Nikki Finke Fighting The Daily Over Photo

Nikki Finke, the fearsome Hollywood blogger behind the rich Deadline sites, is important enough to have an HBO show created in her image. She's also been called the most "despised and uncompromising journalist in Hollywood," breaking a lot of industry news, but just as often making enemies, yelling at reporters, sources and stars alike, holding grudges and (allegedly) being all around insufferable. Perhaps as a result, she stays behind her computer, and is never spotted in the wild. Only two pictures of her exist online: a black-and-white author photo (right) and a shot from college in the 1970s. But Rupert Murdoch's new iPad newspaper, The Daily, claims to have a new exclusive. More on the photographic drama, plus more digital news from Murdoch's New York Post inside our daily media round-up, Press Clips.

Where's Nikki?: The Finke photo has been so hard to nail down that in October of 2009, Gawker offered a $1,000 reward "to the first person who can produce a web-ready, usable, recent photograph of Nikki Finke, sparing media consumers of the future another thousand go-rounds with Evil Headmistress." Over a year later and still nothing. Until...

Finke's rivals at The Wrap, led by Sharon Waxman, claim that News Corp. and The Daily are inching ever-closer to outing the evil-doer:

According to TheWrap's insider, Finke was told last Thursday that The Daily was set to publish a photo.

The backstory: reporter Hunter Walker (who, in full disclosure, worked at TheWrap in 2010 for several months) set out to get an image of the elusive blogger.

Walker apparently met Finke's boss, Jay Penske, the CEO of Mail Media Corporation, at the Sundance Film Festival and told him of his plan to seek a photo of Finke.

It's unclear what happened between the time Walker (who has also written on this blog) spoke to Penske with a "plan to seek a photo" and last week's attempt to publish one -- namely, how The Daily actually obtained a picture -- but The Wrap implies that it did in fact happen:

Lawyers calls ensued. Publication was suspended until Walker could find two sources to verify the identity of the person in the photograph. The reporter has been scouring the town for two people who can definitively identify her.

So far: no photo.

Today's edition of The Daily is also Finke-less and Walker did not immediately respond to a request for comment, though The Wrap does offer a drawing contest for a rendition of Finke. But The Wrap also thinks she's sweating, noting that Finke "didn't post at all on Friday and her box office report, a Saturday morning staple, was missing."

But more importantly, if it pans out and Finke is identified, the small scoop could be a decent-sized coup for The Daily among media insiders, who have spent a fair amount of time wringing their hands about the release of the iPad paper, but comparatively little time discussing (or linking to) any of the work inside. Should the photo appear and proceed to go viral, it will also be an interesting test of The Daily's isolation: will other website more attuned to the free web take the photo and run with it or will The Daily get credit where it's due? First, they'll have to get around Finke's lawyers.

Murdoch Online: Elsewhere in the News Corp. universe, the New York Post's fashion insert, called Alexa (named after the paper's founder Alexander Hamilton?) launched a website, leading some to remember the horror that was, which closed after three months (for the second time). Murdoch's companies have been notoriously bad with online properties (MySpace, Photobucket,, etc.) in the past, but maybe all this attention and funding for The Daily signals a new day. Though fashion websites are already a super crowded space, Alexa looks fine. (Nice, even!) Except the font, that sucks.

If you have more info on Finke's face, please get in touch. We're also taking bets on Alexa's shelf-life:

[ / @joecoscarelli]

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