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Federica Cherubini

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The Washington Examiner is becoming a valuable crime-fighting tool, The New York Times' Media Decoder blog reported.

The conservative,"bite-size", free newspaper distributed in the nation's capital helps the United States Marshal Service capture fugitives thanks to its readers.

"The captures are the result of a weekly item in The Examiner called "Most Wanted," which has featured a fugitive for the last two and a half years. Readers are provided a number to call if they think they have any information about the case", the article said. The "Most Wanted" column appears in The Examiner's Crime and Punishment section, which provides coverage of crime and justice in the Washington area.

From a journalistic point of view this experience gives an important validation for the reporters, the lead writer Scott McCabe, quoted in the article, said. "A lot of times you write stories, you put a lot of work into them. They're hard hitting, you thought. And the only response you hear is the sound of crickets. You wonder: is anyone listening? Does anyone care? The response to "Most Wanted" shows that readers do care".

Source: Media Decoder - NYTimes.com


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2010-12-13 18:22

What could newspapers have done to tackle the economic aspects of digital challenges and what have they done instead?

In an American Journalism Review article entitled "Costly Mistakes", John Morton discusses what he sees as the weak and ineffective reaction of the newspaper industry to the shift of advertising to the Internet.

"Newspaper advertising revenue fell more - more than two to three times as much in percentage terms - during the 2008-2009 recession than during the two worst previous recessions for newspapers since World War II, in 1991 and 2001", he says, pointing out that what newspapers did to counter weakening advertising revenue was not sufficient indeed.

In Morton's opinion, there were two main mistakes that newspapers have made during recent years: they followed cost-cutting policies, which had an impact on quality of journalism, and they didn't understand how to deal with the new possibilities the Web opened.

"There is no mystery about what motivated the cost-cutting: an effort to preserve the high profit margins the industry has long been known for, even as newspapers were being challenged by a wide array of new competitors. (...) It's as if the industry refused to acknowledge that it was operating in a vastly different environment, one in which newspapers will be fortunate to be half as profitable (a third might be closer to reality) as they were as recently as 2004", Morton argues.

But cost-cutting had an impact on newspapers' main source of strength: they gave up quality, the quality that broad and deep journalism, that traditionally found in print papers, could offer.

On the other hand, newspapers didn't understand in time how to ride the wave of the rising Web. Even if they developed a Web version of their newspapers they were usually limited to re-purposing the same content of the print edition, and offering it free.

"The earlier decision made by all but a handful of papers that information posted on Web sites should be free, under the widely held belief (including initially by yours truly) that large numbers of people taking advantage of free information would attract large amounts of advertising" was wrong, Morton says. In fact that didn't happen. The major swift of advertising revenue was from newspapers to new competing Web sites, such as news aggregators' websites, the hardest hit by this advertising decrease being the big metropolitan dailies, while smaller newspapers operate in far less complex and competitive markets.

The same about the delay in understanding Web frontiers was discussed by Jay Rosen during the recent WEF Study Tour. In his opinion, news organizations realized too late both what the Web could offer, and the fact that their knowledge gained in the old system was not automatically transferable. As a valuable example of how news company can be revolutionized, he mentioned what John Paton of the Journal Register Company has done.

"In terms of money, Paton's only goal was to ensure that increases in digital revenue were equal to or more than the decline in print revenue", Rosen said to WEF.


So what are the prospects for the future of newspapers?

Christoph Riess, CEO of World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, during the latest World Editor's Forum in Hamburg, said that "paid content is the key". In his view newspapers will remain the dominant media: "Will paid content generate revenue? It's not a question of yes or no. It's question of how. In order to survive, we have to do it," he emphasised. The New York Times is going in this direction, for example.

Another way to follow for newspapers is to concentrate on the traditional, deep investigative work, which means quality journalism, trying to get back the role that no-profit news organizations, like Connecticut Health Investigative Team and ProPublica, are holding.

Lastly, specialization could help newspapers to carve out a niche, as Piero Macrì argues on EJO, about the new revealed plans of Forbes Media to launch a new European title next year, as the Telegraph revealed. How it is possible, Macrì wonders, to launch a new editorial adventure on a traditional media support, as the paper is, in a moment of general newspapers crisis?

"The Forbes case - continues Macrì - highlight that in the specialized publishing there still is a sufficient space to develop new initiative, even on the paper." But, as the Italian journalist points out, the Forbes case demonstrates also that news business models, whether on the paper or on the Web, must be unique and original, depending on their market of reference.

Or maybe, to finish with Morton's words, newspapers "should have accepted that the cost of maintaining quality journalism in tough times inevitably means lower profits. It's called public service".

Sources: AJR, EJO, The Telegraph


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2010-12-13 16:54

The role of journalism schools is changing, says Geneva Overholser on MediaShift:

"Perhaps the most striking change for journalism schools is the degree to which we have shifted from being learning labs whose actual journalism (if any) was limited in its distribution and impact, to being significant -- even major -- media players in our communities". As Overholser underlines, journalism schools across the United States are focusing on making substantial contributions toward filling the holes left by the hollowing out of local "legacy" media.

While some wonder if journalism schools are still able to form the journalists of the future, the collaboration between universities and journalism schools and news organizations is increasing: much of which as been catalogued by Len Downie and Michael Schudson in their 2009 report "The Reconstruction of American Journalism".

Overholser gives the examples of Northeastern University students' investigative reports appearing in the Boston Globe and The Local - East Village born from the collaboration between the New York University and the New York Times, which is hosted on the newspaper's website. The East Village project is carried out by students doing Jay Rosen's Studio 20 course.

Journalism schools could even become labs for new integrated programs, such as the Intelligent Information Lab of the Northwestern University, which wants to create synergies between journalism and computer science.

"News corporations have experienced substantial economic shock, with several newspaper companies in bankruptcy, many newspapers having folded, and the remaining ones undergoing round after round of severe cuts. Yet the need for those who provide the news to keep an eye primarily on the public interest has not gone away; rather, it has been distributed. There are now multitudes of news providers. How they do their work, and what principles they hold dear, continues to matter greatly", Overholser adds.

Regarding this, journalism schools can help come up with new economic models for journalism, as the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism is doing with the New Business Models for News Project, as well as playing an active role in facing ethical challenges which are arising in the new digital world.

Overholser concludes that: "In the old media world, with its top-down monopolistic configuration, the problems were there to be solved by a relatively few people operating in a rigid environment. Most of those challenges are pretty much the same: It's a constant struggle to keep the public's information needs at the center of our thinking. But if the problems remain identical, they now rest in the hands of multitudes." And journalism schools could play a leading role in tackling these challenges.

Source: MediaShift


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2010-12-13 10:52

The Reynolds Journalism Institute has published the results of a research project on how Apple iPad users consume news content. The results refer to a first phase, based on a cross-sectional survey, conducted from September to November, of a multi-year project, the following phases to be in 2011. The respondents were 1,609, the majority of them (92%) located in the USA. The project is funded by the Digital Publishing Alliance.

The full results are going to be presented today, 10th December, at the RJI during the Fall 2010 Tablet/E-Reader Symposium and DPA Meeting, entitled "How are tablets changing the game for publishers?"

"Users are predominantly well-educated, affluent men between the ages of 35 and 64 who tend to be early adopters", the survey says. They tend to be very satisfied by the time they spent with iPad, which is usually (62%) more than an hour during a typical day and spread throughout the week (89%).

The research underlines that "Using the iPad to follow breaking news reports and current events is the most popular use for the device, with 84.4% of respondents saying this is one of their main uses. Next according to popularity: leisure reading of books, newspapers and magazines (81.5%); browsing the Web (80.8%); and e-mail (75.8%)."

Users who consume news on the iPad are more likely to do it using an app than on the newspaper's website. Even if users who consume news regularly do it across multiple media, the correlation between iPad news use and printed newspaper use is negative and statistically significant.

Crucially (and arguably unsurprisingly), the study found that app users tend to cancel their subscription to print when they switch to a digital one.

A positive iPad reading experience is influenced by age and traditional media habits: "For example, the older the users, the more likely they are to rate their reading experience on the iPad worse than their reading experience with printed newspapers and magazines."

Asked in an open-ended question about principal factors that influence users' decision to purchase newspaper subscription on the iPad, respondents answered low prices and ease to use.

Roger Fidler, who headed the project, says "publishers can see that the iPad and similar devices will be "an important new medium for newspapers and magazines" with several advantages compared to the Web. It allows for more visually rich and media-rich editorial and advertising presentations, more like print than the Web", Missourian reported.

Several publications have recently launched iPad apps iPad versions, such as the Economist, and i from the Independent, while Die Zeit has just launched an iPad-optimised website.

Source: Reynolds Journalism Institute, Missourian


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2010-12-10 13:44

"News Corp.'s much-hyped, tablet-only newspaper will not launch before the end of the year, the company's chief operating officer said on Wednesday", WSJ Blogs reported. The paper, a national news publication, will be called Daily and, according to people familiar with the matter, News Corp. is planning on charging 99 cents a week, with subscriptions directly through Apple iTunes service.

David Nolen described on the Open NYT Blog how the New York Times covers election results using multimedia visuals. "Election results have been a staple of The Times's web offerings for years, with the presentation growing in sophistication year by year" he says. In building the custom version "we learned a lot about designing for a new class of computing devices, as well as how to leverage several HTML5 technologies".

"CNBC, the business and financial news channel, has released a free iPad app to allow City workers to keep up to date with their portfolios on the go and watch CNBC video-on-demand" Media Week reported. The CNBC real-time app, available from the Apple app store in the US and UK, gives users access to live stock quotes from the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ, during and after market hours. CNBC launched a free iPhone app offering a real-time market data in October 2009.


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2010-12-09 18:51

How to be sure you get the most out from your newsroom page on Facebook?

Kim Wilson on the blog Journalistics provides eight ways "to make sure your newsroom is getting the most out of each and every fan."

While newsrooms have a huge advantage from their Facebook pages, Wilson writes, very few stations know what they hope to gain from their followers.

So, here the eight ways:

  • 1. "Always include a link": post always a news update with its link, you'll get more interaction and more clicks.
  • 2. "Ask questions": try to get people involved by asking questions and encouraging them to "Like" the story.
  • 3. "Post every 2 hours": an NPR survey shows that posting too often or too infrequently both result in a loss of fans.
  • 4. "Best time to post": Weekdays 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 8 p.m. are peak times on Facebook.
  • 5. "Post provocative, passionate debate": make your Facebook page a real forum for debate.
  • 6. "Don't forget sports": sports game wins attract more interaction from fans.
  • 7. "Read and respond": read and respond to posts and comments at least twice per shift.
  • 8. "Try a social media management tool": there are several free tools to help manage your Facebook interactions.

"Social media doesn't have to be just another drain on your newsroom's already limited time. It can be one of the most effective story-sourcing resources you have. And if used correctly, it can send thousands of page views to your website," Wilson concludes.

Undoubtedly, social media are very useful as news tools for news organizations. At one hand they help to improve the diffusion of news updates from the news websites, and on the other hand they could be interesting story-sourcing resources.

The importance of social media networks for newsrooms is attested by the mere existence of figures like social media editors, which are become more commons. Along with these there are also social media management organizations, like SND, Social News Desk, founded by Wilson, which aim to help you discover a thorough social media strategy.

The important thing, Roy Peter Clark says, is to focus on not merely "dumping" information, but of crafting it. No matter how personal and casual your posts may seem on a first read - he says - they always, upon further review, must show the effects of crafting, not dumping.

Sources: Journalistics, Poynter.org


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2010-12-09 18:16

"Foreign news is undergoing a transformation. For more than a hundred years the principal means of learning about events in the rest of the world has been through the reporting of journalists based abroad. (...) And we are now entering a new era where they may no longer be central to how we learn about the world".

So starts the summary of the book "Are Foreign Correspondents Redundant?" written by the long-time BBC journalist and executive Richard Sambrook, presented yesterday at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University.

"A wide range of pressure are undermining the role of foreign correspondent.(...) The economic pressures of maintaining overseas newsgathering have seen the numbers of bureaux and correspondents persistently reduced by major Western news organizations over the last 20 years or more", Sambrook states. "At the same time, digital technology has transformed both the gathering and distribution of news, providing, among other things, the opportunity for a "networked" and more open model for reporting international affairs, with internet blogs, aggregators, and new models of low-cost online news and information."

"All news organisations are undergoing turbulent change and must ask where the risks and the opportunities are. And against this background, where does the primary public interest rest in "bearing witness"? Are foreign correspondents redundant?"

This situation, rather than indicating the end reporting on international affairs, is on the contrary a great opportunity, in Sambrook's opinion, for news organisations to think about a new, different approach to report international news.

The book has inspired an empassioned article by Roy Greenslade about the fascinating role of foreign correspondents, starting from the figure of Thomas Fowler, veteran British foreign correspondent posted in Vietnam, the main character of The Quiet American by Graham Greene and passing through the real experience of Marie Colvin, the multi-award-winning foreign journalist.

"In some ways, his study overlaps with the one written by Martin Moore of the Media Standards Trust, Shrinking World: The Decline of International Reporting in the British Press", Greenslade writes.

Moore's study focused on the decline in quantity and prominence of the foreign news coverage in the UK print press, with an empirical focus on four national titles.

But as Greenslade underlines, "an important difference is that Sambrook realises that the clock cannot be turned back and, in accepting that, he asks for news organisations 'to rethink their international agenda' ".

Instead of commemorating the death of foreign correspondence, "we need to establish how what was of real value in the work of the 20th-century foreign correspondent can be preserved, and how we can use some wonderful new opportunities that did not exist in the age of the telegraph and telex", Timothy Garton Ash writes in the Guardian.

In his opinion there are three features we have to preserve: an accurate and impartial witnessing of events; deciphering and setting them in local context; and interpreting of what is going on in this particular place, at this particular time, in a broader comparative and historical frame: "Witnessing, deciphering, interpreting".

And, of course, new technologies could help us a lot, together with new initiative like the one of WorldCrunch, whose mission is to make global news more accessible, through the English translation of articles from all over the world.

"I'm convinced that foreign reporting is not going to disappear,"Jeff Israely, co-founder of WorldCrunch said ."Global stories are local because the world matters."

Sources: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, London Evening Standard, Media Standards Trust


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2010-12-09 11:41

"New research from Experian Hitwise suggests that 54,000 people a month are accessing content behind the paywall of The Times", Press Gazette reported.The article refers to research commissioned by Guardian News and Media, which was published internally by the company yesterday.

The GNM memo says, as Press Gazette reported, that they "estimate that a total of about 54,000 people globally are accessing content behind the paywall on the Times [and Sunday Times] website each month. Of the 54,000, approximately 28,000 are specifically paying for digital content. The remainder are print subscribers who get free access to the site as part of their newspaper subscription package."

The new figures released are the first to be published after the official ones released at the beginning of November, by News International, the parent's company of the Times, owned by Murdoch's News Corp. Those figures claimed 105,000 online customers, the half of these being monthly subscribers, including in this number subscribers to the websites and to the Times's iPad app and Kindle editions.

"According to the GMN memo", Press Gazette says, "their research suggests that 2.36 per cent of UK visitors to the www.thetimes.co.uk domain in September went on to access content behind the paywall".

"Pre-paywall", Press Gazette notes, "the Times had around 20 million unique website visitors per month, according to figures from ABCe."

The Times and its sister paper the Sunday Times went behind an online paywall last July. The cost to access is £1 a day or £2 a week , while the iPad app costs £9.99 a month. It is the most impenetrable paywall model, while others English-language newspapers, such as the New York Times, which is going to start a paid model in January, are planning to adopt more flexible models, where readers can access for free a certain number of articles each month before being asked to pay. On the contrary the Washington Post has declared it will not install a pawwall for the moment.

Paid online content is becoming a key area of experimentation for the Murdoch newspapers - after the Times and the Sunday Times also News of the World went behind a paywall and the Wall Street Journal-style paywall is going to be applied also at his Australian newspapers.

Source: Press Gazette


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2010-12-08 12:19

"The Washington Post is not going to be a pioneer in paid online content", Poynter.org reported. Rick Edmonds quotes Washington Post Company CEO Don Graham who, during 38th Annual Global & Media Communications Conference, sponsored by UBS, says "We will watch what The New York Times does, what the Times of London does; there are experiments galore going on in pay models in newspapers all around the country. We're not going to be pioneers in those experiments but we'll be watching every one and if somebody knows a better way to operate a newspaper business, we'll be interested. We're quite willing to be followers on this front."

French news site Rue89 has looked at how effective French news organisations are on social networks. Le Monde has by far the most Twitter followers and Facebook fans, followed by L'Equipe and Rue89 itself. To see the graph, click here.

According to the Irish Times, a leading Norwegian child psychologist has argued that newspaper front pages that scare children break the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Professor Magne Raundalen suggested a series of guidelines for the press when covering stories about child death on the front page. These included "the exclusion of pictures of the child who has been killed, the avoidance of headlines such as "child killed by mum or dad", and the avoidance of detailed information on the method of death."

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


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2010-12-07 18:28

"Why is there a button on every web story that lets you share, print or e-mail the post, but there isn't one that lets you correct it?", asks Jennifer Dorroh, director of the International Journalists' Network, reporting on the new initiative of Scott Rosenberg of MediaBugs and Craig Silverman of Regret the Error, who have just launched the Report an Error Alliance, an alliance of news organizations which makes accountability its primary aim.

"They create the Report an Error button in hopes that web publishers big and small will add them to their sites", Dorroh reports, "so news outlets and individuals can show their commitment to making it easy for people to report the errors they find online".

"We'll definitely be adding this to the new IJNet website, which is coming soon", she declares.

On the web page of the Report an Error Alliance, the founders write: "Giving site visitors an easy-to-find, easy-to-use "report an error" button is a way of saying to them that you care about accuracy, you want to know when you make errors, and you're conscientious about fixing them. It's like putting a "you can trust this" badge on everything you publish."

The Report an Error button is not the only way to have feedbacks from readers, of course, but the founders feel that this is the way to say to readers that "accuracy is my priority". There is commenting and the possibility to suggest corrections and general feedbacks in the "contact us" link, but as the Alliance underlines, "Comment threads can be a good place to report errors, particularly on lower-traffic sites. But all too often errors reported in comments never get responded to or fixed; sometimes they're never even read by the people responsible for the article" and corrections aren't easy to find and easy to use.

The Web offers an incredible chance to enhance journalism standards: not only can journalists apply (or should apply) the same standards of traditional media, but also the readers can contribute to publicizing the content, reporting the errors and, eventually, to defining new quality standards.

Sources: IJNet, The Report an Error Alliance


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2010-12-07 17:49

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