October 19, 2021

At Axel Springer, Allegations of Sex, Lies and a Secret Payment

He also said the Bild workplace culture would not be replicated in the United States. “We will not tolerate any behavior in our organizations worldwide that does not follow our very clear compliance policies. We aspire to be the best digital media company in the democratic world with the highest ethical standards and an inclusive, open culture,” he said.

Axel Springer forwarded a letter from lawyers stating that Bild was not legally obliged to fire Mr. Reichelt.

But a March 1 message from Mr. Döpfner to a friend with whom he later had a falling out over the way the company handled the allegations against Mr. Reichelt, Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre, suggests that, while Mr. Döpfner was central to deciding how to act on the investigation’s findings as chief executive, he may not have been impartial. In the message, sent after Axel Springer had become aware of the allegations, but before the investigation was underway, Mr. Döpfner referred to an opinion column by Mr. Reichelt complaining about Covid restrictions.

Mr. Döpfner wrote that “we have to be especially careful” in the investigation, because Mr. Reichelt “is really the last and only journalist in Germany who is still courageously rebelling against the new GDR authoritarian state,” according to a copy of the message that I obtained. (The reference to GDR, or Communist East Germany, in this context, is a bit like “woke mob.”) Mr. Döpfner also wrote that Mr. Reichelt had “powerful enemies.”

Mr. Döpfner’s political statement in that message may seem at odds with his stated plans for his new American properties, which The Wall Street Journal reported last week, will “embody his vision of unbiased, nonpartisan reporting, versus activist journalism, which, he said, is enhancing societal polarization in the U.S. and elsewhere.”

As Axel Springer was struggling to contain the fallout from the Bild investigation, Mr. Döpfner’s focus was on Washington. This spring and summer, he conducted secret, parallel conversations with executives at two rival news organizations based in Washington, Politico and Axios, the site started in 2016 by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz, all formerly of Politico.

Mr. Döpfner’s goal was to buy both and combine them into a mighty competitor to the nation’s largest news outlets. The Politico acquisition, announced in August, was a triumph for his company. But behind the scenes, Axel Springer’s courting style had alienated its other target.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/17/business/media/axel-springer-bild-julian-reichelt.html

Instagram Struggles With Fears of Losing Its ‘Pipeline’: Young Users

In September 2018, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Instagram’s founders, left Facebook after clashing with Mr. Zuckerberg. Mr. Mosseri, a longtime Facebook executive, was appointed to helm Instagram.

With the leadership changes, Facebook went all out to turn Instagram into a main attraction for young audiences, four former employees said. That coincided with the realization that Facebook itself, which was grappling with data privacy and other scandals, would never be a teen destination, the people said.

Instagram began concentrating on the “teen time spent” data point, three former employees said. The goal was to drive up the amount of time that teenagers were on the app with features including Instagram Live, a broadcasting tool, and Instagram TV, where people upload videos that run as long as an hour.

Instagram also increased its global marketing budget. In 2018, it allocated $67.2 million to marketing. In 2019, that increased to a planned $127.3 million, then to $186.3 million last year and $390 million this year, according to the internal documents. Most of the budgets were designated to wooing teens, the documents show. Mr. Mosseri approved the budgets, two employees said.

The money was slated for marketing categories like “establishing Instagram as the favorite place for teens to express themselves” and cultural programs for events like the Super Bowl, according to the documents.

Many of the resulting ads were digital, featuring some of the platform’s top influencers, such as Donté Colley, a Canadian dancer and creator. The marketing, when put into action, also targeted parents of teenagers and people up to the age of 34.

Even so, Instagram’s angst grew. One 2019 marketing memo noted that while teenagers were still flocking to it, they showed no interest in Facebook or the Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp. The company should focus on just getting teenagers to use the photo-sharing site, the memo said, adding that “we are not seeing cross-brand interest.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/16/technology/instagram-teens.html

David F. Kennedy, Whose Ad Agency Put Nike on the Map, Dies at 82

He also served six years in the Marine Corps reserves.

Mr. Kennedy met Kathleen Murphy in 1961 in Colorado through a fraternity brother who was dating her sister. They married in 1963, moved to Chicago and had five children. He is survived by his wife; his daughters Cathlin, Erinn and Siobhan; and a son, Brendan. Another son, Ian, died in 2016.

In Chicago, Mr. Kennedy worked at agencies including Young Rubicam, Leo Burnett, Needham and Benton Bowles. But after more than 16 years in the city, he ached to return west. In 1979, he was hired in Portland as an art director for the agency that was then known as McCann-Erickson, where Mr. Wieden was working as a copywriter.

“Instead of quietly riding the Chicago Northwestern train into work, he was now driving an old Chevy pickup truck with Miles Davis or Flatt and Scruggs playing on the radio,” his daughter Erinn Kennedy said in an email.

Later, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Wieden moved to the William Cain agency, where they worked on advertising plywood for a lumber purveyor and making pitches for a small but growing company from nearby Beaverton — Nike.

Feeling creatively stifled, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Wieden struck out on their own. They started Wieden+Kennedy out of a labor union hall with a borrowed card table as a desk and used a pay phone down the hall. At one point they worked out of a restaurant, buying coffees to avoid being kicked out.

Nike was their first client. Mr. Wieden’s father, who had run the Gerber Advertising agency in Portland, helped them with the basics of running a business. It grew rapidly.

Much of Wieden+Kennedy’s success was tied to Nike and to popular campaigns like “Bo Knows,” featuring the baseball and football player Bo Jackson, and “Mars and Mike,” with the filmmaker Spike Lee and the basketball star Michael Jordan.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/15/business/media/david-f-kennedy-dead.html

Governor of Missouri Accuses Reporter of Hacking State Website

Mr. Parson, a Republican, said that it was “unlawful to access encoded data and systems in order to examine other people’s personal information.”

He cited a state law that said a hacker was anyone who gained unauthorized access to information or content. He said the reporter had no authorization to “convert or decode” the information on the website.

“This was clearly a hack,” Mr. Parson said, adding that the state would investigate the flaws that were uncovered in the system.

Legal observers said they were perplexed by Mr. Parson’s interpretation of what constituted a hack.

Frank Bowman, a professor of law at the University of Missouri School of Law, said that it was difficult to imagine the prosecution of a reporter who alerted state officials to information he discovered by examining a publicly available website.

The chances of prosecutors going after Mr. Renaud, the reporter, “are between zero and zero,” Professor Bowman said. “They’re not going to embarrass themselves like this.”

Tony Lovasco, a Republican state representative with a professional background in computers, said the governor’s announcement showed “a fundamental misunderstanding of both web technology and industry standard procedures for reporting security vulnerabilities.”

“Journalists responsibly sounding an alarm on data privacy is not criminal hacking,” he said on Twitter.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/15/us/missouri-st-louis-post-teachers-hack.html

LinkedIn to End Service in China, Citing ‘Challenging’ Environment

Since Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in 2016, revenue from the business has tripled. Mr. Nadella told investors in July that LinkedIn’s revenue had surpassed $10 billion in annual sales, up 27 percent from the previous year.

LinkedIn declined to comment beyond its announcement.

While Microsoft has tried to build a market in China for more than a decade, it has had only modest success. Last year, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, said the country accounted for less than 2 percent of its revenue.

Microsoft Windows and Office are common in China, but many people use pirated copies. The company has tried to overcome the issue, by hosting its software online and by tapping a major Chinese military contractor to help it offer an operating system better trusted by China’s government.

It has been a difficult year for private technology firms in China. Mr. Xi has overseen a series of investigations, bans and new rules that have laid low many of the country’s best known local internet companies, including Alibaba and Didi.

“The scale and scope of the crackdown in Beijing has been so jaw-dropping that not just domestic companies within China but even U.S. companies have now had to pull back,” said Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. “The last thing Microsoft wanted was to get into a political football situation in China.”

In a sign of the sensitivity around the news, Thursday’s announcement was not made by Mr. Nadella or LinkedIn’s chief executive, Ryan Roslansky, but by Mohak Shroff, the social network’s head of engineering.

Yet while the LinkedIn closure gets Microsoft out of one fraught business, it raises questions about the prospects of its search engine, Bing. The lone major American search engine still operating in China, Bing also censors results. In 2019, it was briefly blocked in the country, even as it continued to push users there to state media accounts on disputed topics like the Dalai Lama.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/14/technology/linkedin-china-microsoft.html

Chappelle Special on Netflix Draws Criticism and Internal Unrest

“Netflix has gone from the underdog and outsider poking the establishment to the epicenter of the Hollywood establishment,” he said. “When you’re at the center, everything is magnified 100 times. This is going to happen more and more as society itself wrestles with these issues. With Netflix, what will make it further complicated is that it’s a global company with massive international ambitions.”

Mr. Chappelle, 48, has had a long and celebrated career, winning an Emmy for his 2018 Netflix special, “Equanimity,” and Grammys for albums taken from the Netflix specials “The Age of Spin,” “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and “Sticks Stones.” In 2019, he won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Last year, he earned raves from critics for “8:46,” a heartfelt show on the death of George Floyd and the fraught state of race relations in America.

He made his reputation largely through “Chappelle’s Show,” a Comedy Central sketch series, and created a legend for himself when he walked away from it after having misgivings about his own success. In particular, he told Time magazine in 2005, he was concerned when he heard a white man laughing at a sketch that satirized racial stereotypes and wondered if his material was being misinterpreted. “When he laughed, it made me uncomfortable,” he said.

The critical reaction to “The Closer” has been mixed, with most reviewers acknowledging Mr. Chappelle’s comedic skills while questioning whether his desire to push back against his detractors has led him to adopt rhetorical tactics favored by internet trolls. Roxane Gay, in a Times opinion column, noted “five or six lucid moments of brilliance” in a special that includes “a joyless tirade of incoherent and seething rage, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia.”

Last week, as the controversy over the special mounted, Mr. Chappelle made an appearance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. In response to a standing ovation, he told the crowd, “If this is what being canceled is like, I love it.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/14/business/media/dave-chappelle-closer-netflix.html

Adele Announces ‘30,’ Her First Album in Six Years

The track debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for 10 weeks. But streaming — which now accounts for 84 percent of recorded music revenue in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America — was still catching on. When “25” was released, on Nov. 20, 2015, it was not made available on services like Spotify and Apple Music until seven months later, instead relying on traditional sales.

That resulted in a record-breaking 3.38 million albums sold in the United States during its first week — nearly a million more than the next-highest-selling release in the Nielsen/SoundScan era. (The company, now MRC Data, began tracking point-of-sale data in 1991.)

The album “25” has since been certified 11-times platinum and won six Grammys in 2017, making Adele the first artist ever to sweep the top three categories — record of the year, song of the year and album of the year — on two separate occasions. (She did the same in 2012, with “21.”)

Unlike Adele’s previous releases, “30” is expected to be available on streaming services upon release, although Vogue reported that the singer was “adamant that it come out in tangible form,” on CDs and vinyl, as well.

According to reports, the new album will feature collaborations with the producers and songwriters Max Martin and Shellback, who worked on the previous Adele single “Send My Love (to Your New Lover)”; the singer-songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. (“When We Were Young,” from 2015); the producer Inflo; and the composer and producer Ludwig Goransson, known for his work with Childish Gambino and on films like “Black Panther.”

“I was so fragile when I was writing it that I wanted to work only with a few people,” Adele said in her Vogue interview, citing Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” as a “very big reference.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/13/arts/music/adele-new-album-30.html

Sally Rooney Declines to Sell Translation Rights to Israeli Publisher

In her email, Ms. Rooney cited a report published this year by Human Rights Watch that said the actions of the Israeli government meet the legal definition of apartheid, and she expressed her support for the B.D.S. movement, which aims to harness international political and economic pressure on Israel. Supporters say the goal of the B.D.S. movement is to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, while critics, including many Israelis, say its real aim is the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Ms. Rooney is not the first prominent author to decline an offer to publish in Israel. Alice Walker said in 2012 that she would not allow a Hebrew translation of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Color Purple.” Ms. Walker, who was born in Georgia in 1944, said at the time, “I grew up under American apartheid and this,” she added of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, “was far worse.”

Deborah Harris, a literary agent whose company handles major authors looking to be translated and published in Israel, described Ms. Rooney’s decision as painful and counterproductive.

“When it’s ice cream or when it’s cement, or whatever else it is, it’s one thing, but when it comes to culture, I just have a very, very hard time seeing how this can be productive in changing anything,” Ms. Harris said. “What literature is supposed to do is reach into the hearts and minds of people.”

The people likely to read Ms. Rooney’s work in Israel, Ms. Harris added, are not those who support the policies to which she likely objects. “Her audience here are people who are in total support of a Palestinian state,” Ms. Harris said.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/12/books/sally-rooney-israel-translation.html

James Bond Returns and Theaters See Reason for Hope

Because of the pandemic, more moviegoers have been holding off on ticket-buying decisions until the last minute, analysts say, making it difficult for studios to predict how a movie will perform. Going into the weekend, domestic estimates for “No Time to Die” ranged from $36 million to more than $70 million, depending on what research firm was doing the prognosticating. The film’s franchise predecessor, “Spectre,” took in $70.4 million in North America over its first three days in 2015.

“No Time to Die,” which received strong reviews and an A-minus grade from ticket buyers in CinemaScore exit polls, was the first major movie to be affected by the pandemic. It was originally scheduled to roll out in theaters in April 2020. MGM and the London-based producers who control the franchise, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, pushed back the release to November 2020 and then again to this month.

Theaters keep roughly 50 percent of total ticket sales, which means the expensive “No Time to Die” is unlikely to turn a profit for MGM. The film cost an estimated $250 million to make and a further $150 million to market worldwide. But the film sold enough tickets over its first three days in theaters to qualify as a success, in part because of interest from older ticket buyers, who have been avoiding theaters over coronavirus concerns.

About 36 percent of the weekend audience in North America was over the age of 45 and roughly 57 percent was over 35, according to Erik Lomis, president of distribution at United Artists Releasing, an MGM affiliate. Mr. Lomis said that exit polls indicated that 25 percent of ticket buyers had not been to a theater in 18 months.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/10/business/media/no-time-to-die-box-office.html

Facebook Whistleblower Fallout Prompts a Push to Calm Employees

In a statement on Sunday, Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, said, “Since so much of what has been reported about Facebook is wrong, we think it’s important to provide our employees the facts.”

Ms. Haugen declined to comment on Mr. Zuckerberg’s remarks or the internal discussions, but said in a statement that she came forward partly because of what she called understaffing of teams that worked on misinformation and protecting elections.

She said her former Facebook colleagues “deserve staffing that reflects the enormous magnitude of the work they are doing.”

Over the years, Facebook’s employees have become increasingly outspoken. In June 2020, for instance, hundreds of workers staged a walkout to protest their bosses’ lack of action on inflammatory posts that President Donald J. Trump had published on the site.

Those disagreements, along with questions that Facebook has faced over spreading misinformation and hate speech, have chipped away at the company’s image, which can make it more difficult to recruit new workers.

So when Ms. Haugen revealed herself and said Facebook had chosen “profits before safety,” executives swung into action. Over the past week, several corporate vice presidents have held live internal events to provide employees with more information on how different parts of the company operate, according to a memo obtained by The Times.

The sessions included ones with Guy Rosen, vice president for integrity; Ronan Bradley, vice president for analytics and research; Monika Bickert, vice president for content policy; and Pratiti Raychoudhury, vice president and head of research, the memo said. Each talked about topics such as what the company understands about polarization, changes to the News Feed algorithm and how executives were keeping the platform safe.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/10/technology/facebook-whistleblower-employees.html