Fortune has published its second annual Unicorn List, which features private companies valued at $1 billion or more. That means your daughter’s lemonade stand did not make the cut. Next year, maybe.
Leading The Unicorn List is Uber, valued at a whopping $62 billion. Below is the top 10.
1. Uber ($62 billion)
2. Xiaomi ($46 billion)
3. Airbnb ($25.5 billion)
4. Palantir ($20.5 billion
5. Didi Kuaidi ($16 billion)
6. Snapchat ($16 billion)
7. China Internet Plus ($15 billion)
8. Flipkart ($15 billion)
9. SpaceX ($12 billion)
10. Pinterest ($11 billion)
Al Jazeera America is cutting 197 staffers as a result of it shutting down operations. The Huffington Post reports that the layoffs will take place between April 13 and April 30. April 30 is the official date of Al Jazeera America’s closure.
Al Jazeera Media Group announced early this month that it was closing Al Jazeera America after less than three years due to financial struggles.
“The decision that has been made is in no way because AJAM has done anything but a great job,” wrote CEO Al Anstey, in a memo to staffers at the time.
Upworthy, the news and entertainment site founded by Eli Pariser and Peter Koechley in 2012, has a new look. Here’s the old Upworthy logo:
And starting today, two versions of the revamped logo:
Upworthy vp of marketing Jenn Lindenauer said a new logo was neccessary because the site had changed since it launched. Upworthy now features more original reporting and video offerings.
“We wanted the Upworthy logo to be more,” explained Lindenauer. “Upworthy: positive and lively, engaging and innovative, and ever-focused on our bedrock mission of changing what people pay attention to. After looking at lots of different options that were terrific but not quite #Upworthy, we landed here.”
We have to be honest, we like the old logo better. But we don’t own Upworthy and to each his/her own.
It’s worth noting that if you listen to the entire Allegedly podcast that got this whole mini-media feud started, Heather McDonald was actually quite fair about her former boss, Chelsea Handler. While she made a couple of remarks that were widely disseminated, she more often complimented her seven-years E! colleague and acknowledged Handler’s right to run things as the host saw fit.
McDonald also revealed on that Jan. 19 podcast that when Chelsea Lately’s run was abruptly ended, she and the other writers got the short end of the contract stick. While other staffers received severance packages, she says the writers on WGA contract did not.
Today, on her weekly podcast, McDonald starts off by responding to the criticism leveled at her by Handler via Howard Stern and Jenny McCarthy’s SiriusxXM programs on Tuesday. From the top of today’s episode of Scoop With Heather McDonald:
“I have never exchanged stories with Us Weekly or any other publication about Chelsea Handler or any other celebrities, in exchange for them running photos of me. This never happened…”
“I’m an honest person. If you listen to this podcast, I have an amazing memory and I am brutally honest.”
From there, McDonald does a fun riff with guest Amy Phillips about this topic, with the pair respectively adopting the personas of Real Housewives Bethenny Frankel and Ramona Singer.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Chelsea Handler Fires Back at Heather McDonald
In what seems like a regular thing now, Gawker Media is getting sued. According to The New York Post, Ashley Terrill is suing Gawker, editor John Cook and writer Sam Biddle for libel. She’s seeking $10 million in damages.
According to Terrill’s suit, she had suspicions that her computer had been hacked while she was working on a story about sexual harassment at Tinder. A friend suggested that Gawker might be able to help, so she sought out Cook and Biddle. All three allegedly made an agreement to keep the material and Terrill’s identity confidential.
Instead, the suit claims, Gawker later published their own Tinder story and featured Terrill’s name often. Gawker’s piece also claimed Terrill was engaging in “character assassination” of Whitney Wolfe, a Tinder co-founder.
Terrill alleges that Biddle went back on his word because he had a relationship with Wolfe and another Tinder staffer.
A Gawker spokesperson told the Post that Terrill’s suit was “frivolous,” but Gawker had to bring on an investor just to help with its legal fight with Hulk Hogan, so another lawsuit should probably be described in any other way than that.
National Geographic Partners—a company created when 21st Century Fox expanded its ownership of National Geographic—has named Claudia Malley chief marketing and brand officer and John Campbell senior vice president.
Malley was previously executive vp, global corporate partnerships for National Geographic Society. She joined the company in 2003.
Campbell was previously vp, global partnerships and publisher of National Geographic. He joined the company in 2007.
The tagline of daily newspaper Juneau Empire reads: ‘The Voice of Alaska’s Capital Since 1912.’
At the top of its 104th year, the paper has shared some exciting staffing news. Two promotions, one of which involves a Columbia University Master’s in Journalism alum:
Emily Russo Miller, who has been with the Empire for five years as its cops and courts reporter, during which time she was the newsroom’s most decorated reporter, will lead the Empire’s reporting team as deputy editor… Miller, a native of York, Pa., joined the Juneau Empire in 2011 from the Roswell Daily Record in New Mexico.
Very impressive. In the same post, the Empire also announced that managing editor Charles Westmoreland is adding director of audience to his duties. Miller’s recent articles can be found here.
It was a bustling scene at Michael’s today with the media mob out in full force. Among the sea of usual suspects, I spotted the late arriving and charmingly scruffy Michael Sheen settling in for lunch with ICM’s Adam Schweitzer on Table Three, but I think I was the only one who noticed. Perhaps that’s because the fabulous actor currently starring as Dr. William Masters on Masters of Sex looked nothing like the bowtied sexpert he plays on the Showtime series. That’s why they call it acting, folks.
I was joined today by Kate Lewis, senior vice president, content operations and editorial director at Hearst Magazines Digital Media and yet another member of Hearst’s industrious and energetic PR team, the soon-to-be married Olivia Bernardo (Congrats!). Just reading Kate’s job description left me hankering for a nap. She manages content groups across Hearst Magazines Digital Media portfolio–21 websites in all, comprised of 18 magazines (Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Town & Country and Dr. Oz The Good Life among them) as well as Hearst’s other media properties including Delish and the weekly newsletter Lenny Letter, the company’s publishing partnership with Girls star Lena Dunham and her producing partner Jenni Konner. (More on that interesting endeavor later.)
What was most intriguing to me about Kate’s job is her role as defacto talent whisperer. She is a one-woman bridge between Hearst’s editorial and digital teams, making sure Hearst’s EICs and the site directors for their respective magazines “coexist” while ensuring that the print and digital voices of the brands share a similar timbre. “Each brand is different and every editor in chief has their own take and their own way of doing things. We work really hard to make sure the chemistry is right between the EICs and the site directors,” she told me between bites of tomato burrata salad. As you might imagine, this takes some serious interpersonal skills and Kate, who is also the mother of two elementary schoolers, is one of those people whose warmth and good humor puts you instantly at ease.
Having spent nearly 18 years at Condé Nast, Kate started as a ‘rover’ ultimately rising to the position of senior executive director of human resources. Among Kate’s varied jobs at the company: assistant to art director David Harris at Vanity Fair in the mid-’90s (“It was such an exciting time to be there during the invention of celebrity journalism. I learned so much there”), editorial business manager during Bonnie Fuller’s tenure at Glamour and 10 years as Self’s managing editor. After a short stint as svp and editorial director at Say Media, Kate joined Hearst two years ago when the company decided to commit “real resources” to developing its digital properties. She reports to Hearst Magazines Digital Media president Troy Young.
Kate described the duality of her job this way: “Print tells me what’s next; digital tells me what’s now.” At Hearst, the magazines and sites are run by completely different staffs who connect through Kate with regular meetings between the EICs and site directors (who report to her). “Print EICs often don’t have the bandwidth or inclination” to run a website in addition to their magazines. The “bonkers pace” of digital requires that staffers embrace an all hands on deck approach. “I would never hire a person who couldn’t write,” said Kate who screens site director candidates and sends the top contenders on to meet EICs. Synergy between digital and print is critical. “A lot of the time, print values are contiguous across brands. We are focused on reader experiences.”
Kate believes there’s plenty of business out there that allows for both the print and digital incarnations of a brand to grow. Both have different readership, she said. “I have no concerns that a digital experience will jeopardize print sales.” While she “absolutely believes there is a future for print,” Kate is less inclined to make predictions on just where digital innovation is headed. “Everything is moving so fast, I defy the person who says they know what will happen. There is so much shifting of platforms. In digital, we are all taking risks every day.”
2015 was a banner year for Hearst Magazines Digital Media, with the launch of several new sites including Delish, Dr. Oz The Good Life and Lenny Letter. (According to Kate Dr. Oz is “very involved, very down to earth and comes to meetings” just like the other EICs.) Things ended on a high note with the sites’ traffic hitting 163 million unique visitors. Content has more than doubled from 100 posts per day in mid 2014 to 300 posts per day in late 2015. The brands have a collective 70 million total followers on social media.
When it comes to engaging readers, Lenny Letter, whose partnership with HMDM was announced last October, certainly got industry insiders talking. “They [Lena and Jenni Konner] approached us,” said Kate. “They wanted to build a media business and had this thesis about [creating content] for the feminist, fun audience they connected with on Girls and on social media.” When I asked Kate if she thought the brand could sustain itself once the HBO show ends its six season run next year, she posited that is precisely why Dunham and Konner wanted to partner with Hearst. “The timing is important. They want to extend their reach” post-Girls using their “autonomous editorial team” and Hearst Digital Media’s platform. “And we can sell ads.”
As we finished up our coffee, the conversation turned to the perennial question of how women balance a demanding job with the demands of motherhood. “I’m never not working,” Kate told me. “I keep threatening to disconnect, but I’ve never done it.” That’s not surprising given her self-described addiction to Instagram, which just might work itself into her upcoming talk during this year’s Social Media Week entitled ‘Data versus Gut’ in which she’ll explore the differences between making editorial decisions driven by statistics versus those decided upon based on instinct. “At a certain point,” she said, “editors have to be able to say, ‘I know what I want.'” Or perhaps, if they’re smart, they’ll ask Kate what to do.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Lynn Sherr and pals
2. Peter Brown
3. ICM’s Adam Schweitzer and Masters of Sex star Michael Sheen
4. Mitch Kanner
5. Jacqui Safra
6. Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina and Andy Bergman
7. Larry Kudlow
8. Agent Boaty Boatwright
9. Lynn Nesbit
11. The perennially stylish scribe Amy Fine Collins
12. Betty Lee Stern
14. Alexandre Chemla; Act Two: Writer/playwright Jill Brooke, entertainment scribe Roger Friedman and Hampton Sheet’s Joan Jedell
15. Peter Price
16. Bisila Bokoko and some well-heeled pals
17. Judy Price
18. LAK PR CEO’s Lisa Linden and former U.S. congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman
20. Producer Meryl Poster whose new-ish company is aptly named Superb Entertainment
21. Quest’s Chris Meigher
22. PR maven extraordinaire Judy Twersky celebrating her birthday with pals Cathy Shaffer (wife of Paul) and Cynthia Kayan
23. Jay Kriegel
25. Barry Frey
27. Kate Lewis, Olivia Bernardo 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.
Launched in 2012, the Derwent Art Prize has as its goal showcasing artworks created in pencil by British and international artists. If you're located outside of the UK, you may not be familiar with the Derwent firm, which goes back to the 19th century and manufactures a wide range of drawing materials.
In the wake of Glenn Frey’s death, a number of folks on social media have been re-sharing “Hell Is for Heroes,” Charles M. Young’s 1979 Rolling Stone cover story on the Eagles.
A year before, on May 17, 1978, there was a famous softball game, sparked by a Young RS Random Note and played at UCLA. On one side were the Eagles; on the other, staff from Rolling Stone. As Young revealed in a revisit of all this in 2012, he no longer had from the contest a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame-worthy souvenir:
“I remember the game went much faster than I thought it would. A seven-inning softball game doesn’t take that long to play. You know, one of the things in Random Notes was Henley said something to the effect of, “Remember Charlie, I’m pitching and I don’t like you.” Like he was going to take my head off in slo- pitch softball. [laughs]”
“The Eagles won. I thought they were very gracious as winners. They sent me an autographed softball, and mine got stolen. The one time in my life I’ve been burgled, that’s the one thing of value that they took.”
In the same revisit interview, Young also recalled what happened when 28 years after the 1979 cover story, he encountered Don Henley backstage at a 2010 Jerry Lee Lewis concert. Young passed away in 2014.
The final score of the May 7, 1978 game was Eagles 15, Rolling Stone 8. On the fan site Eagles Central, there’s a thread with more information about the contest. If this particular strand is true, it’s just one more reminder that everything was better in the 1970s:
According to Glenn and Don, they [Rolling Stone] tried to kidnap Glenn’s cat Charlie, but apparently came away with only scratches! I believe Glenn said something like “Never try to kidnap a cat with the same name as you” (referring to writer Charlie Young.) Young et al did admit to sneaking to Glenn’s home and leaving a note threatening his cat on the door three nights before the game, but have never admitted to an actual abduction attempt.This note was left alongside others that declared the Eagles to be “sissies.”
The Fader has added three staffers to its team. Details are below.Jason Parham has been named senior editor. Parham previously worked for Gawker. Amos Barshad joins as senior editor. He previously worked for Grantland. Blaire Monroe has been named social media editor. She previously worked for MTV News.
The columnist recently caught up in New York with two fellow Island of Montreal-minted journalists. Brittany Robbins, 26, recently joined the New York Daily News as a digital content producer, while Liana Baker, 28, has been living here for six years and currently works the mergers and acquisitions beat for Thomson Reuters. From Cohen’s item:
Despite growing up virtually in the same [Montreal] neighborhood and having many people in common, Robbins and Baker had never met before [we convened for coffee].
Liana attended JPPS, Bialik and Dawson College, before heading to Northwestern University in Illinois to study journalism. Brittany went to Solomon Schechter Academy, St. George’s School and McGill. She originally came to New York four and half years ago to work for Bridal Guide Magazine, published by Cote Saint-Luc native Barry Rosenbloom, but left to pursue a Master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
While in town, Cohen also caught the New York Islanders vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game at Barclays Center and turned that excursion into an interview piece with Mike Bossy. He’s got the details on the NHL All-Star’s current part-time role with his former team.
In his year-end letter, Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp sounded quite optimistic. Of course, that’s exactly how those letters are supposed to be. However, now that the new year has begun and reality has set in, layoffs have come to Sports Illustrated.
According to The New York Post, five staffers were cut from SI.
Those let go included director of photography Brad Smith and photo editors Claire Bourgeois and John Blackman. Two other unnamed staffers were also cut.
“We are truly committed to the magazine,” Kelly Holland, managing director of Penthouse Entertainment, said Tuesday. “There’s gravitas about the print page that you can’t replace…”
Holland says the reports misinterpreted the company’s press release, which was issued to announce the planned relaunch of the magazine’s website, Penthousemagazine.com. “Can I promise we will be publishing print in five years? No, but as long as we can keep it profitable, we will carry it forward,” Holland said.
When asked by Yu if the magazine is currently profitable, Holland would only say that it’s “challenging.” The revamped penthouse.com website is scheduled to go live in March.
In defense of the CNBC reporter who sparked this news trail, the headline for the press release was: “Penthouse Magazine Goes Digital!“
Condé Nast closed 2015 strong, with seven of its brands setting traffic records in December. The company reported that Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Brides, GQ, Condé Nast Traveler and W all exceeded their previous highs.
Leading the pack was W, with a 197 percent increase compared to December 2014. Following behind W was Brides (76 percent increase); Bon Appétit (54 percent); GQ (53 percent); Allure and AD (40 percent each) and Traveler (21 percent).
December was also a good month for the company overall. Using comScore stats, Condé’s collective digital presence reached 112 million consumers, good enough to place it #15 among comScore’s top 100 brands.
TheStreet has named Eric Lundberg its chief financial officer. Lundberg most recently served as senior vp and CFO of ALM Media.
“As TheStreet continues its focus on operational excellence this year, Eric’s experience in strategy, finance and operations will complement our already robust executive team,” said TheStreet’s CEO and president Elisabeth DeMarse, in a statement. “As part of his Chief Financial Officer duties, Eric will play a significant role in supporting our future growth initiatives.”
Lundberg’s appointment is effective immediately.