The BizBeat – October 13, 2016

Each Thursday, MediaFile’s Business section publishes The BizBeat, an overview of the past week’s news in media organizations and industry. Have a tip, see something we missed, or want to put something on our radar? E-mail Shiplett@Mediafiledc.com.

Making Headlines

  • Early this week, a bombshell recording from 2005 was brought to light by Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold. On it,  NBC anchor Billy Bush discussed degrading and sexually assaulting women with republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, with both men unaware that their were speaking into live microphones. Since, Bush has reportedly been ousted from his anchor role on NBC’s “Today” show, and will likely soon exit from the network altogether.  However, according to some sources, NBC execs may have known about Bush’s obscene “locker room talk”, but did nothing about them. Yet, CNN reports that Bush’s departure from NBC is no longer a matter of “if”, but rather, “when”.

Getting Down to Business

  • According to an internal memo to its reporters, the Wall Street Journal will be undergoing a major newsroom “overhaul” to cut out “editorial flab” and emphasize a focus on digital journalism. Poynter reports that in addition to cutting unnecessary length in stories, the changes will also aim to publish higher quality stories earlier in the day, redesign the print edition, ensure readability and presentation across platforms, and divide the newsroom between print and digital desks.

On the Radar

  • HLN will premiere its new nightly program, “Primetime Justice with Ashleigh Banfield”, next Monday, October 17. Banfield, a seasoned anchor and correspondent for CNN and HLN, will discuss “pressing legal and social issues” during the program, which will also feature “hot topic debates” and “expert guests” to speak on the issues. Primetime Justice is executive produced by Elizabeth Yuskaitis and will air Monday through Thursday at 8 PM EST on HLN. View the show’s promo here.
  • Twitter and Salesforce.com remain in talks about a possible deal sources told CNBC on Tuesday. A number of logistical and operational hurdles face Twitter, and the company’s board of directors is reportedly split between those who do and do not want to sell the company at all. Salesforce has also met resistance from its shareholders, with some concerned about the valuation of the deal considering Twitter’s rapidly declining stock price. At an annual client conference last week, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said he wished Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey “well”, but there have not been any further indications of movement in deliberation.

Arrivals

  • SPY Magazine is back – for now. On Wednesday, the satirical magazine’s co-founder Kurt Andersen announced that the magazine would be revived in an online, “pop-up” format for the last 30 days of the Presidential elections. It’s also “serendipity”, Andersen says, that the magazine’s 30th anniversary is this month. Spy’s pieces will be available through Esquire magazine’s website and will publish content until the end of Election day.

  • Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, was named the magazine’s next editor-in-chief on Tuesday. Goldberg will succeed James Bennet, who left the magazine this spring to take on the role of editorial-page editor at The New York Times. Goldberg began working at The Atlantic in 2007 after working at The New Yorker and has since written eleven cover stories and made “prolific” contributions to The Atlantic’s digital content. In his new role, Goldberg will oversee editorial in print, digital, video, and guide teams at CityLab and AtlanticLive.
  • WBEZ’s accalimed radio program, This American Life, debuted a new app called “Shortcut” this week. The app allows users to turn their favorite moments from the This American Life podcast into shareable videos with audio and transcripts from the show. The app comes from history of radio and podcast audiences having trouble finding ways to share audio, which in turn makes it harder for the shows to find new listeners. With Shortcut, This American Life hopes to bypass this difficulty and make audio more shareable.

Departures

  • Last week, podcasting giant Gimlet announced in a surprise move that it was cutting one one of its most popular podcasts, Mystery Show, and its host, Starlee Kine. Although the show was a foundational member of the growing company, being its third show to air, it is the first program Gimlet has ever cut. Prior to the announcement, the status of the show was questionable, as no announcements had been made, but no new episodes of the show had been released since July 2015 and Kine was removed from the Gimlet staff site in August. Despite these setbacks, there are reports that Mystery Show could potentially be produced elsewhere, and Kine is currently involved in a number of different podcasting projects.
  • Liz Heron, Executive Editor of The Huffington Post, will be leaving the organization after only a year in her current post. Heron was considered a possible replacement for Arianna Huffington, who also announced her departure from the outlet in August, and served on the search committee for the new editor-in-chief. According to a post on Heron’s Facebook page, she will be joining the Knight Foundation as a consultant on digital media initiatives.

Taking Stock

The following stocks are for companies that were in media news, influencing media news, or affected by media news in the past week. Indicated changes identify noteworthy variations in price from the previous week’s report.

  • Twitter, Inc. (TWTR): $18.05 (down $6.82 from last week)
  • Salesforce.com, Inc. (CRM): $72.23
  • CBS Corp. (CBS): $55.15
  • Viacom (VIA): $35.12 (down $7.59 from last week)
  • Gannett Co. (GCI): $11.06
  • Tribune Media Company (TRCO): $34.29

In Other News

  • One man won over the news cycle and internet hearts after Sunday’s debate – and no, it wasn’t Donald Trump. Ken Bone, an adorably-middle aged “undecided” voter donning a now-famous red sweater, immediately captured audiences’ attention when he asked a question about energy and job security during the most recent Presidential debate. Since, Bone has become an internet sensation, and apparently, racking up media appearances. Bone might be the hottest interview guest right now, but watch out journalists – he’s not available on October 29th.

  • Last Friday was Fox News channel’s 20th anniversary. Mediaite reports that network co-presidents Jack Abernathy and Bill Shine sent out internal memos to Fox News staffers celebrating the date and encouraging staffers to attend small celebrations throughout the day.

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