Backed by a booming digital real estate business, News Corp reported a five percent increase in revenue for the fourth quarter compared to last year.
In its earnings report, News Corp said overall revenue jumped from $2.12 billion last year to $2.23 billion. That was thanks in large part to the company’s real estate business, which saw revenue jump 21 percent, to $229 million.
Another bright spot for News Corp was its book publishing unit, which includes the powerhouse HarperCollins. Revenue at the division increased by 11 percent, to $433 million.
Ahead of Gawker Media’s bankruptcy auction next week, the company’s editorial staffers are urging the eventual new owners to respect its union contract.
Last summer, Gawker staffers overwhelmingly voted to join the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Now, with an impending sale looming, the company’s staffers have said a good relationship with new owners is only possible under the terms of that contract.
“This contract, the product of much painstaking work, is the framework under which we have all agreed to work for a period of three years,” read the Gawker statement. “We have no desire or inclination to work under terms other than our existing union contract. We wish to state as clearly as possible that it would be a profound mistake for any buyer to try to alter or renegotiate the terms of our contract in any way. We know that this message has been communicated to all potential buyers, and we trust that they will take it to heart in order to maintain a happy, productive, and functional workplace. We look forward to building a constructive relationship of mutual respect with the new owners. This can only happen under the terms of our union contract.”
With roughly three months left until the election, the New York Times is dialing up its coverage with the launch of a new politics podcast.
The Run-Up, airing twice a week, is hosted by Times national political reporter Michael Barbaro. Each episode will cover the latest news and interviews with Times politics reporters, opinion columnists and more.
New episodes of The Run-Up will air every Tuesday and Friday. The show’s debut—which discusses Hillary Clinton’s odds of winning—is available now.
You cannot blame Josh Topolsky for trying. That’s exactly what he’s doing with the upcoming launch of his new site, The Outline. He’s trying.
In an interview with Poynter, Topolsky attempted to explain what will set The Outline apart from the deluge of similar sites. While he didn’t exactly do that, he did show that he has his sights set high.
When asked how The Outline would cover the film The Avengers, Topolsky suggested writers might see if there’s a connection between the movie, its ideals and the rise of Donald Trump. Sure, that’s not an original idea, but it gives you some context for The Outline’s focus.
As for inspiration, Topolsky cited two great magazines: The New Yorker and New York.
“What they do is say, ‘What can I say that’s interesting here? What story can I tell that no one has told before?'” said Topolsky. “Those are the areas of focus and interest. And that certainly does not mean to me and to any of the people I’m working with that you play the same game that everyone else is playing. And that, for us, is the challenge every day: How do you be interesting? How do you make them curious, how do you engage them?”
As anyone in media will tell you, those are two, very big and puzzling questions.
Fox News parent 21st Century Fox has begun settlement talks with Gretchen Carlson, who is suing former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment.
While that by itself is not surprising, some details from a Vanity Fair report are. First off, 21st Century Fox wants Ailes to pay at least a portion of the settlement out of his own pockets. You wouldn’t think Ailes would go for that, considering he has denied all the accusations. And that leads us to the tapes.
The push for a settlement stems from several audio tapes recorded by women in conversation with Ailes. Judging by what Ailes has been accused of so far—harassing more than 20 women, hiring investigators to track journalists—we imagine whatever is on those tapes is quite damning.
If there’s no deal and the lawsuit goes to trial, things will get even more messy for 21st Century Fox than they already are. It’s quite possible that other Fox News execs, who likely knew about Ailes’ harassment and didn’t do anything, could go down too.
Ironic, isn’t it? Ailes, the very man who created the Fox News empire, could be the same man who tears the whole thing apart.
The Financial Times has named John Kundert chief technical officer. He most recently served as the FT’s director of platforms.
Kundert worked for the FT from 2002 to 2005, then rejoined the company in 2012. He previously worked for UK-based eLoyalty.
“John has a long track-record at the FT of delivering ground-breaking digital solutions,” said FT chief product and information officer Cait O’Riordan, in a statement. “His FT domain knowledge, together with his experience at a leading startup commercialising data, will be invaluable as we embrace the challenges of tomorrow.”
Eighty seconds. That’s how long it took last week for the Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole to discuss and deny the possible parole of Thomas Blanton Jr., the last surviving member of a group of Ku Klux Klansmen responsible for a 1963 Birmingham, Ala. church bombing that killed four teenage black girls.
Eighty years. That’s the mark retired AP reporter Jim Purks will reach later this month . In the wake of the parole hearing, Montgomery Advertiser columnist Alvin Benn touched base with Purks to revisit a famous Sept. 15, 1963 item about the church devastation and aftermath. The article is considered a journalistic bellwether of the U.S. Civil Rights era:
Purks wasn’t a veteran journalist by any means that Sunday morning, but the article he wrote about reaction to the bombing reached an audience that stretched around the world.
It captured the moment as few experienced journalists could have matched, and Jim was floored by the reaction of his top editors in New York.
“Nice job by Purks,” it read. Only four words, but they conveyed the appreciation of those familiar with outstanding writing under deadline pressures.
What makes Benn’s column especially memorable is that he and Purks are longtime friends. It started with Benn, as a young military man and army journalist, ripping Purks’ piece off the teletype machine while stationed in Okinawa. Once back in the U.S., he worked for UPI in Alabama, competing with Purks for the same scoops.
Up until 2013, Purks worked as an ordained deacon at a church in Albany, Ga. Benn’s column ends with a scan of the original 1963 article. At the time, many residents, because of the ongoing civil strife and acts of violence, referred to their hometown as “BOMBingham.”
With the completion of a course held in late July in Turin, Italy, the organization RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues) has now trained 288 journalists and photographers on how to optimally handle the challenges of conflict journalism.
Vice contributor Daniel Tepper, who is based part of the year in Turin and took the RISC course in 2013, spent time at this latest session and has filed an instructive look at what’s involved. For the piece, he gathered the thoughts of photographers Federico Rios (Colombia), Andrew Esiebo (Nigeria) and Gabriele Micalizzi (Italy), as well as those of RISC head instructor Sawyer Alberi, who calls rural Vermont home. Says Alberi:
“These journalist have been gassed, they’ve been shot at. I’ve been counting and I think there’s a 22 percent rate of kidnapped people in the course. You don’t get that in the average outdoor education class, it adds a different element to it. It also inspires me to do the best work that I possibly can for these journalists because they are putting their lives on the line for this.”
The RISC course begins with several days of first-aid education and ends with a full-scale, all-out drill that uses many gallons of fake blood to mimic combat conditions. Just ten days before the RISC course, Micalizzi was hit by mortar fire while traveling in a vehicle in Libya and her fixer was injured. Tepper’s piece features some good photos, which can be seen here.
Photo via: Instagram
The location in San Francisco where 20-year-old university student Calvin Riley was shot and killed Saturday night is a few dozen blocks from the headquarters of Niantic Inc. Although the developers of Pokémon Go bear only, at most, incidental responsibility for this senseless murder, the role played by the game in such situations is once again being debated.
For today’s San Francisco Examiner cover story, reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez spoke with Patricia Hernandez, deputy editor of Gawker Media videogame news site Kotaku. She noted that one of the reasons people like Riley are out at night playing the game is that it is only then that certain nocturnal pocket monsters can be caught:
Hernandez also noted that Pokémon Go’s outrageous popularity – reaching more than 100 million downloads on the Android app store in just a month – raises its own questions about Niantic’s responsibility to players.
“It’s also this sort of funny thing where, if literally everyone is playing the game, Pokémon Go becomes almost incidental to some crimes” and incidents, she said.
The story of Riley’s murder has been picked up nationally by various outlets, starting with UPI, The Guardian and the Boston Globe. Riley, originally from Lowell, Mass., was set to begin his sophomore year at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton. He reportedly ventured into San Francisco Saturday night with a friend to play Pokémon Go, though it’s not yet clear whether he was doing so at the time of the shooting.
Slate Group has named Jason Santa Maria design director. He most recently served as executive design director for Vox Media.
Santa Maria previously worked for Typekit and is the founder of the publishing imprint A Book Apart.
“Jason is a leader in defining the way the modern web is built,” said Slate Group vice chairman Dan Check, in a statement. “Beyond that, he’s built powerful systems that allow editors to produce beautiful, unique work. We’re thrilled to have him elevating and strengthening Slate’s visual identity in the increasingly complex world of digital journalism.”
Reportedly, a social news site that launched in 2014, is suspending all operations effective August 31.
Reportedly editor and founder Andy Carvin said the reason for the suspension was that First Look Media, which launched Reportedly and funded it, has decided to part ways with the site.
“Our future beyond August 31 is unknown,” wrote Carvin, in a note to readers. “The team would love to find a new home for reported.ly, but we recognize the challenges that await us. Over the coming days and weeks, we’re going to explore our options, including re-establishing reported.ly at another news outlet or creating our own independent entity. Either solution would require the necessary funding for our work to continue; otherwise the team will have no choice but to go our separate ways.”
Atlantic Media has promoted Kevin Turpin from senior vp for strategy and operations to president of National Journal.
Turpin joined Atlantic Media in 2005. He’s succeeding Poppy MacDonald, who is leaving National Journal to join Politico.
“I have the utmost confidence that, as President of National Journal, Kevin will continue to build on our already impressive suite of products to ensure that we serve our members and clients to the highest degree possible,” wrote Atlantic Media president Michael Finnegan, in a note to staffers.
NBCUniversal has signed a deal with Snapchat to create original programming for the app. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Snapchat programs will be extensions from NBC staples like SNL and The Voice.
The first Snapchat show from NBC will be The Voice on Snapchat, featuring user-submitted performances judged by Voice coaches. Another show airing exclusively on Snapchat will be The Rundown, from E! News.
Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales at NBCU, told the Journal that NBC wanted this deal because Snapchat is part of every young person’s daily routine. That is simultaneously 100 percent true and completely confusing.
The spine of John Oliver‘s latest piece is the company formally known as Tribune Publishing.
There’s a great clip of Sam Zell speaking to the staff of the Orlando Sentinel, a couple of suggestions from Oliver of what the word Tronc sounds like and a clever callback of the Zell remark about puppies and Iraq in Stoplight, the spoof trailer of Spotlight with Jason Sudeikis that caps it all off.
Oliver samples a portion of that infamous, recent Tronc introductory video and also mocks a Tronc graphic. But perhaps the funniest part of the whole thing is when the spoof trailer showcases, split-screen, a group of reporters tasked with uncovering City Hall corruption. The number quickly dwindles from four to one as one clarifies they’ve taken the buyout, another explains that she works on social media strategy and a third reveals she has been replaced by a Tronc-like robotic agent.
In a cheeky further comment on the viral and social media funnel that is today’s journalism, Oliver has got the hashtag #investifarted gathering steam on Twitter. Watch the piece to learn where that came from.
Gawker Media is in talks with Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea to potentially reach a settlement over the $140 million ruling imposed by a Florida judge in March.
Since the ruling, both Gawker and its founder Nick Denton have filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy auction for Gawker—set for August 16—will go on even if a settlement is reached.
If a deal is brokered it could leave Gawker and Denton with some cash after the company is sold. As for Bollea, a settlement would be a way to cash out quickly, as he likely can’t collect until after the bankruptcy and appeals process plays out.
Despite news of the talks, a Gawker rep was unmoved.
“We’ve been hearing these rumblings many times over the years when the judge ordered settlement discussions, and you know where we are now despite that,” the company said, in a statement.
Just in case you needed further evidence that former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes is not a good person, New York reports that he used company money to spy on journalists that had covered him.
Ailes allegedly had what he called the “black room,” an office at News Corp’s headquarters which he used to conduct negative PR and surveillance campaigns against those he saw as his enemies.
Ailes’ targets included John Cook and Hamilton Nolan of Gawker and Joe Lindsley, the former editor of Ailes’ local paper, the Putnam County News and Recorder. Gabriel Sherman, the New York reporter who broke this and many other Ailes stories, was also followed by Ailes’ henchmen.
Through a lawyer, Ailes said these allegations were “totally false.” We know of at least 20 women who probably think otherwise.
A couple Revolving Door items for you this morning, involving The Wall Street Journal and ESPN. Details are below.Tim Higgins has joined the Journal as a reporter covering auto and tech. He most recently worked for Bloomberg. Darren Rovell, a sports business reporter for ESPN, has renewed his contract. He rejoined ESPN in 2012 from CNBC. He previously worked for ESPN from 2000 to 2006.
His name is Steeve Mackaya. He came to the U.S. from Gabon in 2013, lives in a homeless shelter Uptown and sells copies of the New York dailies each weekday morning from 5:30 to 8:30 a.m. at an informal street perch in Chelsea.
In this Sunday’s New York Times, Metro section writer John Leland and photographer Moshe Katvan highlight the most striking aspect of this street vendor’s M.O.: a scintillating collection of suits. Katvan struck up an instant connection with Mackaya (whose name is typoed in the paper as Steve Malek); a bout with polio as a child has left the African native wheelchair-bound. At one point, Katvan hosted Mackaya at the photographer’s apartment:
Mr. Mackaya spoke loftily about the need for justice and dignity, and about how these were absent from his New York experience so far, especially in the homeless shelter. “We fled from the rain to avoid getting wet,” Mr. Malek said, speaking into a recording app on Mr. Katvan’s smartphone. “And we landed in the ocean.”
Mackaya keeps his collection of suits at a friend’s apartment, since the items cannot be housed at the homeless shelter. Meanwhile, on Katvan’s website, one of the Fine Art Portfolios shared is called “New York in Black and White.” Those 33 shots, a couple of which feature newspaper readers, further capture the unique spirit of the city.
P.S. For those who would like to directly support Mackeya’s efforts, he can be found at the southeast corner of 23rd Street and 6th Avenue.