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Federica Cherubini

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A 'news 2.0' experiment was carried out yesterday, November 3, in Italy: a three-hour news programme was streamed on multiple platforms, a joint effort of SkyTG24, local satellite TV stations, radio shows and the web.

After seeing his news programme Annozero - which used to air on national broadcasting channel RAI2 - cancelled, anchorman Michele Santoro decided to launch a new programme called "Servizio Pubblico" (Public Service) which is the official description of what the national broadcasting network is supposed to be.

"The civil revolution" - as described by Santoro - was a way to bypass the TV 'monopoly which exists in Italy, aiming to shine a light on the censorship that doesn't provide Italian citizens with all the information they would need, and to show the power of free information which is possible due to the power of the web.

The programme hopes to give the public that information that the authors claim is not provided by TV in Italy, both public and private, which the organizers of Servizio Pubblico blame to be controlled by politics.

The programme was funded by the individual contributions of more than 100,000 supporters who, giving about €10 each, collected about 1 million euros. Amongst the supporters of the initiative is Il Fatto Quotidiano, the newest print newspaper launched in Italy, which in just one year has gained a considerable number of readers and an impressive profit of 4 million euros, as Italian journalist Luca de Biase recalled at the World Editors Forum in Vienna.

The programme was also streamed on Il Fatto Quotidiano's site and on Corriere.it and Repubblica.it.

"A huge success" is one of the most mentioned headlines in the today papers. "Audience boom" ("boom di ascolti") reported the news agency AGI (via Primaonline)

As Il Fatto Quotidiano reported, the programme had about a 12% audience share with more than 2 million viewers, even if it's hard to establish the real number of followers due to the variety of platforms on which it was streamed. The web counted more than 800,000 unique users, Lettera43 reported.

The Servizio Pubblico page on Facebook has 175,851 fans at the time of writing.

Servizio Pubblico follows another multiplatform experiment, Raiperunanotte, carried out in March 2010 to circumvent the suspension of political talk-shows imposed by the powers that be within RAI during the local political campaign. Also in that case the program was live-streamed thanks to the participation of the public, who paid an individual contribution to the show.

Sources: Servizio Pubblico, Wikipedia, Il Fatto Quotidiano, Primaonline, Lettera43



Federica Cherubini


2011-11-04 16:17

The New York Times launched India Ink, its "first-ever country-specific site", for news, information, culture and conversation. To follow it on Twitter see here.

Twitter's chief executive has announced that the social networking site reached 100 million active users around the world, the Telegraph reported.

Three UK newspapers, the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Daily Mirror, agreed to remove pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge's family (the Middletons) from their websites as part of a deal negotiated by the Press Complaint Commission. See Guardian's Roy Greenslade article on it here and here.

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



Federica Cherubini


2011-09-09 17:50

The 10-year anniversary of the September 11 2001 terrorist attack is approaching and the news landscape is preparing for it.

The Knight Center offers an overview on how US news media are planning special coverage of the anniversary, while, as AP reported (via WSJ), Al Jazeera English, which didn't exist at the time of the attacks, aims to bring an "a global perspective to the anniversary that domestic networks likely won't". Facebook, in partnership with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and social marketing platform Involver, as the Washington Post reported, launched a Web app asking people to share how they are remembering the 9/11 attacks.

Besides the impact from a political, cultural and international point of view, news media are also debating on the effect that this last decade has had on the news itself.

What has changed in these ten years from a journalistic point of view? How is the press covering the anniversary?
The debate also includes whether this massive coverage of the anniversary, that will dominate news front pages, is appropriate or not and, as The New York Times wrote, how to draw a line between commemoration and exploitation.

The French online news site Rue89, for example, has decided to skip 9/11 anniversary coverage. Rue89 founder Pierre Haski commented on the decision on Twitter: "Les anniversaires sont 1 des plaies du journalisme. Resultat : tout le monde fait la même chose au même moment. Pas d'anniv sur @Rue89." (Anniversaries are one of the bains of journalism. As a consequence, everyone does the same thing at the same time. No anniversaries on Rue89).

On the other side, Poynter analysed how America's news habits have changed as well as the media's role has.

The differences in the way people consume news of course also affects this issue. Print newspapers are loosing ground to the Internet and this appears to be true also in this context. As Poynter pointed out, this shift was particularly evident in the way people got their news about Bin Laden's death in May, by which time only people 65 and older got more of their news from newspapers than the Internet, the article said. "Turn on the television" was what people calling each other on 9/11 morning were saying, the article noted, while Bin Laden's death rapidly spread on Twitter.

Poynter also highlighted that Facebook, Twitter and some news aggregators sites like the Huffington Post that so now have much clout, didn't even exist ten years ago.

But still, what Poynter's article correctly underlined is that what newspapers' front pages on the morning of September 12 2011 did was a lot more than just giving the news: they were trying to convey a meaning to the event.

No matter in which way we get the news, what newspapers can still continue to do is to enshrine something that captures the meaning of the event, providing the necessary background to approach and analyse what has happened.

Sources: New York Times (1), (2), AP (via WSJ), Washington Post, Twitter, Foreign Affairs, Knight Center, Poynter
Image source: New York Times



Federica Cherubini


2011-09-09 17:33

From Twitter and Facebook, to crowdsourcing and gathering readers' photos, to community events: newspapers now have abundant ways to interact with their readers online. The World Editors Forum, to be held in Vienna from 12 to 15 October next, will focus on the new tools of social media to help editors build communities around their newspapers.

The annual conference, which runs concurrently to the World Newspaper Congress, will also offer a "Facebook for Journalists" workshop in which Facebook representatives will provide tips and advice on how Facebook can be better used by newsrooms, both to find sources and reach a larger audience.

The WEF session on building communities will feature Jim Brady, Head of Project Thunderdome, the Journal Register Company's initiative to engage audience and creating content across all platforms and geographies, Matthew Eltringham, Editor of the BBC College of Journalism website, Anette Novak, Editor-in-Chief of Norran in Sweden, and other speakers to be announced.

Mr Brady, who the Washington Business Journal calls "an online news visionary," has formerly worked at AOL, washingtonpost.com and the local news site TBD.com. As head of Project Thunderdome, he is responsible for generating and organising common content for the Journal Register's 18 daily papers and related online publications.

Mr Eltringham is an expert in social media and digital engagement with 16 years inside the BBC's news operations. He has overseen BBC News' use of social platforms as a source of content and as a channel to share its own material and engage audiences.

Ms Novak has been working to turn the 100-year-old Norran into a modern media house with a focus on co-creation, moving the trademark position from "news leader" to "motor in shaping the community's future."

More than 1,200 chief editors, publishers, managing directors, CEOs and other senior newspaper executives are expected at the Editors Forum, Congress and Info Services Expo 2011, the annual global summit meetings of the world's press. For the evolving programme, registration and other information, please consult http://tinyurl.com/6apyyff (early bird discount available until 31 July).

Other WEF sessions include:

- After WikiLeaks: the next step for newspapers, featuring Mathias Müller von Blumencron, Editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, founder of OpenLeaks, and other speakers to be announced.

- Paywalls, from the newsroom perspective, which will include Jim Roberts, Assistant Managing Editor at The New York Times, Matúš Kostolný, Editor-in-Chief of SME in Slovakia, and other speakers to be announced.

- Rethinking newsroom integration: the latest experiments in a multi-platform age, featuring John Hillkirk, Editor of USA TODAY, Christian Ortner, Editor-in-Chief of Vorarlberger Nachrichten in Austria, and other speakers to be announced.

- The steps towards a successful tablet application, with Mario Garcia, CEO and Founder of Garcia Media, Peter Hossli, Editor-in-Chief of the Collection from Ringier, and other speakers to be announced.

- Looking beyond the article, a session dedicated to new storytelling techniques and featuring Scott Klein, Editor of News Applications at ProPublica, Bill Adair, Founder and Editor of Politifact, Justin Peters, Managing Editor of the Columbia Journalism Review online, and Marcelo Rech, Director General for Product at RBS in Brazil.

- What content should print newspapers focus on to survive and thrive?, followed by a session on how editorial initiatives can contribute to print success. Speakers include Simon Kelner, Editor-in-chief of the UK's The Independent, Shyam Parekh, Editor of DNA in India, Alexandra Föderl-Schmid, Editor-in-Chief of Der Standard in Austria, Tom Kent, Standards Editor and Deputy Managing Editor at The Associated Press, and other speakers to be announced.

- Plus much more, including special sessions focused on the Arab Spring, ethics and quality journalism in the wake of the UK phone hacking scandal, the Innovations in Newspapers World Report, and the annual World Press Trends report.

The events, organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and hosted by the Austrian Newspaper Association (VÖZ), will be accompanied by a rich social programme, tours, meetings with local and international political, business and cultural leaders, and more.

The evolving conference programmes and other details can be found at http://www.worldnewspaperweek.org/



Federica Cherubini


2011-07-27 11:23

The UK phone-hacking scandal, that involves Rupert Murdoch's tabloid News of the World, is blowing up relentlessly. Revelations come out continuously and the news media is trying to follow them with breaking news updates.

Two are the main news of the day.
Firstly, the announcement by James Murdoch of the upcoming closure of the News of the World, compromised in its credibility and abandoned by advertisers, after 168 years.
The paper published the statement on its website.
Poynter's Rick Edmonds reflected on why shutting down the newspaper was a good business decision here and Guardian's Roy Greenslade collected what newspapers said about the closure here.

Second big news is the arrest of Andy Coulson, former NoW editor and later Downing Street's director of communication. Political implications are huge.
The Telegraph published a severe critic here.

The scandal has called into question the role of the Press Complaint Commission and generally the self-regulation system of the press, as the Guardian reported on.

The scandal is gradually widening: the Guardian reported in its live update coverage that Police have raided the Daily Star offices.
Significant developments took place - and are taking place - in the Police investigations. The Guardian reported that the Police "is investigating evidence that a News International executive may have deleted millions of emails from an internal archive, in an apparent attempt to obstruct Scotland Yard's inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal".

Another issue that the scandal will affect is the buyout of BskyB, which shares have been falling all day. The Telegraph wrote about it and Journalism.co.uk reported on culture secretary Jeremy Hunt who has been considering the impact of the News of the World closure could have on the BskyB bid.

Journalism.co.uk realized also a timeline of the scandal from the very early beginner in 2003 till now. You can see it here.

Wider reflections on the scandal and its aftermaths can be found on the Economist or on the BBC News site, which in this article analysed also the past "Fleet Street's dark era". The Independent examined the crisis of the Murdoch's empire. PBS's MediaShift reflected on the thin bounder between privacy and the public need to know.

The news spread also internationally.
The US Daily Beast wrote a "who's who" guide within the scandal.
French Le Monde reported on NoW here and Spanish El Pais wrote a round-up of the articles dealing with the matter.
Italian Il Post published a very comprehensive article about the whole scandal, from its origins.
Guardian's Roy Greenslade reported on what US newspapers said about it. Poynter published a round-up on the front pages in the UK and Canada featuring News of the World closing.

Sources: News of the World, Poynter (1), (2), Guardian (1), (2), (3), (4), (5) MediaShift, Journalism.co.uk (1), (2), Telegraph (1), (2), Economist, BBC News, The Independent, the Daily Beast, Le Monde, El Pais, Il Post



Federica Cherubini


2011-07-08 18:53

The UK phone hacking scandal relating to Rupert Murdoch's tabloid News of the World is receiving very wide attention within the news media world as well as within the UK public life. It involves not only the press but also its relationship with the Metropolitan police, the role of former NoW editor Andy Coulson (later Downing Street's director of communication) and also the soon to be decided BSkyB bid.
The Guardian's editor Alan Rusbridger debated with readers about the aftermath of the scandal here, and Guardian's Roy Greenslade analysed how the press reacted to the latest revelations here.
Journalism.co.uk reported on broadcast regulator Ofcom 'closely monitoring' phone-hacking claims with regard to BSkyB bid. It also reported on the payments made to Metropolitan police officers by the News of the World as the Met has referred the internal investigation to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Apple today announced that "over 15 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store by the more than 200 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users worldwide".

Mashable published an infographic on the history of advertising on Facebook.

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



Federica Cherubini


2011-07-07 18:37

Since 2006, The New York Times has held its annual "Win a Trip" contest with reporter Nicholas Kristof, offering students (and starting from this year someone 60 or over), the chance to accompany Kristof on a reporting assignment to Africa. Participants apply by submitting either an essay or a video explaining why they should be chosen for the experience.

This is just a small part of the wider attention Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, pays to Africa. His second Pulitzer, won in 2006, was awarded for his coverage of the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Kristof's most recent column appeared in the New York Times Sunday Review on July 1st, and reflected on his latest African adventure within the "Win a Trip" contest. At the same time, and as he points out on his blog, the column was also an attempt to address a broader discontent about the way news media and journalists write about Africa.

Despite having dedicated great attention to Africa, Kristof fears that journalism only focuses on the dark side of the country: wars, poverty, disease, and humanitarian disasters that encourage the perception of the continent as a basket case. This narrative leaves out the story of the Africa that is on the move, or the "bustling dynamos of Botswana or Ghana", as he said.

On the other hand, for some issues or regions, the problem seems to be "not their over-coverage but, rather, their under-coverage". Kristof gave the example of eastern Congo, the "most lethal conflict since World War II", that has been dedicated few column inches.

The rift is between putting certain issues in the limelight to drive public attention while avoiding painting an overly catastrophic picture. To balance these two tendencies, Kristof usually tries to remind readers that two sides of the coin exist for every story.

The real problem, however, is that "it's hard to get readers interested in Africa". Not only does his column readership plunge whenever he writes about the continent, but even positive news articles risk attracting "about zero readership".

Kristof's reflection presents at least three questions: Firstly, as he wrote in his blog posting, "how do we adequately cover the disease and poverty of Africa, without leading readers to an unfairly grim perception of the entire region?" Secondly, who shapes the news agenda? And finally, just what are readers interested in, as apparently Africa doesn't raise much interest for the Western/European readership.

Journalism traditionally shapes the news agenda and the role of quality journalism should be that of highlighting and covering the news necessary for citizens to exercise their duty of citizenship. Journalism is therefore a pillar of democracy.

But the question remains, should news media focus on important issues in spite of the attention - or lack of - they attract among readers?
This comes up against the double nature of journalism: the "paradox of the Fourth Estate", as George Boyce describes it, "with its head in politics and its feet in commerce".
News media should serve democracy and democracy is best served by an independent news media (even if not all news media does support democracy - but this is another story). On the other hand, a newspaper is also a commercial product and has to respond to consumer interests.

As has already been reported, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are coming to the aid of quality investigative journalism, helping to cover stories in-depth and filling the gap newspapers are sometimes no longer able to fill due to high costs (foreign bureaus for example) or the time speed.

Why is Africa not a top issue? Why doesn't the continent attract the attention of Western/European readers?

We can speculate that newspapers write about China, India and Russia in part for the economic role they play on a global level, in the same way that the Middle East and North Africa - particularly given the recent uprisings in the Arab world - receive a lot of focus for the consequences they have on Western stability. These are not the only reasons, of course, but there are general themes that can be identified which feed the global news agenda. The themes concerning Africa are overwhelmingly negative.

It is also important not to feed a purely Western perception of the issues that African journalists themselves should have a prominent role in covering. They are the ones who should be putting Africa on the international stage, giving prominence to the vast array of untold stories the Western news media chooses to ignore.

Such questions are not easy to answer, but just beginning to speculate about them is a good start for Africa.

Sources: New York Times (1), (2), Editors Weblog



Federica Cherubini


2011-07-07 12:50

The media landscape has fundamentally changed, said Philip Trippenbach, editor-in-chief of the citizen journalism photo agency Citizenside, at WAN-IFRA's Summer University held this week in Paris.

The traditional one-way vertical relationship from the mass media to the audience does not exist anymore. Indeed, the whole notion of audience does not exist anymore, as users are now taking an active role in the creating and distribution of media.

Trippenbach pointed out that this is a change in the perspective of the news media. The new medium of citizen media in fact is not the Internet, as it could be easy to think. The new medium in the renewed news landscape is the users themselves, he said.

This innovation implies that journalism has to rethink the relationship putting the users at the centre. "Our users are our community and our users are our biggest asset - this is the core of our business," Trippenbach said.

The creation of Citizenside, which is a network of citizen reporters active in many different countries, was inspired by UGC (user-generated content) photos during 2005 London underground bombings.

The underlying philosophy of Citizenside has something in common with the Wikipedia concept: everyone, everywhere, can go on the Citizenside website or download the app - for iPhone and Android - and submit photos and videos, adding a caption or a tag.
Anyone can also participate in commenting and interacting with the website community.

What users want from the Internet, the reason why they go on the Web instead of simply passively reading a newspaper, is that they expect something to do on a site - at the very least they want to share. They want to be active. The point is to ask them to do something they already do: via mobiles they send a huge number of text messages, and share pictures. Technology improves continuously and mobile devices are spreading at a very fast speed all over the world, including in developing countries.

However, it is difficult for users to interact without being motivated, Trippenbach said.

Motivation is a big issue indeed. Citizenside stimulates interaction by assigning tasks, challenge and participative investigations. For the U.S. Independence Day on July 4th, for example, the site launched a "What makes you proud?" challenge that asks users to submit pictures of what makes them proud to be American.

Beside motivation, feedback and trust are fundamental too. Users need feedback, Trippenbach stressed. If a user sends photos to the BBC for example, due to the vast amount of pictures and content the organisation receives, contributions are likely to disappear into a black hole: this is unrewarding for a user.

Trust is as well very important and it's linked to the other key factor in journalism: verification. As Trippenbach explained, Citizenside operates on a game dynamic in terms of trust and verification.

Users get points for their interaction, whenever they submit photos or videos or make comments or every time someone views their images. This creates a ranking of quantified trust levels, which give to the editorial team an idea of their trustworthiness and the degree of their commitment. In addition, different member levels encourage users to be involved in the community and create a reputation system.



Federica Cherubini


2011-06-29 15:43

François-Xavier Lefranc, director of the regional and local newspaper Ouest-France spoke at WAN-IFRA's Summer University in Paris about the paper's new strategy in developing and multiplying local coverage in order to increase circulation.

As the name implies, Ouest-France, with 47 local editions, covers three regions in the west of France: Normandie, Bretagne and Pays de la Loire, which represent a mosaic of territories with 12 departments and 4800 towns.

According to French circulation bureau OJD's figures, it is the best selling French newspaper and, after Le Parisien, its website is second in the ranking of French regional newspapers' websites with 8.7 millions unique users.
In recent years, the paper's strategy has been to multiply the number of edition for a same geographical area, creating new local pages. Since Ouest France started to introduce new editions 3 years ago, circulation has gone up, Lefranc said.

The area of Brittany was previously covered by 5 editions and the two important territories of Saint-Brieuc and Lamballe were covered by the same local edition. As part of Ouest-France's new strategy they were split into two different editions in order to generate more local pages.
The circulation of the new edition area increased from the 1,5% to 4%.

Lefranc stressed how important it is to focus on the audience's needs, as even if the region is small it is very diversified and different editions have to meet everyone's needs.

The launch of new editions also means an rethinking of the whole editorial strategy and the redefinition of the paper's priorities. "Each time we create a new edition we try to completely recreate the editorial project", Lefranc said.

Local coverage is therefore the paper's priority. As the aim is to help people to understand their region and get closer to readers, journalists need to have a high knowledge of the area.

Continuous contact with readers, in order to stay in touch with people's concerns, is maintained by monitoring comments in-house, rather than outsourcing them.
For the same purpose of building and maintaining communication with readers, all breaking news is free to access, while to access the whole newspaper online, readers have to pay.

All our journalists have a multimedia approach. As soon as a journalist has material, he or she uploads it.

Recently Ouest-France has also invested in a new print press to develop new editions, as Lefranc said his paper believes that developments needs to be both in print and on the web.



Federica Cherubini


2011-06-27 17:01

Luca Conti, Italian, founder and director of the blog Pandemia and technology and media expert, is leaving today as the first Italian blogger embedded with the NATO troops in Afghanistan.

The project pertains to the NATO press tours: journalists and bloggers from the countries which have troops based in Afghanistan are invited to a tour around the country. The aim - Conti reported on his blog - is to show the press the reconstruction process, under the aegis of NATO, within the country so that they can inform the public opinion about the improvements in terms of security and governance the Afghan civil society is making. Journalists will visit the NATO's Provincial Reconstruction Team.

Conti is leaving today for Kabul from Brussels, where he visited the NATO's general headquarters and spoke with the US Ambassador to NATO, Ivo H. Daalder, for a first briefing on the general working of the international organization and on the transition situation Afghanistan is currently facing, which will lead to the definitive withdrawal of the allied troops on 2014.

With the Ambassador, Conti talked about eDiplomacy and the use that diplomacy makes of social networks and new technologies. Ambassador Daaler revealed he created a Twitter account last February, which he personally updates and edits.

The Editors Weblog spoke to Conti about the details of this mission, which is funded by the US government and NATO. He will be in Afghanistan for a week, starting in Kabul, hoping to update his blog every evening.

Editors Weblog: What are your main goals?
Luca Conti: To see with my own eyes what is happening there and sharing it on the web with readers of my blogs, followers on my Twitter account and social networks.

EW: Who are your fellow travellers?
LC: Magdalena Trusinova is from Czech Republic and works for a radio,
Sandra Ratzow, from Germany, works for a TV channel, Andras Kiraly, Hungary, works for index.hu, Marek Zbigniew Rybarczyk from Poland works for Newsweek Polska and Tomas Visilko, from Slovakia, works for a newspaper.

EW: What does it mean to be embedded and what do you think are NATO's aim regarding the press tours?

LC: I will be able to explain more about being embedded on my return, for now I can say that despite several documents to sign (here are the Media Ground Rules), the maximum of freedom of expression is assured. NATO wants to show the side of the coin that usually is left out by traditional media: the effectiveness of the reconstruction, the part of the country on its way to development and all the civil organizations working on the field, aside from the army. They have an interest in showing the best side of the picture but I think that despite this it's an interesting story to tell and to live, even if is just one side of the country.

EW: Which is the main difference between a journalist embedded and a blogger embedded?

LC: I think the main difference is related to the editorial lines, to the freedom to report what there is beyond mere news. I'm not a newspaper correspondent, I don't have a story to tell at all costs, I just have the right informative means to report what I see, even those things at the margins of the story.
Newspapers often don't have the space to tell that part of the story and sometimes they don't consider it relevant for the readers. I love to get readers involved, telling anecdotes that aren't really news but that can help the readers to feel the atmosphere as they would be there. I'm not a war correspondent, I am not supposed and I don't even want to report about the hot spots of the war.
The blogger has the opportunity to look at and to report the reality from a different perspective, without the pressure of editorial requirements. It's not a competition, it's not contrast, it's just something different. A different perspective.

You can follow Luca on his blog or his Twitter account @pandemia.

Sources: Pandemia (1), (2), (3),



Federica Cherubini


2011-06-24 16:25

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