Morning Media Newsfeed: NBC News Reups Williams | Jana Winter Joins The Intercept

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Brian Williams Signs New Deal With NBC (TVNewser)
NBC’s Brian Williams, who just celebrated 10 years as anchor of NBC Nightly News, has signed a new long-term deal with the network. THR Saying that he has “renewed his commitment” to the network’s news division, NBC News president Deborah Turness said in a staff memo that he will continue to serve as anchor and managing editor of the nightly broadcast “for years to come.” LA Times Though Williams will acknowledge only that it’s a long-term deal, insiders at the network say it will keep him at the helm of NBC Nightly News for at least five more years. He didn’t disclose his financial compensation, but it’s said to be more than $10 million a year. CNNMoney He is presently the longest-serving nightly news anchor, competing every weeknight against David Muir, who just took over ABC’s World News three months ago, and Scott Pelley, who became the anchor of the CBS Evening News three years ago. NYT The news ratings have been more competitive over the last year. This past summer, ABC’s newscast edged ahead of NBC for a number of weeks among the viewers most sought by news advertisers, those from the ages of 25 to 54. Williams continues to win virtually every week among total viewers, averaging more than 9 million a night, the program’s best total in almost a decade. In recent weeks he has also moved ahead again among the 25-54 group.

Jana Winter Joins D.C.-Based The Intercept (FishbowlDC)
Jana Winter will be joining The Intercept, according to an announcement on their site Monday. The Intercept Winter is a former Fox News reporter who faced jail time for refusing to reveal her confidential sources. She is joining The Intercept as a national security reporter based in Washington, D.C. Mediaite Winter made headlines in 2012 when she refused to divulge her source(s) in a report that shooter James Holmes had given a notebook full of violent material to his psychologist prior to killing 12 in a shooting rampage inside an Aurora, Colo. movie theater. The Arapahoe County District Court in Colorado had threatened Winter with jail time to compel her to disclose her source(s), but Winter ultimately prevailed when the New York State Court of Appeals ruled she did not have to comply with the court’s order. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Winter’s hire comes after a tumultuous year for First Look Media, The Intercept’s parent company. The company scrapped plans to launch a series of digital magazines, and endured a very public breakup with journalist Matt Taibbi, laying bare some of the larger troubles at the company. Editor John Cook also resigned and was replaced earlier this month by Betsy Reed, executive editor of The Nation.

Amazon Is Adding HBO Go to Fire TV (GigaOM)
HBO is a go for owners of Amazon’s Fire TV: Amazon has added a HBO Go app to its Fire TV set-top box, and promises to bring the same app to the Fire TV Stick this coming spring. Mashable The service is currently available to most cable subscribers on Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku set-top boxes (though notably, Comcast has blocked access to HBO Go on the Roku). WSJ / Personal Tech News However, there is one major caveat: Comcast and Charter are blocking HBO Go for their subscribers who use Amazon’s Fire TV products. “We’d love to provide HBO Go for Comcast customers on Fire TV and encourage those customers to reach out to Comcast for further information on availability,” said Rachel Hass, an Amazon spokeswoman. Variety Amazon’s Fire TV is adding the service, available only to HBO subscribers with a subscription through participating pay-TV providers, under the companies’ multiyear content-licensing pact that made Prime Instant Video the exclusive online-based subscription VOD service for past seasons of HBO originals like The Sopranos and The Wire.

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The Week Closes Comments Section (FishbowlNY)
The Week is shutting down the comments section on its website. Ben Frumin, editor-in-chief of, explains that when it comes to comments on articles, essentially, a few bad apples often spoil the bunch. The Week “Too often, the comments sections of news sites are hijacked by a small group of pseudonymous commenters who replace smart, thoughtful dialogue with vitriolic personal insults and rote exchanges of partisan acrimony,” states Frumin. Poynter / MediaWire The Week announced that as of Jan. 1, you’ll have to take your comments to social media. In the comments left on Frumin’s post, some commenters noted that they won’t be headed to Facebook or Twitter because they don’t use them. When Reuters announced it was ending comments in November, more than 30 people had comments, many saying they were done with Reuters.

Alex Burns Leaves Politico (HuffPost)
Alex Burns, a senior political reporter for Politico, has quietly left the news organization, according to sources familiar with the move. Burns had recently been in talks with The New York Times about a New York-based position covering city and state politics. FishbowlDC Burns, one of Politico’s best known and longest tenured reporters, has been with the organization since graduating from Harvard in 2008. Capital New York In a memo sent to staff Monday evening, Politico executive director Susan Glasser also announced that editorial director Blake Hounshell will take over the breaking news desk — replacing deputy editor Gregg Birnbaum, who has been the driving force behind that operation for four years. Birnbaum is leaving the company.

Vice Eyes 2015 ‘Deal Spree,’ Possible IPO (Financial Times)
Vice Media will go on a “deal spree” in 2015 and explore an initial public offering if market conditions remain favorable, according to Shane Smith, chief executive of the youth-focused digital media group. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The company was recently valued at $2.5 billion and has a $500 million “war chest.” Smith also announced that mergers and acquisitions attorney James Schwab, who has served as a longtime strategic adviser to Vice, will be joining the company as co-president. Schwab will oversee finance, corporate development and strategic partnerships, the company said in a news release. THR The multiplatform media company has some powerful media investors and is primed to forge more partnerships. A&E Networks agreed in August to pay $250 million for a 10 percent share of Vice Media. Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and former Viacom CEO Tom Freston also have invested in Vice, as has Technology Crossover Ventures, the fund that has stakes in Facebook and Netflix. Vice’s current assets include a magazine, website, record label and film production company.

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Dan Berman Will Join National Journal, Ben Pershing Promoted (FishbowlDC)
Dan Berman will be joining National Journal as an assistant managing editor, announced editor-in-chief and president Tim Grieve Monday in a staff memo. Additionally, Grieve announced the promotion of Ben Pershing to editor of National Journal Daily. HuffPost Before becoming White House editor, Berman served as energy editor and as deputy managing editor of Politico Pro. At National Journal, Berman will oversee coverage of Congress, the White House and policy.

Sony Hack: Amy Pascal Apologizes to Harvey Weinstein, Lining Up Studio Supporters (Variety)
Sony Pictures Entertainment is trying to get out in front of the devastating cyber-attack that has left the company reeling before the next batch of stolen documents leaks online. Co-chair Amy Pascal has been reaching out to various executives and A-list stars across the industry to apologize preemptively for any disparaging comments she might have made in her correspondence. The Weinstein Co. chairman Harvey Weinstein was among the executives and actors who received an apologetic call from Pascal. THR Many outlets have refrained from posting copyrighted content from the studio’s films in the wake of the attack. But now Gawker has crossed that line and posted a clip from The Interview. And it’s not just any clip — it depicts the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and is likely the most provocative scene in the film.

Rolling Stone Writer Contacting UVA Students as Magazine Reviews Disputed Article (HuffPost)
Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the author of a now-disputed Rolling Stone story on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, hasn’t spoken publicly as her explosive story has unraveled over the past two weeks. While Erdely has ignored interview requests, including from The Huffington Post, she has reportedly been contacting students she quoted in the story — some of whom she never approached before publishing the piece in November.

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Zunaira Zaki Promoted to Managing Editor of ABC News Specialized Units (TVNewser)
Zunaira Zaki has been promoted to managing editor of the ABC News Specialized Units. Zaki, who has been with ABC 11 years, will oversee the Business, Medical and Law & Justice units.

As Promised, Google News Says ‘Adios’ to Spain (VentureBeat)
Google News ceased operations in Spain Tuesday, a move the search giant said was the result of a new law that would have required it to pay publishers for their content. Google had said last week that it was going to stop the service. Tuesday, the company posted a notice on the Google News Spanish site saying the service was gone.

Fox News May Disappear From Dish (TVNewser)
If you watched any of the NFL on Fox Sunday, you may have caught a commercial imploring Dish customers to push the satellite carrier to keep Fox News in the lineup. FNC’s current deal with Dish expires Saturday night at 11:59 p.m. ET.

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Nexstar, NBC Sign Long-Term Affiliation Deal (TVSpy)
Nexstar Broadcasting says it has signed a long-term affiliation deal with the NBC Television Network. The deal covers 16 of Nexstar’s owned or operated stations.

Penguins Loss Forecasts Chill DreamWorks Animation Shares (Deadline)
More bad news for Jeffrey Katzenberg: DreamWorks Animation shares were down about 5.9 percent in mid-day trading after Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil slashed his forecast for its latest film Penguins of Madagascar and projected that it will end up losing $49 million versus his previous prediction of a $15 million loss.

English Soccer U.K. TV Rights Could Reach $7 Billion (THR)
The English Premier League, the most-watched soccer league in the world, has published the tender document for the next U.K. TV rights auction, outlining plans expected to see the deal easily top its current total price of $3 billion.

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