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Federica Cherubini

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Is the line between advertising market pressure and editorial integrity becoming thinner?
Within the crisis much of the press is facing, being able to attract more advertising can be a critical factor in a publication's survival. And branded, or 'advertorial' content has become more popular: content published in the layout of an article. It is vital, when using this, however, to maintain editorial integrity.

As Journalism.co.uk reported
, the Association of Online Publishers has taken an interest in how media outlets can take advantage of branded content without losing readers' trust and held a conference entitled "Maintaining editorial integrity and making partnerships pay" on February 17th in London.

"The line between advertising and editorial is set to blur even further this year. Some say we're going to see more advertising moving toward content, and more acceptance of that, while others warn of inevitable damage to editorial integrity", AOP said presenting the event. While for years advertisers have been trying to align ever more closely with publishers brands online and cross-platform, now different models between simple partnerships are emerging, especially as digital advertising becomes richer and more complex - it noted.

Talking about the collaboration between editorial and commercial in digital, Mirror Group Digital Content Director Matt Kelly said, in a video interview for AOP, that "The internet is the perfect forum for integrating those two functions, in a way that traditionally wasn't either desirable or probably practical in print."

How will advertising content within new formats continue to be clearly marked to distinguish it from editorial? And do users even care? Are we seeing the fruition of a long-held belief that advertising should act more like content? And how can publishers reap the benefits without compromising their relationship with their audience? These are some of the questions the AOP conference hoped to answer.

Journalism.co.uk reported that Bauer Media last year set up a dedicated division called Bauer Access to bridge the gap between advertorial and sales and work on advertiser-funded content across the group's radio and TV outlets, magazines and online. Speaking at an AOP conference in London, Bauer Access creative director Joseph Evea said - quoted in the article - that it's really important to provide a dedicated resource to create this type of content as if the right systems are in place, branded content can really pay.

Compromising editorial integrity for commercial purposes is a big risk.

"There simply is no point in compromising the long-term integrity of your editorial product for the sake of short-term financial gain", said MSN Content Manager Steve Wilson-Beales reporting on the event.

If the 'admixture' is the main risk, simple transparency can be an answer: maintaining a separation between news and advertising through a proper signpost is crucial. That news organizations maintain credibility as independent trustworthy information providers should also be important for advertisers because their branded advertising content benefits from that credibility.

Attending a seminar on "Influence, Values and Professional Responsibility in the News Media" in Salzburg (Austria) in 2002, 57 international journalists issued a statement of concern in defense of journalism as a public trust. As Poynter reported, also in that occasion, market pressures were founded to undermine the quality of journalism. In that statement, they recognized that news organizations function in a competitive, multimedia environment, and that financial strength is essential for journalistic independence. However, among the 10 proposals they raised to consideration, they encouraged the press to ensure that entertainment content does not compromise news coverage, as well as to keep a clear separation between advertising and news content. All advertising should be clearly labeled.

As George Boyce said in 1978 «The paradox of the Fourth Estate, with its head in politics and its feet in commerce can, however, only be understood if it is appreciated that the whole idea of the Fourth Estate was a myth. A myth can combine fact and fiction without any uneasiness extisting between the two.»

Sources: Journalism.co.uk, AOP (1), (2), Steven Wilson-Beales, Poynter


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-02-21 16:36

The European Parliament has postponed a vote on Hungary's controversial new media law after the country agreed to bring the legislation in line with EU rules, Journalism.co.uk reported. The law, which requires all media to register with government authorities and gives the country's state-owned media body, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH), the power to fine broadcasters and newspapers for violating "public interest, public morals or order", was earlier fiercely questioned by the European Parliament.

Associated Newspaper's free paper in the UK Metro is to launch its first universal app supplying the paper's news content on both the iPhone and the iPad, MediaWeek reported.
The app, sponsored by mobile network Three, launches on Monday (21 February). It will provide the newspaper's latest news and allow the user to access the Metro news archive. It is free to download and is available through the Apple app store.

The Guardian announced its new policy regards references to days from reports in its website and decided to drop drop most references to "today", "tomorrow", "yesterday", "tonight".
"I am writing this at 5pm on Thursday in London. According to the wonderful World Time Clock, it is 7am on Thursday in Honolulu and 6am on Friday in Auckland. When the blogpost is launched, at 10am on Friday in the UK, it will be midnight on Thursday in Hawaii and 11pm on Friday in New Zealand", the journalist wrote. If the day is relevant, the article underlined, journalists will state the actual date.
"The BBC website, among others, adopted a similar strategy some time ago and I feel it gives an immediacy to their reports akin to watching or listening to a live news broadcast. So in a sense we are, perhaps belatedly, recognising another way in which a website is different from a newspaper", the article said.

A BBC journalist was detained at Bahrain international airport for 15 hours, the Guardian reported, before having her equipment confiscated.

Wired will add iPad subscriptions "as soon as we can," reported Yahoo!'s The Cutline.

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


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-02-18 18:38

Professor Steve Schifferes, a former BBC economics correspondent, speaking at his first lecture as City University London's new professor of financial journalism, said that news organization need to offer better analysis and commentary on financial issues if they want to regain the public's trust, Journalism.co.uk reported.

"The next generation of journalists would have to knock down the divide between political and financial reporting and take a much broader, analytical view of the economy than they have done in recent years", he said.

@font-face { font-family: "MS 明朝"; }@font-face { font-family: "MS 明朝"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }a:link, span.MsoHyperlink { color: blue; text-decoration: underline; }a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed { color: purple; text-decoration: underline; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; }div.WordSection1 { page: WordSection1; }The fact that financial journalists weren't able to predict the crisis shows, in his opinion, that there is a need to rethink the effectiveness itself of financial journalism. In addition, even after the crisis, journalists could have done a better job of examining the roots and then explaining the serious consequences.

The errors of the financial press in predicting the crisis has already been abundantly debated, during conferences and public debates.

Among others, Financial Times editor Lionel Barber, during a Poynter Fellowship lecture at Yale University last year, discussed whether the press was "an accomplice or merely an innocent bystander".

Barber picked out "five specific weaknesses in the financial media's coverage of the events leading up to the financial crisis" and all relied to technical details of the crisis, such as that "financial journalists failed to grasp the significance of the failure to regulate over-the-counter derivatives which formed the bulk of counterparty risk in the explosion of credit in the middle of this decade, following the dotcom bubble".

Schifferes instead now argues that the main problem is that journalists dealing with financial matter are too specialized and face difficulties to maintain a broader and complete perspective on the facts.

"Reporters in different fields are not necessarily trained or able to connect the dots and look at what's happening across sectors and financial markets as a whole", he said.

"There's going to be an increasing convergence between political journalism and financial journalism," he said. "I think we really are moving into a time where we will require journalists who can move seamlessly between the boardroom and the committee room and understand the political economy - not just the politics or the economics of the crisis".

Financial news thus must leave the ghetto of specialized information to where it has been relegated and gain the front page in the attempt to give a complete and deep comprehension of the present complex global world.

Source: Journalism.co.uk


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Federica Cherubini

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2011-02-18 18:21

According to the last UK Audit Bureau Circulation figures published on Thursday February 17, the circulation of the Economist, hit, in the last six months, its top average in its 167-year history.

As the Guardian reported, weekly circulation topped 200,000 in the UK for the second half of last year, up 7,7% on the previous six months and up 11,1% year on year. The Economist's global circulation now totals 1,473,939, a year-on-year growth of 3,7%, the bulk of the copies being sold in North America.

The steady growth the Economist has experienced (publisher Yvonne Ossman underlined it was the 59th consecutive six-monthly increase in circulation, with continental Europe sales up 0.9% year on year and 0.3% on the period to 240,743) fits in with a positive general bent of the current affairs magazine sector, according to the Guardian.

The Guardian reported a 6.4% increase year on year for Dennis Publishing's The Week, as the Oldie showed solid growth of 7.2% year on year. Even if fortnightly satirical title Private Eye was down 1.5% compared with the second half of 2009, that period was when it posted its best sales figures since 1992. The rightwing weekly the Spectator was also marginally down of 0.1% over the period. "Investors Chronicle, from FT Business, was one of the rare fallers in the current affairs sector, with circulation dropping 5% year on year and 2.2% period on period to 28,516", wrote the Guardian.

"The news and current affairs sector looked robust", wrote Press Gazette and "two titles at the very high-brow essay-based end of the market did particularly well". In fact, the article reported, "current affairs monthly Prospect rose 12.3 per cent year on year to 31,932 and fortnightly political and literary essay title The London Review of Books rose 9.6 per cent year on year to 53,215 sales".

These data are even more interesting if compared with newspaper circulation, as "the quality national newspaper titles were again the biggest circulation losers in November 2010 with six feeling double-digit year on year declines", as the Press Gazette reported (you can see November average daily sales followed by percentage change year on year here).

Are these data indicative of a general trend suggesting that the more in-depth analysis that weekly magazines provide sells better than daily news?

As reported earlier, a recent study by former Daily Express editor and Daily Mail executive Richard Addis, argued that the UK's top dailies are lacking analytical articles, compared to opinions article and news. As noted, Addis said it is not hard to see the reasons why analytic writing may have declined.
Despite this and despite the fact that the best-selling titles are those which provide a lower percentage of analysis (two of those are tabloid, fact from which one could argue that "tabloid news" is the truest indicator of newspapers' circulation success, as earlier underlined), might the circulation figures of magazines and the growth of the Economist really indicate that, in this world of endless flow of information that we are exposed to, readers feel a need for deep, serious analysis and this is something that dailies should look to?

Image source: theday.co.uk
Sources: The Guardian, Press Gazette (1), (2),


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Federica Cherubini

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2011-02-18 13:53

The University of Colorado might eliminate its standalone journalism degree and create both a new school of information and an institute to study the "global digital future," according to documents released Tuesday by the Boulder campus, as dailycamera reported. An exploratory panel has been working this semester to consider a new program for "information and communication technology." The panel's report, released Tuesday, gives campus leaders three options: create a school or college of information, communication and media technology; create an Institute for the Global Digital Future; and create both the two.
Does it make sense for pure journalism schools to continue?

American journalists have been coming under attack in the field, what with incidences involving Anderson Cooper and Lara Logan in Egypt, and the beating Miguel Marquez, an ABC News correspondent, took yesterday while covering protests in Bahrain. For The New York Times article on this, click here.

According to the International Federation of Journalists, Wali Khan Babar became the first reporter to be killed in Pakistan this year (on January 13th), and given the high death toll of journalists and media staff last year (sixteen), he is unlikely to be the last. These killings are instilling fear in the Pakistani press corps. For the full article on journalism.co.uk, click here.

Arianna Huffington believed that the Huffington Post could have been sold for more than its $315million price tag but that AOL was "the best home" for her business, The Los Angeles Times reported.

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


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-02-17 18:53

Los Angeles could be the next city to see the launch of a new not-for-profit news website, according to revelations from the Los Angeles Times.

As the article reported, venture capitalist and former Times Mirror executive Tom Unterman has been quietly exploring the formation of a news organization focused on public policy issues, like the ones that have flourished in cities like San Diego, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Austin and Chicago.

Even if Unterman doesn't still have a formal plan, he's testing the water with some community leaders around L.A. and looking for possible partners.

While "very hopeful" about making the site a reality, the article reported Unterman said the key would be coming up with a plan to sustain such a venture beyond the startup phase -- which he estimated would last three years and cost $10 million.

"A good, smart, nonprofit journalism effort could be a very nice complementary piece to the media picture here in L.A.," said Unterman, "particularly if it focused on investigative work and filled a gap in the kind of stories that for-profit media can't persistently fill now because of changes in the economics of the news business."

The flourish of "locally-focused" non-profit news organizations has spread within a lot of cities in the USA and they have become a significant part of the news landscape, the number one of those being ProPublica.

Together with projects that see partnerships with journalism schools around the country, these news outlets contribute to filling the gaps left by the mainstream media. Traditional news outlets are often unable to dedicate enough time to deep investigative stories, and maybe cannot properly cover all that happens in the local dimension of such big cities such as Los Angeles.

"The enormous county bureaucracy is larger than that of most states. It oversees beaches, health clinics, welfare offices, children's foster homes and much more. Yet the whole megillah routinely gets covered by just two or three reporters", the LA Times article said. In fact, rather than competing with The Times, Unterman suggested the nonprofit might work cooperatively with the newspaper -- contributing its investigative pieces and "co-publishing" stories.

Among others, The New York Times has instigated partnerships with the Bay Citizen and with the Texas Tribune, a nonprofit news site in Austin. Other well-established regional news sites that operate as nonprofits are MinnPost and the Voice of San Diego, which - as as the LA Times article pointed out - has become an admirable asset over the last six years, having managed to gain more contributions from a variety of sources, leaving the businessmen who founded it now contributing less of the total budget.

Another field in which news organizations are experimenting with success is cooperation with universities.

ProPublica too has started to collaborate with the university world, partnering with New York University's Carter Journalism Institute and professor Jay Rosen to explore how to use the web to do better explanatory journalism and in San Francisco, the Bay Citizen nonprofit news site has teamed with the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley aiming to "enhance quality civic and community news coverage" in the Bay Area.

The Boston Globe also has announced it will collaborate with Northeastern University and Emerson College on news coverage for Boston.com's Your Town hyper-local sites. Boston.com currently has 50 "Your Town" sites in and around Boston, which act as digital town centers, offering a highly localized news experience for readers.

"We're delighted with this collaboration. It provides 'Your Town' readers with even more local coverage and enriches the educational experience of Emerson and Northeastern students,'' said David Dahl, the Globe's regional editor, in a press release.

Sources: LA Times


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Federica Cherubini

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2011-02-17 16:52

The Daily's editor in chief Jesse Angelo is trying to push his staff to up the calibre of their stories, according to an internal memo published in The New York Magazine and reproduced by The Guardian's Roy Greenslade.

"Folks, Egypt is over - time for us to get focused on covering America", the editor of the first tablet-only newspaper wrote.

"We need to get out there and start finding more compelling stories from around the country - not just scraping the web and the wires, but getting out on the ground and reporting".

He urges reporters to find stories other newspapers haven't found, to go where other media haven't been: "Find me something new, different, exclusive and awesome", he wrote.

Greenslade noted that this memo could be nothing more than a normal motivation spur from en editor to his staff, but it's interesting that it arrives just 14 days after the paper was launched.

Angelo doesn't call on staff to simply attract an audience, he asks his journalists to show the world The Daily can count within the papers that set the country's agenda: "Force the new White House press secretary to download The Daily for the first time because everyone at the gaggle is asking about a story we broke. (...) Force the rest of the media to follow us".
He wants news, he wants scoops.

Is that an independent muster to the troops or was Angelo prodded in turn, wonders Greenslade?

This could be reasonably an answer to criticism The Daily received immediately following the launch. As Jeff Bercovici pointed out, most of the early reviews agreed that The Daily looks snappy but isn't quite the revolutionary leap forward Rupert Murdoch and others had made it out to be.

"It is by far the most ambitious project of its type. Never before has someone attempted to pack in so much programming wizardry into a platform which is produced every day. (...) In fact, you do really feel that this is an app that is produced by people who love technology more than content. In this app, tech is the king, and content seems to be on tap", wrote The Drum.

Hard words came also from Slate chairman Jacob Weisberg, who, during a lecture to journalism students at Columbia University, said that The Daily: "represents everything that I hope you will steer clear of as journalists and people who think about news in relation to technology. I mean, first of all the content itself is very low-brow, facile, kind of USA Today, you know. It's very attractive, but if you read the articles, they're 600 words long and they sort of digest what you know already", as Women Wear Daily Media reported.

We will have to wait and see if Angelo's words will produce the intended results.

Sources: the Guardian, The Drum, WWD Media, Jeff Bercovici - Mixed Media


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Federica Cherubini

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2011-02-16 13:41

Online Journalism Blog listed three things that BBC Online has given to online journalism:
1. its Web writing style, currently hardly equaled by others online publishers
2. its Editors' Blogs, which demonstrated a desire for transparency that many other news organisations have yet to repeat as well as they have played a key role in showing skeptical journalists how engaging with the former audience on blogs can form a key part of the newsgathering process
3. Ian Forrester's Backstage Project, of which you can find a review here.

Google announced that it has launched an early, experimental Chrome extension so people can block sites from their web search results.
If installed, the extension also sends blocked site information to Google, and we will study the resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results.

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


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-02-15 17:57

How do social networks fit into news gathering?

As Martin Langeveld reported on Nieman Lab, "the traditional social network just doesn't work when it comes to news" as Luke Stangel said.

Luke Stangel is the coufounder and chief marketing officer at Tackable, a Palo Alto-based startup tackling this problem by building a standalone social network that "organizes media on a map."

Tackable is an iPhone app-based social network focused on geotagged news photos and captions.

"The Tackable vision is that when breaking news happens, you'll be able to use the app to zero in on the location on the map, and see whether network members have posted photo, video and comments, without needing to have a previous relationship with those people", the article reported.

Tackable has two iPhone prototype apps live in the App Store at moment: The Spartan Daily (designed for the student journalists at San Jose State's daily newspaper) and a general Tackable app. It's doing alpha/beta testing on both.

With the intention of cooperating with news organizations in the use of user-generated content, Tackable is partnering with MediaNews Group and specifically with one of its papers, the San Jose Mercury - Damon Kiesow reported on Poynter. They are trying to figure out how the app would fit into the paper's workflow.

Langeveld also reported that MediaNews Group is providing the company with incubation office space and it is also paying development fees for a product specific to its 650,000-circulation Bay Area Newspaper Group (BANG), to be deployed as part of an ambitious suite of new digital tools related to user-generated content.

According to Kiesow, MediaNews is expected to start using the app within two months, with a consumer version available soon after.

A similar version of the app is that created with the San Jose State University's student newspaper, the Spartan Daily, as previously noted.

The base functioning of the app is:
- A news editor makes a photo assignment
- People who have signed in can accept assignments and submit images via their iPhones and add captions
- Users completing the assignment get "Karma Points" that could be turned in for merchandise or services (as for restaurant meals)
- It's not necessary - anyway - to chose an assignment, as there is a "News Flash" page to post photos of breaking news events
- Submitted images are geotagged and presented on a map within the app and on the Web.

In the general public version, users will also be able to send each other queries requesting photos of specific places or things, Langeveld reported.

Langeveld also underlined that Tackable has something in common with other location-aware social tools such as Foursquare - they both incorporate game mechanism to encourage user engagement. And as far as its concept - Kiesow pointed out - it is similar to Intersect, a Seattle-based social storytelling service, which enables users to organize their stories into story lines that they can tag with a place and time to create an "intersection." However, although Intersection uses an iPhone app, its service isn't mobile only.

So, what exactly is Tackable? Is it simply an app or a social network or a game (as there are points to collect)? Is it a citizen journalism, a crowdsourced or a proper journalism tool?

It describes itself as a mobile photojournalism platform launching in early 2011 across 34 newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, through which reporters and editors create photo assignments, which readers, who also send in live, breaking news photos, helping reporters write better articles faster, complete using their smartphones.

Cofounder Stangel is a former journalist and a Nieman Lab article reported that Tackable grew out of some of his newsgathering frustrations: "I was writing a lot of breaking news stories, and I was doing a lot of thinking about how information was getting to me, and how long it took for information to get to me. I would wake up every morning with the feeling that something had happened overnight that I didn't know about. So I started thinking about how I could solve this", he said.

Undoubtedly newsrooms could benefit from the apps receiving breaking news from where the news is happening and they could immediately show it on a map. In events like the Egyptian uprising the potential of a live stream of images is very wide.

But this exactly is journalism? Shouldn't journalists leave their desk and go to do this themselves where the news is happening?

The use social media is making of news is not clear. As Mathew Ingram noted on Gigaom, Facebook has disrupted or helped to re-engineer many businesses and markets, including the photo-sharing market and the social-gaming market. But one thing it hasn't really focused on so far is the news business.

News organizations are developing their social media strategies and apps are surely have changed, are changing and will change the way we read articles and consume news.
Which way social networks will follow regarding "the socialization of news" is still not clear however.

As yet, Facebook itself hasn't done much to capitalize on that, but it could probably engage itself in the race, against Twitter for example, to make the news social, as some comments from chief technology officer Bret Taylor, seem to suggest.

The relationship between social media, apps and journalism is thus not well defined so far. What will be the next step?

Sources: Nieman Lab, Poynter, Gigaom, BBC News


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-02-15 17:17

Citizenside, a French citizen photojournalism agency and provider of UGC solutions, is moving into social gaming, a press release said. Its amateur news contributors can now move through 70 different ranks.

Reuters reported that, as the Wall Street Journal said on Sunday, JPMorgan is planning on starting a fund of between $500 million and $750 million to invest in internet and digital media companies. "The reported move comes as interest in social networking sites is increasing. Investor interest and valuations are surging for privately held Web companies like Facebook, Zynga and Groupon", the article said.

South African photographer Jodi Bieber has won the 2010 World Press Photo award, the Age reported. The photo, which first appeared on the front page of Time Magazine on August 1, 2010, represents a portrait of an Afghan woman disfigured as punishment for abandoning her marital home. Two AFP photographers, Olivier Laban-Mattei and Christophe Archambault were also honoured for their work.

Poynter's Damon Kiesow takes a look at the different tablet offerings on the market. "While the announcements are significant -- an updated Android OS, several new digital tablets, a personalized news service, and tablet magazine subscriptions -- even in aggregate none seem positioned to challenge Apple or the iPad in the short-term.

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


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-02-14 18:46

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