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Federica Cherubini

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The editorial staff of Italian financial daily, Il Sole 24 Ore, yesterday decided to call a three-day strike, Franco Abruzzo, the former president of the Lombardy region's Ordine dei Giornalisti, reported.

A staff meeting effectively passed a motion of no confidence in the editor-in-chief, Gianni Riotta. The staff representative committee will decide when to call the strike, awaiting the board of directors meeting, planned for January 16th, when the newspaper's global situation will be analysed.

Riotta is accused of having caused a loss of 54 000 copies in the past 18 months. And despite the Sunday supplement Il Domenicale's transformation to a tabloid format, which Riotta strongly supported, resulting in a flop, he has still insisted on pursuing converting the daily paper to that format.

On January 7, Affaritaliani.it published an email from Nicola Borzi, journalist and former member of the Sole 24 Ore staff representative committee, in which he released the "real" figures of the Confindustria publisher group's balance sheet. Attaching the files, Borzi showed the newspaper's collapse in circulation and the €24.6 million loss, which has increased by 11.64% compared with last year.

The new tabloid format of Il Domenicale should have been the first step toward the daily paper becoming tabloid too. But a study on the negative effects of the format on advertising, prepared by Andrea Chiapponi, former director of System, the advertising agency of the group Il Sole 24 Ore, previously revealed that the change might imply a drop of about 15-25% of income.

As Piero Macrì noted on EJO's website, "the crisis of Il Sole has to be analysed in a broader perspective, not just referring to the general crisis the press is facing. It is due to an unsatisfactory editorial strategy". Il Sole - Macrì says - is one of the few European newspapers that despite being the Italian financial newspaper par excellence has not been able to increase the value of its position.

He noted that there are examples in Italy of successful newspapers, such as Il Giornale and Il Fatto Quotidiano, which, no matter their political views, have been able to build a winning position in the printed market, based on a strong identity.

Sources: Franco Abruzzo, Affari Italiani, Lettera43, EJO


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-01-11 19:01

The day of The Daily will probably be Wednesday January 19, Jeff Bercovici announced in his Forbes blog. According to Bercovici's sources, that's the planned launch date for the iPad-only News Corp. publication, though the company declined to confirm it.

The landing page at thedaily.com now shows the logo and a "coming soon" message. In December, Peter Kafka already announced the week of January 17th as the probable launch period.

What we know so far is that the News Corp's dedicated iPad newspaper has a team of 100 journalists in New York who have already been working for weeks, and an initial reported investment of $30m.

Rupert Murdoch and (interestingly) Apple's Steve Jobs will appear together at a news event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, but the date is subject to change, noted Reuters.

Disputes about the name are still unresolved: another 'The Daily' exists: the fashion news magazine which IMG agreed to sell to its founder and editor-in-chief, Brandusa Niro. As Bercovici reported, when IMG instructed its lawyers to look into whether News Corp. was infringing on its trademark, News Corp. responded by preemptively asking a judge to declare "The Daily" a generic phrase that couldn't be trademarked except as a specific treatment. Niro declines to comment about what, if anything, she plans to do about the dispute.

As the Guardian reported, "The Daily is expected to include a new push subscription feature that automatically delivers and charges for weekly or monthly editions". The article also underlined that Murdoch will be hoping to outshine Virgin boss Richard Branson, whose own New York-based iPad magazine, Project, launched in November, charging $2.99 per month.

Source: Forbes (1), (2), Media Memo, Reuters, Guardian


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-01-11 12:28

Many publishers jumped on the iPad by creating enhanced versions of their magazines, but since then some have started to think about something expressly designed for it. A recent example, reported Media Week, comes from National Enquirer and Star publisher American Media Inc., which is launching single-topic, custom publications for the Apple tablet.
"The company's first tablet pub, just launched, is Shape's New Year, New You, a 48-page "digi-mag" featuring Shape-branded content on healthy living. The articles were developed by Shape's editorial staff to align with Splenda, which is the publication's sole sponsor. AMI has two more in the works: a Men's Fitness-branded publication that's sponsored by Powerade and a second one from Shape, a beauty-themed pub backed by Revlon", the article said.

YouTube introduced a weekly talk show featuring celebrities, said Brian Stelter on New York Times' Media Decoder. The "Partners Project", which started last month, is hosted by Shira Lazar, a longtime video blogger who contributes to CBS News. The segments run for 8 to 10 minutes each.

The Financial Times has today launched FT Tilt - an online news and analysis service focused exclusively on the emerging world economies, Press Gazette reported. The new service is being offered on the same tiered access basis on which the main FT.com website runs.

The Independent's Stephen Glover warns about privacy issues involving Google, in light of criticism directed at Rupert Murdoch and News Corp's attitude to privacy with regards to the phone hacking scandal. Google is even more of a threat, he argues.

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


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-01-10 19:01

After a fatal shooting during a public event in an Arizona shopping center, some news organizations reported erroneously that U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who attended the event, died after being shot.

As Poynter.org reported, some newspapers and journalists regret the error and have been taking stock of what happened. Poynter pointed to the explanations on Twitter from NPR's David Folkenflik about the error. NPR was the first national news organization to report the news.

In a series of tweets he said: "This is a terrible day, compounded for Giffords' family, friends, constituents & colleagues by initial & errant reports of her death (...) It's ahistorical to think initial reports in earlier incidents were uniformly accurate, tho journos should be accountable (...) I'm saying it's regrettable & damaging, but also regrettably predictable. I'm not being apologist; I'm describing how it works (...) News orgs should be aggressive in reporting; conservative in printing/broadcasting/posting; transparent about how they get what they get (...) But to say sources - even seemingly authoritative sources - can't themselves get things wrong in the heat of moment ignores reality".

Several top news organizations made the error, the New York Times citing NPR and CNN as sources.

Anna Christopher, an NPR spokeswoman, explained in an interview to Politico what's happened: "At two o'clock, we had two sources [saying] that the congresswoman died, the Pima County Sheriff's office and a congressman's office, and we went with those in good faith," she said. "Soon after, as we started reporting more, we reported that she had not been killed, and we regret the erroneous news".

The official NPR apology appeared in an editor's note by the Executive Director Dick Meyer, on Sunday 9th.

The Politico article highlights that while news organizations which gave the erroneous news received criticism on Twitter, they also gained defences. For example, David Carr, media columnist at the New York Times, wrote, "the shock at media errors on fast-moving chaotic stories sorta shocks me. Early going is always going to be fraught."

Mistakes in the rush to gather facts in a fast-breaking story aren't new. Yet in today's media environment, amplified by the speed and viral nature of social media, they're likely to spread farther and faster than ever before, noted the AP Television Writer, David Bauder.

On this issue, the Ethics Committee of the Canadian Association of Journalists recently asked a panel to propose guidelines for correcting online content and remove digital content from websites and digital archive, which was called to "unpublish".

To study the question the panel relied on a research paper by Kathy English, the public editor of the Toronto Star, the Canada's largest circulation newspaper. The Associated Press Managing Editors Online Credibility Project, supported by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, commissioned the research in 2009.

Sources: Poynter, NPR, Politico, Canadian Association of Journalists, J-Source.ca, AP via Yahoo! News


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-01-10 13:04

Mashable announced the winners of the 2010 Mashable Awards, the annual contest highlighting the very best of tech and the web.
With more than 1.3 million nominations and votes received from readers, the winners were announced Thursday at the Mashable Awards Gala.

The amount of junk e-mail being sent across the globe has seen a dramatic fall in recent months, BBC News reported.

ITV News and the US network NBC have jointly appointed Rohit Kachroo to act as Africa correspondent for both broadcast organisations, the Press Gazette reported.


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-01-07 18:39

The Hungarian government has accused the major European governments of seeking to discriminate against Budapest, picked a fight with Paris over media curbs and also criticised Berlin for comments on a controversial new Hungarian media law.

On January 1, the same day Hungary took over the rotating six-month EU presidency, its new press legislation passed into law.

The law gives a new government controlled regulatory body, Médiatanács (Media Council of the Hungarian Media Regulatory Office), the right to force journalists to disclose sources, and to impose fines against journalists and publishers for material considered offensive or information deemed inappropriate by the government.

As reported in the Guardian, the French government on Tuesday said the new Hungarian law would need to be modified because it was "incompatible with the application of ideas on press freedom that have been validated in European treaties".
A German government minister described the Hungarian law as "worse than expected" and said Budapest should be stripped of the authority to negotiate with other countries about media freedoms during Hungary's EU presidency.

The draft law, when proposed last December, had already raised concerns from journalists in Hungary, as well as from international news organizations. The European Newspaper Publisher's Association (ENPA) and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) have expressed concern at it. ""We are deeply concerned that this law poses a serious threat to freedom of the press and would, in particular, have a significant negative impact on investigative journalism", they said.

The European Commission also expressed concerns and said it had doubts on whether the new press law complied with the rules on media freedom in the 27-member bloc.

It also said it would sanction Budapest if necessary - even during the nation's EU presidency.

Despite that, Hungary's government insisted it would not bow to outside pressure and rethink its disputed media law, AFP reported on January 4th. The article cited the state secretary for communication, Zoltan Kovacs, who said: "It isn't necessary to change a Hungarian law just because it is subject to criticism from abroad", adding, "before criticism, let's wait and see how this law works. We are confident it will be up to the task".

However, a day later Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi seemed to indicate that Hungary did not rule out changing the law. He said it was "premature to say" that it would do so, but added: "Let's wait for the comments of the European Commission, then we'll see how the situation can be remedied," according to AFP.

As AFP reported, Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, ahead of talks with the Hungarian authorities, said "Freedom of the press is a sacred principle and a fundamental value of Europe".

Sources: Guardian, AFP via EU Business (1), (2)


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-01-07 18:02

After months of turmoil including a new owner, editor and chief executive, and scores of lower-level departures, the management ranks at Newsweek are beginning to stabilize, Jeremy W. Peters says on New York Times' Media Decoder.
"The magazine has named a new publisher, Ray Chelstowski, a former publisher of Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. Mr. Chelstowski will assume responsibility for both Newsweek and The Daily Beast, a sign that the two organizations are moving closer toward completing a merger of their business operations."

Italian journalist Luca De Biase has provided on his blog, the graphic Information is beautiful, a timeline of global media scare stories.
What's interesting - he says - is the incongruity between the real damage that occurs and the amount of on-line searches dedicated to a particular issue. For example, there has been many searches for information on whether violent videogames increase real-world violence, without any evidence that it does. On the other hand, killer wasps have been responsible for at least 1,000 deaths, but there have been relatively few searches on the subject.
On Google Trends it is possible to see a correlation between the number of searches and the number of newspapers articles about the subject.


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-01-06 19:03

"Quora, the innovative site begun by former Facebook staffers, sees its popularity to explode - and it looks set to get bigger", the Guardian noted.

Quora is a simple question-and-answer site, which uses Twitter-style following to track the best answers to any questions. Information is organised more like Wikipedia than Google, with answer prioritised by how useful they are. You have to sign in and like Twitter you can choose to "follow" any question.
It is an ever-growing database of knowledge.

"Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. The most important thing is to have each question page become the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about the question," the site says.

Quora was founded in 2009 by Charlie Cheveer and Adam D'Angelo, former Facebook staffers, and now has a large number of registered users even if the exactly number is still one of the questions you can find in the website.

What distinguishes it from other Q&A sites, such as Yahoo Answers (which is still, in the comScore firm measurement, the market-leading Q&A site) is that people use their real name. Everything is written tied back to a person.

"Why is it suddenly so popular?" - the Guardian wonders - "Because people have noticed that it has a strong preponderance of Silicon Valley's finest among its users, and that influential people are also using it: Steve Case, the co-founder and former chief executive of AOL, is among those asking and answering questions on the site. "

"The most interesting thing about Quora so far has been the extent to which people - even those in senior positions in public companies - are willing to share detailed information", says Milo Yiannopoulos in the Telegraph.

Moreover, he says, its usefulness is obvious and immediately accessible. "Twitter was fun for the few, but Quora will be useful to the many", he argues and it will be even bigger than Twitter.

The main problem, underlined by both the Guardian and the Telegraph, will be how to keeping the spammers out and maintain the answer useful and of the same quality, while broadening the users number.

Sources: Guardian, Quora, Telegraph


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-01-06 17:59

The People's Daily newspaper, published by the Communist Party of China, may lead a wave of state-run media going public as the government aims to reinvigorate official news organizations in the next five years, Bloomberg reported.
People.com.cn, which is operated by People's Daily Online Co. Ltd., is one of 10 government-backed news websites that will "undergo reforms prior to public listings", Bloomberg said citing China Daily. Pi Shun, an analyst at Citic Securities Co., said today in an interview that China is making the reform of state-run media one part of the 2011-2015 Five-Year Plan.

China's number of Internet users - already the world's largest - rose to 450 million in 2010, more than a third of the country's population, a senior official said, as the Associated Press reported.
"China's boom in Internet usage has come with the growth of an equally extensive policing system, from technical filters that block sites based on certain words to human monitors who scan bulletin boards and micro-blogging posts for political dissent", the article said.
Much of China's online growth has come as more people access the Internet through their mobile phones using popular services that support video and other Web products. A report earlier last year by the China Internet Network Information Center said about 277 million people get online with their phones.
As AP pointed out, "the Internet's popularity poses challenges to the Communist government, which is used to exercising tight control over information".


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-01-05 18:25

Reginald Chua, the editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post, has an interesting take on how to extract more value from what journalists produce in a series of posts on the (Re)Structuring Journalism blog that focuses on creating content that can be used over a longer period of time than traditional daily journalism.

In Chua's opinion, journalists need to rethink what they're doing and get beyond just filing a story. This is the idea behind the concept of Structured Journalism: "change the way we create content so as to maximize its shelf-life, as well as structuring - as much as possible - the information in stories, at the time of creation, for use in databases that can form the basis of new stories or information products".

Since readers often come across stories on the web that are written months or even years before they find them, "we should make it easier to understand stories by writing them to be read months after the event. That means changing date references, adding different context, etc.", Chua wrote.

Marc Mentré, analysing Chua's posts on MediaTrend.com, pointed out that journalists often don't make the most of new technologies, often writing for the web in the same way they write for the paper.
As Chua said: "We treat the world as if we're still publishing newspapers - just with many more edition. (...) Sure, we tweet, use FourSquare and geolocate places in stories. And link to documents, provide slideshows and engage in forums. But we should look at the structure of what we do and rethink it for an age of broadband access, infinite publishing space, and readers who aren't chained to our deadlines".

Chua has developed his concept of "Molecules of News" from the idea of structured journalism, and from a report by Graham Bowley in The New York Times on computer programs developed by financial news agencies that vacuum up streams of information, analysing them to get a sense of what the market is saying or feeling.

These programs, recognizing the meaning of words and the context of phrases, re-aggregates unstructured data. Others firms use the results of these programs, as Alpha Equity Management does, pumping "that information directly into his fund's trading system".

In other words - Chua says - never mind the story - what these programs do is take stories and mash them up into 'molecules' of ideas or sentiment. "It's the wisdom of crowds applied to information flows".

"Smart people are deploying ever more powerful technologies to parse and understand the words we write and turning it into something more understandable and valuable in aggregate; and here we are, the people we write those words, with the ability to write them in a more structured and easily aggregatable format to begin with, so that our words will be more valuable and our readers lives easier - and we don't", says Chua.

As Mentrè concluded too, there aren't easy solutions, but Chua's reflections open a debate on how news organizations could make a better use of the mass of information they produce everyday.

Sources: MediaTrend via LSDI, (Re)Structuring Journalism (1), (2), (3),
New York Times


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-01-05 17:58

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