Select T Magazine Staffers Make Un-Funny Cancer Jokes

T: The New York Times Style Magazine staffers Horacio Silva and Andy Port caused quite a social media stir with their Golden Globes coverage.

Silva, who tweeted real-time coverage via T’s Twitter account @TheMoment, bashed Dexter star Michael C. Hall’s dark-colored beanie. The tweet:

“Is Michael C. Hall playing Bob Marley in an upcoming movie? Don’t get the hat or what he is hiding under it. HS”

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to to Silva, Hall wore to cover hair loss as a result of a recent treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Gawker, Perez Hilton and WWD quickly jumped on Silva’s back, but to be fair, he quickly apologized when he realized the snafu:

“It was a question I posed entirely without malice…I know from the effect it had on my family, how devastating cancer can be and it’s not something that I take lightly. I apologize for any hurt that I may have caused.”

NY Times staffer Andy Port, however, straight up called people fat.  In a slanderous post on T’s The Moment blog, she opened with “Maybe it’s just me, but I could have sworn that some of the ladies who showed up at the Golden Globes on Sunday had put on a little weight.”

No names were named, but pictures of Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Courtney Cox accompanied the post. “You could definitely see the difference if you concentrated solely on the upper arms,” quipped Port.

What is this: the New York Times or high school? Maybe Ms. Port should check out Glamour’s plus-sized models to realize that “womanly” is in.

The New York Times Officially Starts Construction on Its Pay Wall: “Metered Model” Coming 2011

great walljpgAfter much consideration, the New York Times has finally decided to start charging readers for access to its Web site. But not for a while: The Times says it will introduce a “metered model”–which offers a certain number of free visits to before requiring a payment–in 2011.

The publisher hasn’t said how much it will charge readers and isn’t offering many other details for now. But subscribers to the print edition will be able to access the site for free.

By adopting the “metered model,” the New York Times (NYT) is emulating the Financial Times, which lets readers peruse up to 10 stories a month before forcing them to buy a subscription to the online paper.

That model isn’t all that different from the subscription strategy employed by News Corp.’s (NWS) Wall Street Journal: While much of the Journal is theoretically behind a pay wall, it’s a fairly permeable one designed to give both casual readers and search engines access to the content. (News Corp.’s Dow Jones owns both the WSJ and this Web site).

Both are have-cake/eat-cake strategies: Generate as big an audience as possible to sell to advertisers while extracting a second revenue stream from hard-core readers. The Times, which is reportedly generating $100 million a year from Web display ads, wants to do the same thing.

The paper has tried a pay wall before. In 2005, it rolled out “Times Select” whereby it cordoned off access to op-ed columnists like Thomas Friedman and to archived stories and other features. That strategy generated around $10 million a year. But it was considered a failed experiment, and the Times dropped the wall in September 2007.

Now, of course, $10 million a year sounds like a nice boost for a paper that lost more than $35 million in its most recent quarter and saw print ad revenue plummet throughout the year.

A New York Magazine story published on Sunday predicted the timing of the announcement, even though New York Times executive editor Bill Keller told me the piece was “long on speculation.”

The New York Times Announces Plans for a Metered Model for in 2011NEW YORK, Jan 20, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The New York Times announced today that it will be introducing a paid model for at the beginning of 2011.
The new approach, referred to as the metered model, will offer users free access to a set number of articles per month and then charge users once they exceed that number. This will enable to create a second revenue stream and preserve its robust advertising business. It will also provide the necessary flexibility to keep an appropriate ratio between free and paid content and stay connected to a search-driven Web.
Through 2010, will be building a new online infrastructure designed to provide consumers with a frictionless experience across multiple platforms. Once the metered model is implemented, New York Times home delivery print subscribers will continue to have free access to
“Our new business model is designed to provide additional support for The New York Times’ extraordinary, professional journalism,” said Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of The New York Times. “Our audiences are very loyal and we believe that our readers will pay for our award-winning digital content and services.”
“This process of rethinking our business model has also been driven by our desire to achieve additional revenue diversity that will make us less susceptible to the inevitable economic cycles,” said Janet L. Robinson, president and CEO, The New York Times Company. “We were also guided by the fact that our news and information are being featured in an increasingly broad range of end-user devices and services, and our pricing plans and policies must reflect this vision.”
More details regarding the metered model will be available in the coming months.

[Image credit: etoile]

It’s Official: NYT To Start Charging For Content In 2011

It has finally happened. After twelve months (or more) of rumors and speculation the New York Times has announced that it will start charging for content in 2011. Here’s the money quote from the press release:

The new approach, referred to as the metered model, will offer users free access to a set number of articles per month and then charge users once they exceed that number. This will enable to create a second revenue stream and preserve its robust advertising business. It will also provide the necessary flexibility to keep an appropriate ratio between free and paid content and stay connected to a search-driven Web.

Also worth noting is that the Times says will spend the next year creating and building their own “new online infrastructure,” which is good news in the sense that the has continually been a leader in what a news organization should look like online. Hopefully they will apply the same ingenuity to whatever pay model they create. That said, the metered system is viewed by many as a way of ‘punishing’ the most loyal readers; people who use the site most have to pay the most, which in most other industries would make perfect sense, but in this one may prove a challenge.

Meanwhile, before everyone gets too riled up, according to Times media reporter Richard Perez-Pena the details are still super foggy:

But executives of The New York Times Company said they could not yet answer fundamental questions about the plan, like how much it would cost or what the limit would be on free reading. They stressed that the amount of free access could change with time, in response to economic conditions and reader demand.

In a memo to staff ‘Arthur and Janet’ [Sulzberger and Robinson] explain why the change now:

We are doing so because we believe that a second revenue stream will be an important part of our future…Fundamentally, this is an important step in our effort to support The New York Times’s high-quality, professional journalism….We also selected the metered model because it offers a number of important virtues from a financial and growth perspective. It allows to remain a vibrant part of the search-driven Web, which has proven to be an integral reason for why we have become an industry leader in display advertising.

Also, rest assured print subscribers, according to the same memo you will not have to pay an additional fee for online access.

Full press release after the jump. Full memo at Romenesko.

TNR Cover Story: The Washington Post Is “A Company In Chaos”

Over the weekend, we teased Gabriel Sherman’s The New Republic cover story on the flailing Washington Post — fallen from grace and under the new management of publisher Katharine Weymouth and editor Marcus Brauchli. Now, the entire story is available online and it’s exactly the extensive chronicle of dysfunction and mismanagement that we expected, beginning chiefly with WaPo’s infamous salongate.

The summertime controversy — “off-the-record salons at which sponsors would pay to mingle with D.C. eminences and Post writers” — is revealed as the brainchild of publisher Weymouth, and as a result of her inexperience and thirst to return the paper to its glory days of exclusivity under her grandmother.

“It’s like, oh God, who are these people?” an anonymous senior Post staffer is quoted as saying. The piece is largely constructed around anonymous, occasionally vague complaints like these. On the record quotes from past or current staff tend to be favorably, if a little defensive, as is wont to happen in a company exposé of this scale. Sourced by “50 current and former reporters, editors, Web staffers, and business employees” the Sherman piece outlines the paper’s “indentity crisis,” calling it both ” paralyzed and trapped” even when compared to other struggling newspaper behemoths like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, the tense, even hostile, relationship between the print and online divisions hasn’t made the paper’s search for a coherent identity any easier. And so, in a new era for journalism, The Washington Post has yet to figure out what it wants to be. The result has been a lot of lurching–some of it (like salongate) embarrassing, much of it merely ineffective, but almost all of it suggesting a newspaper in disarray.

In addition to a weighty history lesson, Sherman provides a who’s who of Post staffers — seminal, controversial and indispensable — and the decisions they’ve guided, including a steadfast focus on print vs. the web. Sherman writes:

The conclusion was that print was just too valuable to deemphasize. To illustrate the point, according to one participant in the meeting, Hills put up a chart showing that a daily print subscriber represents $500 in revenue for the paper, while a website reader brings in only $6. “In Steve’s presentation, he was completely focused on the print paper,” the participant recalls. “If you sat in these meetings, the biggest problem was the person who runs the business side doesn’t care about the Web. You bring up mobile and he gets uncomfortable.”

And there’s no need to drive home the point being made with the above decision: ignore the internet and you’ll flounder, eventually, if not now. “Philosophical divides” or not, harmony must be achieved, but it remains elusive at the paper. “At the Post, the Neanderthals won,” said a former online staffer.

You can read more about the Post’s internal divisions, hiring practices and legendary figures like Bob Woodward in the rest of Sherman’s cover story, available here in full.

Post Apocalypse [The New Republic]


5 Recent Big Moves In Hyper-Local News

The pace of change for hyper-local news sites and related businesses is dizzying.
It's hard to keep up, especially if you try to pay attention to business moves made by large players, as well as innovations that bubble up from local, independent news sites.

This year already began with large companies and investors making moves into hyper-local news. At the same time, experiments with foundation money continued, such as J-Lab's Networked News project. J-Lab also announced another request for proposals for grants for community news startups with a deadline of March 1, and proposals that support or create local news sites have advanced into the second round of the Knight News Challenge. Winners will be announced in June.

A key source for information on the big business moves in local news sites is, which focuses on the business of digital media.
And if you are looking for analysis and trends among independent sites, a great source is Michele McLellan, a fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. McLellan is researching community news startups, civic engagement and community building. She also writes for the Knight Digital Media Center's leadership blog and is @michelemclellan on Twitter.

With change coming at such a rapid pace, it's important to take stock of some of the most notable developments from recent weeks and months. Here are the five biggest recent moves in hyper-local news.

Datasphere raised $10.8 million

Datasphere, the company that has helped Fisher Communications of the Seattle area set up and sell a network of hyper-local news sites to compete with local bloggers, announced it has raised $10.8 million in funding. That number is large compared with the common figures of $1 million or $2 million for other local news ventures, and Datasphere's approach stirred up resentment among local, independent bloggers. Datasphere's website also details partnerships with Cowles Media for a hyper-local network in the Monterey and Santa Barbara markets in California, and with Fisher Communications in Portland and Eugene, Ore. raised $7 million, the hyper-local aggregator of blogs and other news sources, also raised a large chunk of money: $7 million in Series B funding, announced in early December. CNN took a stake in the company and will feature feeds from on its website, using for Publishers. The aggregator, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., also has agreements with other publishers to provide feeds to their sites. In addition, is hiring, and has a new community manager active on Twitter who is sharing and soliciting information from local sites.

U.S. Local partners with L.A. Times

The U.S. Local News Network is partnering with the Los Angeles Times for its third local site, covering Orange County. The companies will cross-sell ads and share content. U.S. Local News Network staffers will work out of the Times office in Costa Mesa, according to the paper. For more background, check paidContent's in-depth reporting on the network, which plans to roll out to 40 more cities during the next two years. The president of the company is Chris Jennewein, former online head of the San Diego Union Tribune. His experience includes time with Greenspun Interactive, Knight Ridder, including the San Jose Mercury News and the Mercury Center, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The New York Times partners with CUNY

The New York Times is expanding its collaboration with City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism". CUNY will now assume day-to-day editorial leadership of The Local, the Times' community website serving residents of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, N.Y. Journalism school faculty will serve as editors and work with students to enlist residents to cover news.

The work is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the McCormick Tribune Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Another Times Local site serving Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange, N.J., remains under the Times. Founding editor Tina Kelley was among the journalists who took a buyout from the Times in December. Replacing her is Lois Desocio, a local resident who recently received her master's in journalism from CUNY. expands recruiting, a startup of networked hyper-local sites bought by AOL in May 2009, has listed job postings for regional publishers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., editorships in California, and other positions in Boston and Chicago.

AOL bought for about $7 million. At the time, Patch had five hyper-local sites in its network. In October 2009, "Patch announced ambitious expansion plans for New York state":, launching sites in Long Island and Westchester County.

Andria Krewson is a freelance journalist and consultant from Charlotte, N.C. She has worked at newspapers for 27 years, focusing on design and editing of community niche publications. She blogs for her neighborhood at Under Oak and covers changing culture at Crossroads Charlotte. Twitter: underoak

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Matt Taibbi’s Scathing ‘Translation’ Of David Brooks

Here’s what I’m always curious about when I read Matt Taibbi’s blog posts: why did Rolling Stone let him go blog elsewhere? Taibbi penned various blogs at the mag’s website, which never accrued much attention, mostly because they were not updated with any regularity. But Taibbi is on fire over at True Slant and one wonders who at Rolling Stone is responsible for not providing him a similar platform/incentive — had they thought to the magazine might actually have a relevant online presence. Anyway! Yesterday, Taibbi took the sort of scorching rhetoric he usually levels at Tom Friedman and directed it elsewhere on the NYT op-ed page. Namely, David Brooks.

Brooks wrote a column last week shortly after the Haiti earthquake that took a rather harsh stand on international aid, and made a number of not terribly politically correct remarks.

The first of those truths is that we don’t know how to use aid to reduce poverty. Over the past few decades, the world has spent trillions of dollars to generate growth in the developing world. The countries that have not received much aid, like China, have seen tremendous growth and tremendous poverty reductions. The countries that have received aid, like Haiti, have not….We’re all supposed to politely respect each other’s cultures. But some cultures are more progress-resistant than others, and a horrible tragedy was just exacerbated by one of them.

It is notable that in the entire column there is no mention of U.S. backed dictators which absorbed much of the aid over the years. Anyway, Taibbi thinks the column is nothing more than thinly veiled commentary on “the problem of nonwhite laziness.” He does not mince words in his “Cliff’s Notes translation” of what Brooks actually meant. At all:

Although it is true that Haiti was just like five minutes ago a victim of a random earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people, I’m going to skip right past the fake mourning period and point out that Haitians are a bunch of lazy niggers who can’t keep their dongs in their pants and probably wouldn’t be pancaked under fifty tons of rubble if they had spent a little more time over the years listening to the clarion call of white progress, and learning to use a freaking T-square, instead of singing and dancing and dabbling in not-entirely-Christian religions and making babies all the fucking time. I know I’m supposed to respect other cultures and keep my mouth shut about this stuff, but my penis is only four and a third inches long when fully engorged and so I’m kind of at the end of my patience just generally, especially when it comes to “progress-resistant” cultures.

You can read the full “translation” here.

New Communications Director Restarts White House Vs. Fox News Storyline

The New York Times conducted a video interview with new White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, and he didn’t waste time in reigniting the White House vs. Fox News storyline that seemed to die down at the end of last year.

Now Fox News, and Greta Van Susteren specifically, are responding. Update: So is Glenn Beck.

Pfeiffer took over for Anita Dunn, who started the war of words with FNC and became a favorite target for Glenn Beck and others at the network. TVNewser highlights some of Pfeiffer’s key comments to the NYT yesterday.

I have the same view of Fox that Anita had, which is that Fox is not a traditional news organization. They have a point of view. That point of view pervades the entire network both the opinion shows, like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, but also through the newscasts during the day.

This is exactly how you piss Fox News off. They can handle the White House shots at their opinion shows – mainly because those shows respond directly – but the knocks at the daytime newscasts take it to another level.

“We don’t feel an obligation to treat them like we treat a CNN or an ABC or an NBC,” said Pfeiffer. Continuing: “We will correct the record, whether its an analyst on Fox, whether it’s a member of Congress, whether it’s a reporter or pundit.”

FNC responded to TVNewser: “Obviously new to his position, Dan seems to be intent upon repeating the mistakes of his predecessor…and we all remember how well that turned out.”

For those who don’t, this should give a good backstory. Ultimatley, Pres. Obama conducted an interview with FNC’s Major Garrett and the incessant attacks (which saw just as many return-fire attacks from Fox) died down quite a bit. Does this new tone and tactic open up the feud once again? Wait until Glenn Beck has his say at 5pmET tonight – he’s already name-checked Pfeiffer this year, but it is likely just an appetizer.

Van Susteren took Pfeiffer’s comments and turned them into an indictment of her show, On The Record. She challenged the White House to come on and respond in a blog post today:

If they are certain about their swipe (which includes ON THE RECORD at 10pm since they say all of Fox) – they should have the courage and strength to prove it. I am responsible for 10pm so I am eager to talk to them about our work at 10pm – an hour included in their swipe.

> Update: Here’s a brief response from Beck on the radio today. There’s likely more coming on TV.

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