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Soledad O’Brien: Digital Tech Correspondent

Many know CNN’s Soledad O’Brien for her stints on NBC’s “Weekend Today,” CNN’s “American Morning,” and with CNN’s documentary unit, but some will remember her early reporting from the days when MSNBC was still in its infancy. O’Brien, who anchored MSNBC’s “The Site” and appeared on several other tech shows, was one of the first cable news reporters on the digital technology beat.

In this final installment of our mediabistro.com Media Beat interview with O’Brien, she tells us what they got right, what they got wrong, and why her former co-host was so damn lecherous.

Part ISoledad O’Brien Says CNN Docs Becoming ‘Wider and Broader’

Part IISoledad O’Brien on Her Career, CNN’s Primetime Changes

WSJ’s Alan Murray Explains What You Need to Know About Paywalls

Wall Street Journal deputy managing editor and executive editor, online Alan Murray says “I think most people in the business I’m in…would say that they all made a mistake back 10 years ago when they decided to give away all their content for free.”

In Part II of our Media Beat sit-down with Murray, we ask what Murray to explain what we need to know about how asking users to pay for news content, “One thing that everyone has to understand,” Murray says, “Is that in order to erect a paywall, you’ve got to be producing something that is uniquely valuable.”

Murray, who oversees the entire online operation for the WSJ, also talks about how the WSJ is monetizing video and says he doesn’t like pre-roll ads.

Part I: WSJ’s Alan Murray Talks Online Growth

Part III: Alan Murray on the Future of WSJ and Television

MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer: Quit Facebook? ‘Heeeelllll No’

In the third part of our interview with MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer for mediabistro.com’s Media Beat, we dive into the topic of how social media has become a big a part of life for a cable news anchor.

“I do find the immediate response gratifying,” Brewer says about her Facebook and Twitter activity, “But I also think sometimes people on Twitter or Facebook forget that there’s a real live person on the other side.”

Of the feedback she gets, she tells us, “Probably about 25% of that is a lot of vitriol, there’s about 50% that’s genuine intelligent discussion…and then about 25% of it is just nonsensical comments or observations.” Brewer admits she sometimes thinks about responding to some of the “really horrible things” people say, but usually finds herself trying to ignore it.

We also wanted to know what she thought about the recent “quit Facebook” talk. She is definitely not joining that movement and performs a dramatic interpretation of her tweet about dropping Facebook. Watch Part III below:


Part I – Brewer tells us how she auditioned to become an MSNBC anchor and described the toughest and most challenging interviews she’s conducted in her time there.

Part II – We talk with Brewer about the changes to MSNBC’s dayside line-up as well as get her thoughts on how viewers react to an anchor’s on-air gaffes.

Olympic Luge Competitor Killed; Videos Quickly Pulled from YouTube

luge_video_2-12.jpg

Immediately after news broke that 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili, a member of the Georgian luge team at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, had been in a serious crash, the footage of the event was quickly posted on YouTube and tweeted around the world.

But within moments of being posted, the videos began disappearing, with the note:

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by International Olympic Committee.

Some of those videos posted originated from CTV, which broadcast the footage after the event and is the Canadian rights-holder to the games. One was just a camera videotaping a television screen with the CTV program.

It’s interesting to see the IOC spring to action asserting copyright claims for video of a news event, particularly when the video is from a major news broadcast and not directly from the IOC. And the games haven’t even begun!

Eventually, the video found its way onto custom video players at other sites (like Huffpost) and onto the social media site twitvid, where it’s likely harder to assert copyright claim. We’ve posted it after the jump from a site called iviewtube.com. (Warning: it is disturbing.)

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Newsers Tweet from Haiti

With so many television journalists in Haiti, it’s no surprise that many of them are updating viewers with tweets about their experiences on the ground. (Update: TVNewser has a twitter list of everyone in Haiti here.) Here’s a selection from last evening and this morning:

1-14_anncurrytwitter.jpg @AnnCurry

• Sleeping in an Air Canada luggage container tonight. In Haiti tonight, that’s lucky.

• Today we felt more aftershocks in Port au Prince. This place is the definition of chaos.

1-14_davepricetwitter.jpg @earlyshowdave

• In the DR,enroute 2Haiti bracing myself for what we’re about to witness. very hard 2 separate yourself from other peoples pain & suffering

1-14_guptatwitter.jpg @sanjayguptacnn

• still no electricity/cell service. tweeting with the help of satellites and generators. gunshots close to our location, but we are safe.

• what i have seen here in #haiti, i have never seen before. while i hate to say this, it seems somewhat hopeless. bodies still in the streets

1-14_danharristwitter.jpg @DanBHarris

• slept outside on a luggage conveyor at the port au prince airport. now up and getting ready to go on @gma.

• it’s unmitigated misery out there in port au prince tonight. but i will say, there is no air of menace. people friendly and open.

1-14_katesnowtwitter.jpg @abckatesnow

• The stench is overwhelming

• Mass exodus out of Nazon district. Women walking out carrying all their possessions atop their heads

• Dead bodies everywhere. Saw a little kid covered in a sheet. Just imtvwd a guy burying his dead mom

1-14_watsontwitter.jpg @Ivancnn

• Haitians singing and clapping in the dark, as they sleep out in the open…too afraid to go into their homes due to aftershocks.

Preview of the New CNN.com

cnndotcomlogo10-23.jpgAfter six months in development, the new CNN.com will arrive on Monday and it was “unveiled” to the press last evening at an event in Manhattan.

This latest iteration of the site is not too different from its predecessors, except that it will do a better job of highlighting previously buried content and video. The homepage will feature three columns: one for breaking news, one for features and video, and one for customizable weather, sports, and news content. There will also be topic boxes, which better organize stories from many categories across the site.

There are some new additions. Adapting what was learned building CNNPolitics, the new site will feature CNNOpinions and CNNEntertainment, which will deliver content from a partnership with EW and People.

The new site will feature an area of “first person storytelling,” which includes web series like “Americans in Afghanistan” about NGOs and “Freshman Year,” about freshmen congressmen.

Describing the current site as “a machine that spits out breaking news,” Kenneth “KC” Estenson, the dynamic SVP and GM of CNN.com, told the crowd, “We’re gonna be there in Iraq. We’re gonna be there in Afghanistan. We’re gonna be there for the seminal moments of time. But, it’s this type of content that shows the distinctive breadth and reach that we think is unique to CNN.”

We sat down with Estenson after the unveiling, and he told us that CNN decided to hold back updates over the six-month development to release them in a big way like this. “I think at a news organization, it’s usually breaking news that drives innovation,” he said. “We’re trying to detach those things and put out products off the news cycle that we just think are great consumer experiences and get them ready so when we have breaking news…you’re going to see that on the homepage.”

Photo and more after the jump.

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