The Cutline
  • Jonathan Alter has left his post at Newsweek after almost three decades at the magazine. The news was first reported by Politico Monday morning.

    Reached by phone, Alter told The Cutline he's "going to be doing other things," including a sequel to his 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One, which reached No. 4 on the New York Times Bestseller List. Scheduled for a 2013 release from Simon and Schuster, it will focus on the last two years of the president's current term. "I'm excited to continue the story," he said.

    Alter also said there is "going to be an announcement about my daily job forthcoming." Asked if that job would be at Bloomberg News, where he has been writing a column for the past several months, Alter declined to comment, as did a Bloomberg spokesman. Alter remains under contract as a contributor at NBC News and MSNBC.

    Read More »from Jonathan Alter talks about his post-Newsweek plans
  • libyaAP110410043407As the civil war in Libya grinds on, the foreign journalists covering the conflict have become a story within the story. Libyan strongman Muammer Gadhafi has granted official credentials to more than 100 such journalists—with the none-too-subtle aim of shaping their coverage via tightly controlled state-sponsored itineraries; meanwhile, the Gadhafi regime has set about detaining media workers who cover the conflict from a more independent vantage.

    In today's New York Times, David Kirkpatrick appraises the uneasy state of media relations in Libya. (C.J. Chivers' latest dispatch from the front lines is buried deeper inside the paper.)

    Kirkpatrick focuses on the Gadhafi regime's clumsy and ultimately self-defeating efforts to spoonfeed coverage to the international press corps.

    Exhibit A: The regime's botched attempt to dramatize collateral casualties from Western airstrikes by showcasing hospital bedsheets purportedly spattered with human blood. As Kirkpatrick notes, even Gadhafi's own officials couldn't refrain from calling out the fraud. "This is not even human blood!" the journalists' state handler conceded while giving them a tour.

    "As the incident of the faked blood shows, the Qaddafi government's most honest trait might be its lack of pretense to credibility or legitimacy," writes Kirkpatrick. "It lies, but it does not try to be convincing or even consistent."

    Another example: "Government officials often insisted the journalists watch grisly footage of public beheadings, presented on state television as scenes from rebel-held Benghazi," he writes, "even though the officials surely knew that all the major news organizations had correspondents in Benghazi confirming that there were no such executions." (The piece rounds up plenty of other examples of this maladroit would-be manipulation of the news cycle.)

    Read More »from LIBYA MEDIA WATCH: Gadhafi’s spin machine backfires; updates on missing journalists
  • mattkatieAP060531014201

    The latest reports on CBS News anchor Katie Couric's expected separation from the network suggest that she may well be engineering a back-to-the-future strategy: a joint talk show with Matt Lauer, her onetime co-host from NBC's "Today" show. Couric recently confirmed reports that she's mulling a syndicated talk show deal with former NBC chief Jeff Zucker; Lauer, meanwhile, is now rumored to be ready to leave "Today."

    Of course, it's not all that simple.

    "Any such move would be intensely complicated. Mr. Lauer's contract extends to the end of 2012, while the new show would be expected to start in September. And NBC can be counted on to make perhaps the biggest offer in television news history to keep him at 'Today,' " writes the New York Times' Bill Carter. "But some people close to the participants conceded the notion had been 'thrown around' between the former hosts--and is under serious consideration."

    Carter's piece fleshes out Entertainment Tonight's thinly sourced report last

    Read More »from Report: Katie Couric-Matt Lauer talk show under ‘serious consideration’


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  • International Cricket Council names World Cup XI
    International Cricket Council names World Cup XI

    New Zealand may have been thrashed by Australia in the World Cup final but they dominate the International Cricket Council's team of the tournament released Monday with Brendon McCullum named captain. "McCullum was chosen as the captain following his aggressive, innovative and inspirational leadership during the 44-day tournament that was the cornerstone of his team’s progression to the final," the ICC said in a statement. The other New Zealanders in the line up are Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Martin Guptill, and Daniel Vettori.

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