What Jeff Zucker means for CNN; a Gray Lady ‘shout-out’; and the frenzy in Britain

Jeff Zucker. (David Shankbone)
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CNN didn't confirm the news that it has plucked former NBC chief Jeff Zucker as its new president until this morning. (Scroll down for the full announcement.)

But Tuesday night's leaks that the deal was more or less a fait accompli gave media writers a head start analyzing what Zucker's hiring means for the network as it struggles to turn around its ratings crisis.

In Variety, Andrew Wallenstein wrote:

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Zucker's willingness to make waves is the reason his appointment carries such potential. There's no question that shaking up CNN is going to be what it takes to restore the full value of a troubled, but still formidable, brand. And the challenges that await Zucker at CNN are not unlike what he confronted at the Peacock.

Consider where CNN now stands. The primetime block has been in shambles for years, hammering its advertising revenue. Fox News Channel has long towered over CNN in the ratings with its lineup of conservative commentators. MSNBC, an NBCU property where Zucker's involvement has been overlooked, has done the same with a left-leaning slate.

And Brian Stelter offered some advice for Zucker on The New York Times' Media Decoder blog:

Just do the news, and consistently do it well. This is harder than it sounds, but it is a favorite answer, particularly among those who say that CNN’s current news product is sloppy and uneven (terrific at some hours, unwatchable at others). When the CUNY journalism professor Jeff Jarvis asked his Google+ followers how they would reinvent CNN last summer, the most-liked comment was this one: “be a domestic version of BBC World News.” The commenter, Alan Bedenko, proposed eschewing “phony entertainment nonsense and semi-informed ‘Situation Room’ type garbage” in favor of “straight news.” No gimmicks, no distracting graphics, no holiday gift-giving segments or movie star interviews.

On Capital...

CNN wants you to know: things really are looking up

In other news...

Here's everything you need to know about the mini-scandal over New York Times' Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren's social media decorum. [Poynter]

The long awaited Leveson report. [The Guardian]

The Awl has launched a subscription app. [The Awl]

Ditto The Atavist. [Nieman Journalism Lab]

What does Yahoo's "move away from media" mean for AOL? [CNET]

Quote of the day...

Really, the whole frame of “fixing the press” ought to be discarded. It’s not broken. For all the lip service he pays to self-regulation, Leveson’s proposal overlooks the extremely effective form of self-regulation that already exists: the gleefully aggressive reporting that British news outlets do on each other.

Jeff Bercovici

On Twitter...

On TV...

CNN anchor Erin Burnett interviewed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last night:

From our inbox...

The Association of Magazine Media shares some encouraging news for the industry:

Magazine readership rose 1.3% among the 183 magazine titles common to both the Spring and Fall, 2012 releases from the GfK MRI Survey of the American Consumer. More than 64% of the measured magazines (118) posted readership increases.

The survey also captured data on new and fast growing digital-only magazine readership on tablets, e-readers and smartphones and found a 44% spike from nine million in the spring 2012 survey to 13 million in the fall survey. Total print and digital readership increased 1.6% in that period.

“These numbers attest to the power of magazine media,” said Mary Berner, President & CEO, MPA. “Magazine readers continue to be attracted to and engaged in the powerful brands that influence, inspire and endure across a variety of platforms.”

And here's CNN's Zucker announcement:

Jeff Zucker will join CNN Worldwide as president of the multi-platform global news enterprise, it was announced today by Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of CNN parent company Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. In January 2013, Zucker will assume executive oversight of a portfolio of 23 branded news and information businesses that includes CNN/U.S., CNN International, CNN.com and HLN and reaches more than 2 billion people in some 200 countries around the world. Zucker will report to Kent and will be based at CNN in New York.

Zucker started his 25-year career with NBC as a researcher for NBC Sports’ coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games and rose to president and chief executive officer of NBC Universal. He was named executive producer of Today in January 1992; under his eight-year leadership, the program was the most-watched morning news show and the most profitable program on television. Zucker went on to executive-produce NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and the network’s coverage of the Persian Gulf War, the 1993 and 1997 presidential inaugurations and the 2000 elections. He was promoted to president of NBC Entertainment, president of the NBC Entertainment, News & Cable group and president and CEO of the NBC Universal Television Group. Currently, Zucker is executive producer of the syndicated daytime show Katie.

“Jeff’s experience as a news executive is unmatched for its breadth and success,” said Kent. “He built and sustained the number-one brand in morning news, and under his watch NBC’s signature news programming set a standard for quality and professionalism. As a programmer, a brand-builder and a leader, he will bring energy and new thinking to CNN. I couldn’t be happier to welcome him or more excited about what he’ll accomplish here.”

“I am thrilled to join the distinguished team of journalists across the worldwide platforms of CNN,” said Zucker. “The global reach and scale of the CNN brand is unparalleled in all of news. Outside of my family and the Miami Dolphins, there is nothing I am as passionate about as journalism. I spent the most rewarding years of my career as a journalist, and it’s where I look forward to spending many more. I am grateful to Phil Kent for this opportunity, and I’m excited to return to daily newsgathering and compelling storytelling in a place that values those above all else.”