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INDUSTRY NEWS 7-17-2014

South Carolina Supreme Court: Autopsy reports are not public 

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that autopsy reports are not public records, dealing another blow to traditional practices under the state's Freedom of Information law.

The justices ruled 4-1 that autopsies are medical records and fall under privacy provisions of the open records law. The ruling came just four weeks after the justices ruled that public meetings don't have to have a list of topics to be discussed, and if they do have an agenda, it can be changed in the middle of the meeting.

The justices ruled in a lawsuit against the Sumter County Coroner Harvin Bullock by The Sumter Item. The newspaper sued because the coroner refused to release the autopsy report of 25-year-old Aaron Jacobs, who was shot by police in 2010.

Police initially said Jacobs fired on officers, but the autopsy report, obtained from a different source by the newspaper, said there was no gunshot residue on Jacobs' hands and he was shot in the back.

Tribune sets Aug. 4 date for publishing spinoff

The Tribune Co. has set Aug. 4 as the date for the expected spinoff of its newspaper publishing business.

It first announced plans to separate its television and print businesses a year ago. The company has said the move will let one company take advantage of growth in broadcasting and allow the other to focus on newspapers, an industry where revenue has been declining for years. News Corp. and Time Warner Inc. have also recently split into separate publishing and entertainment companies.

The new company will be called Tribune Publishing Co. and include newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Its shares are set to start regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "TPUB" on August 5.

INDUSTRY NEWS 7-9-2014

CNN sues Blaine County for Bergdahl records


Cable News Network has sued Blaine County in Idaho seeking information from a 1999 police investigation involving the family of Bowe Bergdahl, the Wood River Valley soldier who spent five years in captivity of the Taliban, according to the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper. CNN says the report from the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office is subject to disclosure under Idaho public records laws. Sheriff Gene Ramsey has twice denied the network's request. “I have declined to release the report because I feel it should be exempt from disclosure, because it would be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,” Ramsey told the Idaho Mountain Express. The sheriff said the report comes from “an investigation in 1999 in which no charges were filed.”

Hearst Connecticut, Westfair ink content sharing deal

Hearst Connecticut Media Group has begun a content-sharing partnership with Westfair Communications, publisher of the Fairfield County Business Journal, the Westchester County Business Journal and WAG magazine. Westfair is based in White Plains, New York."This is a great opportunity to give our readers more news and more information about our 
local economy," said Executive Editor Barbara T. Roessner, who oversees news content and operations for Hearst Connecticut’s four daily newspapers and five weeklies. "Local business coverage is essential to our communities. It's a top priority for our newspapers and websites." Dee DelBello, publisher of Westfair, heralded the arrangement as a first-of-its-kind for the company.

Adams Publishing Group buys Minnesota newspapers

Adams Publishing Group LLC has purchased the Owatonna (Minnesota) People's Press, Faribault Daily News and other media properties from Huckle Media LLC. The deal includes 10 community newspapers, 17 websites, shopping guides and a commercial printing facility. The new division, APG Media of Southern Minnesota will also include the Northfield News, Waseca County News, St. Peter Herald, Le Sueur News-Herald, Kenyon Leader, Lonsdale Area News-Review, Blooming Prairie Leader and Le Center Leader. The family-owned Adams Publishing Group is based in St. Louis Park. Its founder is Stephen Adams, youngest son of longtime WCCO Radio and TV personality and Minneapolis Star and 
Tribune columnist Cedric Adams. The company in March acquired three divisions of American Consolidated Media in northern Minnesota, 

Las Vegas Sun shifts ownership, plans to keep publishing

The Las Vegas Sun has broken off talks to end its longstanding joint operating agreement with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Sun reported on its website. The Sun also said its Publisher, Brian Greenspun, has become sole owner of the newspaper’s parent company, Greenspun Media Group. The company, founded by Hank and Barbara Greenspun in 1950, was owned by Greenspun and his three siblings — brother Danny Greenspun and sisters Susan Greenspun Fine and Janie Greenspun Gale.

Judge: Emails about emergency network US property

A federal judge in Des Moines, Iowa, has blocked the release of emails to and from an Iowa sheriff serving on a federal board tasked with building a high-speed broadband network for emergency responders. Judge James Gritzner issued an order declaring the emails in Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald's county email files federal records that may not be released by the county without U.S. government permission. Fitzgerald was appointed in 2012 to serve on the board of FirstNet, created by Congress to improve upon weaknesses found in emergency networks in the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The news outlet Politico learned Fitzgerald used county email to discuss FirstNet business and sought copies through an open records request. Gritzner sided with the Department of Justice, which opposed the release, arguing the emails 
included sensitive information.

The AP plans to automate quarterly earnings articles

The Associated Press has announced that it will use computer automation to perform one of the most formulaic tasks for business reporters — writing articles about the quarterly earnings of companies. Articles about corporate earnings are largely based on a company’s report to shareholders,  but can include information from earnings conference calls with executives and comments from analysts. The AP produces about 300 such articles a quarter, according to Lou Ferrara, a 
managing editor who oversees business news. Beginning in July, Mr. Ferrara said, these articles will be written using software from a company called Automated Insights, which The Associated Press has invested in, paired with data from 
Zacks Investment Research. The automated system will enable the news service to increase the number of earnings articles it publishes more than tenfold, Mr. Ferrara said, and allow journalists to use their “brains and time in more enterprising ways during earnings season.” No journalism jobs will be lost as a result, he said.

Facebook runs into uproar over experiment that tested emotional reactions

Facebook is facing a firestorm of outrage over an experiment in which researchers temporarily tweaked the contents of nearly 700,000 users' news feeds – without their knowledge – to test their emotional response to seeing more positive or negative news from friends, the San Jose Mercury News reported..As word of the one-week experiment spread online, some users, legal experts and even medical researchers accused Facebook of treating the test subjects like lab rats by deliberately manipulating their emotions in ways that could potentially cause harm. Facebook downplayed the study in a statement that characterized it as just one of many tests the company conducts to make the social network "more relevant and engaging." Defenders pointed out that Internet companies like Facebook, Google and Yahoo are constantly testing 
users' reactions to different types of content, including advertising, in ways that determine what each user sees in the future.

Miami News-Record purchased by GateHouse Media

The Miami News-Record has been acquired by New Media Investment Group, one of the largest owners of newspapers in the country. New Media purchased five daily, nine weekly newspapers and four shoppers from the American Consolidated Media Southwest Group, the parent company of Miami News-Record. ACM newspapers are based in small-market communities in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. New Media also announced it purchased The Petersburg Progress-Index, as well as a weekly publication, The Colonial Voice. Those newspapers are in Virginia. Together, the two acquisitions were purchased for $15.3 million. New Media is the owner of GateHouse Media, LLC, one of the largest publishers of locally 
based print and online media in the United States. The newspapers will be managed by GateHouse Media.

Watergate as seen through eyes of Dick Cavett show

PBS is marking the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's resignation by running a documentary on the Watergate scandal as seen through the prism of Dick Cavett's late-night talk show at the time. People with memories of Watergate remember developments unfolding on the evening news or the gripping Senate hearings shown on daytime TV, but fewer recall that Cavett's ABC program featured appearances by an array of pivotal figures. Even the former host.  "I didn't remember how much there was," Cavett told The Associated Press. "I watched some of it the other day and they were new to me." From 1972 to 1974, Cavett interviewed many major Watergate figures, including Nixon aides John Ehrlichman, Alexander Haig, G. Gordon Libby and Jeb Magruder, as well as several members of the Senate committee investigating the case. Cavett's show even taped a special edition from the room where the Senate hearings were held. The documentary "Dick Cavett's Watergate" features fresh interviews with reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, former Nixon aide John Dean and Cavett. PBS announced it will  air on Aug. 8.

Minnesota Timberwolves owner closes Star Tribune purchase

Minnesota Timberwolves owner and printing company billionaire Glen Taylor has completed his purchase of the Star Tribune. Terms were not disclosed, but Taylor has put the purchase price at around $100 million, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1jD0zaL ) reported. The Minneapolis media company joins Taylor's group of more than 80 businesses worldwide, including the Timberwolves, the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx and dozens of companies in printing and other industries. "As I've said before, the Star Tribune is not only a good business, it's an important institution  for all Minnesotans," Taylor said in a statement. "Our state and the region benefit from the presence here of a strong journalistic enterprise."

National journalism group gives 'Golden Padlock' award to governors for secrecy law

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has received a “Golden Padlock” award from a national journalism organization for her support of the state’s execution secrecy law. Fallin will share the award from Investigative Reporters and Editors with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who has also supported secrecy involving executions in that state. Both governors also share the award with the U.S. Navy FOIA office, which won for blocking access to records about a deadly shooting rampage in Washington, D.C. that killed 12 people  last year.

Gilbert's real estate arm buys Detroit newspaper building

Businessman Dan Gilbert's real estate arm says it's bought the home of The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. Bedrock Real Estate Services made the announcement about its purchase of the Detroit Media Partnership building. The News says the purchase price wasn't disclosed. The 400,000-square-foot building was built in 1917 and designed by famed architect Albert Kahn. Detroit Media Partnership President Joyce Jenereaux says she's "thrilled that Bedrock will be 
the new owner of our building." The Free Press says Bedrock and its affiliates now own, control or manage more than 60 
properties in Detroit's urban core, totaling more than 9 million square feet of space. The Detroit Media Partnership recently announced it will move its headquarters.

Quinn vetoes Illinois legislation limiting FOIA


Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has vetoed legislation that would've made it more difficult for members of the public to obtain large numbers of records under the Freedom of Information Act. The legislation was sponsored by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat, and passed the Legislature in May. The legislation would have allowed public 
bodies to charge fees for providing electronic data if FOIA requests involved large amounts of information. It also would have given public entities exemptions from having to make copies of records on their websites. Bill supporters said the measure eliminated "undue burdens." It was opposed by numerous press associations.
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