Daily Archives: January 24, 2013

-- A disclosure attached to a CNET story posted on Thursday.

— A disclosure attached to a CNET story posted on Thursday.

On Wednesday, CNET staffers in San Francisco went into an all-hands meeting hoping to hear that parent company CBS had reversed its policy banning CNET reviews of products that are part of active litigation — a policy that Columbia Journalism Review said “seriously damaged the tech review and news site.”
There had been hints around CNET that the edict might be overturned. During a meeting last Friday, Reviews editor-in-chief Lindsey Turrentine sounded optimistic. “The sense of her presentation,” says one staffer, “was that while there were still a few sticking points, overall the CBSi [CBS Interactive] team had made good progress making a strong business case to CBS corporate for overturning the policy. …Every indication was that the discussions were going well.”

But two days ago, CBS Interactive president Jim Lanzone and CBS Interactive general manager Eric Johnson announced the bad news at their meeting: There would not be a policy reversal.

“They proceeded to tell us it was no big deal,” says a CNET employee. “But people kept bringing up different hypotheticals” and it became clear that it was a big deal.

Someone asked if a writer doing a round-up of DVRs could write positively about Dish’s Hopper. No, the journalists were told by the two “visibly uncomfortable” execs.

“At first it sounded like it was a policy that just applied to reviews,” a staffer says of CBS corporate’s edict. “But it seems pretty clear that there’s going to be spillover into news.”

I was told that “there was a great deal of expressed unhappiness” at the meeting, and it’s only continued on CNET forums.

“There’s a lot of chatter about how [CBS Interactive] management isn’t standing up for us. Morale is plummeting. People are pissed off.” (I invited CBS Interactive to comment on Wednesday’s meeting. “Thank you for your interest,” wrote spokeswoman Jenifer Boscacci. “At this time, we have no comment.”)

On Thursday, there was another town-hall meeting – but not devoted solely to the CBS policy controversy. Just before that meeting, CBSi boss Lanzone posted the message below to a CNET listserv:

Hey guys. Getting ready for this meeting but will chime in later.

Jim Lanzone

Jim Lanzone

One thing to keep in mind is this all-hands is about the entirety of CBSi, which as you know is a big group with many different brands, so while I will address the question of what happened and what the policy is, this is not the forum for going in depth about this.

Briefly, to Josh’s point, want to remind that I did not say this thing did not affect the CNET brand. I said that CBS was the brand that took the blame for what happened. Not disputing there was an effect on the CNET brand as a result of what happened. Nor are we saying we will just blink our eyes and act like this never happened. Just said we can get through it. The policy is very limited in what it covers. I understand why it is not perfect, but we have accomplished so much and we can continue to do so.


Declan McCullagh is one of the CNET employees I contacted while working on this post. He declined to comment on Wednesday’s meeting (“I don’t feel it’s appropriate to discuss any internal deliberations”), but noted that “I’m not aware of other media companies that have similar policies.” McCullagh wrote in an email:

Take the lawsuits against Barry Diller’s Aereo video-streaming service. My CNET reviews colleague John Falcone published a news article yesterday about Aereo saying: “Disclosure: CBS, the parent corporation of CNET, is currently in active litigation with Aereo as to the legality of its service. As a result of that conflict of interest, CNET cannot review that service going forward.”

CBS, the Walt Disney Company, News Corp., Comcast, the Tribune Company, and other media companies filed copyright infringement lawsuits against Aereo in March 2012. The copyright claims are very similar to the ones at issue in the lawsuit against Dish; one of the complaints filed in the southern district of New York accuses Aereo of “willful copyright infringement” and says it “just helps itself” unlawfully to copyrighted content.

The Wall Street Journal’s Katie Boehret (who reviews products along with Walt Mossberg, as I’m sure you know) reviewed Aereo three months after the litigation began. Boehret concluded: “It has a thoughtful, clean user interface that works well on the iPad, where I tested it most.. If you’re a fan of TV and want a better way to watch it on the go, Aereo is a pleasure.” The WSJ is owned by News Corp., which is in active litigation with Aereo. published a review of Aereo this month. It said: “I’ve been trying out Aereo since September to record and watch all sorts of programs on Aereo — both highbrow shows such as ‘Downton Abbey’ and guilty-pleasure ones such as ‘Revenge…’ It makes cutting cable service tempting.” ABC News is owned by Walt Disney, which is in active litigation with Aereo.

The Chicago Tribune published a syndicated review of streaming services including Aereo, which said “the most exciting development might be a scrappy start-up called Aereo that lets you watch TV on any Web-connected device with a screen via a network of miniaturized antennas.” The newspaper is owned by the Tribune Company, which is in active litigation with Aereo.

It’s true that CBS has the right to set the editorial policies that CNET journalists must abide by. And it’s also true that this policy is prominently disclosed to our readers. But I’m not aware of other media companies that have enacted a similar policy.

* CNET forbidden from reviewing Aereo following CBS-Dish controversy (

* NYT’s Jim Roberts takes 75,000 Twitter followers out the door with him. ( | The Times won’t say if it reached its target of 30 positions to cut by today’s deadline. ( | NYT shares were up 4.57% on buyout-deadline day. (
* What it’s like to be interviewed by Robert Scoble, “the Oprah of tech.” (

"Ballsy move."

“Ballsy move.”

* Why does Google still reward content scraping? (
* Philly Daily News gets the “lede of the day” for its story about a naked man’s “ballsy move.” ( via Gwen Florio)
* “A cartoon for student journalists everywhere.” (@upbeacon)
* Court sides with Portland Press Herald and orders that jury selection in a prostitution case be opened to the public. (
* New York Daily News fights a subpoena issued to a former reporter called to testify in a murder trial. (
* “Law and Order” writer says his award-winning episode came out of his Medill experience. (
* Al Gore to make TV rounds to promote book that trashes TV news. (
* New York Observer owner complains that “the press just blows things out of proportion.” (
* Miami Herald to staff: Don’t throw away our history while you’re packing up. (
* Fuse TV gets a good scolding for stealing a comedian’s Twitter-posted joke. (
* Politico will be adding 30 positions, says editor-in-chief John Harris. (

* The best skeptical Katie Couric faces from her Manti Te’o interview (
* Te’o tells Couric that he’s far from being gay ( | (
* “Instant analysis” of Katie Couric’s interview with Manti Te’o (

A Romenesko reader describes the Philadelphia papers’ just-announced “New Voices” initiative as “ meets the Huffington Post,” although I see that there is at least one conservative voice in the mix of new columnists.
From: [Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News publisher] Hall, Bob
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2013 3:39 PM
To: All IGM [Interstate General Media] Employees; All Employees
Subject: Introducing ” The New Voices” of


I wanted you to be the very first to receive the attached news about “The New Voices” of We are very excited about this new platform and we look forward to this initiative further evolving and increasing our relationships with advertisers and readers throughout the market.

Bob Announces “The New Voices” Platform for Notable Contributors

Debut of National and Regional Leaders Will Provide Fresh Viewpoints for Readers

PHILADELPHIA (January 24) –, the most popular news web site in Philadelphia, announced today that it is launching “The New Voices” initiative, which will feature notable national and local contributors and columnists.

Covering a range of topics and viewpoints, the new columnists include: Ari Rabin-Havt, the nation’s most exciting new progressive commentator; Philadelphia’s own John Featherman with his unique and penetrating conservative viewpoints; Mark Segal, one of the region’s and nation’s most compelling gay leaders and the publisher of Philadelphia Gay News will add topical commentary in a new column entitled, Mark, uncensored; Kenny Gamble, a Philadelphia cultural and business giant; Table Matters blogger Jason Wilson; leading interior designer Carrie Leskowitz; Dr. Jill McDevitt, a nationally recognized sexologist; technology pundit Eric Smith, co-founder of Geekadelphia; activist Chris Goldstein who writes about the issues surrounding marijuana; Maria Papadakis whose videos will cover the local social scene and celebrities; and Bernie Parent, an inspiring member of the NHL Hall of Fame who writes about self-empowerment and motivation./CONTINUES
Read More

Oops, that’s not Hugo!


The BBC reports:

Hugo Chavez has not been seen in public since undergoing treatment for cancer in Cuba last month.

El Pais has withdrawn the photo from its website and collected copies of the first edition of Thursday’s paper from newsstands.

The paper said in a statement that it had obtained the image from a news agency but that it had not been able to independently verify the date, location or circumstances of the photo.

* Spain’s El Pais apologizes for false Hugo Chavez photo (
* So much for El Pais’ “major international scoop” (

* NYT assistant managing editor Jim Roberts takes a buyout (

Cox Media Group — publisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Austin American-Statesman and many other media properties, is launching a conservative website called Rare. (“Red is the center,” is the tagline.)
Creative Loafing Atlanta was slipped documents that reveal work on the site began after Cox research showed “an unmet need for conservative news and conservative lifestyle content aggregation.” It found that “the range of desired conservative news, opinion and lifestyle content is more diverse than what is presently offered in-market.”

The document continues:

To the degree that the public perception of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and some other Cox papers across the nation continues to be inaccurate (“liberal” rather than “balanced”), the Working Group recommends Rare be largely associated with existing Cox conservative properties. A separate plan to develop cross-portfolio relationships is underway and will be presented by February 2013.

* Cox’s new national conservative website to be called Rare (
* Earlier: Cox Media’s new website targets “heartland conservatives” (

ChicagoSide, a sports site launched last spring by former Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Eig, has signed a partnership deal with the Chicago Sun-Times.

Eig tells me that the Sun-Times on Mondays will run two pages of ChicagoSide content. His writers, who are normally paid $50 per story, will get $200 when they’re also published in the Sun-Times.

“The funny thing would be if the Sun-Times picks up a Mariotti column or two!” writes the person who tipped me off to the Sun-Times/ChicagoSide partnership.

Mariotti, who resigned from the Sun-Times in 2008, was called “a rat” by Roger Ebert for quitting the paper the way he did, and “a coward in clubhouses” by Sun-Times sportswriter Chris De Luca.

De Luca is now Sun-Times sports editor. I asked him yesterday if there’s any chance he’ll pick up Mariotti’s columns. His response:

“Zero chance of that happening.”

* Joe Sexton resigns as New York Times sports editor and joins ProPublica as senior editor. (

From: Sexton, Joseph
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 10:34 PM
To: !NYHQ-spt-staff
Subject: Is there a foto

Joe Sexton

Joe Sexton

Big enough to capture my affection and admiration for you all. 6 columns? 12? Truth is there is not space enough to contain my regard for you.

I’ve received a great offer; I leave you and the nyt burdened only by a great debt — of thanks and wonder. I’m in in the am. Available to chat, and I hope to sound sensible. I’m excited and sad. Hey, I’m Joe. What did you expect? With love, j

* Ad Age finally has an iPad app. (
* Not on par with the Journal News, but… Chicago Tribune also heard from readers about guns — and ran a correction. (
* More information than you could possibly want on the NYT crossword puzzle. (@veltman)
* Court case against mugshot websites raises First Amendment issues. (
* Why hyperlocal websites like recently shuttered New Raleigh can’t make money. (
* Dear Yahoo News: The boy who got a standing ovation from classmates did not come out as lesbian, bi, or transgendered; he’s G — not LGBT. (
* CBS veteran Bob Schieffer to join TV Hall of Fame. (
* Ex-Daily Beaster Mark Miller is named Hollywood Reporter deputy editorial director. (
* Lessons from New York Times’ app graveyard. (