Part 1, posted today, is sub-titled: “Who Was Manning the Ramparts at Sony Pictures?” Parts 2 and 3 will follow online, respectively, on Friday and Saturday.
Reporter Peter Elkind begins by painting an ominous picture. On November 3, 2014, after a group of four employees from Silicon Valley-based cyber-security firm Norse Corp. arrived on the Sony lot in Culver City for a meeting, they were very surprised by what greeted them:
The visitors found their way to a small sitting area outside the office of Jason Spaltro, Sony’s senior vice president for information security, settled in, and waited. Alone. For about 15 minutes.
\"I got a little shocked,\" says Tommy Stiansen, Norse’s co-founder and chief technology officer. \"Their Info Sec was empty, and all their screens were logged in. Basically the janitor can walk straight into their Info Sec department.\" Adds Mickey Shapiro, a veteran entertainment attorney who helped set up the meeting and was present that day: \"If we were bad guys, we could have done something horrible.\"
From there, Elkind goes on to contradict Sony’s public statements about their fears of North Korea retaliating for The Interview, and much more, spending most of Part 1 reconstructing the politics and business of Sony preceding the fall 2014 breach. Rifling off, along the way, great lines like thisL
From the moment the malware was launched – months after the hackers first broke in – it took just one hour to throw Sony Pictures back into the era of the Betamax.
Elkind writes that he conducted more than 50 interviews for his series with present and past Sony executives, cyber-security experts and law enforcement officials. Bookmark, read the rest of Part 1 here.
There’s also a separate >a href=”http://fortune.com/2015/06/25/fortune-sony-hack-coverage/” target=”_”>Editor’s Desk note from Alan Murray on the magazine’s reasoning for sourcing information divulged by the hackers. Murray writes:
Reporters have long accepted information from unsavory sources. It’s our job to make sure that information is accurate, to determine whether it is newsworthy and to do the reporting necessary to present it in proper context. In this case we have done all that, and believe our decision to publish is not only justified but also necessary.
The Wall Street Journal’s Lukas I. Alpert got the jump on some intriguing news out of the Cannes Lions advertising festival today: the Daily Mail is getting into the syndicated TV series business, and with none other than Dr. Phil McGraw.
From the report:
The 50-50 deal between the Mail and Stage 29 Productions — the company behind McGraw’s Emmy-winning talk show, Dr. Phil — will aim to create a syndicated television series ready to hit the airwaves in the fall of 2016.
CBS Television Distribution — which handles the Dr. Phil show — will be involved in distributing the new program, the person said. The format of the show will be worked out during its development phase but will focus on bringing the best of the Daily Mail to TV and will involve a mix of crime stories, breaking news and celebrity gossip, the person familiar with the matter said.
At today’s Cannes press conference, McGraw and Daily Mail reps announced the show will be called DailyMailTV. The show will be centrally tied to the NYC Daily Mail offices, with anchors tapped from there as well as Los Angeles, London and Sydney.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
BuzzFeed Exploring TV Options
One of the best things about chronicling the movers and shakers at Michael’s has been meeting some extraordinarily innovative thinkers who have built their businesses not by following the rules, but by making their own. Today was one of those days. I was joined by Adam Sandow, chairman and CEO of Sandow Media, whose stable of brands includes Interior Design, Luxe Interiors + Design, NewBeauty and Worth magazines, as well as California retailer Fred Segal, Culture + Commerce and the library/consultancy Material ConneXion.
Diane Clehane and Adam Sandow
When Jessica Kleiman, the company’s executive vice president of communications, sent along some reading material about the company in anticipation of our lunch, I was stunned by the variety of businesses Adam has amassed under the Sandow umbrella. Equally impressive was the sheer weight of each publication included in my care package. I could barely lift the entire bundle– the latest issue of Luxe Interiors + Design has 412 pages (250 of which are ads) and weighs in at two and a half pounds, while NewBeauty tips the scales at two pounds, with 312 pages. In an age when most magazines are starting to resemble pamphets (especially this time of year), I was more than curious to hear how Adam had such a robust business in print.
A serial entrepreneur, Adam started his first business while a freshman at the University of Miami and by the age of 25, he had launched his first national consumer magazine, Honeymoon. He was a principal in the Internet start-up The Knot (now called XO Group), which he joined after selling his first publishing business. After founding Sandow in 2003, the Miami resident launched two publications two years later. NewBeauty, which was profitable from the first issue, premiered with over 500 advertising pages. That same year, Luxe Interiors + Design, originally a regional shelter magazine in Colorado, had its debut with a circulation of 30,000. It has since expanded into 14 markets across the country, with a combined circulation of 500,000. NewBeauty and Luxe Interiors + Design were both introduced with a $10 cover price at the newsstand and have been selling at that price ever since. “We love newsstands.” I’ll bet.
Between bites of Cobb salad, Adam explained to me that his thinking in building both brands centered on attracting “a coveted audience of the most engaged readers,” not the most eyeballs. With NewBeauty he said, “I don’t want the biggest audience, I want the most engaged. With NewBeauty selling at three times the price of the category leader [Allure], we’re going to get the best readers. On average, our readers spent 94 minutes with each issue.” There certainly is plenty to read within the pages of the current issue with Nashville’s Connie Britton on the cover. Besides an exhaustive report on the latest techniques and treatments in plastic surgery (and an advertorial with an array of doctors outlining their respective specialties), the book boasts pretty much everything you would ever need to know about sunscreens and plenty of product news. NewBeauty’s reporting is “carefully vetted” by “an independent editorial board” created by the company, comprised of doctors and industry experts. “We have very stringent guidelines on what doctors can and cannot say,” said Adam.
Luxe Interiors + Design is going bimonthly with their summer issues, which hit newsstands next week. (10,000 copies of a one-off standalone Hamptons issue will be distributed in the summer playground.) The magazine’s readers, according to an MRI reader survey last year, have an MHI of $473,000 and an average net worth of $2.5 million.
Targeting the country’s richest readers has paid off handsomely for Sandow Media. A few years back, when Adam asked himself: “How do I get to the super-affluent readers?” he came up with the idea for MediaJet, an exclusive newsstand network in over 250 airports across the country, where titans of industry board their private jets. Currently in the homestretch of finalizing plans to go into East Hampton airport, Adam told me he frequently hears stories from his full-time logistics team of “celebrities picking up the phone and calling advertisers when they get off their planes about something they saw in our magazines.”
Adam believes companies flocking to create digital platforms in order to shore up their print businesses have got it wrong. “A lot of media guys are hoping to do that online and then pivot to print. It’s not going to happen.” Instead, he said, “The way to grow the business is by providing new services.” Sure, he told me, Sandow Media does “tons of events” but that’s just “low-hanging fruit.” The company has differentiated itself from other media companies with offerings uniquely targeted to their core businesses. To wit: advertisers in the interior design books have access to Material ConneXion, a library of 8,000 design and architectural materials. Usage of the library is also available by subscription (Google, Apple and Samsung are users). In the beauty category, there’s NewBeautyPRO, a full-service marketing platform, the subscription sampling program TestTube (“We were doing it long before all these other programs like Birchbox”) and Beauty DNA, currently in beta, which Adam says will utilize “computer science and algorithms” through an app which is slated to be introduced by year’s end. It promises to match users in a database with the “perfect beauty product that matches their profile” by scanning thousands of items.
Our two-hour lunch proved to be too little time to cover all of Sandow’s businesses, but I had to ask Adam about his seemingly random purchase of iconic California retailer Fred Segal. While many entrepreneurs tried and failed to acquire the luxury fashion brand over the years, Adam’s friendship with the longtime owners led to his “opportune acquisition” last year. Because he had “no plans to become a retailer,” he asked his friend and Hollywood hotshot Bryan Lourd to come on board as a partner and brought in Evolution Media Partners (a joint venture between Hollywood talent agency CAA and private equity firm TPG). What Adam originally saw as a licensing opportunity has evolved into something much different. As you might expect, Adam has big plans for Fred Segal, which include a global expansion of stores and a soon-to-be launched website “that is as much about content as it is about product.”
In anticipation of the “major changes coming in the next ten years,” Adam says it’s thinking differently about existing businesses that will keep Sandow in good stead. “We like diversification as long as it makes sense.” Indeed.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Lynn Nesbit and pals
2. Bisila Bokoko
3. Andrew Stein and two dark-haired gals
4. Patricia Duff
5. Alan Zweibel
6. Beverly Camhe
7. The sole of good taste: Manolo Blahnik’s CEO George Malkemus (who is also partnering with Sarah Jessica Parker on her burgeoning shoe business) and Footwear News’ Michael Atmore
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia and Barbara Tober
10. Debbie Bancroft and her son
11. Paige Peterson
12. Elle’s Robbie Myers and Bottega Veneta’s Tomas Maier
15. Will Manuel
16. Beauty Fashion/Cosmetic World’s George Ledes with his wife Christine Schott Ledes and Nancy Labadie of Marina Maher Communications
17. Jeff Langberg
18. LAK PR’s Lisa Linden with Joseph Spinnato, president of the Hotel Association of NYC
20. Shirley Lord
21. Quest’s Chris Meigher
22. Max Shapiro
23. El Diario’s John Paton
25. Jon Bren
26. Vicky Ward
27. Adam Sandow, Jessica Kleiman and yours truly
29. The Wall Street Journal’s David Sanford and Lewis Stein. David told me he is “thrilled to be back” at work after a short recovery from his successful hip replacement surgery. Great to seeing you back at your usual perch in the ‘cafeteria.’
Faces in the crowd: Walter Sabo in the Garden Room
Diane Clehane is a FishbowlNY contributor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.
The latest versions of PDF2ID is now compatible with the Creative Cloud 2015 version of Adobe InDesign.
If Forbes ever chooses to compile a list of the world’s richest newspaper beats, New York Times chief TV critic Alessandra Stanley will have no trouble finding space on it. After 12 years spent dissecting the most populist of mediums, the NYT vet is moving to a much more rarefied beat.
From today’s announcement by executive editor Dean Baquet:
As part of The Times’s deepening focus on economic inequality in America, she will be creating a new beat: an interdisciplinary look at the way the richest of the rich – the top one percent of the one percent – are influencing, indeed rewiring, the nation’s institutions, including universities, philanthropies, museums, sports franchises and, of course, political parties and government.
This is a subject both intensely timely and well suited to Alessandra’s skills as an observer, reporter and writer – one that has fascinated her, she says, since she wrote about the first generation of Russian oligarchs as a foreign correspondent in the mid-1990s. Now, she’ll be reporting on what she describes as the \"psychology, rituals, costs and contradictions\" of a new generation of American titans. Her work will add to The Times’ ongoing reporting on inequality in all its forms. More announcements will come on that front.
Stanley had a great lede for her recent coverage of Brian Williams’ mea culpa on The Today Show. Her article began:
He couldn’t say the L word.[Photo courtesy New York Times; H/T: @KateAurthur]
After leaving The New Republic in 2007, Sasha Belenky worked with Guardian US and The Huffington Post. But starting Monday, June 29, he will be back in the TNR fold, with plans to relocate to New York this fall.
Here’s the memo today from editor in chief Gabriel Snyder:
I have some very exciting news to share: Sasha Belenky will be joining us as a features director this coming Monday, June 29.
Sasha is a tremendously talented editor and with Ted Ross will help bolster our features, both in print and online. As some of you may know, this is a bit of a return to The New Republic for Sasha, who was a reporter-researcher and Web editor for us until 2007. Since then, he’s worked in a number of formats and subjects. He was an associate editor for Guardian US when it launched in 2007 and for the last five years has been an editor at The Huffington Post, overseeing at various points its Politics, Green, World and Education verticals. Most recently, he has been focusing on long-form enterprise stories like last December’s report on the struggles of Shishmaref, Alaska, to outrace rising sea levels due to climate change.
Starting in October, Sasha will be moving to New York, but he will spend the summer in our D.C. office working closely with Brian, Suzy and Rebecca.
Please join me in welcoming Sasha back to The New Republic and I look forward to sharing some more exciting additions to our team in the coming weeks.
Current TNR articles include “Is the Confederate Flag Unconstitutional?” by Alfred L. Brophy and “The Vanishing Terrain of Gay America,” for which Michael Lindenberger documented a recent trip to his hometown of Louisville, Ky.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Rebecca Traister Exits The New Republic
Paul Ford Joins The New Republic as Contributing Editor
[Photo via: @ambe;enky]
Unfortunately, being cool only gets an app so far. In an announcement, co-founder Matt Galligan explained that his team couldn’t keep the ship afloat:
It’s with great disappointment that we let you know that Circa News has been put on indefinite hiatus. Producing high-quality news can be a costly endeavor and without the capital necessary to support further production we are unable to continue. Our mission was always to create a news company where factual, unbiased, and succinct information could be found. In doing so we recognized that building a revenue stream for such a mission would take some time and chose to rely on venture capital to sustain. We have now reached a point where we’re no longer able to continue news production as-is.
Anthony De Rosa, who left Reuters in 2013 to join Circa as its editor in chief, was more succinct than Galligan.
“We tried to do something very different, we took huge risks, we built a product that spawned a whole new category, and we enjoyed every moment of it, at least until the money ran out and that sucked,” wrote De Rosa.
Starting today at Milk Studios on West 14th, you can get nostalgic for Jerry, Kramer, Elaine and George in a whole new way.
Per the New York Post, Hulu has set up a replica of Jerry’s apartment, to celebrate and mark the acquisition of the series. Magnetic Collaborative put the installation together in six weeks:
“When they threw the final party after the finale [in 1998], everyone who was invited got a little disposable camera. The first thing I did was go and get a picture of myself standing by his front door,” Larry Thomas, who played the famous Soup Nazi, told The Post at a preview of the exhibit. “That kind of explains what that means to everybody that it was my first instinct, the first picture I wanted to take. So much classic comedy was created in that space. I think everybody just reveres those walls.”
It’s free, open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and includes all kinds of other goodies such as a brick wall signed at show’s end by cast, crew. But hurry – Seinfeld The Apartment is only open for nostalgia until June 28.
And to further whet your appetite for all things Jerry, check out the portion below of Wheel of Impressions where Jimmy got [Jerry Seinfeld] + [Uber].
BuzzFeed’s unique way of looking at the world could be coming to a TV set near you. During an interview at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti admitted that the company is exploring its options.
“We want to do TV, but we want to do it in a different way,” Peretti said, according to The Wall Street Journal. “We resisted for a long time. People kept pitching us TV shows but we didn’t know anything about TV, and our special powers came from having a closer relationship with our audience.”
One could argue that BuzzFeed’s “special powers” actually come from stealing Reddit posts and passing it off as BuzzFeed work and/or dumbing down complicated subjects through the use of gifs and lists. But hey, whatever works.
In all seriousness, if BuzzFeed does come to TV, there’s a chance it’ll be better than at least some of the content that’s currently produced. Might as well take a stab at getting those TV ad dollars.
Today, she announced a step that will move the Producer tag to the front. After 16 years with Access Hollywood as a correspondent and weekend host, Robinson is shifting to a development deal with NBC Universal, via her banner RobinHood Productions Inc. From today’s announcement:
“I am going to miss all my friends here because we are truly like a family,\" Robinson said. \"Television has changed so much since I first sat at the anchor desk and it’s time to take my career to the next level. There are so many more opportunities awaiting me, both on-camera and as a producer.\"
\"I’m extremely excited about creating fun and meaningful content through my production company, focusing specifically on empowering women and girls about which I am so passionate.\"
Robinson also hints that she will be back \"in front of the camera\" soon. In 2009, Robinson released a female teen empowerment tome titled Exactly As I Am. She is also the founder of a related movement One Girl, One Voice.
Before Access Hollywood, the Spelman College grad worked as an anchor in Austin and as an anchor-reporter in Miami. Robinson will let show viewers know today about this career movie; a special tribute segment is also being taped for airing next week.
[Photo courtesy: RobinHood Productions Inc.]
Saveur’s been through a lot of changes in the past year or so: a new editor in chief in Adam Sachs, formerly of Tasting Table, and a new website, relaunched in May.
Part of the aim of the redesign was to tell a “a cohesive story across all of Saveur’s platforms,” so whether you’re pitching the print or Web editions, make sure you’re capturing the now-unified Saveur ethos. One aspect of that is avoiding trends.
The magazine is more interested in an unusual angle than something that’s trend-driven. Timely items are now also welcome. In the past, freelancers may have experienced a lengthy wait to see their story come to fruition. “We don’t have the same rubrics anymore,” said [senior editor Sophie] Brickman, who added it’s important for writers to submit stories they feel the most passionate and authoritative about. “If there’s a good story idea, and there’s a reason you should be the only person writing it, we want to hear from you,” she said.
For more, read: How To Pitch: Saveur
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GQ hooked up Duke’s Justise Winslow with a suit for tomorrow night’s NBA draft. In the video, GQ creative director Jim Moore and style editor Will Welch go over a few options with Winslow, before settling on a damn fine blue suit.
There’s a good chance Winslow will be adding a Knicks hat to that outfit, so we’re glad the kid got the star treatment from GQ. Honestly, as long as the Knicks don’t draft that over-hyped Euro player Kristaps Cornflake we’ll be happy.
IBT Media, publisher of Newsweek and International Business Times, has named Mitchell Caplan CMO. Caplan joins the company from Olson, where he held the same role. He also previously served as CMO for McCann and Y&R.
“Mitchell is going to live and breathe our brands, digging deep into their meaning to redefine and narrow how we see them, said IBT Media’s CEO Etienne Uzac, in a statement. “Ultimately, everything that involves a given brand will have to go through this identity and match this vision.”
Caplan’s appointment is effective immediately.
Below are the winners of the 2015 Gerald Loeb Awards, which honor the best in business journalism. Congrats to everyone.
Beat Reporting Winner
\"Lobbying in America,\" by Eric Lipton, Ben Protess, Nicholas Confessore and Brooke Williams, The New York Times
Breaking News Winner
\"Abdication of the ‘Bond King,’\" by Gregory Zuckerman and Kirsten Grind, The Wall Street Journal
\"Wall Street Accountability,\" by Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica
\"Borrowing Trouble,\" by Jason Grotto and Heather Gillers, Chicago Tribune
\"California Goes Nuts,\" by Tom Philpott and Matt Black, Mother Jones
\"Economic Tools & Visualizations,\" by Gregor Aisch, Wilson Andrews, Jeremy Ashkenas, Matthew Bloch, Mike Bostock, Shan Carter, Haeyoun Park, Alicia Parlapiano and Archie Tse, The New York Times
\"Product of Mexico,\" by Richard Marosi and Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times
\"Medicare Unmasked,\" by Christopher S. Stewart, Christopher Weaver, John Carreyrou, Rob Barry, Anna Wilde Mathews and Tom McGinty, The Wall Street Journal
\"Misleading March to the Top,\" by Mike Hendricks and Mará Rose Williams, The Kansas City Star
\"Unchecked Care,\" by Chris Serres and Glenn Howatt, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Personal Finance Winner
\"Helping Retirees Navigate Pension Cuts in Detroit’s Bankruptcy,\" by Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press
\"Inside Sysco: Exposing North America’s Food Sheds,\" by Vicky Nguyen, Kevin Nious, Jeremy Carroll, Felipe Escamilla, David Paredes, Julie Putnam and Mark Villarreal, KNTV