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Federica Cherubini

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Under house arrest in England, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gave a long interview to Rolling Stone, talking about the future of journalism and the "battle" he engaged against the New York Times.

"Will fact-checking go the way of blogs?". Felix Salmon on his Reuters' blog reflects on the debate that was sparked by the New York Times's public editor Arthur Brisbane.

The Guardian reports that News International has agreed to make payments to 37 victims of phone hacking including actor Jude Law, footballer Ashley Cole and ex deputy-prime minister John Prescott. Details of 15 of the settlements, amounting to £645,000, have already been disclosed.

Guardian News and Media has hired Steve Wing, formerly head of digital marketing, as its mobile business director. Press Gazette writes that Wing will be charged with increasing the company's mobile and tablet growth.

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


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-01-19 19:27

France, Italy, Spain: The Huffington Post is expanding to Europe. After having launched editions in the UK and Canada last year, Arianna Huffington is now taking her news, blogging and aggregation site into continental Europe and non-Anglophone markets.

As reported yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, the French edition "Le Huffington" will be launched on January 23, under the editorial direction of Anne Sinclair, a well-known TV journalist (and wife of the former head of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn.)

It was announced today (via PrimaComunicazione) that HuffPost has also signed an agreementwith Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso to land in Italy.

As paidContent reported, the Italian partnership follows the pattern chosen for the French edition and for the Spanish one that is due to launch in March: team up with one or more local media partners, usually amongst the major national brands.

The French partners are Le Monde Group and Les Nouvelles Editons Indépendante while the Italian one, Gruppo L'Espresso, publishes the national daily Repubblica and the newsmagazine L'Espresso. The Spanish El Huffington Post will be set up with the cooperation of Grupo Pisa, publisher of El Pais.

PaidContent explained the local partnerships saying that "instead of being the outsider jumping in to fill a gap or do X, Y or Z better than anyone already on the scene, HuffPo is the outsider working with entrenched insiders to blend aggregation, original reporting and local blogging in a true national edition".

Rumours, reported by Forbes' Jeff Bercovici, also suggest that AOL's Huffington Post Media Group giant is also planning to launch a live web TV network, along the lines of 24 hour cable news networks.

Bercovici quoted sources saying that the idea is to have the 320 editors and reporters of Huffpo's newsroom appear on the stream live during the day, analysing breaking news events in real time.

Sources: paidContent, WSJ, Prima Comunicazione, Forbes


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-01-19 17:10

According to a graphic in this Sunday's New York Times (via Poynter), 7,282 reporters and editors are in the rarefied circle of the 1 percent.
Poynter's article explains - as Guardian's Roy Greenslade says too - that to be included in the graphic, at least 2% of people with these jobs have to live in households with incomes of $380,000 or more.

Le Huffington Post, the French version of Arianna Huffington's creation, has appointed Anne Sinclair, wife of the former I.M.F. director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, as its editorial director L'Express reported. The French Huffington Post will be launched on January 23.

In its latest step to better control China's wildly popular Twitter-like websites, the government's propaganda and information arm announced that China will expand real-name registration for microblog users, Reuters reported.

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


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-01-18 18:28

The Globe and Mail, Canada's largest newspaper, has announced the appointment of its first ombudsman.

As Craig Silverman reported for Poynter, citing an internal memo from the paper's editor-in-chief John Stackhouse, Sylvia Stead will be the first Globe and Mail public editor, starting on January 23rd.

Stead is currently an associate editor and has been with the paper for many years, serving in a variety of roles from national to executive editor.

"The creation of this position is a major step for the Globe to make us more transparent and accountable to our readers, and to continue to build our most important asset -- credibility -- in the Canadian market," Stackhouse wrote in the memo reported by Poynter.

Newspapers' conduct has recently come under scrutiny as the rapid changes that technology is making possible and some recent bad behaviour by the media - the UK phone-hacking scandal to name just the most famous example - are posing extra challenges to press credibility.

Accountability is a key concern for newspapers on an ethical level but also on a more profane business one: readers buy newspapers they trust and recognise as a credible and legitimate source of news.

The ombudsman role is based on this need for accountability. Appointing an ombudsman is in itself a declaration of a commitment to transparency.

The ombudsman job could vary in its daily tasks but might include investigating complaints from readers and providing adequate responses, acting as a mediator between the paper and the readers and explaining editorial decisions and newsroom practices. Last but not least, ombudsmen monitor the paper's ethical standards.

Asked by Silverman about how her job will be organised, Stead said details haven't been settled yet as she's gathering information "to determine her focus and plans as public editor".

The current "reader response editor" position, which is the person who now manages complaints, corrections and responses to the Press Council, established in 2007, will continue to exist and will report to the public editor.

Silverman pointed out the fact that Stead will also report to the editor-in-chief as she will have a "dotted-line responsibility to the publisher". This is a departure from what traditionally happens, said Silverman, who is supported by Jeffrey Dvorkin, Executive Director of the Organization of News Ombudsmen and former NPR ombudsman, who is quoted in the article. It's rare for a public editor to report to the editor-in-chief, Silverman commented.

The effectiveness of the ombudsman position requires that the ombudsman have real and effective power of action, resulting notably in his or her complete independence.

"The first essential quality that the ombudsman needs to have is independence. He/she needs to absolutely define himself/herself as an independent agent for the public", Jeffrey Dvorkin said to WAN-IFRA in an interview published in the Trends in Newsroom 2011 report.

This independence has to be on a two levels, Dvorkin continued: it involves the freedom to investigate and report within the newsroom and within the management.

Debates recently arose about whether state regulation, rather than a self-regulated approach, would be more successful on stemming the tide of lost credibility that the press is experiencing on the wave of the UK phone-hacking scandal.

As our sister publication SFN Blog recently analyzed, a third way has been considered. UK culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt has in fact suggested the creation of an independent regulatory body with strong powers of action. The body would enhance the current Press Complaint Commission which has proven to be somewhat ineffective.

Some blamed the fact that membership of the PCC is voluntary as a reason for its weakness.

The PCC greatest sanction is a critical adjudication which relies on a moral sanction.

A voluntary basis for membership perhaps will not work on a higher level which involves the whole country's newspaper industry but it has a fundamental role to play in a paper's decision to create a position which implies willingness to show readers the paper's commitment to transparency. It's a message to the reader community and a commitment to more rigorous standards.

Sources: Poynter, SFN Blog, Trends in Newsroom 2011


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-01-18 16:45

Twenty-five journalists were arrested in Somaliland: eight for having protested about the closure of the TV station HornCable TV and thirtheen more who went to their aid, Roy Greenslade reported on the his blog on the Guardian via Reporters Without Borders.

Reuters announced today the launch of Reuters TV, a new YouTube channel featuring ten new commentary and analysis shows from the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, TechCrunch reported. According to the company's announcement, the YouTube channel won't mimic traditional TV, but will use an editing style that's "suited for Internet programming", the article said.

The founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales announced that the site will go dark for 24hours on Wednesday in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), The Next Web's Insider reported. The Next Web also reported that, in reply to a tweet that queried whether Twitter's Dick Costolo, Google's Eric Schmidt or Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg would follow Wikipedia's protesting footsteps, Costolo responded by saying that the decision was foolish.

The Media Development Loan Fund is seeking an experienced journalist with expertise in on-line publishing and journalism to lead the work creating, synthesizing and publishing information on the digital transition of news businesses. See here to apply.

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


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-01-17 19:18

UK regional publisher Archant and citizen journalism photo news agency Citizenside have teamed up to launch iwitness24, a community news platform which will help "to bring the locals back to local news", a press release announced today.

Archant readers, divided into 7 regional sub-communities, can contribute content through the website - accessible through a one-click sign in with Facebook Connect - or the iPhone and the Android applications. This allows them to share geotagged photos, videos, and text articles directly with their local newsrooms.

The initiative, which uses Citizenside's Reporter Kit technology, aims to allow Archant to more effectively engage with its readers and foster the power of its local communities.
Using the "Calls for Witnesses" tool, Archant can send geotargetted news alerts to members within 1 km of breaking news events to ask for their help in coverage, the press release explains.

"The technology actually associates a geolocation - provided when users sign up - with every member. With this tool, Archant's local journalists can then contact their readers they know to be in the area of a news event", Garrett Goodman, International Coordinator for Citizenside, told the Editors Weblog.

"The implications for breaking news here are obvious, a news outlet can't have its journalists everywhere all the time, but its readers are likely to be nearby," Goodman continued. Readers could also be asked to fulfil missions for planned events, such as taking pictures at local art fairs and music festivals, or at celebrations for the upcoming Chinese New Year.

"Your news is our news" is iwitness24's slogan: readers and editors can interact in different ways and users can help the newspapers in the local coverage. From leaving a comment to engaging in longer conversations with journalists, readers can play an active role in local news reporting. Contributions from users appears on the community platform but could also be used by journalists as material for a bigger story.

Interaction between readers and journalists is encouraged both on a digital level, through the assigned tasks, and in real life. Archant has in fact created a special iwitness24 members' room in its Norfolk regional headquarters, "complete with computers and a coffee machine," so that readers can come in and connect with the journalists and editors, the press release said.

With regards to the verification process, Goodman explains: "When readers share content it goes straight to a special CMS for verification and moderation, and once approved by an editor, the upload will get its own article page in the community website".

The platform uses the same game mechanism on which Citizenside in based: users gain points and scores for submitting content and these generate a ranking of community engagement. On Citizenside, users are ranked by quantified trust levels depending on their commitment and on how trustworthy their content was proven to be.

Bringing the community into the newsroom is a hot topic in today's journalism world. Other innovative ways to engage with readers include the live chat eEditor at the local Swedish newspaper Norran, which brings readers' input into the daily decision-making process and the American JRC's Register Citizen's newsroom café, where the public is invited to "be a part of the process of local journalism at every step".

Sources: press release, interview


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-01-17 16:57

The Huffington Post' Twitter account got hacked on Sunday 15 January sending out a series of homophobic and racist tweets, Mediaite reported.

According to reports by Economiaweb.it, the Italian publishing group RCS - which publishes the main Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera - intends to sell the French publishing house Flammarion. A potential buyer - the article reported - could be the French publishing house Edition Gallimard.

Sarah Lacy, who left TechCrunch earlier this year, has started her own tech news site PandoDaily.com, which will feature three more of TechCrunch's former bloggers, Michael Arrington, M.G. Siegler and Paul Carr, reports All Things D.


Peter Preston of The Guardian writes that, despite the decline in the tabloid press and the revelations of the Leveson inquiry, popular papers have done much to shape British society.


Poynter reports some disagreements about the Washington Post's decision to use a 'composite' photo on the front page of Friday's paper.

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


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-01-16 19:09

Today the Associated Press opened the first fully-operated news bureau in North Korea from a Western news organisation, a press release announced. The international news wire's office in Pyongyang will be the first to offer, with a full-time staff, a video and text coverage from the country. The plan to open the bureau was announced last June.

According to the Guardian, the opening arrives after months of discussions with the Korea Central News Agency, inside which the new office will be based, and it was originally planned to open last December but it has been postponed after the death of leader Kim Jong-il.

The agency already had a video office in North Korea six years ago through its London-based Associated Press Television News (APTN) and it has been the only independent foreign media news agency operating in North Korea till now, as reported on the APTN website.

North Korea, run by the last surviving Stalinist regime, is among the countries with the most tightly state controlled news environment. This leads to questions about how effectively the news wire will be able to freely do its job.

North Korea is ranked 177 out of 178 on the 2010 Press Freedom Index created by Reporters Without Borders and, as the organization reported, in recent years it has always appeared in one of the last three places. See here for the coverage on North Korea by The New York Times.

The government allows foreign visitors occasional visits and journalists are restricted in their movements, the Guardian reported, quoting in the article AP's president and CEO, Tom Curley, who said in a statement that - despite the political situation in the country - the Pyongyang bureau would operate under the same standards and practices as AP bureaux worldwide.

Sources: AP, Guardian, RSF, APTN, NYT


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-01-16 18:06

Journalism.co.uk has produced a report about the "emerging niche" of development journalism - reporting that follows international development issues around the world and documents the long-term effects of humanitarian crises.

O'Reilly Radar has detailed advice about how to handle big data.

A judge has rejected a request from the Police Service of Northern Ireland to force the BBC to hand over footage of a Real IRA parade in Derry, in what the NUJ calls an "extremely significant" ruling, reports Press Gazette.

The Next Web has produced a list of the five tech founders are changing our world, from Jessica Mah, founder of inDinero, to Alexa Hirschfeld, who quit CBS evening news to create Paperless Post.

Cuts by the regional publisher Newsquest have resulted in a London managing editor leaving his job, reports Hold the Front Page.


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


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-01-13 19:56

On January 12 Arthur Brisbane, the New York Times Public Editor wrote a post on his blog entitled "Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante?"

"I'm looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge "facts" that are asserted by newsmakers they write about," he continued.

The community promptly reacted and the debate grew fast. Tweets gathered and readers, journalists and media commentators flooded the web with comments. Often sarcastic comments.

Even the New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson answered in a note that Brisbane appended to the update of the blog-post he wrote to clarify his original question.

Basically the predictable reaction is that of course Times journalists - as well all other journalists - should do "a rigorous fact-checking and truth-testing" job, in the words of Abramson. Rather they actually do it, most claimed.

In fact journalists reacting to the article seem quite incredulous about it how obvious the answer was from their point of view.

"I have to say I did not expect that so many people would interpret me to have asked only: should The Times print the truth and fact-check?" said Brisbane to Jim Romenesko who contacted him to ask his opinion on the rising tide of reactions.

"NYT public editor raises a question, gets blasted" titled Romenesko earlier.

"What I was trying to ask was whether reporters should always rebut dubious facts in the body of the stories they are writing. I was hoping for diverse and even nuanced responses to what I think is a difficult question," Brisbane told Romenesko.

"My inquiry related to whether The Times, in the text of news columns, should more aggressively rebut "facts" that are offered by newsmakers when those "facts" are in question. I consider this a difficult question, not an obvious one", Brisbane added to it in his update.

Besides "blistering comments" - as Jay Rosen described them on PressThink - journalists and media commentators went deeper into the debate about whether it is or not an obvious question.

"Now, it's worth noting that Brisbane's question makes perfect sense, considered from the newsroom's perspective", says Clay Shirky on the Guardian. "What was so extraordinary about his original question [is that] he is evidently so steeped in newsroom culture that he does not understand - literally, does not understand, as we know from his subsequent clarifications - that this is not a hard question at all, considered from the readers' perspective. Readers do not care about the epistemological differences between lies and weasel words", Shirky wrote.

James Fallows on the Atlantic is amongst those looking at the bright side. "Apparently naive questions can often be the start of quite penetrating and profound explorations. [...] I think Brisbane deserves credit rather than ridicule for raising this question", he commented.

One aspect of the question is whether - besides the obvious duty of reporting facts - a truth-telling priority could have been ousted by other priorities as 'remaining objective' or maintaining what has been called the View From Nowhere.

The debate continues - amongst the others - on the Washington Post
and on the American Journalism Review.

So, naive question with an obvious answer, or a stimulating debate?

Sources: New York Times (1), (2), Twitter, Jim Romenesko, (1), (2), PressThink (1), (2), Guardian, the Atlantic, Washington Post, AMJ


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Federica Cherubini

Date

2012-01-13 19:00

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