Morning Media Newsfeed: Columbia to Review UVA Rape Story | TWC-Comcast Merger Halted

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Rolling Stone Asks Columbia to Investigate Botched UVA Rape Story (FishbowlNY)
Rolling Stone has asked Columbia University to figure out just how badly it botched its UVA rape story. Capital New York The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism will conduct an independent investigation into the reporting process of Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s feature on sexual assault at the University of Virginia. HuffPost Rolling Stone apologized on Dec. 5 after several news organizations revealed problems in contributing editor Erdely’s article. However, the magazine has not fully retracted the story. Since the apology, Rolling Stone editors and Erdely have declined to comment on the article, citing an internal review process. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The Washington Post and other publications have been re-reporting the events described in the piece and have found several striking inconsistencies, including that several people quoted in the article were never actually contacted by the magazine and that the accused rapists were also never contacted. NYT Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone’s editor and publisher, said that the review would be led by Steve Coll, the journalism school’s dean, and Sheila Coronel, the dean of academic affairs, and that it would evaluate “the editorial process that led to the publication of the story.” The report will be published unedited and in its entirety on Rolling Stone’s website, and excerpts will appear in the magazine.

FCC Stops Clock on Comcast Acquisition of Time Warner Cable (THR)
The FCC has potentially delayed approval — or denial — of the Comcast acquisition of Time Warner Cable again, this time citing missing paperwork. Deadline TWC said it had discovered 31,000 responsive documents it had not produced for the commission. The cable company cited vendor error and that it would have the docs to the FCC by Dec. 30. After FCC staff in a letter “expressed concern about the delays in production of the missing documents and the privilege log,” TWC said it would produce the docs Monday. Re/code Earlier this month, Time Warner Cable lawyers told the FCC that roughly 7,000 pages of documents the agency had asked for had been inadvertently withheld because of what the FCC is calling an “inappropriate claim of attorney-client privilege.” The agency stopped its informal shot clock for considering the deal on Monday, saying it will restart on Jan. 12. WSJ The delay sets the merger review process back another three weeks. Already, the process was delayed by two months due to an unrelated standoff between the FCC and major TV channel owners over the confidentiality of their contracts with the cable operators. That matter is being litigated in a federal appellate court in D.C.

North Korean Internet Goes Dark, A U.S. Government Attack ‘Would Be Way Worse’ (Bloomberg)
North Korea’s limited access to the Internet was restored after being cut off for hours Monday, days after the U.S. government accused the country of hacking into Sony Corp.’s files. The connection, which can be patchy, was restored after a nearly 10-hour outage, Dyn Research said on Twitter Monday. NYT Over the weekend, as North Korean officials demanded a “joint investigation” into the Sony attacks and denied culpability — an assertion the U.S. rejected — Internet service began to get wobbly. By early Monday, the Internet went as dark as one of those satellite photographs showing the impoverished country by night. Experts who monitor the health of the global Internet called it one of the worst North Korean network failures in years. Mashable This comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s announcement that he would launch a “proportional response” to the massive hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, for which the FBI believes North Korea is responsible. The anonymous group that took credit for the hack said it attacked Sony in response to The Interview, a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. WSJ The U.N. Security Council put North Korea’s human-rights record on its regular agenda after China failed to block the first meeting on Monday, following U.S. accusations against Pyongyang for the hacking attack against Sony.

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Al Jazeera America to Mark One Year Since Journalists’ Arrest With Primetime Special (TVNewser)
Al Jazeera America will mark a year since the arrests of its journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed with a primetime special, Journalism Is Not A Crime, hosted by John Seigenthaler. Variety Australian correspondent Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were detained in Egypt on Dec. 29, 2013, charged with spreading false news deemed damaging to the Egyptian state. Greste and Fahmy have since been sentenced to seven years in prison, with Mohamed sentenced to 10. The three will appear in court on Jan. 1 to appeal their sentences. HuffPost / AP Word of the special comes the same day that the Qatari-owned news network on Monday shut down its Egypt channel, quieting a major source of tension between the two countries at a time when regional efforts are underway to reconcile between the two countries over the Gulf nation’s support for Islamists.

ITV Invests in Former Maker Studios CEO’s New Company, Zealot Networks (THR)
U.K. broadcaster ITV has rounded off a year of acquisitions by investing in U.S. digital media startup Zealot Networks. Founded by Internet entrepreneur Danny Zappin, who set up YouTube multichannel network Maker Studios before being ousted as CEO prior to the company’s acquisition by Disney in March, Zealot recently moved into new offices. Variety The ITV deal values Zealot at more than $100 million, according to the startup. In August, Zappin announced he had raised $25 million from former Maker execs and talent to create Zealot. To date, Zealot has raised more than $30 million, which suggests that ITV’s stake is worth around $5 million. The ITV coin will support “the building out of Zealot’s digital studio capability and strategic M&A activity,” the company said. Deadline ITV is Zealot’s first media industry investor and will have a board position; financial terms were not disclosed.

Facebook Bows to Russian Pressure, Blocks Page for Anti-Kremlin Rally (THR)
Facebook’s Russian service has been criticized after it caved in to Kremlin demands to block the page of an opposition leader advertising an anti-government rally in mid-January. WSJ / Digits Currently under house arrest, lawyer Aleksei Navalny has organized demonstrations promoting democracy and opposing political corruption. Russian authorities have accused him and his brother of stealing and are seeking lengthy jail terms for the two men, charges that western-educated Navalny and his supporters say are false. Mashable Vadim Ampelonsky, a spokesperson for Russia’s Internet watchdog, Roskomnadzor, confirmed to Interfax news agency on Saturday that the general prosecutor had requested that access be blocked “to Internet pages on Facebook which contain calls to unauthorized mass events,” including the page for next month’s event for Navalny.

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Antoine Sanfuentes Named CNN Senior Supervising Producer (TVNewser)
Antoine Sanfuentes will be joining CNN as senior supervising producer, overseeing coverage of the White House and Congress. FishbowlDC Sanfuentes previously worked as NBC’s managing editor, Washington bureau chief, deputy bureau chief, White House producer and was part of the NBC News team that won the 2008 Emmy Award for Election Night. He began with NBC News in 1990 after graduating from American University. Sanfuentes has covered every president from Clinton through Obama, overseen major foreign trips for NBC and produced many presidential addresses.

Star-Ledger’s Stephen Whitty Loses His Staff Job (IndieWire / CriticWire)
You might think snagging a Pulitzer nomination being the head of one of the nation’s most prestigious critics’ organizations would lend you a little job security. You’d be wrong. The Star-Ledger’s Stephen Whitty announced Monday that his staff position had been eliminated. FishbowlNY Whitty, the current chair of the New York Film Critics Circle, plans to continue contributing to the paper as a freelancer.

Sony Threatens Legal Action Against Twitter After Users Post Hacked Emails (Variety)
Sony Pictures Entertainment is threatening Twitter with legal action and is calling on the social media platform to prevent its users from posting emails exposed during the recent hack of the studio. Deadline In emails sent to Twitter general counsel Vijaya Gadde, Sony lawyer David Boies wrote that Sony will “hold Twitter responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use or dissemination by Twitter” if “stolen information continues to be disseminated by Twitter in any manner.” Boies suggests the letter be shared with a Twitter user, identified as musician Val Broeksmit, who has been posting screen-capture images of leaked emails from the trove of Sony documents.

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CNN’s Jeff Zucker Sends Encouraging Email to Staff (TVNewser)
CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker sent an end-of-year email to the entire company Monday. Zucker called 2014 a “terrific year” for the network and says CNN is in the best shape it has been in years “journalistically, competitively and financially.”

HuffPost Plans to Drop AP Stories, Relaunch Site in 2015 (Capital New York)
Heading into the new year, The Huffington Post is planning to stop using Associated Press stories while increasing its reporter headcount, gearing up for a relaunch and rolling out more international editions.

Pee-Wee Herman Movie Produced by Judd Apatow Heading to Netflix (TheWrap)
What should you get a Pee-Wee Herman fan for the holidays? How about a subscription to Netflix, which is nearing a deal to distribute the Pee-Wee Herman movie that Judd Apatow is producing. The Verge Netflix has become an increasingly frequent go-to for filmmakers and projects that can’t find support or interest at traditional studios or networks (the new Pee-Wee film was initially set up at Universal).

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DirecTV Launches Latino Streaming Service Yaveo (GigaOM)
DirecTV soft-launched its Latino streaming service Yaveo Monday, offering three live TV feeds as well some 2,700 hours of on-demand content for $7.99 per month.

New Republic Editor Gabriel Snyder Promises Ambitious Journalism, More Diverse Voices (HuffPost)
Gabriel Snyder, who was tapped as editor-in-chief of The New Republic amid a recent staff exodus, wrote in his first editor’s note that the 100-year-old magazine “has always been both in love and at war with its prior self.”

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Takes Pay Cut (THR)
Netflix has cut the base pay for CEO Reed Hastings from $3 million per year to $1 million, the company said in a regulatory filing on Monday. The move comes just one year after the board boosted Hastings’ salary to $3 million from $2 million.

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