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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Nov. 19, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 46 (download PDF version)

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MEDIA NEWS continued _____________

across platforms.

Cottle takes over development, distribution, partnerships, ad sales, publishing, operations and the “real money” gambling venture slated for the U.K.

Pincus wrote that Zynga is positioning for longterm growth, adding that he’s “confident that we have the breadth and depth of management talent to deliver on our mission of connecting the world through games.”


The trade group for companies that provide background checks for prospective employees has pushed back against a critical “Today Show” report that highlighted shoddy practices by some firms that have cost people jobs.

Investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen profiled a woman seeking a Red Cross job as an accountant who was rejected after a background check by a large investigative company, Choicepoint, found multiple drug felonies on her record which turned out to be from another woman of the same name.

An attorney said during the segment that consumers are “losing jobs by the thousands” because of bad background checks.

‘Disservice to Employers and Public’

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners, which provided an attorney for the segment, came out swinging via PR firm Stanton Communications after the piece aired Nov. 9.

“NBC’s Today Show and reporter Jeff Rossen have done a disservice to employers and the general public by focusing on a small number of unfortunate instances in an attempt to indict an entire industry that is critical to the safety of our homes and workplaces,” NAPBS chairman Fred Giles said in a statement from the PR firm, which noted fewer than one percent of consumer disputed records are found to contain an error.

The NAPBS attorney said in the “Today” segment that the error rate for checks is less than 10 percent.

The group said the NBC segment did not explain federal law governing background checks and resulted in a “a sensational rush to indict an industry that in fact does more to protect the safety of the workplace than a handful of unfortunate sensationalized anecdotes would indicate.”


Jim Bell, who was executive producer for “Today,” will now focus exclusively on NBC’s Olympics coverage.

He’s leaving the top morning show after a stint of more than seven years.

Bell had pulled double duty when he produced coverage of the London Games.

NBC has rights to the Summer and Winter Games through 2020. The Sochi (Russia) Winter Games kick off in Feb. 2014.


NBCUniversal’s online portal for women, iVillage, is moving under NBCU’s News Group.

Vivian Schiller, senior VP and chief digital officer of NBC News, oversees the group, which consists of NBC News’ digital properties, as well as, and, among others. NBCU last month bought out partner Microsoft in July to fully acquire the MSNBC Digital Network.

The company said iVillage will be integrated into NBC News Digital, sharing content with sites like and contributing to the group’s 62 million unique users per month.

Schiller called iVillage is a “powerful brand with a passionate and loyal online community.”



Publisher U.S. Kids said its Turtle and Jack and Jill magazines for kids are available on Barnes & Noble newsstands for the first time, starting Nov. 13, with the December issues.

The long-running mags were previously available only via subscription.

“Turtle and Jack and Jill have been reaching readers for decades by subscription, but having never been offered on newsstands, they were unavailable for kids and parents to pick up on a whim in stores,” said Corey Michael Dalton, U.S. Kids Editor.

U.S. Kids is a unit of the non-profit Saturday Evening Post Society.

Turtle is geared toward kids ages 3-5, while Jack and Jill aims at kids 7-12.


As national healthcare reform takes shape, medical and scientific publisher Elsevier has launched a new journal, Health Care: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation.

The publisher said the new publication focuses on advances and innovation in health care delivery, including improvements in systems, processes, management, payment, and applied information technology.

Elsevier named three senior co-editors-in-chief: Arnold Milstein, professor of medicine at Stanford and medical director of the Pacific Business Group on Health; Richard Shannon, professor of medicine and chair of the Dept. of Medicine at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, and Ashish Jha, associate professor of medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health.

“This is a critical time for the U.S. health care system,” Jha said in a statement. He said of the new pub: “We aim to make it an important force for fresh ideas on how to improve the healthcare delivery system.”

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