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  • Kinsey Wilson named executive vice president of product and technology at The New York Times

    The New York Times

    The New York Times on Monday announced that Kinsey Wilson, who was previously The Times’ editor for strategy and innovation, will be executive vice president of product and technology.

    The New York Times announced in November Wilson would join the paper’s masthead. Before arriving at The Times, he was chief content officer at NPR, a post he left late last year.

    Wilson is a member of The Poynter Institute’s board of trustees and a former chairman of its national advisory board.

    Here’s the announcement:

    NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The New York Times Company announced today that Kinsey Wilson, currently The Times’s editor for strategy and innovation, has also been named executive vice president, product and technology. Mr. Wilson will join the company’s executive committee and expand his present role to assume leadership of all company-wide digital product and technology operations. He will report jointly to President and CEO Mark Thompson and Executive Editor Dean Baquet.

    In making the announcement, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Baquet said, “The company’s initial plan was to appoint an executive vice president who would work as a partner to Kinsey in his newsroom role. Since early February, though, as Kinsey has become a key contributor and grasped the challenges and opportunities of our digital transformation, we have become convinced that unifying these responsibilities under his leadership makes better sense and offers us an opportunity to accelerate the progress that is already underway. Kinsey is the ideal person for this role. He is a digital visionary with deep roots in journalism and he’s a dynamic leader with a keen understanding of digital products and technology.”

    Mr. Wilson said, “I’m thrilled to be taking on a broader role at The Times and grateful to Mark and Dean for their confidence in me. This is a very special place filled with immensely talented people. We all have a common goal, to make sure that people’s experience of The Times, wherever they find us, continues to match the brilliance of our journalism.”

    Mr. Wilson joined The Times in February 2015. Previously, he oversaw NPR’s global news-gathering, programming and digital operations as executive vice president and chief content officer. He drove the development of the NPR One mobile app, which pioneered a new personalized digital listening experience, championed initiatives such as Planet Money, NPR Music, and the Race Card Project and is widely credited with positioning NPR as a digital leader.

    Previously, Mr. Wilson was executive editor of USA Today, where he oversaw digital strategy and daily news operations. He also led Congressional Quarterly’s early web strategy and served as a reporter at Newsday for 7 years.

    David Perpich has been named senior vice president, product, reporting to Mr. Wilson. Since 2013, Mr. Perpich has been general manager of new digital products, leading the business side team charged with the creation of new digital products. He joined the company in 2010 as executive director of paid products and played a key part in the rollout of The Times’s digital subscription plan in 2011.

    Mr. Perpich came to The Times from the management consulting firm Booz & Company, where he was a member of their consumer, media and digital industries practice, focusing on growth strategy. He previously founded and ran two companies, both in the music industry, and he held roles in product management and business development at, a former New York Times Company property. Mr. Perpich received a B.A. in economics from Duke University and an M.B.A. from Harvard University.

    The company also announced that Paul Smurl, who has been a central player in the growth of The Times’s digital business, is leaving to become COO and President of Some Spider LLC, a startup just launched by co-founder Vinit Bharara.

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  • Second blogger murdered in Bangladesh

    Yahoo News | The Associated Press | BBC News | The Guardian

    Within hours of Associated Press Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt’s call for an international effort to stop the killing of journalists, a blogger was murdered in the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

    According to Yahoo News writer Shafiqul Alam, three men set upon blogger Washiqur Rahman and hacked him to death with knives on Monday. Police reportedly have two men, both of whom are students at nearby madrassas, in custody; both men were armed with meat cleavers, according to BBC News. A third man escaped the scene of the crime.

    Rahman was not a full-time blogger or professional journalist, but rather worked as IT manager at a travel agency, according to The Guardian. He did not use his blog to focus on Islam, but he often used a separate Facebook page to post stories by other writers that were critical of Islamic fundamentalism.

    This is the second murder of a secular blogger in Bangladesh over the last two months. In February, Avijit Roy, an American blogger whose family came from Bangladesh and who was a prominent atheist writer and supporter of an independent press, was also hacked to death in Dhaka. Police described the main suspect in Roy’s murder as a “fundamentalist blogger.” According to the Committee to Project Journalists, Roy became the 15th journalist murdered in Bangladesh since 1992.

    Imran Sarker, the leader of a Bangladeshi network of bloggers, claimed that the assailants were encouraged to kill Rahman because “we have a culture of impunity here.” This remark echoed Pruitt’s speech at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong, in which he declared, “The single most treacherous threat to journalists is killing with impunity.”

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  • Inside NPR’s podcasting strategy

    NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    NPR’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    In January, months after “Serial” rocketed to the top of the iTunes podcasting charts and ignited a conversation about the “Golden Age of Audio,” NPR was preparing to answer with a hit of its own.

    The show had spent more than a year in development. For its launch, staffers used every bit of experience they’d gained about how to engineer a popular program: They cross-promoted previews of the show on podcasting staples like “This American Life” and “Radiolab,” coordinated a media campaign, even set aside a modest sum — about $1,500 — to buy Facebook ads promoting the show.

    It paid off.

    Since “Invisibilia” launched on Jan. 6, its episodes have been downloaded more than 33 million times, briefly eclipsing “Serial” on the iTunes charts. When NPR staffers saw the attention the show was getting from cross-promotion and other media mentions, they cancelled the ad campaign after spending about $400.

    “It’s just been a huge force of nature and it’s been a tremendous validator for us of all these things we’ve learned,” said Eric Nuzum, vice president of programming at NPR.

    The program’s popularity comes at a heady time for podcasters, when listeners, advertisers and technology have converged to create fertile ground for the medium to grow. Before and after “Serial” saw runaway success, two podcasting networks launched, Slate’s Panoply and Gimlet Media, the latter a project of former “This American Life” producer Alex Blumberg. Since then, BuzzFeed, The Associated Press and many others have gotten on board.

    But for NPR, which has been in the podcasting game since 2005, the sudden attention was another indicator that its offerings had been gaining steam with listeners and advertisers for some time. The public radio network doubled its podcasting revenue in 2014, and is on track to double it again in 2015, said Bryan Moffett, interim president and CEO of National Public Media. The network has also seen monthly downloads for its podcast portfolio take off in recent years, increasing from 37.5 million in October 2013 to more than 90 million in March 2015, Nuzum said.

    The key to this audience growth? A lot of pruning. Listeners who checked NPR’s podcast directory in October 2013 would have found a disorganized list of more than 100 different offerings there, Nuzum said. Even as the audience for the podcasts grew, there was no one in charge of the shows and little in the way of strategic direction.

    “It was really hard to find things you were actually there to look for,” he said.

    So, the network gradually trimmed its portfolio of podcasts down to 30, cutting out shows that didn’t fit in with a series of new guidelines. Podcasts that consisted primarily of excerpts from other shows were out. They ditched a lot of shows featuring roundups of stories about movies, or science, or international news. With a few exceptions, anything that wasn’t a “full experience” — a standalone podcast that didn’t need to borrow from other NPR offerings — was cut.

    The next step was to bring a wider audience to this leaner list of shows. The network’s directory, which remains one of the top Google search results for “podcasts,” used to be a bad experience for listeners, who initially had to scroll through page after page to find what they were looking for, Nuzum said. The revised directory displays the slimmed-down list of podcasts prominently, with a simple category search replacing a “mix your own podcast” function on the old podcast landing page.

    The other audience-building strategy that NPR learned is one that was used to great effect in the case of “Serial” and “Invisibilia.” Cross-promotion, the engineering of the so-called “Ira Glass bump,” has brought the network “millions and millions” of additional downloads, Nuzum said. “Invisibilia” is the most telling case. But there are other success stories, too. For several months, NPR had “Pop Culture Happy Hour,” “Ask Me Another,” “How to Do Everything,” “Snap Judgement,” and “Intelligence Squared” take turns having their respective hosts telling listeners to go check out the other podcasts, one at a time. The result? In all but one case, the podcasts saw a spike in downloads the week after they were promoted on the other shows.

    The network repeated the experiment again, this time with eight or nine podcasts. After that, staffers divided NPR’s podcasts into four or five small groups with shows that relate to one another and instructed the hosts of those shows to promote the other podcasts in the group. Eventually, the plan is to move those groups around and try another round of cross-promotion.

    “It’s a great case study in the power of focus,” Nuzum said.

    Although advertisers have followed listeners to NPR’s podcasts, the shows won’t eclipse NPR’s larger streams of revenue anytime soon. While podcasting is among the network’s fastest-growing revenue sources, it is still nowhere close to the largest, Moffett said. He was reluctant to break down the dollar amounts specifically, but he did say that podcasting is currently a seven-figure business that the network is trying to grow into the mid-seven figures. Compared with NPR’s total corporate sponsorship revenue, which is a mid-eight figure business, that’s relatively small.

    NPR is still interested in stoking advertiser interest, however. In late April, the network will hold a podcasting upfront in conjunction with WNYC and Chicago Public Media featuring the stars from their respective podcasts. The idea, Moffett says, is to pitch the larger advertising and marketing community on different podcasting offerings from public media outlets.

    “When you look at the iTunes year recap for 2014 in podcasting, six of the top 10 most downloaded podcasts were from the three of us,” Moffett said. “I think that we at least feel that public radio, and particularly those three entities, have been a driving factor in podcasts for a very long time.”

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Veteran broadcaster Alan Milair dies

Long-time veteran of WSYR Radio and television has died.  The family of Alan Milair says the broadcast personality and program host died.  His family provided us with this obituary:

Alan Milair, 81, of Syracuse passed away peacefully at Loretto Cunningham on April 21, 2012.  Born in Charleston, WV, he spent his boyhood there and Lewiston, PA before moving to Cortland, NY where he started his radio career @ WKRT. 

Then moving to Syracuse to work at WSYR where he had a storied 30 year career in Radio and Television.   He was an on air personality with many radio shows including “Music just for you” and several classical programs.  He created and performed in Monster Movie Matinee which ran for 16 years.  He was also a news and weather man as well as a talk show host for many years for WSYR Television. He completed his career as AM/FM Program Manager for WSYR Radio. 

Throughout his life he sat on several boards, including Onondaga Community College, Onondaga County Co-operative Extension and Crouse Hospital Foundation.

  He was also active in local theatre throughout his life.   He also enjoyed fishing, family and friends. 

He is pre-deceased by his wife, Eloise, of 31 years and Helen Anderson of 14 years, and his Son Erich Milair.  He is survived by his Daughter, Shawn Wayson (Martin), Son Dana Milair of Maine and 8 Grandchildren.      

Calling hours are 4-7pm on Tuesday April 24th at Fairchild and Meech Dewitt Chapel.   Memorial service will be held on Wednesday April 25th at 4pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Dewitt. 

 In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Loretto Cunningham, 7th floor, 700 E. Brighton Ave., Syracuse, NY 13205.



Last Updated ( Monday, 23 April 2012 20:00 )
"It’s all storytelling, you know. That’s what journalism is all about."
--Tom Brokaw, NBC News

Wall of Distinction

Jerry Barsha



During 32 years of reporting on Central New York radio and television, Jerry Barsha gave meaning to the term "breaking news." He broke many exclusive stories and conducted news investigations that brought him recognition from the home audience and his peers alike.
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