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Jailed Al Jazeera Journalist Freed (TVNewser)
Peter Greste, a correspondent for Al Jazeera who had been held for 400 days in Egypt, has been freed and has left the country, Egyptian state media reports. The Guardian \»A presidential decree has been issued to deport him to continue his punishment period in Australia. The foreign ministry coordinated with the Australian embassy and his plane took off at 4:10 p.m. [local time],\» an interior ministry spokesman said. The decree allows foreign detainees to continue their detention in their home countries, and is thought to have been enacted with the journalist’s case in mind. HuffPost / Reuters There was no immediate word on the fate of his two Al Jazeera colleagues — Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed — who were also jailed in the case that provoked an international outcry. THR The three were arrested over their coverage of the violent crackdown on Islamist protests following the military overthrow of president Mohammed Morsi in 2013. Egyptian authorities accused them of providing a platform for Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, now declared a terrorist organization. Mashable The three men were granted an appeal by Court of Cassation, Egypt’s supreme court, on Jan 1. and their families were holding out hope that Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi would grant them a presidential pardon since a decree was issued in November giving him the ability to do so for foreigners convicted of crimes.
Daily Beast’s Romney ‘Exclusive’ Was Completely Wrong (FishbowlNY)
When Mitt Romney announced Friday that he’s not running for president, The Daily Beast had some backtracking and explaining to do. Friday morning, the site published a piece declaring that Romney would run. CNN Money The Daily Beast and Bloomberg News each published reports — neither of which had a byline — citing sources who said the former Massachusetts governor was ready to explore a third presidential campaign. Shortly before Romney’s scheduled 11 a.m. call with donors, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt — a vocal Romney booster — posted a statement that said otherwise. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple Friday, a statement from Mitt Romney surfaced on his intentions regarding the 2016 presidential race. \»After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee,\» said the statement, in part. The interesting part of the Daily Beast’s story is its reliance on what appears to be the same memo that declares Romney’s intent to stay out of the race. TPM But by the time Hewitt came out with the scoop at about 10:30 a.m. ET, both the Bloomberg and Beast posts were being passed around social media in a swirl of confusion. The Beast headline simply flipped to “Mitt Romney Will Not Run for President.” Beast editor Noah Shachtman took to Twitter to issue a mea culpa.
George R.R. Martin’s New Book Not Coming This Year (GalleyCat)
George Martin‘s latest volume in the Song of Ice And Fire series, The Winds of Winter, will not be published this year. THR / The Live Feed The last book, A Dance With Dragons, was published in 2011, making it at least five years between volumes for eager fans. Mashable Martin’s publisher, Jane Johnson, tried to mollify fans by reminding them that a series of “prequel novellas” based in Martin’s world of Westeros would arrive later this year. Nevertheless, she was adamant. What HarperCollins didn’t draw attention to is that the later arrival of Winds of Winter all but guarantees that the HBO series Game of Thrones will do what Martin has long hoped it wouldn’t: overtake the books. Variety The show became the first TV series to hit the bigscreen when it opened Friday to $686,000 at the U.S. box office. The fantasy series stood to earn almost $2 million from 205 IMAX screens over the weekend, bringing its per-screen average to a weekend high of $9,800.
Daily News to Shutter Borough Bureaus (Capital New York)
In New York’s tabloid war, the Daily News has generally been the combatant with an army on the ground in the outer boroughs, while the New York Post has consolidated power around its Manhattan-centric base. That’s about to change: There are plans at the Daily News to close down the Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens bureaus in the coming weeks. FishbowlNY It is the latest and perhaps most dramatic sign of just how much the Daily News is following in the footsteps of U.K.’s Daily Mail and betting on the profit margins of a Web-driven international purview. New York Post The roughly 10 staffers and editors involved will not be laid off but will instead be given new jobs at the paper. The Daily News has also been running ads on job websites searching for a new Washington bureau chief, which could come as a surprise to the incumbent bureau chief, James Warren.
Daily Mail Publisher Buys Elite Daily (FishbowlNY)
DMG Media, publisher Daily Mail and MailOnline.com, has purchased Elite Daily. Elite Daily, as most of you know, is your worst Facebook friend’s favorite site. It publishes mostly mindless \»sharable\» articles aimed at millennials. WSJ The deal price was $47 million, a person familiar with the situation said. Elite Daily, which had 33.3 million unique U.S. visitors in December, according to analytics firm comScore, will join forces with the tabloid newspaper’s fast-growing U.S. website, DailyMail.com, which focuses on traditional breaking news and celebrity stories. NYT In an interview on Friday, Jon Steinberg, the chief executive of Daily Mail North America and a former president of BuzzFeed, said the acquisition was part of a plan to become a broader media company, \»a Time Warner or a Viacom.\»
Warner Bros. Knocks Down Best-Selling Author’s $10 Million Lawsuit Over Gravity (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
A judge has just grounded Tess Gerritsen’s lawsuit that Warner Bros. breached the terms of a 1999 deal by coming out with its blockbuster film Gravity, calling the allegations “entirely speculative.” Deadline In her April 2014 filing in federal court, Gerritsen, upon whose books the TNT series Rizzoli & Isles is based, tried to create a linkage between New Line-based Katja purchasing the rights to her Gravity for $1 million the year it came out, and the 2013 movie. She said the parties and WB were \»alter egos\» of each other. While WB bought New Line in 2008, it said that wasn’t the case here. Variety U.S. district judge Margaret Morrow dismissed the suit on the grounds that Gerritsen had failed to show that the studio had assumed obligations of New Line and Katja. Morrow wrote that Gerritsen lacked facts \»supporting the conclusions that Katja and New Line were ‘completely dominated and controlled’ by WB, and that Katja was complicit in New Line’s business strategy.\»
Bloomberg Politics Celebrates Expanding Audience, New Staff (FishbowlDC)
\»Roaring into\» its fourth month, Bloomberg Politics editors Tom Johnson and Mike Nizza took a moment to highlight the successes of their operation in a staff memo Friday morning. Capital New York Since its Oct. 6 debut, Bloomberg Politics, which is led by veteran political journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, has built up a Web audience of some 2.5 million unique monthly visitors, “tripled” its Twitter following and racked up 40,000 Facebook likes, according the memo.
Jay Z Gets Into Streaming With $56 Million Bid for Spotify Rival (THR)
Jay Z has set his sights on buying Aspiro, the Swedish parent company of two subscription streaming services, WiMP and TIDAL. The offer of 464 million Swedish krona, or $56.2 million, represents a 59.1 percent premium over Thursday’s closing share price. The bid was accepted. Quartz Both services stream high-resolution \»lossless\» music files. It is unclear if Jay Z plans to integrate the service into his business portfolio, by releasing music by artists managed by his Roc Nation label, for example. But even just releasing his own music and that of his wife, Beyoncé — who dropped her eponymous album in 2013 out of nowhere to huge sales — would be a coup for any streaming service.
Meredith Cuts Titles, Staff (WWD / Memo Pad)
Meredith Corp. is shuttering the print editions of newly-acquired titles Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health. The news was confirmed by Meredith, which said it plans to retain the digital presence of the titles and incorporate elements of their content into similar Meredith pubs, such as American Baby.
Bloomberg Adds to Team (FishbowlNY)
Tracy Alloway is joining Bloomberg Media as executive editor of markets coverage. Alloway most recently worked at The Financial Times as its U.S. financial correspondent, focusing on markets and Wall Street.
ESPN Takes Another Step Outside The Bundle, Starts Selling Streaming Cricket World Cup Subscriptions (Re/code)
ESPN is going to try selling sports directly to viewers over the Internet: The cable giant will sell live and on-demand access to the Cricket World Cup, a 49-game, six-week tournament, over the Web for $100.
Time Inc. Keeps on Changing With EW Editor Bean’s Ouster (New York Post)
In yet another big change at Time Inc., Entertainment Weekly editor Matt Bean is out, according to numerous sources, after only a year on the job.
Guardian to Step Up U.S. Branded Content With New Head (Capital New York)
Guardian News & Media is stepping up its American advertising efforts with the appointment of Rachel Israel as executive vice president of Guardian Labs U.S.
Pirate Bay Back Online Less Than Two Months After Going Dark (Variety)
Notorious piracy site The Pirate Bay has come back online, seven weeks after Swedish law enforcement officials shut it down and seized the group’s previous servers in a December raid.
The Economist Gets Two Deputy Editors (Poynter / MediaWire)
Tom Standage is now deputy editor at The Economist. Previously, he was digital editor there. Edward Carr is also now deputy editor. Previously, he was foreign editor.
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