Michael Cieply recently took The New York Times buyout and now resides at the house that Nikki Finke built. Meanwhile, his former colleague and frequent collaborator Brooks Barnes, who has covered the Hollywood beat for the paper since 2007, has this weekend shared an item with a headline that is almost impossible not to click: “Meet the New Owner of the Playboy Mansion.”
Unfortunately, Barnes was unable to secure an interview with the titular J. Daren Metropoulos (pictured), other members of the Metropoulos family or Hugh Hefner. But he did chat with some peripheral players, one of whom, a dean of the L.A. west side luxury real estate scene, offered up an intriguing factoid:
Two real estate agents who worked on the Playboy Mansion sale, which includes a stipulation that Mr. Hefner, 90, and his wife, Crystal Harris, 30, can continue to live in the mansion until his death, did not respond to queries, although a third agent involved, Jeff Hyland, added an interesting tidbit: The Metropouloses had tried to buy the Playboy Mansion six years earlier and failed.
“The offer then was for about $75 million,” Mr. Hyland said.
The purchase price this summer was $105 million. Another fun aspect of the article is that it allows Barnes to revisit a daytime tour of the Mansion that he was given in 2012. The Charing Cross Rd. home was built in 1927 and acquired by Hefner in the early 1970s:
It was gross. The famous grotto pools, linked in 2011 to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, reminded me of one of those fetid animal enclosures at a low-rent marine exhibit. Don’t get me started on the bathroom off the mansion’s main hall. There is a separate house that contains arcade games and has bedrooms with carpeting I could only describe as crispy.
Barnes’ article is on the front of Sunday’s Styles section with a slightly different headline: “New Playboy for a Mansion With a Past.”
Photo via: metropoulos.com
If you had to take a guess, how many states would you say Patch is currently covering? The answer is a solid 50%.
Granted, the revamped hyperlocal network is doing it with a small editorial staff of around 65. Which means for example that a staffer like Tim Darnell is responsible for all Atlanta Patch sites as well as some covering parts of the Georgia counties of DeKalb and Cobb. But help is on the way.
Atlanta is one of just over a dozen markets for which Patch is looking to hire more journalists. Others include Cleveland, Dallas, Miami and Santa Cruz.
In the job ad, Patch points to a recent Wall Street Journal article. What’s interesting about the Feb. 2, 2016 piece by Jack Marshall is that it reminds how a lot less coverage has been coming Patch’s way now that the news is good. Back in the days when Patch was struggling under full AOL ownership, it was a favorite target of some media critics. (AOL still owns a large minority stake.)
A glance at Patch these days highlights certain other components, including the arraying of the same content across different sites. But all in all, Hale Global is to be commended. Two and a half years after the mass layoffs, the site has survived, at a time when another similar operation, with similar traffic – examiner.com – just folded.
At the beginning of the summer, Patch Media chairman Charles Hale sent staff a state-of-hyperlocal-union summary. His note revealed that editor in chief Warren St. John had been promoted to executive editor-CEO and also included this perspective:
Thanks to the talent and passion of everyone at Patch, we’ve grown our audience in the last 12 months from 14M UVs to 20M-23M, depending on the month. We’ve done this the hard – some would say, the real – way: organically, without a single bought page view. Two-thirds of our monthly users are return users – an impressive statement about our users’ loyalty and a marked contrast from viral publishers who seem to get so much attention these days. Those loyal users also contribute to our remarkably stable and consistent traffic pattern, one that is less susceptible to the vicissitudes of virality and that in turn allows us to plan more confidently for the future.
If you’ve never heard of Anas Aremeyaw Anas, you’re in for a treat. Because of this Ghanaian’s great success across Africa as a crusading journalist, exposing corruption at the highest judicial and government levels, he must wear a disguise on-camera and at other public gatherings to maintain professional integrity.
Anas was in Worcester, Mass. July 25 to deliver the keynote address at the African Youth Excellence Awards. The interview was conducted during that visit, by website Sahara Reports. When asked what advice he had for up-and-coming journalists, Anas answered from a vantage point that shares zero common ground with aggregating:
“We should be daring. But anytime that we decide to take those risks, we should be sure that we have the necessary backups that to ensure that we live to be able to tell the news story, tomorrow. No story is worth human lives.”
“It will come at a great pain, and at a great risk. But at the end of the day, there mus be indelible marks, both on our heads and on our skin, to show the sacrifices that we have made. And at the end of the day, there must be smiles on the faces of those we have saved.”
Last year, Montreal-based filmmaker Ryan Millins made a documentary about Anas, titled Chameleon.
Hearst, which already owns the Houston Chronicle, has struck a deal that may turn out to be a model of how to profitably expand and consolidate newspaper operations within a major metropolitan area. Acquired for an undisclosed sum from 103 Star Communications are 23 community weeklies and one daily, the Conroe Courier.
In a note to Courier readers, editor Andrew DuBois and Houston Chronicle editor Nancy Barnes outline the immediate impact of the ownership change:
The Courier will be published as an edition of the Houston Chronicle, which will allow the Courier to draw on a deeper well of resources, while keeping its focus squarely on Conroe and the surrounding communities…
We have merged some of the Houston Chronicle reporting staff that has been covering Montgomery County with The Courier staff, but the editorial leadership will remain the same to ensure that we continue to deliver on The Courier’s unique local mission. We remain dedicated to ensuring timely delivery of The Courier.
With regards to the 23 weeklies, which include the Dayton News, the Magnolia Potpourri and the Sugar Land Sun, Barnes sees great synergy there as well:
“We’ve long recognized how important our burgeoning suburbs are to our readers,” Barnes said. “Many of these communities – Katy, The Woodlands, Pearland – would be home to their own daily newspapers in another era. With this acquisition, we hope to leverage the strong content the Houston Community Newspapers publications are already delivering to our diverse suburbs to provide all of our readers with a richer community report.”
The acquired properties, collectively known as the Houston Community Newspapers & Media Group, can be found onine via the centralized website yourhoustonnews.com. Although there is no explicit mention today of plans to bundle the 23 weeklies with Chronicle on the print side, that would seem to make sense. The Courier, interestingly enough, was founded in 1896 as a weekly.
Photo via: chron.com
Vox Media promotes Melissa Bell to publisher. She had been vice president for growth and is a co-founder of Vox.com. “We thought about the publisher title, and in different industries and at different times, it’s meant different things,” said Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff. “Melissa’s job is going to be focused on continuing to grow our brands.” Bell fills a position that had been open for more than two and a half years, and some see the move as a sign that Vox Media wants to become a more traditional publishing company…
The Guardian will lose more than 250 staffers as the publication looks to cut costs. Reporters Shiv Malikand Ed Vulliamy and mobile editor Subhajit Banerjee are among those taking the buyout. Meanwhile, former Timesman and Guardian’s current executive editor for digital, Aron Pilhofer, moves on to work at Temple University as a journalism professor… Sara Silver moves to Reuters Breakingviews, where she’ll be a columnist… Former Esquire editor David Granger joins David Kuhn‘s Kuhn Projects as literary agent… And there are changes at BerlinRosen and more…
The CBS series Madam Secretary returns Oct. 2 for a third season. And when it does, the debut episode will bear the directorial stamp of the world’s eighth media wonder, Morgan Freeman.
The above photo of Freeman on set was shared early Thursday on the actor’s official Facebook page. We hope that after any July 28 production obligations, the 79-year-old maestro was able to watch and listen to himself narrate the coronation of the first female nominee for president, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The mountain of trending Twitter reaction to Freeman’s masterful narration of the 12-minute film put together by Shonda Rhimes included suggestions that the actor serve in a Clinton administration as Chief Narrator or perhaps White House press secretary. Another interesting element of Freeman surging to the top of the U.S. Twitter trending topics list last night is that he bumped “North Korea.” The Hermit Kingdom was trending Thursday because of an interview by AP Pyongyang correspondent Eric Talmadge with a DPRK representative, who suggested that the placement of Kim Jong-un on the sanctioned individuals list amounts to a declaration of war by the U.S.
If we were manning The Onion, our headline today would involve Jong-un agreeing to downgrade all threats and embrace Korean unification, in exchange for the promise of a biographical film narrated by Freeman.
Here’s a look at the posts that made the most buzz the past seven days.Time Inc. Announces New Editorial Structure 50 NY Times Staffers Accept Buyouts Paul Simon Fails to Bridge the Art Garfunkel Gap Refinery29 Names Partnerships Exec More Than 20 Women Have Accused Roger Ailes of Sexual Harassment
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TV Guide has named Jim Halterman West Coast bureau chief and Christine Petrillo vp, brand partnerships.
Halterman most recently served as an editor for Xfinity.com and TVFanatic.com. Previously he worked for Variety, Mashable and more.
Petrillo most recently served as iHeartMedia’s director of branded entertainment sales.
“Jim not only brings a deep enthusiasm for TV with him to the magazine, but he brings it with him wherever he goes,” said TV Guide president Paul Turcotte, in a statement. “As a longstanding and respected member of the television journalism community, we know we can look to Jim to be an energetic and informed presence for us on the west coast. Christine’s incredible track record and decades of experience will help us generate creative and meaningful partnerships with brands wanting to reach the engaged TV Guide Magazine reader.”
Mike Federle, COO and recently-appointed president of Forbes Media, talked to Folio about a wide range of subjects. Federle opened up about the challenges Forbes faces, the power of print and more. Below are some highlights, but the entire piece is worth a read.
On the difficulties facing Forbes:
The challenge is that nothing is ever done, right? The moment we feel like ‘oh boy, we’re in a great spot,’ something changes, whether it’s ad blocking that becomes an issue or viewability…Distribution models of content are creating new issues and concerns for us that we have to address.
On the power of print:
The print product remains the front door to our brand. Especially when you start looking at all the licensed products around the world — with the exception of France — it always starts with the print product. It’s what people identify Forbes with. To be on the cover of Forbes still is an iconic measure of success.
On Forbes’ dedication to expansion:
Every time we launch a new licensed product—and we now have 36 around the world, in 36 different countries—we kind of plant our flag in a new market and we create opportunities for other businesses to grow around that.
At a victory rally in Philadelphia in April following the Pennsylvania primary, Hillary Clinton responded to Donald Trump‘s accusation that she was playing the woman’s card with the emphatic remark, “If fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in!” At one point during her DNC acceptance speech Thursday night, Clinton delivered that exact same remark and this morning, the punchline is the front-page headline chosen by a number of newspapers.
At the time Clinton originally fired back at Trump, Huffington Post women’s editor Alanna Vagianos praised Clinton not just for the remark but also for the candidate’s cheeky publishing of a woman’s card in the form of a credit card. The image, posted for a time at womancard.org, showed a piece of plastic good starting 1/17.
A convention cycle that began with echoes of Michelle Obama via Melania Trump ends with Hillary Clinton sampling Hillary Clinton. It might have been more powerful if Clinton had prefaced her sourcing of this remark with a recollection of when Trump challenged her in the spring, and how her commitment to these issues remains the same.
Images via: newseum.org
Kyle Pope has been named editor and publisher of Columbia Journalism Review (CJR). Pope comes to CJR from local newspaper publisher Straus News, where he served as editor in chief.
Pope previously worked for The Wall Street Journal for a decade. He also served as The New York Observer’s editor.
In an announcement, Columbia Journalism School dead Steve Coll and CJR chairman and Reuters editor Steve Adler explained that Pope is more than qualified for the job.
“He emerged from a large and strong field of candidates because of his high standards, wide-ranging leadership skills, and experience, his understanding of how technology is upending journalism, and his strong vision for the Review’s role and future amidst change in our profession,” wrote Coll and Adler.
According to the latest Magazine Media 360 brand audience report from the MPA, magazine audiences increased by an average of six percent during the first half of 2016.
The 360 report analyzes 135 brands from 10 different companies across a variety of platforms.
The biggest winners for the first half were travel and women’s mags, both up 15 percent compared to the first half of 2015.
As for individual brands, ESPN The Magazine boasted the largest audience and Domino had the biggest increase compared to last year:Top 10 Magazine Brands
First Half 2016 Average Audience Top 10 Magazine Brands
Average Audience Growth
First Half 2016 vs. First Half 2015 Magazine Total Brand Audience
Magazine Total Brand Audience 1. ESPN The Magazine 98,254 1. Domino 86% 2. People 79,451 2. Esquire 63% 3. WebMD Magazine 59,131 3. Harper’s Bazaar 41% 4. Forbes 57,425 4. Fit Pregnancy and Baby 39% 5. Allrecipes 50,626 5. The New Yorker 36% 6. Better Homes and Gardens 47,283 6. GQ 33% 7. AARP 45,185 7. Teen Vogue 33% 8. Time 44,650 8. Fortune 32% 9. Sports Illustrated 36,745 9. The Atlantic 31% 10. Businessweek 36,568 10. Condé Nast Traveler 30%
Still, Carlson admitted to having mixed feelings. In fact, she was upset that Ailes remained employed for as long as he did after she sued him for sexual harassment (followed by more than 20 other similar accusations).
“At first, [I felt] satisfaction — or no, I think validation,” she explained. “I felt angry that it took so long. It’s complicated — there was relief that now I would be believed — and I was happy to a certain extent over that.”
As for the female Fox News staffers who rushed to support Ailes in the days following Carlson’s lawsuit, Carlson was only slightly surprised.
“Some of them were lawyers,” said Carlson. “They should have known better, so I was surprised. It was like, ‘Wow, you have no idea what you’re talking about.’ But I was at Fox a long time. I know how it works. You could sense that it all was orchestrated.”
Gawker founder Nick Denton has received a break from the legal system. A Florida appeals court temporarily lifted the threat of Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea enforcing the $140 million ruling issued earlier this year.
Denton—who is personally liable for $10 million—had said that if the ruling was upheld, he’d likely have to file for bankruptcy. The earlier ruling is currently being appealed by Gawker Media, which was forced to file for bankruptcy.
The legal team for Denton argued that they should be able to appeal the original ruling without facing financial ruin because “forcing the defendants into bankruptcy was the true purpose of this case all along.”
Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and Facebook board member, has admitted revenge was the main reason he was bankrolling Bollea’s lawsuit.
Yahoo Finance has hired JP Mangalindan and Ethan Wolff-Mann.
Mangalindan will serve as a senior correspondent,covering tech and business. Mangalindan comes to Yahoo Finance from Activision Blizzard, where he served on its global communications team.
Wolff-Mann will serve as a writer, covering personal finance, consumerism, and technology. He comes to Yahoo from Money. Previously he served as the deputy editor for Thrillist Tech.
It happened on the floor of the DNC Tuesday. And today, freelance journalist Arun Gupta has revisited his impromptu walking encounter with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.
Gupta basically accosted Trumka as the latter walked by and kept pace to ask a few questions. The labor union leader abruptly ended the conversation by swatting a cardboard sign in the journalist’s direction. From Gupta’s item:
I asked Trumka, “Aren’t you afraid once she [Hillary Clinton] gets into office she’ll support free-trade deals?” Trumka responded, “No, I’m not worried at all, she’s against TPP.”
Before I could point out that Clinton voted for or supported eight of ten free-trade deals as a New York senator, Trumka smacked me in the face with a flimsy cardboard sign, declaring, “We’re done. We’re done.”
I laughed in surprise, but the question of free trade is utterly serious as long-time Clinton confidant and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe claimed at the convention that Hillary Clinton would support TPP once in the White House (which her campaign denied).
To see video of the incident, click through to Gupta’s Facebook Live video and cursor to the 18:00 mark.
Screen grab via: Facebook