Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Short Takes: Sean McManus gets promoted out of news and into sports; a quick look at InformationWeek Select; Hippeau back on the investment side after HuffPost sale

A round-up of some miscellaneous news items I found of interest on this Tuesday afternoon.

This press release from CBS probably wasn't intended to tell us what CBS thinks of its news division, but . . .

Sean McManus, who has served as president of CBS News and Sports since 2005, has been promoted to the position of Chairman, CBS Sports. In this role, he will focus on the expanding portfolio of sports properties across all CBS Sports operations... In assuming this new position, McManus will step down from his role as President of CBS News.

Jeff Fager, Executive Producer of 60 Minutes will take over as Chairman of CBS News, with David Rhodes, formerly of Bloomberg, assuming the title of President of the News Division.

I downloaded, but forget to write about the InformationWeek iPad app released a week ago. Called InformationWeek Select, the app is about what you'd expect from the name: select stories drawn from the website of the UBM weekly.

The only advantage of these RDD driven tablet editions are that they can be read offline, though I noticed that the photos are missing. The app can be used in both landscape and portrait modes, and utilizes a single-sponsor model -- in this case, Oracle.

Kara Swisher has a piece online at the WSJ about the return of Epic Hippeau back to the investment side of the media business. Hippeau was CEO at The Huffington Post, of course, and before that was with Softbank, which bought Ziff-Davis . . . you get the idea.

Now Hippeau has landed at Lerer Ventures, which is run by Huffington Post co-founder Kenneth Lerer, who was a major investor in the website. What a business.

Like all things media, internal politics eventually trumps good publishing practices, leading to personnel changes. Whether it is a battle over editorial turf, or who should be running the web or app development, it is more often politics that decides who is in, and who is out.

Sarah Chubb, in charge of Condé Nast digital is leaving the company after 20 years -- or as the internal memo has it, Chubb will "explore other opportunities".

According to the Peter Kafka written piece on the move, Chubb had advocated for creating "a homegrown platform for publishing the company’s magazines for Apple’s iPad and other tablets."

But Wired magazine creative director Scott Dadich supposedly won the internal battle, and well, out goes Chubb.

But, of course, if this is all true, it probably won't make Ms. Chubb feel better to know that she was absolutely correct -- developing native tablet platform solutions was the right thing to do. Instead we are left with these massive Adobe driven tablet editions -- though to be fair much of the criticism of the Condé Nast tablet editions involves pricing, but size of download, and lack of native features is a common complaint, as well.