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Federica Cherubini

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Flowtown published an infographic on Women in Social Media. It takes a look at what sites women are using, as well as how much and why women are participating in social media.

On 7-8 June a conference at the University of Westminster's department of journalism, in company with the British Journalism Review (BJR) will discuss the age-old - but always pressing - question: what makes good journalism, reported Guardian's Roy Greenslade.

In an email today to publishers Google told partners in its News Archive project - which was Google's attempt to do for old newspapers what Google Books has been attempting to do for the world's libraries - that it would cease accepting, scanning, and indexing microfilm and other archival material from newspapers, reported the Boston Phoenix. It will focus its energies instead on newer projects that help the industry, such as Google One Pass.

For more industry news please see WAN-IFRA's Executive News Service


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-05-20 17:54

On May 17 the New York Public Library launched its new iPad app, "Biblion: the Boundless Library".
The app, developed by Potion Design, is free and can be downloaded at the iTunes app store.
The launch issue focuses on the 1939-40 World's Fair.

Surfing through the app, users can "jump from stack to stack, story to story, as you move through the infoscape of the World's Fair, created directly from NYPL's Manuscripts and Archives Division", the Library's site claims.

Each edition of Biblion will open up another of the Library's collections, services, or programs by providing exclusive content in an innovative frame, it announced.

Amongst the things users can do with Biblion, the site explains, are: reading original essays from prominent writers; viewing General Motors' famous Futurama ride, in full color, from the original carousel; exploring the development of the Fair's designs, uniforms and buildings; relishing the outrageous restaurant ideas that never made the cut; and learning about the fate of the Czechoslovakia Pavilion after the country was invaded by Hitler...

The tablet market and apps represent a good possibility for magazines and newspapers to evolve in the digital world, reproducing through the device the experience of reading on the paper and also enhancing the fruition through interactive content. The New York Public Library of course is not a publication but good hints for publishers could come also from this magazine-like app and this kind of innovations.
As a demonstration of the rapid changes the publishing world is facing, Amazon announced just recently that it selling now more Kindle books than print books.

Biblion uses a metaphorical landscape to allow the user to dive into the photos, documents, multimedia, and scholarly essays that put the information into virtual and intellectual context, said the New Yorker.

"In the middle ages, the Greek word "biblion" applied to collections of fragments of ancient texts. Today, NYPL's digital Biblion transforms texts--ancient and modern --into a new format for new generations of readers," said Paul LeClerc, president of the N.Y.P.L. "We think it could change the way people look at libraries--technology is not hurting us but enhancing us." said Angela Montefinise, the library's public-relations director, quoted in the article.

As Alexis Madrigal at the Atlantic noted, "combining essays, photos and documents from the library's archives, the whole experience feels more like an exhibit than a publication ... but maybe that's precisely where magazine apps should be aiming".

"What's fascinating - the article explained - is that you don't feel like you're reading something about the fair, but experiencing what it's like to tool around behind the scenes at a museum or in an archive. The impression is spatial".

What the article describes is a personal path inside the app and the stacks of the Library, a multi-linear immersive experience more than a simple reading one. It suggests that publishers can take it as a model for translating web content to the iPad, changing the way users approach content, going behind the usual linear presentation ("the stream") and presenting a user with topic areas populated by photos, text, links and video.

Sources: NYPL, the Atlantic, the New Yorker, Amazon


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-05-20 16:14

On Saturday May 14 Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund and until then the favoured Nicolas Sarkozy's challenger in the next presidential elections in France, was arrested in New York and charged with the sexual assault of a housekeeper in his suite at the Sofitel Hotel.

In addition to the consequences the case is having on international politics, international relations and French politics (Strauss-Kahn resigned on May 19 as head of IMF), it is also enlivening the debate within news media.

To sum up, of course simplifying, the French press is blaming the US media of being too unscrupulous in covering the news, neglecting the right to be considered innocent before being proved guilty. On the other hand, the US press is blaming the French press of being "reluctant" in covering the case in order to protect Dominique Strauss-Kahn's private life.

Some Europeans are upset over how American journalists have used "perp walk" photos and videos of International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, wrote Al Tompkins on Poynter.

"US media's coverage of DSK case shocks France", titled EuroNews.

As the BBC News noted, in France it's long been accepted that the media do not intrude into the private lives of public figures. French privacy laws - the article explained - are among the strictest in the world and the French have long prided themselves of not prying into what politicians get up to in the bedroom - unlike in Britain and the US.

"Eleven years ago, France's parliament passed a law - the so-called Guigou Law, from the name of the Socialist Elisabeth Guigou, who passed the law - intended to reinforce the principle of the presumption of innocence. It banned the publication of photographs or video images depicting suspects in handcuffs if they have not been convicted of a crime", continued EuroNews.
Pictures that could be considered to infringe the accused's personal dignity, such as being led away by police officers, are also outlawed.

At this end, as the Wall Street Journal reported, France's broadcasting watchdog--the Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel, or CSA-- on Tuesday called on the country's television channels to use restraint in showing footage of Mr. Strauss-Kahn in handcuffs, reminding networks what French law prohibits.

Anyway, all but one French newspapers published picture showing Strauss-Kahn in the courtroom, where cameras are banned in France.

Not everyone in France agrees with this view however.

As BBC News reported, "an article in Liberation says France is now experiencing its first "Anglo-Saxon" sex scandal, and has brutally entered a zone of public debate which until now - because of cultural exception, "Latin" identity or democratic weakness - was confined to rumours and gossip among a select circle of insiders".

In line with this consideration is an article that appeared in Le Monde, written by Christophe Deloire, who co-authored a book about sexual affairs of French politicians.
The article is titled "The Strauss-Kahn affair and the troubling omertà of the French Media". WorldCrunch published its English version which you can find here.

"The Strauss-Kahn affair which began in a Sofitel hotel room shows that writing endless editorials or making sermons predicting the future does not get us any closer to the truth. When dealing with politics, French media usually call in a troop of editorial writers, re-baptized "commentators", whereas Anglo-Saxon newspapers, even if they have their own shortcomings, dedicate more space to investigative journalism that holds the power to make important revelations and share them with the public. A thirst for the facts has never harmed democracies", Deloire wrote.

"Current affairs force us to question the use of journalists. What is the role of journalists? Some citizens think, not without reasons, that some journalists (not most of them, but some of the most influential ones) try to impose their ideas rather than seek to inform us. As a result, they form a largely pretentious class. They are like a political community that is free from difficulties of action but never deprived of speech. They resemble a media-friendly class, which neither acts (politicians' role), nor exposes the truth (journalists' role), but splits hairs instead", he added.

As Global News wrote, "French media outlets, meanwhile, were facing criticism over their long-standing habit of gleefully swapping gossip about public figures among themselves while hiding that information from the public. The criticism has been sparked by allegations that Strauss-Kahn was well-known as an aggressive womanizer long before being charged with attempted rape and unlawful confinement in New York on Saturday".

On Poynter Tompkins cited some examples of how US media justify images showing former IMF chief in handcuff.

The New York Times wondered about the questions raised about the press' code of silence.

"Do the media have to stop revealing incriminating facts in order to avoid electoral accidents? Or on the contrary, do they have to do it more rapidly? That is a key question for democracy. Putting a brake on revelations would be an offense that can give the impression that we are protecting the "system." For a journalist, being a good driver means rolling forward without turning the wheel sharply. Right now, information in France has just been slammed into a long, perilous tailspin", concluded Deloire in Le Monde.

Sources: Le Monde (via WorldCrunch), BBC News, EuroNews, Poynter, Global News, WSJ, NYT, Guardian


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-05-20 00:17

Al Jazeera announced the release of its journalist, Dorothy Parvaz, who was detained in Syria upon her arrival in Damascus nineteen days ago, while on assignment.

Glamour editor Cindi Leive reflected, speaking with Mashable, on what she has learned about iPad publishing in the first year. The June issue of Glamour hit the App Store Monday morning, the tenth issue of the magazine being specially formatted for the iPad and the first available via digital subscription.

TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson has become the latest high-profile figure to announce their intention to take legal proceedings against the News of the World over alleged phone hacking, the Guardian reported. "The announcement comes three days after actor Sienna Miller accepted £100,000 in damages and an unconditional admission from the News of the World that it had used information from eavesdropped voicemails to publish articles on her relationship with Jude Law", the article said.

In an exclusive question-and-answer session during INMA World Congress 2011, moderator Juan Senor sat with New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and walked through his views on the newspaper's present and future and the recently implemented digital paid-content strategy. INMA reported.

For more industry news please see WAN-IFRA's Executive News Service


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-05-18 17:33

On Monday May 16 Blottr, a citizen and collaborative journalism site, broke the story about a bomb alert in London.

As virtualeconomics.co.uk reported, the news was first tweeted early in the morning by one user who noted that the bomb squad was inspecting a suitcase and some others who tweeted that the area around Trafalgar Square had been closed as the police was carrying out a controlled explosion around 9am.
A few minutes after 10am Blottr published the story adding pictures, detail and coverage of the events in the square.
Sky News first, and BBC next picked up the story only 3 hours later.

The story appears as the result of a powerful combination of citizen journalism and social media: Twitter first announced the news, then Blottr broke the story gathering, curating and publishing news, and then Twitter let it spread linking to Blottr's story.
"It was the only full story available of the incident for 3 hours, until Sky News put it as their "breaking" news, followed by the BBC. By this time, everyone discussing the story on Twitter (was) linking to our story, as the main source", Blottr founder Adam Baker told virtualeconomics.

In Wikipedia-style, everyone, via web or smartphones, can sign in and publish a story or make revision, edit and enhance texts, and add videos, photos and tags. "The power of Blottr derives from the fact you can break news as it happens, straight from your mobile device, no matter where you are", the site says.

The person who originates the story is required to assign a location, category and title to it so it would be easier for users, searching by keyword and location, to find the story they are looking for.

What make Blottr stand out from other attempts of citizen journalism however is, as Tech Crunch reported, the "authentication algorithm: it attributes credibility to each story based on factors like how influential the author is on Blottr, how many other people have contributed to the story and how many times it's been shared on Facebook and Twitter or been bookmarked".

The idea of ranking credibility internal to the community is shared by another citizen journalism site, the image agency Citizenside, which uses a point-based game system to give users points based on how many activities they do, how much they are engaged in the community and how trustworthy their contribution is.

Virtualeconomics also reported that Blottr protested that news publishers coming later to the story didn't credit them as they were the first to cover the event getting all the retweets.

"In any case, Blottr was first with an actual article that could be used to understand what was going on - it's not really journalism until you can read it to make sense of the situation, and Blottr's team did the heavy journalistic lifting of following up a lead, understanding what a number of disparate tweets meant, verifying the story, securing permissions on the only photo and turning the lot into comprehensible news", the article said.

Not everyone however is convinced that it was actually such a big news as it became.
A Shiny Shiny's post noted it had such a prominence because it was amplified by the London twittersphere.

"Essentially, there was a threat, a road was shut down and there was a controlled explosion. A similar thing happened on Tottenham Court Road (north london) a few months ago at lunch time, also with a controlled explosion. This is the sort of thing that happens in Belfast, relatively frequently, but the incidents would rarely make it to the national news", the article argued. "If it doesn't disrupt key Twitter people on their way to work, it doesn't get much coverage in the mainstream media", it added.

Was it a great example of how powerful citizen journalism and social media are then, or did it just have "undue prominence" due to the "London bias of Twitter users"?

Sources: virtualeconomics.co.uk, Blottr, TechCrunch, Shiny Shiny


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-05-18 14:08

Four more Conde Nast titles began digital subscriptions Monday -- Vanity Fair, Glamour, Golf Digest and Allure -- bringing to five the number now available via Apple's iTunes store, Wired reported. The digital subscriptions -- only available for the iPad -- are $19.99 a year.

Newsweek Daily Beast Company editor-in-chief Tina Brown said the company will be profitable in 'two to three years', Yahoo! The Cutline reported.
"No publication today can exist without reinventing itself," Brown told New York Post media reporter Keith Kelly .
"Newsweek has a terrific role to play." She explained the difference between putting out an introspective weekly magazine and an immediate daily website, concluding: "The great strength of this merged operation is that we are working on both."

Guardian's Roy Greenslade reported, citing Reporters without Borders, that Al-Jazeera English journalist Dorothy Parvaz has disappeared.
Authorities in both Syria and Iran now deny that she is being held in their countries.
It is known that Parvaz, the article reported, flew from Doha to Damascus on assignment for the network, landing on 29 April. Then she vanished.

Google on Monday launched a YouTube channel honoring fallen journalists and enhanced its online news pages, AFP reported.
Google teamed with the Newseum based in Washington, DC on a Journalists Memorial channel dedicated to the works and lives of those around the world who have died while reporting news.


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Federica Cherubini

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2011-05-17 19:17

On May 13 Google announced - through its official Google News' blog - the launch of a new U.S English edition feature for mobiles called "News near you". The tool provides users with geo-localized news.

By accessing news.google.com through smartphones' browser and allowing the device to register their current location, users will receive news relevant to the city they are in and the surrounding areas.

This is not the first location-based news tool offered by Google. It first became available in Google News in 2008 and today it provides a local section for almost every city, state or country worldwide.
Now however, the announcement noted, it will be done a bit differently, "analysing every word in every story to understand what location the news is about and where the source is located".

As PCMag noted, the launch of this new feature comes a few days after the escalation of the Google and Apple location tracking scandal.

Other tools providing local news are, as noted by Search Engine Land, Microsoft's Bing iPhone app and the CNN's iPhone app that also offers local news via the "My CNN" tab.

Poynter's Damon Kiesow noted last month that even if Bing app (the article refers to the iPad one particularly) is not marketed as a news platform, it should be considered a "newspaper in disguise" as it offers a great local information utility in a tablet-friendly layout.

Like Google News however the stories are selected by an algorithm and not chosen by a person making editorial decisions, the article said.

Localised news in the US are provided also by EveryBlock.com, a news site that enables users to search for stories and information by address, zip code or neighborhood. As it was previously noted, the site don't compete with traditional media, but its 'geocoding' technology and functions should be of interest to newspapers. It is now available for 16 US cities.

Sources: Google News blog, PCMag, Search Engine Land, Poynter


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Federica Cherubini

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2011-05-17 18:11

The report of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, released on May 9, provided a complex and update picture of online news reading habits, describing the ways people navigate the digital news environment.

Examining the top 25 news websites in popularity in the US, a part of the report was dedicated to how readers access news, either by going directly to a news site - which accounts for about 60 percent of the traffic - or by arriving through referral sites - which accounts for the remaining 40 percent.

It also provided analysis on the importance of Google, which is still leading as source of drive-by traffic, and the growth of Facebook as well, which is gaining more prominence.

A part of the report was dedicated also to the Drudge Report, the 14 years old website founded by Matt Drudge, which gained momentum during the Clinton presidency by revealing early news on what would become the Lewinsky scandal.

"Before Google and Facebook, an early driver of Internet traffic was the Drudge Report", the Pew's report said.
According to the Nielsen data, despite its small-scale operation, it remains an influential driver of traffic, so ranked to all but six of the top sites analysed.
More strikingly - the report continued - it ranked second or third in more than half (12), outpacing Facebook.

"While Facebook never drove more than 8% of traffic to any one site, for instance, Drudgereport.com provided more than 30% of traffic to mailonline.co.uk (the British newspaper site the Daily Mail), 19% of the traffic to the NYPost.com, 15% to Washingtonpost.com and 11% to Boston.com and FoxNews.com."

David Carr on the New York Times reflected on the news. Amy S. Mitchell, the deputy editor of the Project for Excellence in Journalism - quoted by Carr - highlighted that the Drudge Report's influence cuts across all kind of sites, from traditional news outlets to more tabloid style outlets to online-only sites.

It has no video, no search optimization and its layout is simple, resembling the one of its origins. It simply and effectively aggregates a huge amount of links: "on the Drudge Report, there is just a delicious but bare-bones headline, there for the clicking".

The reasons of its popularity then seem to be, on the one hand, a result of the power of its audience and, on the other, of Matt Drudge personal ability.

"The power of it comes from the community of people that read it: operatives, bookers, producers and politicians", said John F. Harris, the co-founder of Politico.

Drudge Report's steady influence, moreover, is first and foremost, a personal achievement, a testament to the fact that he is "the best wire editor on the planet", as Gabriel Snyder, editor for Gawker, Newsweek and now The Atlantic, described him talking to David Carr. "Matt Drudge can look into a huge stream of news, find the hot story and put an irresistible headline on it", Snyder added.

In a word, "it is, in its own way, a kind of utility, with stable traffic of about 12 million to 14 million unique visitors every month no matter what kind of news is breaking. Everyone goes there because, well, everyone else goes there", Carr wrote.

On Poynter Julie Moos analysed the stream of Drudge Report's audience during the last years. Referring to comScore data, tracked from 2007, the article note that Drudge's audience grows during the heat of campaigns and elections and diminished other times. The annual average number of unique U.S. visitors grew between 200 and 2010, with September-November 2008 being peak months (last presidential elections) and began to decline this year, the article said.

Not everyone agrees that Drudge Report still has a large influence. The Huffington Post reported a Washington Post spokeswoman telling HuffPo that the number cited in the Pew's report "is inaccurate".

"Over the last three months (February - April 2011), referrals from drudgereport.com have accounted for 2.5 percent of total referrals, nowhere near 15 percent," the spokeswoman wrote in an email. The Post relied on data from web analytics company, Omniture. It also cited data from Hitwise and comScore.

The reason for this disparity could be the different methodologies companies measuring web traffic use. All the findings show that Drudge Report can drive a great amount of traffic to washingtonpost.com, however - the article wrote - the other three companies didn't produce any numbers in the double digits, with comScore only recording about a third of the traffic reported by Nielsen.
Raju Narisetti, managing editor of the Post, first questioned the traffic number on Twitter.

Sources: PEJ Research, NYT, Poynter, Huffington Post
Graphic sources: 1. Nielsen Company and PEJ Research; 2. comScore (via Poynter)


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-05-17 15:34

The Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism announced it's launching a new digital project: The New York World. It is designed to "provide New York City citizens with accountability journalism about government operations that affect their lives".
The New York World will serve both as a site, where citizens can learn more about how services are allotted and tax dollars are spent, and as a news service, providing stories, data and other information to local news providers, the site said.

The Guardian published an interactive chart of 190 moments that made its 190-year history. It starts with the Peterloo Massacre that happened on 16 August 1816 during a political meeting in support of the parliamentary reform, which was one of the key factors that prompted John Edward Taylor to found a newspaper dedicated to the cause of reform, and it ends with the recognition as the "newspaper of the year" at the Press Awards in April 2011 for its partnership with Wikileaks in publishing the US cables.

The Guardian's Roy Greenslade interviewed Stephen Abell, the Press Complaints Commission's Director. They talked about the role of self-regulation in the UK press system and the privacy reform that is under discussion these days. Due to the criticism of the PCC's handling of the hacking scandal, the interview also has a section on hacking and another on the role Twitter is playing. You can find the article here and more from Greenslade on the interview here.

According to the Huffington Post, Bloomberg News, coherently with the aim of broadening the company's influence on national affairs, is expanding also its White House Team. The article cited a source familar with the matter who said Margaret Talev, who's been covering the Obama White House for McClatchy Newspapers, will soon be heading to Bloomberg News.

For more industry news please see WAN-IFRA's Executive News Service


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-05-16 17:56

It has been about two months since Tina Brown launched her redesign of Newsweek after the merger with the online news site The Daily Beast, where she served, and still does, as the editor-in-chief.

The two titles merged in a 50/50 joint venture, The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, owned by Barry Diller, who supports The Daily Beast through his media conglomerate IAC and former U.S. Congresswoman Jane Harman, who succeeded her husband, Sidney Harman, who bought Newsweek from the Washington Post in August 2010.

As from the March 14 issue, both the 77-year-old magazine and two-year old website have been under the aegis of Ms Brown.

In April AdWeek noted that while the first issues were a hit on newsstands, advertising pages results didn't do as well.
As the article reported, newsstand sales of Newsweek's relaunched first issue were up 19 percent from the magazine's average last year and the second and third issues beat the 2010 average by 7 and 21 percent respectively. First-quarter ad pages however were down 31 percent year-over-year, the article said, and the April 12 issue had just six ads.

AdAge reported today, May 16, that the magazine's latest issue will include 32 ad pages, the most in two years. "But a lot of ad buyers still aren't sold on the most-watched media mash-up going", the article added.
It also reported that, according to the Media Industry Newsletter data, Newsweek's ad pages have declined 34% this year from last year, but fell less sharply -- 22.5% -- in the first nine issues from March 14 onward.

Regarding the advertising market, Stephen Colvin, CEO of the Newsweek Daily Beast Co, said - as it was quoted in the article - that between the two titles there is some crossover potential. Despite this the two publications have separate advertising ambitions "which may be a function of the fact that, for all the talk about integrated ad buying and breaking down the so-called silos between media, advertisers still set their budgets by discrete categories whether print or digital."

As it was originally said, the merger could be beneficial to both parties as The Daily Beast brought 5 million online viewers and Newsweek brought a pre-established audience and a print component, which could attract high advertising revenues.

The AdAge's article however noted that "given then the lack of an immediate advertising upside to a combined online and print operation, it's unclear how the fused newsrooms will bring in more dollars".

Critics - the article continued - argue that the merger welded together two businesses but not particularly complementary ones.

Will integration - also regarding advertising - be the way to follow for the two publications?

Sources: AdWeek, AdAge


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-05-16 16:09

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