The Huffington Post Gets Blacker, Howard Kurtz Gets Paid as Press Clips Returns


Press Clips has long, if intermittently, been the name of the media column at the Village Voice, years ago on paper in the hands of journalists like Sydney Schanberg and Keach Hagey, before being brought to this blog by some untamed rabble-rouser called Foster Kamer. But as a wise man once wrote, “what this town really needs is more media reporters!” So once a day, in this space, I’ll round-up noteworthy stories touching on TV, print and the web with a dash of criticism, some reading recommendations and probably some reports of altogether too-insidery comings and goings. Tips and tricks are more than welcome. Shall we?

HuffPo Announces GlobalBlack: Arianna Huffington’s SEO giant will team with BET co-founder Sheila Johnson to launch some sort of new site or blog (“vertical”?) that caters to the African-American community. MediaBistro has the word from Huffington herself with an additional comment by Johnson:

We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with Sheila Johnson, a true media visionary, on creating what we hope will become a go-to destination for both the African-American community and everyone who cares about these deeply important issues — in America and across the world. HuffPost GlobalBlack will synthesize Sheila’s insights and perspectives on culture and media, and HuffPost’s unique blend of real-time social news and engagement. This a two-way partnership, with HuffPost GlobalBlack content and vision informing all of HuffPost’s coverage, and HuffPost’s editorial and reporting team covering stories shaping the black community.

Johnson added:

The Huffington Post is at the center of social news: the idea that people want to engage in the news and opinion of the day and not just consume them. The Huffington Post is the ideal partner for us to create a thriving online black community of scale, a forum for ideas and discussion meant to inform, engage, surprise, and entertain.

This latest section comes on the heels of HuffPo’s new divorce section, which currently features the story, “Sandra Bullock ‘Hugged’ Scarlett Johansson.” A quick scroll down a random page on HuffPo reveals four black people: two in a stock photo for “How To Stop Butting Heads With Your Second Mate,” one in an icon for the NFL section and then the article “Lamar Odom: Khloe’s ‘Not Small,'” which is on the most popular list. It’s safe to say they have not yet tapped into this particular market.

Kurtz’s Kash: Yesterday the Business Insider floated the figure $600,000 as Howard Kurtz’s salary at The Daily Beast. The big number came along with a few other rumors of old media dudes making bank switching to the web (Kurtz left the Washington Post in late 2010), such as Tim O’Brien and Peter Goodman ($400,000 and $300,000, respectively) who both moved to the Huffington Post from the New York Times.

Henry Blodget, at Business Insider, used the unconfirmed figures to point to a new Golden Age in media, but the evidence is both anecdotal and probably wrong (the Beast used Blodget’s words to call the figures “wildly inflated figments of hyper-active imaginations”).

Even if those numbers are ballpark, they’re enough to make any Columbia J-school kid hyperventilate. But, no — you’re not an old white man, you haven’t been doing this for 1,000 years and so you’re never going to make money like that. It’s worth laughing at if websites really are throwing around that kind of cash for “brand name” writers like Kurtz, but it’s not worth getting starving student bloggers all worked up. More money rumors if you want them, though!

Guest of a Guest Loses One to Dan Abrams: Sarah Kunst, who spent two years as the event manager for local social status site Guest of a Guest, will be joining Abrams Research (consulting) and Abrams Media (editorial) — home to sites like Styleite, Geekosystem, SportsGrid and Mediaite (where I once worked) — as the newly created Director of Special Events. What does that mean? Kunst tells us:

I’ll be working across all verticals and executing events that could range from a Kentucky Derby party at Churchill Downs for SportsGrid to a fashion and luxury industry conference hosted by Styleite and Mogulite to CEO/VC dinner for Geekosystem during SXSWi. This position will focus on activating the media properties with sponsored real life experiences and will grow as the family of sites does.

Sounds charming, if schmoozy. (Update: Kunst announced the switch and mourned leaving Guest of a Guest on her blog.)

Delays For Daily, Gawker, New York Times: Joe Pompeo at Yahoo!’s The Cutline has an informative feature about a trio of media push-backs at major companies including News Corp.’s much-anticipated iPad newspaper The Daily, which was previously set to launch yesterday in a joint announcement featuring Rupert Murdoch and Apple’s Steve Jobs. The subscription model still needs work (“weeks, not months”) and Jobs recently announced a sudden medical leave. “The launch has yet to be officially rescheduled,” writes Pompeo.

Gawker, meanwhile, was all ready to forgo its reverse-chronological blog format in favor of a more multi-media friendly magazine style before its servers were hacked and much of its secret information compromised. Originally the relaunch was planned for January 3rd, but now it’s looking more like February 6th. So that’s the day you can look forward to extra whining about change on the internet.

Lastly in Pompeo’s trio of wait-and-sees: the New York Times is still free. (But sooner or later it will run you about $20 a month.)

And quickly, elsewhere…

Ruh Roh: Romenesko points out a little plagiarism problem over at the Daily Mail. Surely it was just a mistaken case of copy+paste!

Buffett Out at WaPo: Super rich old man Warren Buffett is set to vacate his spot as director on the board of the The Washington Post Co. when his term runs out in May. He’s been on the board 26 years and is currently 80-years-old so either he sees a sinking ship or he’s really tired.

Blogger Hits the Big-Time: Gawker Media sports blogger A.J. Daulerio, he of Deadspin and Brett Favre’s dick fame, got the phenom treatment in GQ. And in some sort of strange trickle-down, Gabriel Sherman, who wrote the GQ article, gets interviewed by MediaBistro. He’s both wise and enlightening on the subject of journalism!