: News

Newfoundland Reacts to NYT Magazine Diss

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 20:15

After you read the travel piece “My Saga, Part 1” in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine by Karl Ove Knausgaard, consider clicking over to Canadian daily newspaper the St. John’s Telegram.

Understandably, folks in the Canadian province are less than thrilled with passages like this one, involving the restaurant Jungle Jim’s:

Several TVs were on with the sound muted, showing a hockey game between Sweden and Russia, a semifinal for the World Junior Championship. Everyone in the place, except the waiter, was fat, some of them so fat that I kept having to look at them. I had never seen people that fat before. The strange thing was that none of them looked as if they were trying to hide their enormous girth; quite the opposite, several people were wearing tight T-shirts with their big bellies sticking out proudly.

And this:

Whereas I didn’t know anything. I knew nothing about the U.S., much less Canada. And my only observation thus far was that people here were fatter than back home. What was that if not the cliché about America?

So Who is this Knausgaard fellow, who presently calls Sweden home? Per the New York Times footnote, the title of the magazine’s translated two-part series (concluding in the March 15 issue) evidently echos the Norwegian-descended vagabond’s six-volume (!) autobiographical novel My Struggle. Volume Four is set to arrive in English this April.

This was definitely a killer assignment though. The article author was tasked by the New York Times Magazine with starting in Newfoundland, where the Vikings once settled, and driving south into the U.S. and then westwards to Minnesota, the settling choice of a great many Norwegian-American immigrants.

While the Telegram piece is actually fairly civil, opting for itemization over outrage, the reader comments that have begun to come in are not.
 
[Article banner via: nytimes.com]

Categories: News

Don Lemon Interviews Animals Now

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 19:26

This is @CNN. #donllama pic.twitter.com/7TGMdbjeJk

— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) February 27, 2015

You’re goddamn right it is.

Categories: News

Red Ribbons on Display as Search Continues for ESPN Writer’s Son

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 18:30

Like many others this week, we have been actively hoping and praying that the search for missing 21-year-old Rochester Institute of Technology student Max Maisel has a happy ending. The son of ESPN writer Ivan Maisel has been missing since Sunday evening, after last being seen near the shores of Lake Ontario.

From a report by Rochester Democrat & Chronicle staff writer Jeff DiVeronica:

Max was thinking of majoring in history or psychology at RIT, but at the end of his first semester he knew photography was for him. A strong student, he earned a merit scholarship, too, but he’s far from boastful about his work. In fact, he’s quite private, his family said.

His family saw some of his landscape portraits for the first time on Wednesday. They included one of sunlight shining through tall forest trees and a long pier with some wicked clouds over water. The photos are now spread out on a pool table at the Beach Avenue house.

Residents in the Stratford neighborhood of the city have affixed red ribbons to trees as a show of support for the efforts to locate young Max. Dad Ivan has been with ESPN since 2002. He previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, Newsday and the Dallas Morning News.

[Photo via: rti.edu]
Categories: News

For Mimi Sheraton, It Started with Caviar and a Frozen Candy Bar

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 17:45

There are bucket lists. And then there are bucket shopping lists.

Mimi Sheraton, former food critic for the New York Times, is currently on a tour to promote her book 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die. The book took ten years to compile and, as she recently told Connecticut Post contributor Christina Hennessy, it began with an extremely unusual culinary combo:

“The first two items that I wrote down, that I wanted in the book, was the frozen Milky Way bar and caviar,” Sheraton said. “That kind of describes the range of the book. There are wonderful low-down, very good things that we remember as kids, and then there are the luxuries, each as evocative as they were the first time and as exciting to have again and again.”

Sheraton will be giving a free talk tomorrow afternoon at Connecticut’s Westport Library. Also participating with her in the discussion will be local chef Matt Storch, a Westport native who has a hand in the South Norwalk eatery Match as well as The Chelsea in Fairfield.
 
[Photo courtesy: Workman Publishing Company]

Categories: News

CNNMoney Promotes Seven

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 17:30

CNNMoney has promoted seven staffers. Details are below.

Stephany Cardet has been promoted from webmaster to web developer. She served as webmaster for the past two years. Melanie Hicken has been name a staff writer. She joined CNNMoney in 2012 and most recently served as a personal finance reporter for the site. Greg Wallace has been promoted from reporter to associate editor. Jose Pagliery has also been promoted to staff writer. Richa Naik has been upped from production assistant to associate producer. Alanna Petroff has been promoted from international business reporter to senior reporter/producer. Peter Valdes-Dapena has been promoted from senior writer to digital correspondent. He has been with CNNMoney for 15 years.
Categories: News

New York Daily News Loses $20 Million a Year

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 16:42

NY_DNThe hot media story of the moment is that New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman is considering selling the tabloid. The logical question that emerges out of that is who in their right mind would want to buy it? Especially considering Capital New York’s report that the Daily News loses about $20 million a year.

The first person that comes to mind is Rupert Murdoch, if only because there were rumors of a New York Post/Daily News merger a few months ago. Another potential buyer could be Cablevision. Or there’s always the old fall back — Michael Bloomberg.

FishbowlNY’s take? We don’t see anyone or any company buying the Daily News. It just doesn’t make any sense. It loses way too much money and there’s really no answer for that. There simply aren’t pockets deep enough to dig it out of a hole that has no bottom.

The most likely scenario is that Zuckerman retains the paper for another year or two before deciding to shutter the print version. The potential sale story is fun for now, but it in reality it’s the Daily News’ last rites.

Categories: News

People and EW President to be Named Soon

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 15:45

Time Inc. is expected to name a president to oversee People and Entertainment Weekly “soon” according to the New York Post.

The move will likely be welcomed with open arms by staffers, who weeks ago received word that the two magazines would be merging teams. Once a president is named things should — hopefully — calm down. People is also Time Inc.’s money machine. Allowing a behemoth like that to go directionless for so long is just not a good idea.

As for the two magazines, recent casualties of the merger include PR staffers Nancy Valentino and Amy Galleazzi and EW online editor Kyle Ryan.

Categories: News

Financial Times Offers $1 Trial

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 15:20

The Financial Times is famous for a few things — its business content, its pink paper and its fierce paywall. The latter of those is about to change.

The FT’s paywall typically only allows a non-subscriber access to three articles per month before prompting them to pay up. Starting today, readers can opt for a month-long trial for $1 that gives them full access to the site.

This is the FT’s way of enticing readers to subscribe. Instead of stonewalling after a measly three articles, give them a real taste and they’ll want more.

According to the FT, research has shown that using this paid trial system will boost subs anywhere from 11 percent to 29 percent. That’s a business move worth taking.

Categories: News

FishbowlNY Newsstand: Your Morning at a Glance

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 15:00

NY_DN WSJ NY_NYT NY_NYP

 

(Images: Newseum)

Categories: News

Morning Media Newsfeed: Net Neutrality Passes at FCC Vote | Daily News Explores Sale

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 14:19
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Net Neutrality: FCC Reclassifies ISPs as Common Carriers (SocialTimes)
After months of planning and political wrangling, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has finally voted on net neutrality rules to reclassify Internet service providers as \"common carriers,\" which means that ISPs are subject to the same rules as other utilities. FishbowlDC It was a 3-2 decision. This vote preserves for now the principle of net neutrality, the idea that Internet service providers should not be able to provide preferential treatment, such as Internet fast lanes to those willing to pay for it, or slow down or block the sites of those who are not willing to pay for faster speeds. Court challenges to the rules are expected. Deadline Supporters say the changes are essential to protect competition as media and communications increasingly reach people via a handful of cable and phone companies — often local monopolies or oligopolies. The Internet \"has redefined commerce and entertainment\" and is \"the ultimate vehicle for free expression,\" FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said. It \"is too important to be left without rules and a referee on the field.\" WSJ The FCC also voted to overrule laws in two states that made it harder for cities to offer their own Web service. Netflix said the day was a win for consumers. Telecom and cable industry groups said the decisions opened the door to heavy-handed regulation that would hurt innovation. The Verge President Obama said, in a statement, that the FCC’s decision “will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs.” Adweek Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of Mozilla, was optimistic: “This is an enormous step forward in helping us all protect the openness and innovation that has made the online life and the Internet so remarkable to date.” Comcast, which will probably have to radically realign its blueprint for the next few years, issued a fairly imperious statement asserting the exact opposite of Baker’s assessment; that the openness of the Web thus far has entirely been a function of market freedom. The New Yorker It is a substantial achievement for the Obama Administration and Wheeler, and also for the many groups that fought hard for the outcome. But it also is a moment to reflect back on the process over the last year that led here, and figure out why what so many people thought they knew turned out to be wrong.

Zuckerman Seeks Buyer for NY Daily News (Financial Times)
Mort Zuckerman, the billionaire real estate mogul, has hired Lazard to find a buyer for the New York Daily News, the tabloid newspaper he has owned since 1993. FishbowlNY Zuckerman began by explaining that although he had not been in the market, a recent inquiry about interest in selling the paper led him to decide to more formally look into the possibility. Capital New York “I have not come to this decision easily,” Zuckerman wrote to staff Thursday. “But I believe the immense hard work in turning the business around in an extremely challenging period for the industry, has put the Daily News in as strong a position than it has ever been, particularly online.” WSJ With splashy photos, screaming headlines and a tabloid format that appeals to subway commuters, the Daily News has long had a prominent place in New York’s media scene, offering up a mix of political, celebrity and sports news. It has been engaged for decades in a cutthroat battle for supremacy with the New York Post, which is owned by News Corp. Both papers have struggled financially. NYT The Daily News’ print and digital circulation was 427,452 on weekdays and 558,057 on Sundays for the six months ending in September, the most recent figures available, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. The Post had a circulation of 497,878 during the week and 454,007 on Sunday, by the same measure.

Jay Carney to Amazon (Politico)
Former White House press secretary Jay Carney joins Amazon on Monday as senior vice president for Worldwide Corporate Affairs. The new position brings the e-commerce giant’s worldwide public relations and public policy shops into one department under Carney. PRNewser The company’s PR chief Craig Berman and VP of public policy (aka top lobbyist) Paul Misener will report to Carney and he will report directly to Jeff Bezos himself. Mashable Carney, a former Moscow correspondent for Time magazine, stepped down from his post as White House press secretary last May and was at one point rumored to be considering taking a top PR job at Apple. He later joined CNN as a political commentator in September, a role that he is now said to be forfeiting for Amazon. Mediaite Carney isn’t the only former Obama official to take a job in Silicon Valley: David Plouffe, a campaign manager in 2008 and 2012, recently took a job at Uber as its \"campaign manager.\"

Greg Gutfeld Leaving Red Eye for New FNC Show (TVNewser)
Fox News Channel has announced that Greg Gutfeld will be leaving Red Eye to host a new one-hour weekend primetime show. Gutfeld will sign off from Red Eye Friday night, hosting his final episode of the late-night show at 3 a.m. ET. Capital New York Gutfeld will continue on The Five, and will make regular appearances on The O’Reilly Factor. A rotating slate of guest hosts will fill in on Red Eye after Gutfeld’s last show. The show in development, which does not have a name or timeslot, will highlight “Gutfeld’s whimsical nature and political satire,” according to the announcement from Fox. It will also “focus on his strong libertarian values and social commentary.” Variety Prior to joining FNC, Gutfeld was a staff writer at Prevention and editor-in-chief of Men’s Health magazine. He later became the editor-in-chief of Stuff. Gutfeld led Maxim in the U.K. and was a contributor to the Huffington Post. He is the author of several books, including The Bible of Unspeakable Truths, The Joy of Hate and most recently Not Cool: The Hipster Elite And Their War on You.

The Walking Dead Powers AMC Networks’ Q4, Full-Year Earnings (Variety)
The Walking Dead drove a nearly 25 percent gain in advertising revenue at AMC Networks in the fourth quarter, powering the cable group’s earnings and revenue well past Wall Street’s expectations. AMC Networks said Thursday that fourth quarter ad revenue at its five U.S. cablers grew 24.3 percent to $255 million, led by AMC, which saw more record ratings from the first half of the zombie drama’s fifth season in October-November. WSJ / CMO Today Excluding gains from a recently acquired stake in BBC America, ad growth was in the mid-teens. Executives also highlighted demand for other shows like IFC’s Portlandia and BBC America’s Doctor Who and Orphan Black as contributors to the company’s ad growth in a soft advertising marketplace. Deadline The programming company reported net income of $77.62 million, up 119 percent versus the last three months of 2013, on revenues of $609.4 million, up 40 percent. Analysts expected the top line to hit $602.4 million. Earnings from continuing operation, at $1.06 a share, beat Wall Street’s target for 99 cents.

Sony Pictures Fires Digital Chief Bob Osher (Variety)
Sony Pictures Digital president Bob Osher, who oversaw Sony Animation and Imageworks for the past seven years, has been fired, according to knowledgeable sources. THR The move was months in the making and likely not a surprise to astute Sony watchers. That it happened the same week as Tom Rothman taking the reins from fired Amy Pascal shows that Sony is in full housecleaning mode. Osher had been with the studio since 2004. Deadline In emails leaked out from the massive hacking of Sony in November, the now recently re-upped Michael Lynton hinted to Pascal that Osher should be departing. Osher, the former co-president of production at Miramax, already had seen his realm reduced when Kristine Belson was brought in as president of Sony Pictures Animation last month.

Is Controversy Helping Bill O’Reilly? (TVNewser)
Bill O’Reilly has been putting up monster numbers since being accused of exaggerating his experience as a reporter decades ago. The O’Reilly Factor averaged 705,000 viewers in the key adult 25-54 demo Wednesday night, easily his best demo performance of 2015. THR The last time O’Reilly pulled such a big number was during the riots in Ferguson, Miss., in November. He was up 62 percent in the demo compared to the same day last year and 24 percent to the same day last week. Among total viewers, he brought in a relatively steady 3.08 million viewers.

Meet The Press Gets A Taste of Victory (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
NBC’s Meet The Press has achieved its first ratings victory since Chuck Todd took over as moderator. The Feb. 22 broadcast brought in 3,271,000 total viewers and 907,000 viewers in the 25- to 54-year-old demo. That put it in the top spot for total and the top spot for the demo when rated by the full hour. Deadline That said, ABC’s This Week beat Meet The Press in the news demo for the February sweep — the first time that’s happened in 22 years. The ABC Sunday Beltway show turned in its strongest sweep performance in the news demo in six years, and its smallest news demo gap against the frontrunner, CBS’ Face The Nation, during a February ratings derby in four years.

Fox News Calls Out Eric Holder for Skipping Network in Exit Interviews (Mediaite)
Attorney general Eric Holder is conducting exit interviews with many major news outlets — CNN, ABC, NBC, CNN and Politico – but not Fox News. Fox News executive vice president Michael Clemente released this statement on Holder overlooking Fox: \"The attorney general’s decision does a deep disservice to America’s largest cable news audience and the interests of a free press.\" FishbowlDC The news does not come as a complete shocker, considering the less than friendly relations that exist between Holder and Fox News. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media In his statement, Clemente suggested that Holder’s decision may have been influenced by the Justice Department’s investigation of James Rosen, a Fox News reporter. In 2013, The Washington Post reported that the DOJ had labeled Rosen and “co-conspirator” in a leak probe and monitored his emails, phone records, and comings and goings at the State Department.

Rajiv Chandrasekaran Leaves WaPo for New Seattle Venture (FishbowlDC)
Longtime Washington Post senior correspondent and associate editor Rajiv Chandrasekaran is headed west to Seattle, where he will launch a media startup.

Bloomberg TV to Launch Canadian Channel (TVNewser)
Bloomberg TV is going north. Bloomberg TV Canada will launch later this year with studios in the heart of Toronto’s financial district in a partnership with Canadian media company Channel Zero.

FBN Already Gives Strange Inheritance A Spin-Off Show (TVNewser)
Strange Inheritance With Jamie Colby has been a big hit for Fox Business Network, premiering as the network’s highest-rated show launch ever. Only one month later, the network is launching a spin-off show.

TiVo, Others Buy Scraps of Aereo at Bankruptcy Auction (WSJ)
Aereo Inc., the defunct TV-streaming service that once promised to revolutionize the way consumers watch network television, was sold for parts this week to TiVo Inc. and other buyers at a bankruptcy auction.

Fox Networks Group Appoints TrueX CEO to Leadership Role (THR)
Two months after 21st Century Fox acquired advertising technology firm TrueX, the company’s founder and CEO is taking an in-house role at the company. Joe Marchese has joined Fox Networks Group as president of advanced advertising products.

Paramount Confirms Adam Goodman’s Exit, Begins Search for Successor (THR)
Paramount Film Group president Adam Goodman is officially out. In a memo sent to staff Thursday afternoon, Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey confirmed Goodman’s exit and said a search for his replacement is underway.

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Categories: News

RIP: Irving Kahn, World’s Oldest Stockbroker

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 00:20

Let’s ring the journalism bell for the following Washington Post obituary lede crafted by Megan McDonough:

The secret to value investing is holding onto underpriced stocks for a long time until they reach their true value. Few people were in a position to follow through as literally as Irving Kahn, who until his death on February 24 at 109 was Wall Street’s oldest stockbroker and presumed to be the world’s oldest active investment professional.

The span of this man’s career was truly staggering, starting with a very briefly held entry-level job on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange dating back to a few months before the 1929 crash. McDonough fills out the item with a nice round-up of previous interview quotes, including this hilarious snippet:

To generate new investment ideas, Kahn said, he read at least two newspapers daily and high-tech scientific journals. \"I read no fiction, no mystery stories and no sex novels,\" he said in 2010. \"So, that leaves a lot of time for science.\"

As well as a brisk morning and evening walk. Until the age of 102, when weather allowed, Kahn was making the 20-block commute from his Upper East Side home to the Kathn Brothers Group Inc. offices on Madison Avenue by foot. RIP.

[Image via: kahnbrothers.com]
Categories: News

The ‘Houston 9′ and the Birth of Women’s Professional Tennis

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 23:40

We will forever be grateful to the gang at tennis.com for foregoing a BuzzFeed-style Top 50 list to celebrate the half-century mark of Tennis magazine. Instead, every Thursday across this entire year, they are going in-depth to revisit a seminal event intersecting with their publication’s 1965-2015 history. This week’s article is both an ace down the middle and a resonant read post-Patricia Arquette acceptance speech.

As senior writer Steve Tignor explains, the late 1960s were a time of complete tennis-gender inequality. When Billie Jean King decided to do something about a 1970 summer tournament where the men’s top prize money was eight times that of the amount designated for the female champion, she got some critical help from Phillip Morris and another member of the tennis magazine fraternity: World Tennis magazine publisher (and New York City native) Gladys Heldman. From the article:

Heldman, her lawyer’s genes kicking in, crafted an ingenious way out of the impasse. She signed the nine players who were willing to risk suspension to a nominal $1 \"personal service\" contract with World Tennis. This made them \"contract pros,\" which in turn made Houston an all-professional event, which in turn took it out of the USLTA’s jurisdiction. The USLTA went ahead and suspended the players, but the tournament went on as planned. At the same time, Heldman set up two more events and extended her players’ contracts.

In Houston, King, Rosie Casals, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey, Val Ziegenfuss, Judy Tegart Dalton, Kerry Melville Reid and Peaches Bartkowicz posed for a now-iconic photograph while waving dollar bills. With late-entrant Julie Heldman, they became known as the Houston 9. Julie’s mother, Gladys, posed with them in her customary sunglasses. Women tennis players, it seemed, could be pros. They could even be outlaws.

The following year, thanks to the 1970 Virginia Slims Invitational and the dawn of women’s professional tennis, King became the first female player to earn over $100,000 in a year.

Categories: News

Media Minutiae

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 23:00

SocialTimes: Facebook Messenger, the app Facebook forced upon users, has an update. You will download it. You will download it. You will download it.

GalleyCat: We bet you can’t guess what the cover of The Day The Crayons Came Home looks like.

TVNewser: Bloomberg is launching a Canadian TV channel, eh?

Categories: News

Fishbowl Five With Eric Gillin, Epicurious Executive Director

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 21:48

eric-gillinEric Gillin arrived at the newly relaunched Epicurious.com as director of product in September 2012. Two years later, he was promoted to executive director of Condé Nast’s online destination for passionate home cooks. In this role, his first order of business was a major redesign, unveiled earlier this month and complete with new content packages, partnerships with networks like The Weather Channel and an in-the-works collaboration with Apple on its highly anticipated Watch. “A lot of people worked super hard for the last 10 months to make [the relaunch] a reality so [it] has been just thrilling,” he said.

Gillin brings an editorial sensibility (having had editor stints at Esquire.com and Maxim, among other pubs) to product development, as well as an evident passion for the work.

Here, he talks about the new site, career lessons and his favorite place to eat in the city.

epicurious_homepageFBNY: Tell us about the site redesign. What were your goals and how did your team deliver on them?

Eric Gillin: The main goal of the redesign was to turn Epicurious from a recipe database into the kind of content destination that home cooks want to visit every single day. The way we went about doing that is by being everywhere a home cook is, which meant responsive design with mobile tablet desktop. It meant big beautiful pictures. It also meant decluttering, to put a lot more focus on the amazing recipes that we’re known for, and a lot of the new content we’re doing. We hired a whole new editorial staff. We have a staff photographer, we have a test kitchen, and we’re really working very hard every day to deliver on that value promise editorially, as well as from a product perspective.

FBNY: What are some of those new content pieces?

Gillin: One of them is called Frankenrecipe, where we cook five different recipes and take the best parts of each so we have a Frankenrecipe for, say, cinnamon buns, and we take the topping from one, and the dough from the other, and the icing from a third, and we create the world’s greatest recipe out of that.

We had a piece of launch content that was hugely successful called ‘57 Things You Can Do to Be a Better Cook Right Now,’ and it’s that kind of service-driven approach. It’s really useful. We had a wonderful story about how to use a kitchen towel as a blender. Little things that, I think, if you like to cook at home, it gets you excited to be in the kitchen, and it’s one of those types of things where you say, ‘Wow! I didn’t know that.’

On the product side, we’re playing a lot with personalization. We’re going to be doing something for the Apple Watch, which is pretty exciting. We’re an agile shop so we’re rolling out improvements all the time whether they make a press release or not. Every single day that people come back to Epicurious it’s going to get better and better. We do have huge things ahead. I probably said too much with Apple Watch, but everyone knows that’s coming out and of course we’re going to be on it.

We also have a really wonderful kind of feature on the site right now called the ‘Food Forecast.’ The Weather Channel has enabled it using an amazing API called ‘Weather Effects’ that’s really powerful, and we were able to map some types of recipes to the weather so that when it’s cloudy out you get some snacks and pick-me-ups, and when it’s super cold out we have some nice warming chili and slow-cooked recipes for you.

FBNY: In your career, you’ve worked in both editorial and product management. What are some lessons you’ve learned that you’re applying to your current position?

Gillin: Sometimes as a product person you may want to get something done and kind of ignore the small details, but the editorial mindset maintains that high quality and really getting the little things right [matter]. So, I’ve always felt really good that I kind of understand what editors need, whether that’s a second line on a headline, or that the entire deck needs to be shown and you just can’t truncate it because it doesn’t quite fit the design. I really do apply an editorial mindset to product development so we can tell the kinds of stories we want to tell in the way we want to tell them, without those weird tradeoffs that might render something unreadable or unclear or just plain not fun. I do think I’ve been able to give that attention to detail to the product world.

FBNY: What’s your favorite thing to cook?

Gillin: My favorite thing to cook is this roast chicken dish. It’s a little complex and my wife has to leave the kitchen when I cook it, but it’s amazing. Basically you take a four-pound broiler chicken, fryer chicken. I like Kosher chicken for superstitious reasons, but organic is great too, and you debone it. And this is why my wife has to leave the room. You debone the whole thing, except for the wing joint, and what you’re left with is a really lovely breast and a really lovely deboned thigh and leg that is wrapped in skin. You can take a cast iron skillet and you can cook it on both sides for five minutes and then put it in a 450-degree oven and what you’re left with after 20 minutes is a super juicy chicken that you can cut straight into. It cooks really fast. [When I make it] everyone’s kind of blown away. They start to cut into it thinking that it’s got bones in it, and once they realize it has no bones… they’re just digging in like crazy. It’s really delicious.

FBNY: What’s your favorite New York City restaurant?

Gillin: My favorite one is Bianca, a locals’ joint. It’s on Bleecker and Bowery. A small grandma Italian place. It’s where my wife took me on our second or third date, and it’s her place. That’s why I love it so much. The menu has not changed in about eight years, 10 years. The prices are super cheap. I mean we’re talking, you can get yourself a great piece of salmon with garlicky spinach, and roast potatoes for $12 maybe, and George, who’s at the door, is the sweetest man ever. They’ll let you wait for a table next door and let you get a glass of wine at Von. It’s the kind of place that likes no muss, no fuss. It’s unheralded. It doesn’t show up on lists, but — I just gave you my secret so hopefully it won’t get too crowded.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Transcription furnished by:
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Categories: News

Fortune Adds Five, Promotes Five

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 21:00

Fortune has made five additions and promoted five staffers. New hires are first, followed by promotions.

Leena Rao is joining as senior writer. She comes to the magazine from Google Ventures. Prior to her time at Google Ventures, Rao was managing editor for TechCrunch. Matthew Heimer has also been named a senior editor. He most recently served a senior editor at MarketWatch. Kristen Bellstrom is yet another senior editor. Bellstrom comes to the magazine from Money, where she served as a senior editor. Robert Hackett has been named a writer for Fortune.com. Hackett most recently worked for the TED Conferences. Also joining Fortune.com is Christina Austin. She’ll serve as a producer.  Austin previously worked for Business Insider and The Huffington Post.

Promotions:

Adam Lashinsky has been promoted to assistant managing editor and editorial director of Brainstorm Tech. Roger Parloff has been named an editor-at-large.  Beth Kowitt has been promoted to senior writer. Anne VanderMey has been upped to associate editor. Erika Fry has been promoted to writer. Chris Tkaczyk has expanded his senior editor role to include managing franchise lists for the magazine and website.
Categories: News

Daily News Exploring Possibility of a Sale

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 20:30

The Financial Times article byline shows four names, reflecting just how big a media story this is. The New York Daily News, which has recently been refashioning itself in the mode of a MailOnline, Web-driven type enterprise, is on the auction block.

Mort Zuckerman, owner since 1993, has hired the firm of Lazard to gauge potential interest. From the report by Henny Sender in Berlin, James Fontanella-Khan, Matthew Garrahan and Gary Silverman:

One person close to the process said talks were at a preliminary stage and a sale was not guaranteed.
A spokesman for Mr. Zuckerman declined to comment. Lazard did not return a call requesting comment.

The FT crew got hold of the memo to Daily News staff from Zuckerman. Click over to the article to read, but essentially, in it, Zuckerman began by explaining that although he had not been in the market, a recent inquiry about interest in selling has led him to look into the possibility further.

The paper was founded in1919 and, per figures quoted by the reporters, is currently the seventh most read print daily in the U.S.

[Image via: lazard.com]
Categories: News

Justin Smith Talks Platforms, Print and More

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 20:15

Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith has shared some interesting thoughts on platforms, how Bloomberg relies on print and more. Below are some highlights from Digiday’s interview.

On publishers leaning too hard on outside platforms:

Publishers need to be extremely careful, but the solution is relatively simple. You need to embrace technology and data and make those a — if not the — central pillar of the business. That requires a talent and cultural shift that is massive. Publishers need to produce a more competitive product.

On how print fits into Bloomberg’s overall strategy:

It depends on the community. We’ll be building multiplatform brand families around Bloomberg Pursuits and Bloomberg Markets, and will likely do the same around others. We’re looking serious at technology. Obviously, that’s one where print might be a less likely choice.

On working with Michael Bloomberg:

He’s very intense and data-driven and demanding, but has a good sense of humor, which can break the ice in that intensity.

Categories: News

Veranda and CNBC Add to Teams

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 20:00

A couple Revolving Door items for you this afternoon, involving Veranda and CNBC.com. Details are below.

Veranda has named Deena Schacter luxury director and Katie Tomlinson home furnishings manager. Schacter most recently served as ad director for Glamour. Tomlinson joined Veranda last year from Marie Claire. Both Schacter and Tomlinson will report to Katie Brockman, Veranda’s associate publisher. Tom Anderson has joined CNBC.com as a personal finance writer and editor. He most recently freelanced for a variety of publications, including Forbes and Wired.
Categories: News

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