‘The Times,’ hacked in China, becomes the star of its own big story; plus, Gore on defense

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The Lineup collects the media stories, big and small, that are on our radar each day.

The New York Times breaks lots of big stories, but only the biggest ones tend to warrant its public relations team sending out news alerts to reporters.

That was the case last night with the paper's inward-looking exposé on how Chinese hackers attacked the Times' computer systems for four months straight and stole its journalists' passwords. The piece also made the front page of today's print editions.

Nicole Perlroth reports:

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After surreptitiously tracking the intruders to study their movements and help erect better defenses to block them, The Times and computer security experts have expelled the attackers and kept them from breaking back in.

The timing of the attacks coincided with the reporting for a Times investigation, published online on Oct. 25, that found that the relatives of Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister, had accumulated a fortune worth several billion dollars through business dealings.

Security experts hired by The Times to detect and block the computer attacks gathered digital evidence that Chinese hackers, using methods that some consultants have associated with the Chinese military in the past, breached The Times’s network. They broke into the e-mail accounts of its Shanghai bureau chief, David Barboza, who wrote the reports on Mr. Wen’s relatives, and Jim Yardley, The Times’s South Asia bureau chief in India, who previously worked as bureau chief in Beijing.

You can read the rest here.

In other news...

The uncertain future of Afghan media. [The Huffington Post]

Magazines are seeing a rise in ad pages. [Reuters]

News Corp. shares are flying high. [Deadline]

Reverse migration? The New Yorker has hired away BuzzFeed's tech editor. [The New York Observer]

Buyouts at The Record of North Jersey. [Jim Romenesko]

The MSNBC "heckle" drama. [Politico; TV Newser]

"Can Fox News handle Erick Erickson?" [The Atlantic]

Newspapers and the plague. [The Atlantic]

How journalism is portrayed in all your favorite hit TV shows of the moment. [Forbes/Mixed Media]

Quote of the day...

Word to the wise: If you’re going to strike a deal that you’re maybe not entirely proud of, wait until after your book tour to announce it.

Jeff Bercovici

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On TV...

In case you haven't seen enough these past few days of of Al Gore defending the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera while on a press junket promoting his new book, here he is being grilled last night by Jon Stewart:

From our inbox...

Some new hires and promotions at The Atlantic, per the following internal memo:

All:

We have three hires and two internal moves we're happy to announce:

Olga Khazan joins us as editor of the Global Channel for TheAtlantic.com. Olga arrives from The Washington Post, where she reports, writes, and creates multimedia elements for the World section. She previously worked at the Post as a digital assigning editor for Small Business and Real Estate, and as a writer, in print and online, for Education and Sunday Business. A graduate of USC and onetime senior editor at the school's celebrated NeonTommy.com, Olga has written for Forbes and the Los Angeles Times, and has worked on the Web staff at KCRW public radio in L.A. Her first day is February 25.

Elisa Glass joins Darhil's team as art director. (Her name is pronounced ee-leesa--"like ebook," as Darhil says.) She has an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri and comes to us from Northern Virginia magazine, where she's been serving as art director. Elisa will be involved in all aspects of design for The Atlantic, from the look of our digital properties (websites, mobile apps, e-books, etc) to the design of the Dispatches and Culture File sections of the magazine. (Juggling all this shouldn't stress her out too much, because she is also a certified yoga instructor.) She starts on February 19.

Esther Yi, as many of you already know, returned to the magazine last week as an associate editor, joining Ellie and Sarah on Yvonne's factchecking crew. Esther, who was an editorial fellow in 2011-2012, is a graduate of Harvard, where she was a reporter, staff writer, and managing editor for The Crimson.

Garance Franke-Ruta moves to full-time writer on politics. Garance, who has presided over tremendous growth on TheAtlantic.com's Politics Channel since becoming its editor in late 2010, oversaw all aspects of the site's 2012 campaign coverage, from the pre-primary jockeying through last week's inauguration. These duties have kept her from writing as much as all of us — particularly our readers -- would like, so we are happy to free her up to chronicle Washington in the second Obama term.

David Graham, whose hiring is among the many successes scored by Garance, will succeed her as Politics editor. David has been writing, editing, and producing for the channel since he came on board from Newsweek in late 2011, so he is ready for the challenge. He'll benefit from a writing corps that includes Garance, Molly Ball, Conor Friedersdorf – and a long list of other Atlantic stars like Jim Fallows, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Andrew Cohen. David takes over the channel on February 11.

Please join us in welcoming your new colleagues and congratulating your newly promoted ones. And while you're at it, take a bow yourselves, for a month in which we shipped an awesome issue and set a new record for our total audience across our three sites.

-- James, Bob, and Scott