The big news in the media world is that Verizon has bought AOL for $4.4 billion, a 17 percent premium on Monday’s closing stock price. The big question for our purposes here is how the acquisition will affect AOL’s content properties, including The Huffington Post and TechCrunch. At least one reporter hears they might be spun out at a later date, possibly to German publisher Axel Springer, a company that owns many properties, like the German edition of Rolling Stone. “We’ve spoken to partners about content and scaling,” AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said. “Obviously we’ve seen a lot of interest in the content brands we have. So over the course of the summer, stay tuned.” Meanwhile, HuffPo poaches Jo Confino from The Guardian to be executive editor of the impact and innovation department, after Arianna Huffington found herself impressed with a panel Confino moderated at Davos…
Bradley Davis trades his digital editor of markets and finance spot at The Wall Street Journal for a business editor position at the Omaha World-Herald. The University of Nebraska graduate takes over for Deb Shanahan, who is getting bumped up to features editor… The Associated Press’ Amanda Myers leaves Washington for Los Angeles. She’ll focus on legal affairs at the L.A. bureau… The Washington Post recruits Time’s Emily Rauhala as a China correspondent… The Washington Examiner snags five more journalists: Pete Kasperowicz, David Brown, Barbara Boland, Nicole Duran and Ariel Cohen… Read More
TVNewser: Want to impress your friends during happy hour today? Here are five things to know about the big Verizon/AOL deal.
GalleyCat: If you want to alienate your friends during happy hour today, follow up that Verizon/AOL talk with this — the real name of J.K. Rowling’s Moaning Myrtle character is Myrtle Elizabeth Warren.
LostRemote: DirecTV’s Apple Watch app allows consumers to remotely operate their DVR, navigate the channel menu and more. As with all DirecTV tech, the app will not work when it’s raining.
After attending the New York premiere of HBO’s Bessie, Roger Friedman wrote that Queen Latifah as 1920s blues singer Bessie Smith “blows your mind.” Today, AP TV writer Frazier Moore seconds that notion, suggesting that Latifah “schools you with a bruising display of fierce drive, unstoppable talent and a gallery of personal demons.”
In other words, the pay cable movie premiering Saturday May 16 is set to change many people’s perceptions of the Queen, whose two-year syndicated talk show recently came to a quiet end. Here’s some more praise for Latifah, a.k.a. Dana Owens, from The Root editor-at-large Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D.:
Owens conveys Smith’s talent, strength and vulnerability in a tour de force performance that solidifies her place among the industry’s best actresses. Owens’ depth as an actress is on full display as she moves thoughtfully and intentionally through the story of Smith’s turbulent life, which was marked by scandal, despair, triumph and courage.
Smith was publicly bisexual at a time when women and men were tortured and jailed for engaging in same-sex relationships. Her unconventional approach to blues singing was reflected in her unconventional relationships with men and women who were intoxicated by her self-determination, yet threatened by her indomitable spirit.
Radar Online, as it has done before, has today posted some paparazzi photos of Latifah on the streets of New York in the company of Eboni Nichols. Bessie director Dee Rees, who is openly gay, described Smith’s sexuality this way in a recent interview with The Grio:
“I don’t think Bessie would necessarily consider herself a lesbian because Bessie existed in a time before there were so many labels,” Rees said. “She had relationships with both men and woman, and I wanted to show that she took everything case-by-case, even the people that she loved.”
An openly gay woman herself, Rees continued to reflect on Bessie’s progressive lifestyle. “I think Bessie, in her own way, was a radical feminist before there was a name for it. Bessie wasn’t actively trying to be a feminist, but she just loved who she wanted to love. She wanted the lovers but she also wanted the house and the kid and the picket fence— she wanted to have her cake and eat it too.”
An ugly chapter in Rolling Stone’s history is about to get a lot uglier.
Rolling Stone's pull quote decisions now fodder in defamation lawsuit pic.twitter.com/GjpS4fmymG
— Graham Moomaw (@gmoomaw) May 12, 2015
Per Richmond Times-Dispatch City Hall reporter Graham Moomaw, University of Virginia associate dean of students Nicola Eramo has filed a defamation lawsuit and is seeking $7.85 million in damages from Rolling Stone and “A Rape on Campus” author Sabrina Rubin Erdely. From Newsweek reporter Polly Mosendz’s report:
In the lawsuit, Eramo’s attorney writes: “Rolling Stone and Erdely’s highly defamatory and false statements about Dean Eramo were not the result of an innocent mistake; they were the result of a wanton journalist who was more concerned with writing an article that fulfilled her preconceived narrative about the victimization of women on American college campuses, and a malicious publisher who was more concerned about selling magazines to boost the economic bottom line for its faltering magazine, than they were about discovering the truth or actual facts.”
The lawsuit was filed in Charlottesville.
— Graham Moomaw (@gmoomaw) May 12, 2015
Eramo claims Rolling Stone said it would run her open letter in May issue, then "failed to do so without offering any explanation"
— Graham Moomaw (@gmoomaw) May 12, 2015
Small-business lodestar Inc. achieved profitability less than two years after its 1979 introduction, eagerly snatched up by small-business owners. The pub identified a need and filled it with service pieces on how to transform inspired ideas and innovative tendencies into a functioning, thriving business.
Those freelancers who are able to prove their stuff might just find themselves in a long-term, contractual relationship with the magazine. The place to look to break in is the “Tip Sheet,” section, which contains pieces that are “800 to 1,200 words, and offer solutions to problems vexing small businesses or highlight trends important to founders and startups.”
Alternatively, if you’re a data viz wizard, go for an infographic.
“We’re always looking for fresh, new ways to visually present data,” says [editor James] Ledbetter. “That’s a skill that some are very good at, but a lot of people don’t have.” A great example, which Ledbetter says ran in the May 2015 issue, depicted the impact of appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank, the hit reality TV show in which contestants attempt to get funding for their fledgling endeavors.
For more, read: How To Pitch: Inc.
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Newsday has promoted Ed Bushey to senior VP, general manager of Newsday Media Group. Bushey has been with Newsday since 1993, most recently serving as senior VP of audience and operations.
“Ed continues to impress me with his creative and innovative approaches to problem solving and his strong leadership abilities,” said Gordon McLeod, Newsday Media Group’s publisher, in a statement.
Bushey’s appointment is effective immediately.
On April 15, John Golden, who writes about food and restaurants for Maine Today under the blog name The Golden Dish, was instructed by the co-owner of new Portland restaurant The Honey Paw not to publish an article about his visit. But Golden went ahead with a May 1 posting, and now, all hell is breaking loose.
The journalist received an email last week telling him he was no longer welcome at The Honey Paw and two other Portland restaurants owned by the same group. And today, the Press-Herald has picked up this weird story. Weird, because the May 1 review of The Honey Paw that Golden shared was a rave:
Golden said he wasn’t surprised to receive the restaurateurs’ email, because they had given him an ultimatum, but he said the decision to ban him is “ridiculous.”
“[Arlin] Smith said to me, ‘We don’t want you to represent us,’ and I said, ‘I don’t represent anyone. That’s not what a critic is,’\" said Golden, who has also written for Downeast magazine, The New York Times, the Boston Globe and Gourmet, as well as the Maine Sunday Telegram.
In an interview at Hugo’s, [co-owners Andrew] Taylor and [Mike] Wiley said they regret that their disagreement with Golden has become public, but they stand by their decision.
\"We’re opening ourselves up to criticism,\" Taylor said. \"There will be people who are going to say, ‘What a bunch of jerks,’ but that’s not necessarily who we are. I’m sure there will be others in the industry who say, ‘Good for you.’ I don’t think we’re alone in thinking John Golden isn’t a particularly professional food writer for this town.\"
The paper spoke to a couple of legal and workplace experts, who are divided on whether the ban fits into the general ‘No Shoes; No Shirt; No Service’ privilege. The article also itemizes the trio of restaurateur’s issues with Golden’s earlier recent coverage.
While Verizon is busy hammering out the deal to buy AOL, AOL has been doing its own wheeling and dealing. Recode reports that AOL has been discussing spinning off The Huffington Post, with German media company Axel Springer the most interested.
If a deal is made, it will likely be a joint venture. If HuffPost is sold outright, it could fetch more than $1 billion.
AOL’s CEO Tim Armstrong did nothing to quiet the rumor of a spinoff. In fact, it seems every AOL site is up for grabs.
“We’ve spoken to partners about content and scaling,” Armstrong told Recode. “Obviously, we’ve seen a lot of interest in the content brands we have. So over the course of the summer, stay tuned.”
While The Boston Herald is supportive of Tom Brady’s balls, The New York Daily News and New York Post are not.
As for who said it best, we give the edge to the Daily News. The “Goodell Shows Some Sack on Deflategate” headline seals the victory because it’s gross and funny. Mostly gross.
On today’s front page, the paper has a new name for the PSI scandal: Inflate-Gate, a reference to what it believes is an excessive reprimand. Inside, the title of a famous Dostoeyevsky novel is tweaked for editorial purposes, under the headline “‘Crime’ and Punishment:”
The conclusions reached by NFL Executive Vice President Troy Vincent in his incredibly officious letters to the team and to Brady would be laughed out of court based on the evidence in hand. But Vincent clearly didn’t need evidence of wrongdoing; it was enough simply to call Brady a liar as he pretty much did.
\"The integrity of the game is of paramount importance to everyone in our league,\" Vincent insisted.
What about the integrity of a league that makes up rules and punishments as it goes along?
At press time, The Herald’s online readers are pretty much in agreement with the editorial board. A combined 68% of readers think the evidence was “too thin” and the NFL was “out to get” the Patriots.
Meanwhile, in the hometown of the team that was on the other side of those AFC Championship balls, Indianapolis Star sports columnist Gregg Doyel sits completely above the front-page fold today. His op-ed is titled “The Lesson: Cheaters Do Win” and begins:
He got away with it. Tom Brady did. So did the Patriots. They got away with it, all of them, because what they did was cheat the Colts in the AFC Championship.
[Front page image via: newseum.org
Prevention has named Courtney Murphy its creative director. Murphy most recently served as Good Housekeeping’s creative director.
During her time at Good Housekeeping, Murphy led the magazine’s team through two redesigns. She also won merit awards from the Society of Publication Designers (SPD) and two ASME nominations.
“What I love about Courtney is that she loves digital first thinking and has a journalistic bent,” Prevention’s editor, Bruce Kelley, said in a statement. “That’s in addition to being one of the top design talents in magazines, with an incredible eye and a keen understanding of our demo and brand.”
Can you hear me now? You’ve got takeover. In a stunning move, Verizon has purchased AOL for $4.4 billion. As part of the deal, AOL will become a subsidiary of Verizon. Tim Armstrong, AOL’s CEO, will continue to lead AOL after closing.
In a memo to AOL staffers, Armstrong did his best to make it sound good for all involved:
I have been a buyer of AOL over the last 5 years – and that is an investment in one thing – our talent. We have reviewed every hire coming into the company over the last 5 years and we have taken extraordinary risks and faced extraordinary challenges over the last 5 years. There is nothing more meaningful than watching our team turn-around this great company and restoring it to growth when most people had left it for dead.
Your job and what you do on a daily basis should be enhanced by the market opportunity this deal is targeted to capture. The simple answer to the question of ‘what does this mean for you?’ should be, ‘I just got more resources, more support and more growth opportunity.’
Of course everything is more “simple” when you’re the CEO. We highly doubt AOL staffers share Armstrong’s excitement.
LostRemote: Comcast is sponsoring Taylor Swift’s tour. Concert attendees can expect delays, subpar service and rude treatment.
TVSpy: Awkward, live interviews make for fun TV.
LostRemote: American Idol is finally ending. We never thought we’d see the day.
Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic’s long-running ESPN Radio show Mike & Mike is getting a change of scenery. But the switch won’t be implemented until the Monday after next year’s Super Bowl.
From today’s announcement:
Being located directly above ABC’s Good Morning America studio will allow for a wider variety of in-studio voices from the world of entertainment and pop culture for Mike & Mike as the shows work together on bookings. GMA contributors will also appear when opportunities arise – for example, Robin Roberts on sports, GMA legal analyst Ryan Smith discussing legal matters or ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee on weather impacting sports.
When appropriate, Golic and Greenberg will appear on GMA. The production teams will work together to create content for both shows as news dictates. The backdrop of the new set will highlight the vibrancy of New York City, which will be shown regularly during bumps.
According to ESPN, the four-hour weekday program gets more than 4.6 million viewers and 4.2 million terrestrial listeners per week. See you soon, Mke and Mike!