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Gianna Walton

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Following in the footsteps of recent long-form journalism start-ups, the PostDesk online platform launched today, intent on reinvigorating discussion about long-form content among internet users, according to BetaKit.

PostDesk will cover in-depth news and analysis in the fields of tech, gaming, culture, politics and business, the article said. Only those with early invites can currently access the website, though the temporary PostDesk blog is available to all users. 

“PostDesk is a place to discuss, debate and read free, independent long form content such as in-depth news, reviews, investigative journalism, analysis, critique and controversial opinion pieces,” according to PostDesk’s CrunchBase profile.

For the rest of this article please see our sister publication www.sfnblog.com

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-03 18:41

Using data gathered by citizen journalists, activists are attempting to use algorithms to accurately map out the death toll in Syria, creating tools such as Syria Tracker, according to Popsci.

Reuters reports that Belgian start-up Paycento has developed a one-click payment system linked to Facebook and Twitter accounts. Users will be able to purchase single articles without having to enter credit card information each time, according to the article.

The Columbia Tribune released a new web-based iPad app that uses HTML5 technology, so users can access the app directly through the website, Editor and Publisher reported.

According to JimRomenesko.com, The Washington Post is forming a syndication service which merges The Washington Post Writers Group and The Washington Post News Service with Bloomberg News.

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

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-03 17:54

The historic electoral gains for Burma's heroine Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy may bring additional opportunities for the opposition to influence government from the inside, but Burma’s press freedoms still remain deeply restricted, the Committee to Protect Journalists reports

Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former political prisoner, and several other members of her party won at least 43 of 44 parliamentary seats in a by-election on Monday, though results have not yet been confirmed by the Election Commission, according to USA Today. Burma, controled by a military junta until last year, has begun transforming itself into a democracy, from holding public elections to giving foreign journalists access to the country to report on the voting, USA Today said.

CPJ suggests, however, that the Burmese campaign trail was marred by media intervention by the current government, which criticized opposition-leaning newspapers for publishing articles that painted the government in a bad light. Suu Kyi also informed Radio Free Asia that the government had censored part of a campaign speech she gave because it violated the Election Commission’s list of forbidden campaign topics, CPJ said.

Suu Kyi said in a press conference that she did not feel the election campaign was “genuinely free and fair,” BBC News reported.

Officials have, however, expressed interest in further establishing freedom of the press in Burma, CPJ said. The Thein Sein government is expected to pass a new Printing Press and Publication Law delineating press freedoms, as well as establishing a “Committee for Press Freedom and Raising Ethical Standards,” the article said.

The current Printers and Publishers Registration Law, established in 1962 after the military takeover by General Ne Win, forces all printers and publishers to present copies of their work to the Press Scrutiny Board for approval before publication, according to Foreign Policy magazine.

Furthermore, Foreign Policy reported that Kyaw Hsan, the Minister of Information, said the Burmese government is in the process of “relaxing restrictions on the press, step by step.”

Indeed, media policies have come a long way from where they were just a few short years ago. As we previously reported, the Committee to Protect Bloggers claimed in 2008 that 344 bloggers were arrested in Burma.

The CPJ notes, though, that no plans have been announced to amend the troubling Electronics Act, which permits the government to arrest journalists for sending information over the Internet that has not been confirmed with authorities.

The CPJ warns, “there are just as many signs, witnessed in persistent censorship and harassment of the local media, that President Thein Sein's commitment to greater press freedom is still more rhetoric than reality. Indeed, journalists and editors quoted in news reports have expressed concerns that the marginally greater space they now enjoy will abruptly close if and when the government is rewarded for its democratic progress with the removal of Western sanctions and allocation of financial aid and assistance.”

Perhaps this democratic victory for advocates of free speech will place political pressures on the dominant powers in Burmese government, and reveal whether or not their promises to eliminate censorship are, in fact, just words.

Sources: CPJ 1, 2, USA Today, BBC News, Foreign Policy

*Photograph found through Flickr Creative Commons License, attributed to Prachatai

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-03 17:17

Women's Wear Daily examines the "cult of the brand": how magazine editors are becoming more and more focused on expanding their brands into other business markets while trying to maintain editorial excellence.

NYU recently released a list of "The 100 Outstanding Journalists in the United States in the last 100 Years," according to Poynter. See if your favorites made the cut here.

AllThingsD reported that Yahoo plans to lay off thousands of employees next week, most likely within the product, marketing, and research sectors of the company.

Bloomberg and Reuters are positioned to dominate in the news industry due to their gains in subscriber revenue and increased staff numbers, AdWeek suggests.

The pay package received by Trinity Mirror's CEO Sly Bailey was reduced by 28.4% in 2011, report Journalism.co.uk - but it still totals £1.048 million. The journalism website reports that during Bailey's 9-year tenure as chief executive, Trinity Mirror's share price has fallen by over 90%.

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

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-02 17:52

Senior executive director of the London Evening Standard Evgeny Lebedev announced via Twitter on Friday that Sarah Sands is the new editor of the free local daily newspaper, according to The Guardian.

Lebedev tweeted, “proud to announce Sarah Sands is new #Standard Editor. Sure she and her brilliant staff will do a great job in a huge year for the paper.”

Sands, previously deputy editor, will succeed Geordie Greig, who resigned from the Standard to edit the Mail on Sunday, the article said.

Sands is one of few women in the UK who hold senior newspaper positions. As we previously reported, a recent study by Women in Journalism found that 8 of 10 leading UK newspapers had half as many female editors as male editors.

The Guardian reported that Sands initially intended to follow Greig as deputy editor of the Mail on Sunday, but reconsidered after many voiced support in her favor, including London mayor Boris Johnson.  

It remains to be seen which direction Sands will take the Standard. Some journalists speculate that Sands’ friendship with the mayor might drive the paper to more conservative ends, while others dismiss those claims, The Guardian said.

Another factor to consider is the Lebedev ownership of the newspaper. As The Guardian previously reported, Russian tycoon and former KGB member Alexander Lebedev purchased a 75.1% stake in the Evening Standard for 1£ in 2009.

The paper, previously owned by Dail Maily and General Trust, was not making profit at the time of purchase, according to Bloomberg. Since the sale, Lebedev turned the paper into a free afternoon daily, increasing circulation to 700,000 and advertising revenue by 140%, the article said. The Standard reported in June 2011 that it cut losses for the year by half, Bloomberg said.

Evgeny Lebedev, Alexander's son, said in an interview with The Telegraph in 2009 that he has a “hands-on role in the business side” of the London Evening Standard, but insists that he and his father leave the editorial work to the Standard’s journalists.

“There's lots and lots of work to be done,” Evgeny told The Telegraph. “What we're trying to achieve is to get it to become the voice of London which I think it lost over the last 10 years, when it became a little bit unfocused.”

Bloomberg reported that the Standard plans to make a profit during 2012.

Evgeny also announced today, again through Twitter, that Chris Blackhurst is being promoted from editor of the Independent, which the Lebedevs also own, to "group editorial director in charge of future integration" of the two papers, The Guardian reported. With this implied editorial integration of the two papers, it will be interesting to see whether Sands' editorship is at all affected by Blackhurst's promotion in the near future.

Sources: The Guardian 1, 2, 3, Bloomberg, The Telegraph

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-02 14:36

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google will soon start selling its own Android-powered tablets. Google previously tried to capture the smartphone market with the Nexus One.

The Economist announced that it has officially reached 1 million fans on Facebook, journalism.co.uk reported.

POLITICO will be joining The Charlotte Observer in the creation of a daily newspaper that will cover the Democratic National Convention this September, according to its website. For the 2008 convention, POLITICO teamed up with The Denver Post and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The European Journalism Centre reported that a documentary titled 18DaysinEgypt, co-founded by American documentary filmmaker and journalist Jigar Mehta, features crowd-sourced material of the revolution in Egypt.

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

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-03-30 17:33

Most people (hopefully!) understand the consequences of putting something online: once you upload a compromising photo or tweet something controversial, it’s available for everyone to see. But when news stories emerge and social networking is the only readily available source of data, how much should journalists publish from private Facebook or Twitter accounts? Are certain things off-limits, or is it truly anything goes? In a recent article, Poynter examines some general guidelines of reporters for publishing such content.

Poynter highlights the confusing nature of Facebook’s privacy settings as one of the main sources of journalistic dispute. Since there are numerous levels of privacy, from closed groups to more open fan pages, journalists disagree about which privacy levels are acceptable to draw from, the article said.

And, though Facebook posts between friends may be considered in the public domain, “informed consent” to publish the material might not necessarily be implied by the user, Poynter said.

“Journalists are stepping into gray territory with no widely agreed-upon standards,” Nisha Chittal of Poynter wrote.

Twitter, however, seems to be a decidedly public platform, the article said.

As Reuters social media editor Anthony De Rosa told Poynter, “If it is public, it is fair game. If it is private we would ask them to go on record.”

Journalists should, however, make every effort to reach out to sources in person that they cite via Facebook or Twitter, rather than just taking a one-sided quote, in order to fully investigate stories, the article said.

In the wake of the phone hacking scandal at News of the World and questions of journalistic ethics in the UK, the author of The phone hacking scandal: journalism on trial, Glenda Cooper, examines the issues that arise when journalists publish personal Facebook information of young individuals linked to high-profile crimes, according to an extract published by The Guardian.

Cooper offers several cases in which the public images of young people accused of crimes, such as Rebecca Leighton and Amanda Knox, were clearly negatively shaped in the media by journalists using data from their personal Facebook pages, publishing content related to partying and other youthful indiscretions, The Guardian said.

“Some media organisations are becoming increasingly aware that smash-and-grab raids on personal data on the internet raise difficult questions,” Cooper said in the extract. “Those media organisations who push open an ajar door could potentially find themselves on the wrong side of the law as a result.”

The American media has faced similar scrutiny about using social media to report on the Trayvon Martin killing, Poynter reported.

A Twitter photo of Martin, an African American boy who was shot to death by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, was recently published by several news outlets, in which Martin wears a gold “grill” and a white tank top, the article said. Some say the photo portrays Martin as connected to the stereotypical rapper culture, Poynter said.

As social media platforms are evolving, and sharing sites like Pinterest are increasing in popularity, it seems inevitable that more and more questions will be raised about which social media practices can be considered ethically acceptable for journalists. While Poynter noted that most journalistic decisions of whether to use Facebook and Twitter material are made on a “case-by-case” basis, perhaps the journalism world will come together in creating a universal set of guidelines which could steer journalists in their dealings with social media sources.

Sources: Poynter 1, 2, The Guardian

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-03-30 16:56

Former editor and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News John Temple was named the new managing editor of The Washington Post, Politico reported. Temple will also serve as senior digital editor.

According to Adweek, Google announced a "microsurvey" option for publishers to use to earn advertising revenue instead of blocking online content with a paywall.

The Center for Investigative Reporting and The Bay Citizen of the San Francisco Bay area announced their merger on Tuesday, Poynter reported.

Journalism.co.uk explains how journalists can use the Timeline program for digital storytelling. Read all of the tips here.

Michael Wolff at the Guardian delves into the difficulties news organisations are having in generating mobile ad revenue.

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

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-03-29 17:47

Could there be new hope for print newspaper lovers? Consumer electronics company LG will launch a plastic electronic paper display (EPD) in Europe this April, Mashable reported.

The EPD is 6 inches in size, 0.7 mm thick, scratch-resistant and has a resolution of 1024 x 768, the article said. And, unlike technologies that use glass screens, such as tablets and e-books, LG's e-paper can be bent up to 40 degrees from the center, the article said.

According to Extreme Tech, the display uses e-ink, the technology used in e-readers such as Kindle and Nook. Using e-ink is especially beneficial to manufacturers, the article said.

“Unlike flexible OLED displays, which have been around for a while, e-ink displays are cheap to produce and can run for months on a small battery,” the article said.

ComputerWorld reported in November that both LG and Samsung debuted prototypes of flexible displays at an FPD International event in Japan. While LG’s e-paper used e-ink, which relies on surrounding light, Samsung’s version used OLED, a technology in which pixels generate light when charged, the article said.

The Samsung screens were displayed inside curved glass cases, clearly demonstrating their flexibility, the article said.

Extreme Tech speculated that flexible e-paper could mean radical changes for e-books and digital newspapers and magazines. Last January, the LG R&D said it had produced a 19-inch flexible e-ink color display, about the size of a newspaper broadsheet, Extreme Tech said.

Flexibility could very well be the EPD’s greatest asset. For consumers who prefer reading print newspapers and magazines, a thinner, more flexible product that resembles paper much more so than a tablet might be just the technology to sway them into the digital market.

As we previously reported, many newspapers are currently offering ePaper replica versions of their print papers on smartphones and tablets for those who remain attached to the print experience. With a full-size flexible EPD screen, replicating print versions for digital reading seems even more plausible, if not preferable to a scrolling app design.

Will electronic paper catch on? LG's trial-run in Europe may provide us with a clearer picture.

Sources: Mashable, Extreme Tech, Computer World

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-03-29 17:03

The Boston Globe announced yesterday that it was following in the footsteps of other newspapers and launching an ePaper edition for online and print subscribers, according to boston.com. The ePaper version, which mirrors the format of the print paper, can be read on a laptop or downloaded as an app for smartphones and tablets, the article said.

The “replica edition” contains additional digital features such as page-turning, navigation scrolling and bookmarking, the article said. The new version also features a “text-to-speech” option, which can read selected articles or the entire newspaper aloud.

According to the description from the iTunes app store, users can choose a setting in which Apple Newsstand automatically downloads the paper daily, just like a print version would be delivered each day. The description also states that users can click on articles to access embedded links or share those articles on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

For more on this story please see our sister publication www.sfnblog.com

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-03-29 09:47

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