April 22, 2018

He Won $1 Million to Make a Movie. Then the Problems Set in.

The film, “Nigerian Prince,” follows a Nigerian-American high schooler, Eze (Antonio J. Bell), whose mother sends him to live with his aunt (played by the Nigerian actress Tina Mba) in Lagos. There, Eze befriends his cousin, Pius (Chinaza Uche), a professional scammer who sends phishing emails, among other deceitful business pursuits.

Mr. Okoro wrote the story with Andrew Long, a fellow Howard University alumnus. As they developed the script, they were guided by the director Spike Lee, who mentored Mr. Okoro at N.Y.U. (Mr. Lee is also an executive producer of the film.)

The project was long-gestating. “This is classic Faraday,” Sheldon Chau, the film’s cinematographer, said in a phone interview. “He comes up to me and he asks me, ‘Sheldon, what are you doing summer 2017?’ This is in 2014. And I was like, ‘I think I’m free.’ And he was like, ‘Well, that’s when I want to do my feature.’”

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A scene from “Nigerian Prince,” starring Antonio J. Bell and Tina Mba. Credit Sheldon Chau, via ATT/Tribeca

The plot is based in part on Mr. Okoro’s own life. A Nigerian-American raised in Maryland, Mr. Okoro was sent to live with his extended family in Lagos for his first two years of high school, in the early 2000s.

Like his character, Eze, he reluctantly left his friends and home. “I definitely resented it,” he said.

He eventually learned to appreciate the new culture; one of his hopes is that the film will resonate with other young Nigerian-Americans who have felt disconnected from their roots.

But shooting a movie in the West African city brought a host of unforeseen challenges.

“We shot during the end of the rainy season,” said Mr. Okoro, who was familiar with the region’s climate but hadn’t bargained for all the difficulty it would present in filming. “There were some days where we’d go to set at 6 a.m., and it’d rain at 6:30 and flood.”

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The week before filming began, the crew arrived to a space meant to double as a police station onscreen, but it, too, was flooded. They didn’t end up using that location, though not because of the flooding; as at several other sites, the owner decided at the last minute that despite a signed contract, filming would no longer be allowed there. With little leverage and less time, Mr. Okoro and his team went searching for an alternative.

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In addition to the frequent rains and notoriously unreliable power, they ran up against in the city’s heavy traffic, which the director described as “like L.A. times five or 10.”

Mr. Okoro and his team did have assistance. Several of his collaborators were peers from N.Y.U. To help them navigate, they hired artists from the prosperous Nigerian film industry, known as Nollywood. Most of the crew members were Nigerian, and the American heads of creative departments were paired with Nigerian artists.

“It just became apparent that all the departments needed a partner to show us the proper way to do things,” Ari Fulton, the costume designer who met Mr. Okoro at N.Y.U., said in a phone interview.

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Mr. Okoro set his film in Lagos. In the early 2000s, he himself had been sent to Nigeria to live with his extended family for his first two years of high school. Credit Caroline Tompkins for The New York Times

For Ms. Fulton, the assistance came from Olaogun Opeyemi, a Nigerian costume designer and the film’s costume supervisor, who helped make nuanced choices. One example is a red hat worn by Pius, the cousin, that’s an adaptation of an Igbo cap. Ms. Opeyemi helped fill out the history of the cap, which younger Nigerians have adapted for more casual use.

Another learning experience was realizing that despite the size of the budget, financial decisions still had to be carefully considered.

“The million dollars just flies,” said Mr. Chau, the cinematographer. He described the days after winning the grant, when he and Mr. Okoro would fantasize about using elaborate film gear. But they quickly realized that they were being unrealistic; after all, their budget, while several times higher than the $150,000 or $200,000 they’d initially hoped to shoot the movie for, was still modest for a feature film.

“We went back to pretty much our initial approach,” Mr. Chau said. “It was a humbling experience.”

Still, Mr. Chau also noted that while Mr. Okoro was the ostensible winner, the money had a trickle-down effect, bolstering the professional portfolios of his young collaborators.

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“The profiles of all of us came up,” Mr. Chau said.

The pressure trickled down, too.

“If someone hands you a million dollars, they expect you to turn out an amazing product,” Ms. Fulton observed. “It’s a huge thing to carry on your shoulders.”

Mr. Okoro has carried it for a year.

The morning after the film was finished — the sound mixed, the color corrected — less than two weeks before the film’s April 24 premiere, the director was standing in a Tribeca restaurant where this year’s award finalists were scheduled to pitch their films.

After exchanging greetings with two of the new judges, the actor Griffin Dunne and the comedian Ilana Glazer, Mr. Okoro took a seat, waiting for the new finalists to appear.

On the floor at his feet sat a hard plastic carrying case he’d brought with him. Inside it was a computer drive with the copy of “Nigerian Prince” that will be used for the Tribeca screenings. The film was finally ready, and Mr. Okoro would not let it out of his sight.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/movies/tribeca-film-festival-winner-faraday-okoro.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Harper’s Editor Insists He Was Fired Over Katie Roiphe Essay

Told of Ms. Melucci’s remarks, Mr. Marcus said that she “was not present at my firing.” He added that “the bulk of the conversation” he had with Mr. MacArthur, which took place last Friday afternoon, “was about Katie Roiphe’s piece.”

Harper’s is a nonprofit publication supported in large part by a foundation established by Mr. MacArthur, who is known as Rick, and his father, J. Roderick MacArthur. That structure provides some financial stability but also allows the younger MacArthur to wield more control over the publication, which was on the verge of folding before he helped rescue it in 1980.

The venerable monthly has had unstable leadership since Lewis H. Lapham left Harper’s in 2006, after a 28-year run as its top editor. First there was Roger Hodge, who was fired after a disagreement with Mr. MacArthur in 2010. Next to hold the position was Ellen Rosenbush, who was replaced by Christopher Cox in 2015. Mr. MacArthur ended up firing Mr. Cox after he had been in the job a scant three months, and Ms. Rosenbush returned to duty on an interim basis. She was followed in February 2016 by Mr. Marcus, an early Amazon employee and the author of “Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.com Juggernaut.”

“He’s looking for a doormat at this point,” Mr. Marcus said of Mr. MacArthur.

The news of Mr. Marcus’s firing was first reported by Publisher’s Marketplace.

The essay by Ms. Roiphe attracted attention before it was published, while it was going through the fact-checking process. Concerned writers and editors began a Twitter campaign warning that the article would reveal the identity of the main creator of a crowdsourced spreadsheet that named roughly 70 men in the media industry who were said to have acted in a predatory manner toward women.

The online complaints intensified, arguing that the safety of the spreadsheet’s creator would be jeopardized by the publication of Ms. Roiphe’s essay. Before the social media campaign had died down, the writer Moira Donegan revealed that she was the main person behind the list in a first-person story for New York magazine’s web vertical The Cut.

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Ms. Roiphe’s essay had a similarly troubled pre-publication history inside the Manhattan offices of Harper’s. The idea began, Mr. Marcus said, with the publisher, who suggested that the magazine “run a contrarian piece on #MeToo movement.” The editor countered that he was uncomfortable with such an assignment, because of the magazine’s “longtime reputation as a gentleman’s smoking club.”

“I expressed my opposition in the beginning, but I was overruled by the publisher,” Mr. Marcus said. “It’s the publisher’s prerogative to essentially assign a piece.”

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Mr. Marcus said that the magazine approached “one or two” writers, who passed on the idea, before Ms. Melucci, the Harper’s publicist, reached out to Ms. Roiphe. He added, “We can quibble over who technically assigned the piece. She’s a publicist and doesn’t have the power to assign anything. You could say she assigned it with Rick’s permission. She had no role in the editing of the piece.”

Ms. Melucci suggested that she got involved in the editorial process only because of unusual circumstances at the magazine. “Maybe think about the fact that the publicist had to assign stories because the editor didn’t have ideas?” she said in a phone interview. “I don’t know — maybe that’s how bad it was.”

Mr. Marcus disagreed with that, saying that during the discussion last week that ended with his firing, “there was no complaint about my failure to generate story ideas.”

“The editorial process was breaking down,” he continued. “It’s Rick’s magazine, but usually the publisher does not intercede during the editing process. The piece was widely disliked by the entire staff, but I want to stress that they worked with absolute professionalism on it, whatever they thought of it.”

Ms. Melucci said that she did not understand Mr. Marcus’s objection to the essay. “I don’t know why,” she said. “Maybe because it was a good story? It was the most successful story we’ve had in a couple years. He may have been against it, but it was good for the magazine.”

In addition to discussing the Roiphe article last Friday afternoon, Mr. Marcus said that Mr. MacArthur, the publisher, had expressed his disappointment that Harper’s had not been reaching more readers. The magazine’s circulation, now at 120,000, has been in decline for years. Mr. Marcus said that the publisher’s resistance to bolstering the website and expanding readership engagement by hosting events impeded opportunities for growth.

Ms. Melucci said that Mr. MacArthur had no comment for this article. She also declined to comment on whether the magazine had interviewed prospective editors. Ms. Rosenbush, listed as editor at large on the Harper’s masthead, will oversee the publication on an interim basis, Ms. Melucci said.

Mr. Marcus described being fired as “painful,” but said he still had respect for Harper’s.

“I think it’s still a magnificent publication,” Mr. Marcus said. “I share Rick’s pride in what he has accomplished there, but I think the anxiety and increasing sense that he needs to grab the reins editorially are going to make it hard for anybody who stands in that job. Whoever that poor sod is, I wish him or her good luck.”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/business/media/harpers-editor-fired.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Amazon Reboots the Studio Where ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘E.T.’ Were Made

As a string of owners struggled to adapt to changing audience tastes, new technology and rising costs, vast sections of the campus were sold. (Condominiums now occupy part of the area where Selznick ignited monumental outdoor sets to simulate the burning of Atlanta.) As waves of consolidation buffeted the movie business and fewer films were made, idling some of Culver Studios’ stages, the facility turned to television production to pay its bills, much like Hollywood as a whole.

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Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the $12 million restoration of four studio buildings. Credit Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times

By 2004, when a struggling Sony sold the property, years of underinvestment had taken a toll. The old star bungalows were in poor repair. Soundstages were outdated. The mansion smelled like Grandma’s house. “It needed a lot of work, to say the least,” Mr. Hackman said. (Contrary to popular belief, the mansion was not Tara in “Gone With the Wind.”)

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Amazon, which has roughly 700 entertainment employees, began moving staff here late last year. More will follow as buildings are completed.

“It’s about recognizing the traditions and legacy of Hollywood, while also recognizing that we have the ability to reshape it,” Mr. Cheng, chief operating officer of Amazon Studios, said of the decision to make Culver Studios the unit’s headquarters.

Last month, Amazon said it would also lease a four-story building that is going up across the street, giving its Hollywood division a total of 355,000 square feet of office space in Culver City. (Apple recently leased a building three blocks away for its own original content group.)

Amazon revealed Wednesday that more than 100 million people globally had a Prime membership, which includes access to its streaming service, and the company is expected to spend $5 billion on movies and television programming this year, according to the J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth. Its 44 original series include “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “The Man in the High Castle.” Amazon has at least 10 movies in various stages of production, including “Life Itself,” a highly anticipated romance set for release on Sept. 21.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/business/media/amazon-reboots-the-studio-where-citizen-kane-and-et-were-made.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Comcast Bid 16% More Than Disney for 21st Century Fox, Filing Shows


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The 21st First Century Fox board accepted Disney’s bid after Comcast refused to agree to a breakup fee in case federal regulators rejected a deal, according to a filing on Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Credit Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

LOS ANGELES — Rupert Murdoch sold most of 21st Century Fox to Disney in December for $52.4 billion, spurning a proposal from Comcast that was 16 percent higher on a per-share basis, in part because Comcast refused to offer protections in the event of regulatory rejection.

Although Comcast’s interest in 21st Century Fox was previously known, details of Comcast’s proposal — and Fox’s reasoning for rebuffing it — were disclosed for the first time on Wednesday as part of a 456-page filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The paperwork, required under securities law, also disclosed that senior Fox executives, including Mr. Murdoch and his two sons, James and Lachlan, are eligible for tens of millions of dollars in “golden parachute” payments.

Disney’s all-stock deal with 21st Century Fox, announced on Dec. 14, valued Mr. Murdoch’s company at $29.54 a share. Among other assets, Disney bought the 20th Century Fox studio, Hulu, the FX cable network, and stakes in two overseas television-service providers, Sky of Britain and Star of India. Disney did not buy Fox News or the Fox broadcast network.

Comcast, identified in the filing as Party B, made an all-stock proposal worth $34.41 per share in November. The filing portrays Mr. Murdoch and the Fox board as taking Comcast’s interest seriously — until Comcast repeatedly refused to agree to a breakup fee in case Department of Justice regulators rejected the deal. Disney, perhaps showing more confidence in its chances with regulators, had offered a $2.5 billion fee.

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Comcast also proposed unacceptable plans for divesting any assets singled out by antitrust regulators as problematic, according to the filing. Mr. Murdoch’s camp ultimately decided that a transaction with Comcast “carried a qualitatively higher level of regulatory risk, including the possibility of an outright prohibition, than such a transaction with Disney.”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/business/media/comcast-21st-century-fox-disney.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Cosby Accuser Talked of Framing a Celebrity, Witness Says

Ms. Jackson testified that Ms. Constand then changed her story and told her that it actually hadn’t happened after all.

“She said: ‘No it didn’t. I could say it did. I could quit my job. I could get that money,’” Ms. Jackson recalled.

Ms. Jackson, 56, is a 31-year employee of the university and now works as an academic adviser in Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. Mr. Cosby’s defense team hopes the testimony from an experienced, mature voice will be taken seriously by the jurors and undercut Ms. Constand’s credibility.

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Mr. Cosby with his publicist, Ebonee Benson, during a break at the courthouse. Credit Pool photo by Corey Perrine

The defense has portrayed Ms. Constand, 45, as a con artist who preyed on a lonely, older, wealthy entertainer and hatched a plot to siphon money from him. He paid her $3.38 million in a settlement that closed a 2005 lawsuit that she had filed against him after prosecutors initially balked at filing criminal charges in the case.

Ms. Constand’s account — that she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Cosby at his home near here in January 2004 after he incapacitated her with three blue pills — was bolstered last week by the accounts of five other women who testified that they, too, believe they were drugged and sexually assaulted by him.

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Mr. Cosby, 80, has said the sexual contact with Ms. Constand was consensual, and he has denied the other women’s accounts.

Ms. Constand’s credibility has been a prime focus of the retrial, as it was last summer when the first trial ended with a hung jury.

Ms. Jackson, who worked with the athletic department as an adviser between 2002 and 2006, told the jury Wednesday that she recalled her hotel room conversation with Ms. Constand in 2005, when the story broke that Mr. Cosby had been accused of assault.

“The conversation we had came back to me,” she said.

She said she decided to come forward in 2016, after Mr. Cosby had been charged in the case, when she met a comedian on a cruise who said he could put her in touch with Mr. Cosby’s representatives.

On cross-examination, M. Stewart Ryan, an assistant district attorney, pointed to discrepancies and elaborations between statements Ms. Jackson has given at various points, such as quote marks that were added to the phrases she says Ms. Constand uttered. He suggested they had been added at the suggestion of Mr. Cosby’s lawyers, such as Kathleen Bliss, who had questioned Ms. Jackson during direct examination.

“Who put the quotation marks?” Mr. Ryan asked.

“Kathleen. Kathleen put the quotation marks because it is a direct quote,” she said. Later she said that she and Ms. Bliss had made other changes together.

The prosecution questioned why she had taken so long to come forward and also produced Temple expense records that showed she had not submitted any claims for reimbursement associated with travel with the team in 2004, though she had in 2003. Ms. Jackson said she had traveled with the team a half-dozen times but did not remember filing any expenses.

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The editor and publisher Judith Regan at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., where she testified on Wednesday. Credit Pool photo by Corey Perrine

Ms. Jackson had been blocked from testifying at the first trial after Ms. Constand said that she did not know her. But in a major victory for the defense side, Judge Steven T. O’Neill of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas allowed her testimony this time after the defense brought forward two former Temple colleagues who said Ms. Jackson and Ms. Constand did know each other.

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During her testimony this week, Ms. Constand said of Ms. Jackson, “I recognize the name,” but she denied ever having shared a room with her.

Mr. Cosby is presenting a more extended defense in this trial after calling only a single witness last summer, a detective who testified for only six minutes.

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Earlier in the day, the prosecution finished presenting its case, which included testimony from Judith Regan, the publisher of a 2002 memoir by one of Mr. Cosby’s accusers. She told the jury that the accuser, Janice Dickinson, had told her about being drugged and raped by Mr. Cosby but that her legal department would not allow publication of the accusation because there was no corroboration of the claim. Ms. Dickinson told the jury last week that her efforts to publish the accusation had been blocked by the publisher of “No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World’s First Supermodel.”

Ms. Regan confirmed that account, saying, “She wanted the rape story in the book, and she was insistent and angry that we wouldn’t include it.”

Under questioning by Mr. Ryan, Ms. Regan said she believed Ms. Dickinson’s claim that she had been raped, saying she found her “credible” and indicating that she had given her account “with great emotion.”

During the civil suit that Ms. Constand filed against Mr. Cosby, he acknowledged in a deposition that he had once obtained quaaludes, a powerful sedative, to give to women he wanted to have sex with. That testimony was read out loud in the courtroom Wednesday to the jury as part of an effort by the prosecution to show that Mr. Cosby had a predilection for using drugs to incapacitate women.

Mr. Cosby’s lawyer had objected to the reading, suggesting there was no evidence that the three pills Mr. Cosby acknowledges giving Ms. Constand at his home were quaaludes. Mr. Cosby has said they were Benadryl.

In the deposition from 2005, Mr. Cosby had been asked by Ms. Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, “When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” according to a transcript read in court.

“Yes,” Mr. Cosby replied.

Correction: April 18, 2018

An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect name for the corporate parent of Regan Arts, the company led by Judith Regan. The corporate parent is Phaidon Global.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/arts/television/bill-cosby-sexual-assault-trial.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Fishing for Stories via Instagram

Cultural trends seem to pop up early on the social media site. It’s where I first noticed the popularity of Los Angeles’s Zoe Church, which I recently wrote about, and where Sam Barsky, better known online as “the sweater guy,” gained Internet fame. (I wrote about him, too.)

So I decided to explore.

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Ms. Coley with a Bonneville cutthroat trout she caught in March while fishing along the North Platte River near Alcova, Wyo. Credit Erik Rossiter

Some photographers shared secret fishing holes. Others tagged anglers with whom they seemed to have struck up friendships. The rest, well, bragged about their latest catch.

The genre had all the hallmarks of a mature social media phenomenon. A lot of people were promoting brands. So much so, one Twitter commenter asked if the fishing industry now had “influencers.” Noelle Coley of Colorado said she worked with a number of companies, receiving free fishing equipment or apparel in exchange for social media mentions. (Some outlets, like Orvis, a maker of fly fishing equipment, are seeking to increase the number of women in the sport. That’s no surprise, given that recreational fishing is on the rise in the United States and women are an untapped market.)

What was most striking, though, were the photographs themselves, which were colorful, immediate and engaging. I reached out to a number of the featured men and women from across the country and asked them to tell me their back stories.

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“Permit are an infrequently caught fish,” said Darren Solce (photographed with one in Punta Allen, Mexico), “so the pictures tend to capture moments of pure joy and exhilaration.” Credit Patrick Duke

While much of America is divided between red and blue states, these anglers recounted experiences that transcend geography and politics. They said they had friends on both coasts, as well as in the middle of the country.

Could fishing be the great uniter? That would be no small feat these days, when everything seems politicized.

They even wanted to take me fishing. But that’s another story. (A brother once chided me for catching a trout smaller than the purse I owned.)

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Most of all, though, these fishing enthusiasts were eager to describe how social media helped them document their pastime so they could share it with others.

Of course the smartphone itself has revolutionized the way they capture their adventures. Long gone are the days of posing afterward on the dock with a colossal prize, like Ernest Hemingway did when he lived in Key West in the 1930s. As Daniel Giunta, the owner of the sports fishing charter company Double D Charters in Montauk, N.Y., told me, customers want photographs with their catch fresh out of the water — especially since many people choose to release the fish.

“Being a captain these days is all about being a good photographer,” he said. “I know where the light is. I know where they need to stand.”

Smartphones have also revolutionized how journalists interact with their sources and build an audience for their work. I posted a screenshot of the article I wrote, “Lots of Fish on the Screen,” on my own Instagram account, with some of the more popular hashtags the fishing crowd uses. Right away a number of fishing accounts liked it or posted comments. I got an email from the wife of a fisherman I know in Santa Cruz, Calif. More emails like that followed. One of the men I interviewed posted an excerpt from the story on his Instagram account. Another one told his followers to read it.

I even heard from Fishbrain, an app maker based in Stockholm, Sweden, which bills itself as the Facebook of fishing. People can log in to the app and see where fish are biting. Since 2016, the company said, more than 1,000 people have fished in the ponds in New York City’s Central Park, including Harlem Meer. Followers on Instagram already knew that; centralparkfishing has its own hashtag.

Keep up with Times Insider stories on Twitter, via the Reader Center: @ReaderCenter.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/insider/fishing-for-stories-via-instagram.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Corner Office: Marissa Mayer Is Still Here

Larry and Sergey just yelled at us until we became what they needed us to become, and get done what they needed to be done. And so I said, look, I’m going to just rinse and repeat that, hopefully with less yelling. We ultimately brought in management coaches and all kinds of mentoring.

I think you can have high expectations as a leader, and as long as they’re consistent and clearly communicated, a lot of people find that really inspiring. I always knew what Larry and Sergey wanted. I knew what good looked like to them, and so I never got discouraged by them saying, “Wait, I don’t think this is ready” or “I think this is overly ready.” At a start-up you never really know when should you launch something. So Google built the philosophy of launching early and often. Try things out and see what works.

As Google grew, how did you work to maintain a cohesive culture?

There are different phases of companies. When you’re in the tens of people, the idea itself either attracts people or it doesn’t. People are there because they think the problem you’re trying to solve is just that important.

The next phase is where it’s really critical and it’s hard. Getting from 100 employees to 1,000, you have to be very careful. There’s a strategy around compensation at that point, where you really want somebody who’s coming for the right reasons. To get the people who are really aligned with the mission, you want to make sure that they’re fairly compensated, but not necessarily motivated by that compensation. I had a strategy both at Yahoo and at Google of “meet, not beat.” It’s the trade-off between mercenaries and missionaries.

And then around 1,000 people, the culture and the mission become self-reinforcing. At Google I’d always ask new people, “Why did you come?” When we were about 1,200 people, all of a sudden, for the first time, I actually heard the answer, “I came for the culture.”


“I’m proud of what we achieved at Yahoo. That said, we had a quickly decaying legacy business. All we really managed to do was offset the declines.”

— Marissa Mayer


Why did you leave Google?

I was 37, and I had been working at Google for 13 years. I had been on search for 10 of those years and just had very recently made the change over to focus on Maps as a search technology. And I was like, “You know, I’m just not sure that I want to be like the 50-year-old search girl.”

I’d always had huge respect for Yahoo as a company. When we were here in this office, we dreamed of maybe getting the Yahoo contract, maybe one day powering Yahoo search. In 1999, Yahoo was the internet. And I knew that while there were a lot of things going wrong for the board and leadership at Yahoo, there were a lot of really good people there working on the products.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/business/marissa-mayer-corner-office.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

No Disclosure? No Problem. Sean Hannity Gets a Pass at Fox News.

Times have changed. With Megyn Kelly and Bill O’Reilly gone from Fox News, Mr. Hannity is its undisputed prime-time star, and his “Trump at all costs” brio is the template for a network that has tacked rightward since Election Day.

That Mr. Hannity failed to disclose an entanglement with a prominent Trump consigliere — particularly one at the center of a federal criminal investigation — did not sit well in some corners of the Fox newsroom, especially among reporters who have expressed displeasure with the White House access enjoyed by the channel’s Trump-boosting commentators.

In an official statement, however, the network stood up for its star, saying: “We have reviewed the matter and spoken to Sean and he continues to have our full support.”

Not every Fox News host is so immune.

Bret Baier, the network’s 6 p.m. news anchor, presents himself as a staid newsman compared with the channel’s boisterous crew of partisan pundits.

But after Politico reported on Monday that Mr. Baier played nine holes of golf with Mr. Trump this past weekend at the president’s Virginia club — the kind of chummy socializing that is considered poor form for journalists — the anchor found himself in hot water.

Asked on Tuesday about the golf game, Fox News said that the network’s president of news, Jay Wallace, “addressed the matter” with Mr. Baier.

It is not unusual for anchors to schmooze politicians for access, and Mr. Baier has been jockeying for an interview with Mr. Trump, who has not appeared on his show since October 2016. But several TV journalists and former White House officials said they could not recall another instance of an anchor golfing with a president.

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Adding to the unease: The White House often refuses to disclose Mr. Trump’s golf partners, or that he is hitting the links at all, drawing concerns about a lack of transparency.

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Fox News has different ethical standards for its news and opinion anchors, and Mr. Hannity, firmly on the opinion side, has a longer leash.

He has offered Mr. Trump advice, parroted his sulfurous attacks on the media, and dined with him at Mar-a-Lago and the White House. Like other cheerleading Fox pundits, including Jesse Watters and Jeanine Pirro, Mr. Hannity has been granted a presidential interview multiple times.

It has been good for business. In early 2016, “Hannity” averaged 1.8 million viewers and was the sixth-most watched show on cable news. This year, he is averaging 3.2 million viewers — and is ranked No. 1. On Monday, his first show since the revelations about Mr. Cohen, Mr. Hannity pulled in 3.7 million viewers, topping his MSNBC rival, Rachel Maddow, and two N.B.A. playoff games.

Those numbers are the envy of the industry, even as rival hosts have increasingly lamented Fox News’s hard-line turn.

In February, the NBC News anchor Chuck Todd wondered aloud if the network’s ethics standards had deteriorated since the 2016 exit of Roger E. Ailes, the network’s late mastermind. “I can’t believe that I’m about to say what I’m about to say,” Mr. Todd said on a Recode podcast. “But Roger Ailes ran a more journalistically honest organization.”

News organizations have dealt with anchors’ ethical lapses in varying ways.

MSNBC suspended the liberal commentator Keith Olbermann in 2010 after it learned that he made campaign donations to Democratic congressional candidates. ABC News backed George Stephanopoulos, its chief news anchor, after he apologized for not having disclosed $75,000 in donations to the Clinton Foundation, saying, “We stand behind him.”

As for Mr. Hannity, an unlikely ombudsman popped up on his show this week. The lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a regular guest, confronted him on the Monday edition of “Hannity,” telling the host that “it would have been much, much better had you disclosed that relationship.”

In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Dershowitz said he had felt compelled to say something because Mr. Hannity had included him in a live discussion of Mr. Cohen’s legal troubles last week. “When you are talking to millions of people every night, you should make a full disclosure,” he said.

But Mr. Dershowitz added that Mr. Hannity did not necessarily deserve to be disciplined.

“The Fox viewers didn’t suffer from his failure to disclose,” he said. “Why? Everybody who watches Hannity knows who he is, and knows what his views are. He wouldn’t have said anything different.”

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“Whether I’ll ever be invited back to Hannity’s show, I don’t know,” Mr. Dershowitz added. “But I had to make my point.”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/business/media/sean-hannity-fox-news.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Trial Judge Rules to Admit Cosby Testimony About Quaaludes

“When you got the quaaludes,” the lawyer, Dolores Troiani, asked at the time, “was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?”

“Yes,” Mr. Cosby replied.

Mr. Cosby’s lawyer objected before he could answer whether he had ever given any women the drugs without their knowledge. But Mr. Cosby has suggested that he viewed providing drugs akin to asking a woman if she might like a cocktail.

The prosecution is likely to have the 2005 deposition testimony read out loud in court before it concludes its presentation of evidence on Wednesday or Thursday.

One prosecution witness on Tuesday was a local police investigator, who read sections of Mr. Cosby’s interview by the Cheltenham Township Police Department in January 2005, after Ms. Constand first came forward with her account. Mr. Cosby acknowledged the sexual contact with Ms. Constand in that interview but described it as consensual and part of a broader, somewhat romantic, relationship.

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In the transcript, Mr. Cosby also described for the detectives a phone conversation with Gianna Constand, Andrea Constand’s mother, who he said was very upset with him.

“Three times her mother said to me, this is a horrible thing you have done to my daughter,” Mr. Cosby said, according to the transcript.

“First I apologized twice; I said ‘What can I do?’ She said ‘Nothing,’ she wanted apologies,” Mr. Cosby said in the transcript.

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Under cross-examination from Mr. Cosby’s lead attorney, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., the local investigator, Sgt. Richard Schaffer, denied that Ms. Constand had been inconsistent in her stories about the timing of the encounter, how much alcohol she had drunk on that occasion and whether she had a flirtatious relationship with Mr. Cosby.

Sgt. Schaffer acknowledged that Ms. Constand had revised her initial account that the incident took place in March 2004, later saying it had happened in January of that year.

“The landmark date in her memory was corrected,” Sergeant Schaffer said.

The Montgomery County district attorney at the time declined to prosecute the case, a fact Mr. Mesereau drew attention to in his cross-examination. That decision was reviewed in 2015, when prosecutors decided to reinvestigate.

Also testifying for the prosecution was James Reape, a detective with Montgomery County, who acknowledged that Ms. Constand had provided conflicting time frames. But, under cross-examination by Kathleen Bliss, an attorney for Mr. Cosby, Detective Reape said he had concluded that the varying times were not important.

“When we look at the inconsistency of a date, it’s not something that gives me pause as an investigator,” he said.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/arts/cosby-trial-judge-admits-quaalude-testimony.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Former F.B.I. Agent Admits He Shared Classified Documents


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Terry J. Albury, who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to disclosing national defense information, said he was trying to reveal the F.B.I.’s “suspicion and disrespect” toward minority communities. Credit Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

A former counterterrorism agent at the F.B.I. who gave classified documents to the news media in an effort to reveal how the bureau treated minority communities pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the unauthorized disclosure and retention of national defense information.

It is the most recent prosecution in a growing series of leak cases being pursued by the Justice Department, which has significantly increased its focus on such investigations since President Trump took office. However, the actions of the agent, Terry J. Albury, largely predate Mr. Trump’s presidency.

As a field agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Minneapolis office, Mr. Albury provided a reporter with two documents between February 2016 and Jan. 31, 2017, according to the charges against him. The first document, dated Aug. 17, 2011, described how the bureau evaluated confidential sources; the second, which was undated, concerned “threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country.” Mr. Albury also possessed, without authorization, “a document relating to the use of an online platform for recruitment by a specific terrorist group.”

“Mr. Albury was entrusted by the F.B.I. with a security clearance, which included a responsibility to protect classified national defense information,” Bill Priestap, assistant director of the bureau’s Counterintelligence Division, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Instead, he knowingly disclosed that material to someone not authorized to receive it.”

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Mr. Albury, 39, faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the two charges, but under his plea agreement, he could receive less than five years. Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota will decide his sentence.

In his plea, Mr. Albury acknowledged that the facts outlined by the government were accurate and that he had acted with the knowledge that he was breaking the law. His lawyers, JaneAnne Murray and Joshua Dratel, said in a statement that he viewed his disclosures as “an act of conscience” in the face of racism at the F.B.I.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/us/politics/fbi-leaker-terry-albury.html?partner=rss&emc=rss