WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Mon - 23.10.2017


October 2005

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An interesting article by media lawyer Ian Felstead criticizes threats made by the UK Attorney General to prosecute newspapers under Section 5 of The Official State Secrets Act if they publish any material concerning the infamous leaked Al Jazeera memo (see previous postings here and here).

Individuals may be prosecuted under Section 5 if they disclose secret information damaging to international relations which they know is protected under The Official State Secrets Act.

Felstead explains that “A disclosure is held to be ‘damaging’ if it is likely to endanger the interests of the UK abroad, seriously endanger the protection by the UK of those interests or the safety of British citizens abroad.”

He asserts that the informaion allegedly contained in the leaked memo could be of important public interest and keeping such information secret could in fact be damaging in itself: “the information apparently contained in this memo clearly raises questions of public interest … Indeed, it could be suggested that the lack of openness of the government in this case does more harm to national security than good.”

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John Burke

Date

2005-10-31 17:20

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The Online News Association held its annual conference last week. Visit the website for a wrap-up. Highlights include New York Times' Chairman Arthur Sulzberger's keynote speech during which he said, "Information does not yearn to be free," how Hurricane Katrina affected online journalism and the future of participatory journalism.

Source: Online News Association

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John Burke

Date

2005-10-31 15:32

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There have been many discussions about the contradiction between the huge profits that media giants demand and their newsrooms' role of producing quality journalism. Journalists feel that their publications, and their communities, are suffering greatly because of newsroom staff cuts which their corporate benefactors deem necessary in order to increase revenues as much of their audience and advertising migrates to new media, especially the Internet.

The Internet also furnishes a platform for journalism, but it has not yet been determined if it will be able to provide society with the kind of reporting it needs to remain informed.

In this respect, journalism is caught in a tug-of-war whose opposing sides are the old guard, which is seemingly cannibalizing it, and new media, which isn't quite yet sure how to embrace it. Depending on which side wins, either a brand new news model will emerge or journalism will be torn apart in the fight?

"Lines blur in the new media world. The only line that doesn’t is the bottom one: profit."

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Author

John Burke

Date

2005-10-31 10:22

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It is well known that American newspapers have been rapidly shedding jobs as of late, the latest being at the Orlando Sentinel which will lose 21 employees and leave 33 vacant positions unfilled. Over the past month, that epidemic has jumped the puddle to the UK.

In October, the huge publisher Trinity Mirror announced a New York Times-style job reduction program saying it was considering axing 550 to 770 jobs, or 5% to 7% of its 11,000 employees.

At the beginning of November, the Scottish national The Scotsman initiated its own employee scale back program announcing at least 8 journalists would be let go.

The latest news comes the Guardian Media Group Regional Newspapers which is to cut 48 jobs, 13 of which will be editorial. Its entertainment and listings magazine City Life is to be cancelled because of weak advertising.

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John Burke

Date

2005-10-28 17:32

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An interesting article by Michael Massing debating whether US journalists are failing in their responsibility to produce hard nosed reporting and uncover the truth for their readers.

Massing begins by comparing the fate of Judith Miller to that of Andersen Cooper of CNN, who "emerged during Hurricane Katrina as a tribune for the dispossessed and a scourge of do-nothing officials."

Making Up for Mistakes
Massing asserts reporting on Hurricane Katrina began in some way to make up for the mistakes made by journalists in the run-up to the war on Iraq.

The kind of reporting that resumed because of Katrina has continued, and Massing says that “In recent weeks, journalists have been asking more pointed questions at press conferences, attempting to investigate cronyism and corruption in the White House and Congress, and doing more to document the plight of people without jobs or a place to live.”

Will Change Endure?
Massing asks: "Will such changes prove lasting?" He outlines a number of problems that he feels “keep the press from fulfilling its responsibilities to serve as a witness to injustice and a watchdog over the powerful.”

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John Burke

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2005-10-28 17:16

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A proposed federal shield law would protect bloggers that gather news, according to one of the bill's author, Congressman Mike Pence. Pence distinguished between those bloggers who merely link to other articles and those who perform the functions of professional journalists.

Pence's statements are contradictory a second supporter of the legislation, Senator Richard Lugar, who said that the proposed law would "probably not" define bloggers as journalists.

Pence admitted that due to the variety of blogs, First Amendment questions would have to be taken up on a "blog by blog" basis.

The Congressman said he was inspired by Judith Miller's stint in jail. "As a conservative, I believe the only real check on government is a free press. And as someone who believes in limited government, I believe nothing is more conservative than promoting and protecting the principle of a free press."

He concluded that the bill is "about protecting the people's right to know.

Sources: Editor and Publisher, journalism.co.uk

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John Burke

Date

2005-10-28 12:05

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For the first time in its history, The New York Times began printing outside the United States, in Toronto, this Sunday. The move will expand the paper's daily availability in the city; it has so far been distributed through delayed delivery and sold at retail outlets.

The New York Times' 10 year agreement with Transcontinental Printing of Toronto is one of a number of similar print site initiatives planned over the next two years.

The paper is already printed at 21 different locations across the United States.

Although the Times' circulation has declined in New York City over the past year, nationwide distribution was expanded and circulation rose by 0.5%.

New York Times President Scott Heekin-Canedy stated: “We are continuing to execute our plan to increase circulation with of our national edition.”

Source: NewYorkBusiness.com

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John Burke

Date

2005-10-27 19:39

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Guardian Unlimited today launched its new RSS news reader NewsPoint (see previous posting), which has automatic subscriptions to a number of news feeds across the Guardian website. The reader also allows users to subscribe to Guardian reccommended feeds and feeds from thousands of other websites.

By using NewsPoint and "subscribing to the feeds from your favourite websites, you can fire up your newsreader and check for all the stories that have been published since you last looked … For those who spend a lot of their time on the web, it can be a life saver."

NewsPoint is currently available for Windows users only.

Source: Guardian News Blog, Guardian Technology Blog

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John Burke

Date

2005-10-27 18:10

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Last month in Moscow, the Russian Guild of Press Publishers held the First Russian Publishers Conference. During the Press Freedom Seminar, President of the World Editors Forum and Saturday Editor of The Times (London), George Brock, gave a talk discussing the freedom of the press in Russia, whose text is posted below.

Moscow 28th Sept 2005.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and its communist government, Russia has been engulfed by advice from outsiders. Not all the results have been happy. In these circumstances, you might be understandably wary of an editor from London talking about press freedom. All that I can do here today is to describe some important aspects of press freedom outside Russia and make some observations, which I hope are constructive. Any decisions about anything to be done are yours alone.

People who use the term “freedom of the press” frequently don’t define that phrase, or don’t define it in ways which make much useful sense in the daily life of newspapers, broadcast channels and websites. What are the basic standards? Each country sees them differently and debates them differently.

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Author

John Burke

Date

2005-10-27 17:20

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The week of November 7 to 12, The Wall Street Journal Online, which with close to 800,000 subscribers is the biggest paid site on the web, will hold an open house. The promotion is a move to attract new subscribers.

Last year's open house created 10,000 new subscribers. President of Dow Jones' Consumer Electronic Publishing department said, "With our research showing that more than 90% of the people who have sampled the Online Journal's content via a trial subscription chose to become paid subscribers--coupled with the overwhelming success we experienced with last year's Open House--it made perfect sense to hold another event in 2005."

The promotion will also bring the Wall Street Journal Online more ad revenue as different advertisers will sponser different days of the open house.

Source: Yahoo Finance via Media Cafe (in French)

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John Burke

Date

2005-10-27 14:12

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Adding to previous rumors, (see posting) there is more speculation circulating about a new product from Google, called Google Base, that could affect newspaper classifieds even more.

The online free classified 'community' Craigslist has already had a significant impact on newspapers multi-billion dollar classifieds market (see previous posting). Google Base, described as "a database into which you can add all types of content... and make it searchable online for free," claims to be much more than a classified site.

But the fact that individuals will be able to describe in detail what they are selling placing it in a database with the power of Google's other products such as search and global map, could have even more serious implications for newspaper classified revenue.

Sources: Poynter (here and here), Business Week, Editor and Publisher

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John Burke

Date

2005-10-27 13:29

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Photo: Reuters journalists camp in the grounds of the Muzaffarabad Press Club. For the first time, foreign journalists are able to travel to into Muzaffarabad without "minders" or official permission. Muzaffarabad is the capital of the Pakistani part of Kashmir called "liberated Kashmir", the other part - with Srinagar as capital - is called"occupied Kashmir" in the country. (Photo: Lisa Upton/Internews)

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Author

Bertrand Pecquerie

Date

2005-10-26 17:38

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According to accounts filed at the UK's Companies House, converting The Independent to tabloid format has cost Independent News and Media over 12 million pounds sterling. Group accounts for the company show outgoings of 6.3 million in 2003 and 6.1 million last year, both related to the tabloid conversion.

Ivan Fallon, CEO of Independent News and Media in the UK, said in September that in 2005 losses on The Independent and The Independent on Sunday would be halved (to 5 million pounds sterling) and by 2006 the papers could be breaking even.

The Independent was the first British broadsheet to switch to tabloid format in September 2003; its circulation immediately increased by approximately 17% (see previous posting) but quickly reached a plateau. The Independent's circulation was at 262, 552 copies in September 2005.

Given the large cost of the redesign, it is pertinent to ask whether it was worth it?

Source: Guardian Media, Publicitas

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John Burke

Date

2005-10-26 16:37

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"I don't know anybody under 30 who has ever looked at a classified advertisement in a newspaper," media baron Rupert Murdoch said recently. Murdoch, who is quoted as having once praised classified ad revenues as "a river of gold" has retracted that statement for the Internet age saying, "Sometimes rivers dry up." Below is a roundup of online advertising that echoes Murdoch's changed perception.

1. Classifieds: Online classified advertising grew 80% year-on-year in of September, the free site Craigslist topping the winners expanding its reach 156%. One study shows the site has already cost San Francisco Bay Area newspapers $50 million.

2. Print/Online Advertising packages: In an article about modifying "circulation" measurements, Jennifer Saba at Editor and Publisher points out that more advertisers are pushing the newspapers in which they advertise to provide them with contracts that include both the print and online platforms. The problem with this is that both advertisers and newspapers are still getting accustomed to the Internet and the different manner of advertising it entails.

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John Burke

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2005-10-26 16:16

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WatchingAmerica.com is a website dedicated to showing Americans how their country is reported on in the foreign press. The site is edited by William Kern, former copy editor for the International Herald Tribune, and provides translations of interesting stories sourced from newspapers and broadcasts in Europe, The Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

No commentary is provided for any of the translated articles as the aim of the site is to be politically neutral.

Kern and his business partner British entrepreneur Robert Koerner view their site as responding to the growing interest among Americans in their country's image abroad. Kern says “With bookstores selling accounts of the anger that people of other nations feel toward the United States, the time seemed right to produce daily translations straight from overseas sources.”

The importance of translating articles from foreign sources is highlighted by Koerner, who asserts that there is a "key distinction" between information published in English by foreign media, and stories written in native languages. Koerner uses the following example: "What the Arabic press puts out for their home audience is very different from what they might publish for English-speaking readers.”

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John Burke

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2005-10-26 15:46

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Robert Niles of the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review asked a number of web editors and publshers the following question: "Why do i love online publishing?"

Niles first gives us his own view: "the people of this country finally have a medium at their disposal which allows any person to speak and be heard by a global audience. If freedom of the press belongs to those who own one, now, we all do. And the world, ultimately, will be the better for it."

Here are some of the answers Niles was given:

Len Apcar (Editor in chief of the New York Times online)
"What I love the most is the challenge of trying to figure out how a great news organization like The New York Times can succeed in a big way on the Web. It is a daunting task trying to help lead a transformation from a newsroom focused on producing a daily newspaper to becoming a successful online publisher."

Robert Cauthorn (former vice president of digital media for the San Francisco Chronicle)
"the readers ... the whole community. Online publishing brings you so close to the readers that they become part of every breath. And that's one of the greatest feelings in all of publishing. The readers constantly amaze me with their insights, appetites, intelligence and sheer sense of fun. You learn from them."

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John Burke

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2005-10-26 13:33

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The act of hyperlinking, adding a link from one webpage to another, is now a standard practice among bloggers. Newspapers, on the other hand, have been rather slow to adopt the practice. But some journalists are catching on. If it becomes more common, hyperlinking could have the potential to change the way in which newspaper journalists write.

Firstly, I think this is a possibility because of the way I write articles for this blog. Let's take this quick example.

Look at this posting. It is essentially a paraphrase of an article in the Guardian apart from the last paragraph which is my own commentary. There are two links to background information in the short paragraph, one at "third largest newspaper" and one at the term "solid proof."

The way the paragraph is written, I should explain myself better. I should give the statistics for and names of the two journals ahead of "third largest newspaper." I should also cite which studies have not found any negative correlation between free paper distribution and paid-for sales. Instead, I have avoided these details by adding links to the articles with the relevant information.

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John Burke

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2005-10-26 11:13

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In November, the Sacremento Bee published a multimedia report that received much praise for taking advantage of the new journalistic capabilities presented by the Web. The article's reporter, Tom Knudson, and his project editor, Amy Pyle, answered some questions about how multimedia reporting is affecting journalism in an email interview for the Editors Weblog.

1. As a seasoned print reporter, has putting together multimedia projects changed the way in which you practice journalism? If so, how?

Tom Knudson: The basics of reporting – legwork, documents, talking to people – remain the same. But how I do those things is starting to change – and for the better. Specifically, this means doing more interviews in digital format (for the Web), even doing some interviews in audio and video format (also for the Web); we are also scanning original government documents and converting them into PDF’s and putting them on the Web. This is something visitors to our web site seem to enjoy. It also adds another layer of credibility to our work.

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Author

Bertrand Pecquerie

Date

2005-10-25 19:41

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At a time when virtually all circulations of major dailies are plummeting, ethnic papers are booming. Backed by steady streams of immigration and an editorial focus on the communities of the immigrant population, ethnic papers in cities around the country exemplify the trend toward local and niche coverage that many newspaper hounds have been predicting.

Noting their success, mainstream news organizations increasingly want a piece of the action. As of 2004, large newspaper companies owned 91 Spanish-speaking papers, or 13% of all Latino publications. And with stats showing that the number of Latino and Chinese media users will double by 2030, newspaper company interest is sure to keep rising.

But would purchases of local ethnic papers by mainstream organizations be beneficial?

For the papers themselves, it doesn't seem so.

Ivan Roman, executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists said, "We're just concerned that more and more newspaper companies try and go the cheap route and outsource coverage. Spanish language papers that cover the Latino community in the United States have a particular mission and have stronger ties to the community -- qualities that an imported paper cannot fill."

Although these papers do not make much money, often functioning in the red, they keep printing because of the community service they provide to which their staffs are dedicated.

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John Burke

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2005-10-25 18:16

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"Beware: tomorrow's stars are no longer necessarily interested in yesterday's media." This warning from media pundit Jeff Jarvis comes after a chat he had with a young German journalist who has rapidly gained recognition, but not for work in print, television or radio. Larissa Vassilian is the brain behind the popular podcast, Schlaflos in Munchen (Sleepless in Munich).

Vassilian produces a 5-minute recap of her life and muses thereof including reviews of movies, books, etc. through another podcast called Filme und So (Movies and Stuff). She does so all from the comfort of home with very minimal overhead - only about $100 for technical equipment and $10 a month for an Internet connection.

With this small investment, Vassilian attracts 5-16 thousand people and is one of the top 10 downloaded German podcasts. Jarvis says her story demonstrates the danger posed to old media by like ventures; "it's hard for talent to rise and survive in your institutions. But on the internet, with her podcasts and thousands of faithful fans, Vassilian has the freedom to be herself."

Although she has a solid following, podcasting doesn't pay... yet. Vassilian continues her work as a journalist to survive but if she had her way, she'd make her living online. With more people turning to the Internet and more journalists like Vassilian going it solo online, functioning business models are certain to emerge. Old media has to adapt.

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John Burke

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2005-10-25 17:38

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Pelle Tornberg, CEO of the Sweden-based Metro International, recently sat down with the Guardian to discuss the success of the freesheet, plans for expansion and the effects on paid-for newspapers.

Printing 59 editions in 83 cities, Tornberg likes to refer to the paper with the green masthead as "glocal", meaning it has a global reach but with local coverage. "Metro has the same editorial line, layout, template [around the world], but every Metro is perceived as being a local newspaper."

He emphasizes the objectivity that characterizes the paper saying, "It is absolutely important to stay neutral, to have the same editorial line in all countries." Tornberg thinks the paid-for press fills the analysis and opinion quota that free papers avoid. "If you have a strong editorial line you could change things, which is one of the duties of newspapers I think. Metro (is) not here to mobilise readers."

Being a freesheet actually makes neutrality easier to accomplish. "If you give away something for free you can actually do a very decent paper. We don't need to put bikini girls, crime, on our front page to sell papers."

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John Burke

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2005-10-25 17:04

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The New York Times' paid wall experiment raised a lot of fuss in the online media world back in September and still gets on the nerves of the blogosphere. But is it really all that hard to find those hidden articles? What about other paid subscription sites? Do paid walls work?

This morning I did a quick run through several paid sites, picked out some headlines and journalists' names and searched for them on Technorati. I chose Technorati as a search engine because it's an engine which searches blogs whose authors tend to be the ones that read the news and comment on it, occasionally providing excerpts or even entire texts of articles.

This was anything but a scientific investigation, but it was eye opening in two ways;

  1. it showed the importance that the blogosphere places on the New York Times
  2. it showed that if anyone wants to, they can post enough of a paid-wall article on the web for anyone to see that it doesn't much matter if you have a subscription or not.

On the first point, I ran some random headlines from today's The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and South China Morning Post, all paid subscription sites, and came up with very little. To be sure, I Googled them too. Nothing.

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John Burke

Date

2005-10-25 14:02

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a handbook containing information on avian flu which can be downloaded from the WHO website in PDF format.

The organisation describes the document as follows: "It's an introduction to everything you need to know about influenza, including about avian influenza and the potential for a pandemic."

It is a tool designed to help ensure factual reporting on the issue: "For journalists already familiar with avian and pandemic influenza, the handbook is an indispensable fact-checking reference. For those new to the issues, it's a pandemic primer to help put reporting in context, and a source for essential facts and figures."

As the situation changes updates will be posted on the WHO website.

Source: WHO (through the EJC newsletter)

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Bertrand Pecquerie

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2005-10-25 13:19

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All over China people are uploading audio material to podcasting sites to share their personal experiences. One of these sites, Wangyou.com, broadcasts the uploaded material daily on 16 regional radio stations in half an hour segments called Wangyou Happy Hour.

Buddy Ye, CEO of Wangyou, says podcasting is a way for people to share their lives: "By working in conjunction with traditional media such as television, radio and newspapers, we hope to help people broadcast and share their lives."

Ye's comments show that podcasting is an important phenomenon that newspapers should capitalise on.

Source: United Press International

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John Burke

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2005-10-24 19:20


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