Google is expanding its virtual reality empire with the launch of Daydream, a platform that will feature content from a variety of media outlets and more.
Daydream is expected to launch later this year, with “Daydream ready” smartphones, controllers and headsets.
According to The Verge, initial Daydream media partners include Lionsgate, USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, the NBA and MLB.
The geographical elements of the Sasha Frere-Jones Los Angeles Times scandal – a Las Vegas strip club, Joshua Tree, the 2016 Coachella Music and Arts Festival – are gonzo-worthy. Add in a phantom rapper, a fellow writer’s emphatic pleas for personal-expense reimbursement and some apparent resentment among SFJ’s Spring Street confreres of the privileges that came with his reporting directly to managing editor S. Mitra Kalita and, well, you wind up with our headline pun.
Let’s start with the Dom Perignon-sponsored April junket, which Frere-Jones was initially supposed to cover but then backed out of. Although he may have been guilty of bending a few L.A. Times rules by accepting the invitation, the event is quite honestly nothing out of the ordinary.
In addition to the 1998 P2 tasting in the Joshua Tree desert (for which Frere-Jones would have been helicoptered in), the three-day event included deluxe accommodation at a hotel in Rancho Mirage, a swanky dinner at the John Lautner-designed Elrod House in Palm Springs and more. Among those who did the Dom Perignon dirty was Blouin Info lifestyle editor Michelle Tay – check out her report and slide show here.
The Vegas details are a little harder to evaluate. On Twitter, Frere-Jones recently followed Kendrick Lamar, so perhaps the alleged $5,000 strip club expense reimbursement request – a round-dollar amount which typically, at places like Sapphire and Spearmint Rhino, is racked up by VIP groups of 10 – was pinned to the “The Blacker the Berry” artist.
Certainly, from our point of view, the gonzo high point of all this has to be that phone call or email exchange. As relayed by TheWrap’s Itay Hood:
Asked to explain [the $5,000], Frere-Jones said he was writing an article about a rapper. But according to the insider, the rapper’s representatives told the paper that no interview had taken place.
Think about that for a moment. An editor or accounting person at the Times called a major rapper’s representatives and asked along the lines of, ‘Hey, we just wanted to double check something…’ It’s likely that Frere-Jones’ cred with this artist instantly went through the roof.
Finally, if SFJ was willing to try and expense 5K in Vegas entertainment, one wonders why he didn’t also go for the Coachella Uber copter, rather than reportedly barter for free transportation with a potential article subject. All in all, this series of events is the craziest thing to happen to the L.A. Times music department since Devon Maloney explained her reasons for leaving last fall.
P.S. The tweet above is one of about a half-dozen SFJ darts lofted this week by Ortberg, a writer for The Toast, about imaginary monies owed. Which of course just makes it all the more gonzo-perfect.
When syracuse.com recently summarized a list of winners at the Syracuse Press Club’s annual awards banquet, they led with a mention of their own Tim Knauss (pictured). The longtime Syracuse Post-Standard reporter, who covers government and public spending, received the Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award.
However, syracuse.com left out one important detail with regards to Knauss. For that, we turn to a report today by the Syracuse New Times:
Knauss began his April 30 speech at the Syracuse Press Club awards dinner by asking how many copy editors were in the room. He was surprised when more than three people raised their hands…
He spoke briefly about the challenge of doing journalism with fewer copy editors as a safety net and less time to report important stories. Knauss abruptly ended his speech when he could no longer hold back tears.
The New Times goes on to explain that the Post-Standard, currently published in print three times a week, will see those Syracuse Media Group print operations relocated to an Advance Local plant in Edison, N.J. in late June. As a result, a number of editor, page designer and graphic artist positions are expected to be lost.
The email to Post-Standard staff about this decision was sent May 4, the Wednesday immediately following the Saturday during which Knauss delivered his abbreviated remarks. And the week of the Syracuse Press Club Awards, another Advance Local paper, Pennsylvania’s Harrisburg Patriot-News, completed a similar move.
The award won by Knauss was first handed out in 1978. Its namesake Selwyn Kershaw is a past Syracuse Press Club president and copy editor at the Syracuse Herald-Journal.
Image via: Twitter
She’ll be back to dine and dish at 55th and 5th next week. In the meantime, here are some recent columns to chew on:
Three executives have departed Forbes Media in the past few weeks.
The New York Post reports Fred Poust, Bruce Upbin and Wendy Furrer Egan have all left the company to pursue other opportunities.
Poust served as senior vp of conferences; Upbin as vp and managing editor of technology; and Furrer Egan as senior director of editorial publicity.
A Forbes spokesperson told the Post, “We’re in the process of identifying candidates to fill those positions. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve added more than 30 employees.”
Vice President Joe Biden (dammit Joe, why didn’t you run??) and Hunter Biden are Popular Mechanics’ latest cover stars.
Inside the special issue on fatherhood, the pair discuss the bond between a man and his kids and the lessons they have learned from each other.
In the interview, Joe explained that his focus on family extends to everyone who works with him:
We have an expression in our family: If you have to ask for help, it’s too late. We’re there for each other. I have a rule for every single staff member who’s ever worked for me in forty-two years: If you ever come to work when your kid has an important function, no matter what you’re doing for me—if you ever show up for me and you miss your wife’s birthday or your husband’s birthday or your kid’s thing, don’t work for me. And I mean it. That is the God’s truth. I can swear on my word as a Biden.
The June issue of Popular Mechanics is on newsstands now.
Reuters has named Kevin Krolicki regional editor of the Americas. He most recently held the same role on an interim basis.
Krolicki has been with Reuters since 1996. During his time with the company, he has served as a producer and bureau chief for the West Coast, Detroit, Japan and—more recently—Washington.
“Throughout his 20-year career at Reuters, Kevin has demonstrated exceptional news judgment and leadership skills,” wrote Reuters editor in chief Steve Adler, in a memo. “He has a deep understanding of the Americas region—our market, clients, bureaus and the stories that matter most—that will stand us in good stead as we move forward together.”
During Time Inc.’s Investor Open House, CEO Joe Ripp discussed a variety of subjects, including the publisher’s rumored interest in Yahoo.
While it seems now that the group led by Warren Buffett and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is in the lead to acquire Yahoo, for a few weeks there was plenty of talk that Time Inc. was all in, too.
Ripp wouldn’t confirm or deny the rumors. Instead he said they were all part of the game.
“The reality is, Yahoo is one of those large media properties that only comes along every so often,” said Ripp, according to WWD. “I used to run AOL and I know an awful lot about the Yahoo business, so I suspect a lot of the media speculation was around that because of the experience I had running the AOL business.”
Then, in a tipping-of-the-hand moment, Ripp added “Yahoo lacks good content. We can prove that.”
“A lot of the digital properties don’t make a nickel,” continued Ripp. “People are starting to realize that.”
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the Tico Times, an English-language weekly launched in Costa Rica under the tutelage of a veteran New York journalist. Elisabeth “Betty” Dyer had wound up in the country, with a young daughter in tow, after husband Richard Dyer traded the life of a reporter for a PR position with United Fruit Company.
From today’s look-back:
A group of Lincoln School seniors asked Dyer to teach them about journalism. Her response? She urged them to learn by doing, and the result was the first edition of the paper, published on May 18, 1956 with a newsstand price of ¢1.
Betty had been a trailblazer in New York journalism as the “first woman rewrite man” and p.m. editor for the New York Post, covering traditionally male beats including crime, labor and politics. Richard’s journalism career had included stints as the news editor of the Oakland Post-Enquirer in California and the AP assistant bureau chief in Río de Janeiro.
The couple’s aforementioned daughter, Derry, would grow up to become editor and publisher of the Tico Times. The print side of things faded away in the fall o2 2012, undone by the disappearance of U.S. housing boom money and some poor decisions. But with the help of an Indiegogo campaign, the paper was reborn as a small, online outlet and keeps going today.
Another anniversary remembrance, from Derry, retraces the evolution of the paper’s print circulation department and the growth of the paper’s U.S.-Canada subscriber base. Derry’s letter is a reminder of just how logicistically different the newspaper business used to be.
Time Inc. is betting on digital celebrities with the launch of Instant, a mobile-only video platform. Instant will feature video about and by what Time Inc. calls “The New Famous,” which is just another way to describe people who are famous on the internet but not in real life.
People, Entertainment Weekly and HelloGiggles are the initial launch partners of Instant. The platform’s content—short, shareable videos called “Instants”—will have a heavy presence across those brands’ sites and social media accounts. Instant will be supported by branded content.
The platform will be led by editorial director Kirstin Benson, who joins from WhoSay. Benson will report to Will Lee, head of digital editorial for People and Entertainment Weekly.
Instant is expected to launch next month.
The New York Times has named Elizabeth Spayd its new public editor. Spayd comes to the paper from The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), where she served as editor and publisher since 2014.
Prior to her time at CJR, Spayd was the managing editor for The Washington Post.
“Liz is an exceptionally accomplished journalist,” said Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., in a statement. “Her work at CJR along with her long and successful history at The Washington Post have given her a broad range of experiences that will serve us well as she assumes this critical position serving as a reliable and engaged representative of our readers.”
Spayd succeeds Margaret Sullivan, who is joining WaPo as a media columnist.
Fusion makes a couple of moves on the revenue side, grabbing former Teen Vogue publisher Jason Wagenheim and Studio@Gawker director Megan Gilbert. Wagenheim will be senior vp of brand partnerships and head of revenue and Gilbert the director of branded content for sponsored content studio Lightworks. “Jason’s leadership and Megan’s valuable experience in branded content will enable us to deepen our relationships with brands seeking to reach young, diverse audiences. Through compelling storytelling and innovative advertising formats, our team will provide differentiated opportunities for brand partners who are eager to connect with the new, rising American mainstream where and when they consume content,” said Fusion co-president and COO Boris Gartner…
The New York Times installs Allan Beaufour as senior vice president of engineering. He had been head of engineering at healthcare startup Sum and previously served as chief technology officer at Chartbeat, the analytics company whose numbers run constantly on monitors in most newsrooms… The NYT is also close to naming a new public editor, with Debra Adams Simmons and Elizabeth Spayd among the names floating around to replace Margaret Sullivan, who jumped to The Washington Post… Sasha Frere-Jones loses his music critic gig at the Los Angeles Times, possibly because of a $5,000 strip club bill and possibly because he only wrote 45 stories in a span of about eight months. “He just was never there,” a source tells TheWrap. “He didn’t even cover the big cultural music events of the year.”… And there are changes at CNN, Us Weekly and more…
It’s been a good spring for Tomáš Princ. In April, he won the Best Blog prize at the Czech Republic’s annual Magnesia Litera Awards. And last week, he posted the 1,000th entry on Humans of Prague, a city chronicle with a format inspired by Humans of New York.
During a local radio interview, Princ told Ruth Fraňková that he hopes to put the Magnesia prize money towards a book version of the blog. He also recalled the existential way the project began:
Do you still remember the first person you portrayed?
“It was not the first I published but it was the first person I approached, and I published it later. It was a man standing on a railway bridge at Výtoň and he was staring down on the river. I asked him, ‘What are you thinking about?’ And he answered, ‘I am thinking about what I will do tomorrow.'”
Princ says another inspiration for Humans of Prague was documentary filmmaker Jan Špáta, who traveled across the country in the 1960s and asked people to reveal their biggest wish. On Humans of New York’s Countries section, there is no trip to Eastern Europe documented (yet).
Business Insider has named Oliver Darcy its politics editor. Darcy most recently served as deputy managing editor for The Blaze.
Darcy had been with The Blaze since 2013. He was named deputy managing editor in 2015. He previously worked as a senior reporter for Campus Reform.
Darcy’s appointment is effective June 6.
Steve Brandano is a producer on The Howard Stern Show as well as a sketch artist. Recently, on the New York subway, he photographed and drew this person:
It turns out the individual Brandano sketched is The Verge Snapchat producer Kirsten Fisina, who runs a pair of channels on the App, Verge and Fluxintime. How do we know all this? Because in the Instagram comments, semi-retired media watcher Jim Romenesko let Brandano know that’s who had had drawn. And then via Twitter, Romenesko passed the the finished product on to Fisina.
Check out Fisina’s Twitter feed for more fun anecdotal info about her atypical G Train experience. And way to go, Romenesko!
Image via Instagram
In the summer of 2013, veteran New York Times journalist Alexei Barrionuevo exited the paper for an unusual new destination: the world of EDM. Here’s what he told The Observer at the time:
“It was a very tough decision, but I decided to resign to pursue a documentary series exploring the origins of electronic dance music and the rise of superstar DJs. I had been itching to do this project for a while and it was consuming more and more of my free time so I had to decide whether to drop it – or take a chance,” Mr. Barrionuevo wrote in an email.
The resulting documentary, Waiting for the Drop, was completed in late 2015 and it is now time for Barrionuevo to move on to his next professional adventure. He’s joining the Los Angeles office of leading crisis PR firm Sitrick and Company. From today’s announcement:
After six years at the Wall Street Journal, he joined The New York Times in Chicago in 2005, where he served as a financial correspondent and covered the criminal trial of Enron executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. He then was based in Brazil for four years, where he was the Southern Cone bureau chief for the paper, overseeing coverage of five countries in South America. Upon his return to New York, he wrote a column about global high-end real estate.
“I am thankful for the fascinating life journalism gave me, but I am excited to have an opportunity to use my knowledge and varied experiences in a challenging new arena,” Mr. Barrionuevo said.
Not to mention share, with his new West Coast co-workers, some very hip digital playlists.
Image via: waitingforthedrop.com
Bloomberg has announced a new, two-day conference featuring CEOs, investors and government officials called the Bloomberg Breakaway Summit.
The conference, held May 24 and 25, will be anchored by the summit, which will address three core subjects — leadership, finance and innovation.
Speakers at the Breakaway Summit include Michael Bloomberg, Austin Texas mayor Steve Adler, Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Sam’s Club senior vp Tracy Brown and many more.
For more info on the sold-out Bloomberg Breakaway Summit, click through.
MarketWatch.com has hired Dan Shar as general manager. Shar previously served as general manager, head of digital for Maxim.
Prior to his time with Maxim, Shar worked for Condé Nast for more than a decade, serving as vp of revenue operations, vp and general manager of Fairchild Fashion Media and more.
“He [Shar] joins at an exciting time for MarketWatch, with a new look and feel under development, new digital projects in the pipeline, and audience growing,” wrote Dow Jones Media executive vp and publisher Almar Latour, in a memo.