WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Wed - 03.09.2014


June 2010

Arthur Sulzberger, chairman of the New York Times, has recently claimed that social sharing will be permitted despite the forthcoming paywall meter on the New York Times website, according to Paid Content. The NYT's paywall, set to be inaugurated next January, has been the cause of widespread concerns for the future of the news giant. Yet, Sulzberger hoped to put some of those concerns to rest as he claimed that article sharing on facebook and other social networking sites would probably remain free.

Sulzberger also commented on the degree of the paywall's impermeability. John Battelle of Federated Media suggested that consumers could simply clear the cookies from their Internet browser once they have used up their number of clicks and start all over, thus avoiding the paywall restrictions. Sulzberger responded by saying "There has always been and be always be ways to get around not paying for a newspaper. You could steal a newspaper from the stand today, if you really wanted to."

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-08 14:17

In light of Yahoo's recent acquisition of Associated Content, Matt Heist, CEO of High Gear Media, offers advice to how media providers like Associated Content should progress into the future. On the one hand, Heist says, there are "premium content" providers like Yahoo and AOL that provide "high-end sales appeal." On the other, there are "pro-am" media sources, like Associated Content and AOL's Seed, which reap much of their news from non-journalistic sources. Heist believes that media sources like Associated Content have a great deal of promise, but will need to make a few changes in order to fully realize their potential in the future.

At the moment, Heist claims, Associated Content is not perceived as delivering a high quality experience and is thus restricted from any real growth. Yet Heist suggests that Associated Content could overcome such a restriction by recruiting contributors who have real expertise in specific areas, rather than contributors who have limited knowledge of multiple topics. Clearly, such a move would allow AC to gain an air or legitimacy that is typically associated with more traditional news sources.

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-08 12:40

The challenges and opportunities posed by the Internet were major topics of discussion among speakers during the final session of the 4th Arab Free Press Forum, on what lies ahead for the independent press in the region.

Former Middle East editor for the Guardian, Brian Whitaker described the Internet as "probably the biggest challenge that newspapers are ever going to face," but emphasised how crucial it is to tackle this now, as "it's reasonable to say that a lot of print newspapers will have disappeared within 10-15 years if not sooner," at least in the Western world.

Khaled Sirgany, columnist at Egyptian newspaper Al Dustour explained how his paper is dealing with Internet publishing and addressing the competition. Al Dustour started to develop its website by putting up alerts for the breaking news that would be printed the following day, and now puts more on the website than in the newspaper, including videos.

Magda Abu-Fadil, a journalism professor at AUB, insisted on the need for more interactivity on newspaper websites in the Arab world. Many papers just put a pdf version of the paper on the site, she said, and don't take into account the shape of the screen and the constant need to scroll.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2010-06-07 20:00

The direction of the independent Arab press was debated at length in the final session of the Arab Free Press Forum in Beirut, Lebanon. In a region where state-run publications have a strong presence and independent media can be subject to political harassment and censorship, the challenges are considerable. Former Middle East editor of the Guardian Brian Whitaker steered the discussion.

Mohamed Krichen, anchor and presenter at Al Jazeera, remarked on how the freedom of expression situation in his native Tunisia is worse now than it was in the past, noting an example of a cartoon he had published 32 years ago which it would just not have been possible to publish today.

He explained to the audience the degree of independence of Al Jazeera, which, like the UK's BBC where Krichen also worked, is a state-owned news organisation. Al Jazeera does not compare to the BBC as an authentic democratic organ, Krichen said, but it does publish some news about the Qatari government. He stressed that sometimes there might be holes in coverage not because of a lack of will, but because of difficulties in getting interviews. On the recent resignation of some of his female colleagues, he said that it was a significant development that was worthy of attention.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2010-06-07 19:28

Panellists in the Internet publishing session at the 4th Arab Free Press Forum discussed how the Internet had raised new questions in the region about the way that the public interacts with news. As executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information Gamal Eid noted, there are now about 750,000 blogs in the Arab world, about 300,000 of which are active, and more spring up each day.

One of the challenges that online journalism faces is how to regulate and professionalise online news sites and blogs, said Daoud Kuttab, Palestinian journalist and founder of Jordan-based news site AmmanNet. He stressed the importance of building consumer awareness of websites, asking why many sites do not provide adequate information on what the site is, who funds it, what the sources are and who the author is.

Another issue is how to authenticate online commenting. Kuttab complained that some news organisations or journalists use pseudonyms to comment on and hence promoted their own articles. To address this, "the first thing we should do is encourage professionalism," he continued. "Let us not hide behind false names."

The advent of citizen reporting and blogging has broken the journalism monopoly, Kuttab said. In Jordan, there is a narrow legal definition of a journalist. Now, the Internet has allowed people who would not have dreamed of being in the media to get their voices heard, he said.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2010-06-07 14:46

The advent of Apple's iPhone ushered in a new era for the media; an era that has now come to be defined by Apple's application ("app", if you will). While initially, Apple's apps showed a tremendous amount of promise, some worry that there might be a looming limit to the power Apple's device. The New York Times reports that AT&T, data provider for the iPhone, is considering putting a limit on data plans and offering tiered paying structure for plans depending on how much data they offer. Some proponents of the new data plan, including the founder of Pandora Tim Westergern, hope that the paying structure will make data access "less expensive for the vast majority" and thus increase traffic of iPhone applications.

However, not everyone is so optimistic. Bob Bowman, chief executive of MLB.com, points out that the cable industry is evidence that "forcing people to be clock-watchers never worked in America. . . People would rather pay for 300 channels they never watch rather than get metered." Indeed, Bowman makes a good point. Enforcing a limit on data usage could make consumers feel anxious about using applications, particularly those that are heavy with data. Fearing that they would over-step their allotted amount of data, users could abandon applications altogether.

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-07 13:04

Celebrating press freedom, Zimbabwe's newly created media commission granted licenses to allow the launch of four new private dailies last week, including the Daily News, a popular newspaper banned in 2003 for taking on the government of President Robert Mugabe. The country today saw the launch of one of its first licensed independent private daily, News Day, after seven years, TimesLive.co.za reported.

The newly launched private daily is owned by Alpha Media Holdings, and headed by Trevor Ncube. The company publishes two weeklies in Zimbabwe, and the Mail and Guardian in South Africa. The launch of News Day "represents the hope of a tortured nation," Ncube told Reuters. "NewsDay will play a leading role in national healing, nation building, reconciliation and reconstruction."

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

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2010-06-07 11:32

Arab young people are interested in news but don't want to pay for it, according to a study by Jad Melki, assistant professor of journalism and media studies at the American University of Beirut. The survey interviewed school and university students aged 13 to 28 in Lebanon, the UAE and Jordan. Melki was speaking at the 4th Arab Press Forum in Beirut, Lebanon.

Eighty per cent of the students said that they spend time consuming news each day. Print media ranks fairly low among sources of news for those surveyed. 49% of the young people said that they sometimes or often get their news from a newspaper or magazine, compared to 57% from news websites and 80% from TV and via friends and family. Those in the UAE use print media more than those in Jordan, who in turn use it more than those in Lebanon.

"There is an alarmingly high level of trust in online media," Melki said. He believes that many of the young people interviewed are tech-savvy but may well not be media literate and critical enough of the sources that they read. Of the survey group, 30% 'very much trusted' information they find on the Internet and 53% 'somewhat trusted it."

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2010-06-07 10:47

The New York Times is reportedly set to host the political polling site FiveThirtyEight. Nate Silver, founder of FiveThirtyEight, will continue to run the blog while it is under the umbrella of the Times and also contribute articles to the newspaper. Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, says that he "looks forward to his (Silver's) unique perspectives on statistics, covering a wide swath of issues relating to politics, culture and sports." Meanwhile, Silver hopes that moving his polling site to the times will make the blog "a little bit newsier."

Megan Garber of Harvard's Nieman Lab points out that the agreement between the Times and Silver is an unusual one, calling Silver a "blogger-gone-mainstream." Garber notes that the Times has not exactly hired Silver, but has rather temporarily licensed the FiveThirtyEight brand, creating a relationship that Jim Roberts, Times digital editor, says "is unusual."

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-04 16:12

In recent news, the Washington Post had decided to expand its local website and rename it PostLocal.com. Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, Post Local editor, hopes to "use the expertise of Post reporters to provide readers with credible reporting and up-to-date information that affects their daily lives." To do so, the Post has gathered a group of independent bloggers who will report on local issues. The Post further hopes to engage local interest by offering a print section of their newspaper devoted to local reactions and ideas.

The Washington Post's growing local presence is another example of media sources trying to engage consumers by appealing directly to issues that are most relevant to their daily lives. Yet, in other cases, such initiatives have been criticized for potentially wiping out local news sources.

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-04 12:52

Speaking yesterday from The Wall Street Journal's annual 'D: All Things Digital' conference in California, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made a number of significant statements about the role of journalism in a democracy, the paradigm shift presented by the iPad as well as predictions for the future of personal computing. In an on-stage interview with Walt Mossberg, Jobs stated that "One of my beliefs, very strongly, is that any democracy depends on a free, healthy press. Some of these newspapers, the news-gathering and editorial organizations are really important, I don't want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers, myself. I think we need editorial more than ever right now.

Putting aside, for a moment, Mr. Job's inherent self-interest in promoting newspapers, there is a good deal of depth and significance to what he is saying. The iPad has the potential to offer readers an experience that is far more compelling and pleasant than reading a newspaper on the world wide web. It therefore stands to reason that consumers may be willing to pay a small amount of money for this sort of premium content. As Jobs correctly points out, it should be possible for newspapers to save a lot of money as compared to printing and distributing traditional papers. On account of the the potential demand for newspapers on the iPad combined with the cost-savings, Jobs espouses support for a low-price, high-volume approach.

Author

Colin Heilbut

Date

2010-06-03 18:54

According to an article published today in The Independent, some are speculating an unexpected source of future journalism: public relation agencies. Such speculation has been sparked by Edelman, an American PR firm, which recently appointed Richard Sambrook, the former head of BBC News, to the position of Chief Content Officer. More speculation has been caused by the company's hiring of Stefan Stern of the Financial Times as its new head of strategy. While the worlds of PR and journalism frequently overlap, Edelman's hiring of Sambrook and Stern could indicate a new strategy by PR firms. Sambrook, who claims that "every company has to be a media company in their own right," suggests that companies should bypass traditional news sources and go directly to the consumer. While Sambrook maintains that the company is "not moving into the news business," he does assert that the changing landscape of journalism presents valuable opportunities for PR to expand.

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-03 18:42

The Economist will launch a new ad campaign that challenges the public to take a stance on controversial issues, reports The Guardian. The issues that the ad campaign will address include the legalization of drugs, the exchange of human organs, and prisoner voting rights. Yvonne Ossman, publisher of UK Economist, said she hopes that the new ad campaign will "create a connection between our magazine and this new audience" by "sparking engagement and debate" though the posters.

Indeed, The Economist's new ad campaign is a clever way to draw in more readers. In addressing controversial topics, The Economist can hit on subjects that readers will most likely be inclined to respond to. Moreover, the campaign, which will primarily be communicated in the London tube, will be supplemented with newspaper inserts and mail campaigns, thus going directly into the homes of potential consumers. While the public advertisements may create an initial buzz around the publication, the in-home advertisements could allow for potential consumers to immediately engage their thoughts through the Economist's online media (and who knows, maybe even subscribe to get past The Economist's paywall) and perhaps also ultimately subscribe to the print format.

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-03 13:17

The Times of London released its iPad edition last Friday, and within three days had sold 5,000 copies at a subscription price of £9.99 per month, paidContent reported today in a round-up of iPad app sales.

Customer reviews of the app on the iPad app store say the app is great, but each voiced disappointment that the Sunday Times was not included in the app.

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

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2010-06-03 11:22

Journalism Prof. Roy Greenslade berates Israel over accusations of media censorship and gives accolades to the Al Jazeera journalist whom managed to circumvent the Israeli efforts [The Guardian]

Meanwhile, 48 Hours after the Flotilla raid, Israel has yet to release a number of journalists from detention, although a few were deported today. [International Press Institute]

In one last story from Israel, Maariv, the second largest daily in the country, is rumored to be considering a major jump to a digital format for its weekday editions and retaining traditional print copies only on the weekend. [Editor & Publisher]

Canadian daily, The Globe and Mail, announces its intention to experiment with outsourcing editing work, including copy editing. [Marketwire]

The May smartphone metrics have been released by analyst firm Net Applications. The iPhone appears to have more growth than Android in most major categories. [Fortune Magazine]

Author

Colin Heilbut

Date

2010-06-02 18:05

UK tabloid The Sun has come under harsh criticism over a recent poll question which asked whether gay people should be allowed to be cabinet ministers. The debacle arose in response to the resignation of British chief secretary to the treasury, David Laws. Laws held the second most senior ministerial role UK's economics and finance ministry.

Laws made history by becoming the shortest serving Cabinet member in modern British political history. The Liberal Democrat MP served as Chief Secretary to Treasury for only 16 days before a story came out in the Telegraph regarding an alleged misuse of £40,000-worth of expenses paid in rent for a flat he shared with his male partner.

Author

Colin Heilbut

Date

2010-06-02 17:16

With rising debt, decreasing readership, and a viable solution to the problems of online media nowhere in sight, the newspaper industry is facing some rather baffling problems. Therefore it is unsurprising that editors have latched onto Apple's shiniest new product, the iPad, as the solution to their problems. While the glossy gadget may seem like a performer of technological miracles, it remains to be seen if it will be the savior of journalism, as many have predicted. While the early numbers have been impressive, Read Write Web notes that reporters have been asking if the financial boost is merely a reflection of the iPad's novelty and not of its journalistic viability.

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-02 16:35

In a move to protect local news providers, the Newspaper Society is insisting on a limit to the number of stories that the BBC can publish on its local websites. In response, the BBC pledged in a strategy document that it would make efforts to not overwhelm local news. The Newspaper Society, however, questions whether or not BBC will actually follow through on their claim, or "whether the strategy review may become the latest in a long line of BBC acknowledgement of criticism of its ever-growing activities, without any effective action to curb and reduce them." Furthermore, in BBC's strategy report, it had expressed an intention to expand its coverage of business and local government, deepening the NS's concern that the BBC was overstepping its bounds. To encourage traffic on local sites, the NS has asked the BBC to publish links to local newspaper stories that the BBC uses as sources for its own publications.

The Newspaper Society's challenge to the power of the BBC is a valuable one, particularly to the future of local news. While it does show that the actions of large news sources are being questioned, it also asks the question of the viability of local news sources when they are put into competition with news giants like the BBC. Much like Walmart has done to local specialty stores across the globe, the bureaucratic machine of the BBC threatens to wipe out localized news sources and monopolize the British news industry.

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-02 12:46

In a video released on Friday the 28th, Digg founder Kevin Rose announced details for the social news site's upcoming launch of version 4, due "very soon". The details that have been released so far indicate a major shift in functionality and integration/competition with social networking services.
Gigaom reports on the new Digg, the result of over one-year of programming:

[It will] extend the site's current social features (which are pretty minimal) to allow for both friending and following other users and publishers. So if you friend a user, you see what they Digg and comment on; if you follow a publisher, you see everything they publish. The result is a personalized news page that seems like a combination of Google Reader, the Facebook news feed and Twitter.

Author

Colin Heilbut

Date

2010-06-01 18:19

Tim Kevan, blogger for The Times, has recently decided to withdraw his Baby Barista blog from the Times' website in reaction to the publication's decision to institute a paywall. While at first Kevan claimed that he had "absolutely no problem with the decision to start charging," he later admitted that he felt the decision would be "a disaster." Kevan continued to condemn The Times' decision to institute a paywall claiming that it makes the news source "look like a big lumbering giant" that is unable to cope with online media though innovation.

While Kevan is rather harsh on the publication and its decision to institute a paywall, he does make a valid point. The institution of a paywall does cast a rather archaic shadow on any publication that chooses to block its content. The free flow of information is a very modern phenomenon and The Times' paywall represents a blockade on such information sharing. Therefore, while the Times' decision to use a paywall is arguably imperative to its future and extremely reasonable, it could seem to users like an inconvenient throwback to the outdated ideology of "past-times."

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-01 17:26

Responding to reports that ex-KGB spy and billionaire Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev planned to change the management of his newly-purchased (for the bargain price of £1 + debt-obligations) British newspaper, Simon Kelner has insisted that he is not an "interim" editor of The Independent. He told Press Gazette that "I'm going to be here until they get sick of me, which may be quite soon - but I hope not."

The Guardian, a direct competitor to The Independent, speculated that Lebedev will seek to influence editorial content. Kelner responded by reiterating "The Lebedevs are fiercely committed to maintaining the Independence of the Independent. The Guardian can say what it likes but we are as free from proprietorial influence today as we have ever been."

Kelner refused to address rumors that the paper may be transformed into a freesheet, as he said the new management were in the early stages of drawing up a business plan. But he did say that they were looking at new publishing models which would give The Independent a sustainable future.

In April, Kelner unveiled a new look for the newspaper, including a new pullout comment and features section called Viewspaper. He described the look as a "radical redesign and overhaul" in an interview with MediaGuardian.

A full interview with Simon Kelner appears in the June issue of the Press Gazette.

Author

Colin Heilbut

Date

2010-06-01 16:46

Europe should move to protect freedom of speech in Italy, says media researcher Benedetta Brevini in a Guardian article. Journalists in Italy have come together in recent days to protest the proposed Alfano law, which would limit the media and prohibit the reporting of any information about criminal investigations before the case comes to trial. In response to protests from the public and from politicians, the terms of the bill are being re-discussed.

As the International Press Institute specified on Friday, the bill foresees "a penalty of up to 464,700 Euros for publishers and up to 20,000 Euros for journalists who flout the ban." The bill would also ban recording or filming of individuals without their approval and proposes prison sentences for those who disobey, as well as forbidding wiretaps unless investigators can prove that a crime has been committed. "Critics have suggested the move has more to do with the desire of politicians to avoid embarrassing allegations about their private lives than with the stated intent to protect ordinary citizens' privacy," the IPI noted.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2010-06-01 14:45

Le Monde, the so-called "French Establishment Bible," has run into some financial difficulty. Like many other print publications, Le Monde is searching for ways to rake in more cash to avoid financial collapse. In light of its struggle, The Times reported today, that Le Monde may be on the verge of sacrificing some of its values in order to attract a larger readership. In a noted break from tradition, Le Monde is offering its readers a chance to buy classic, albeit licentious, works of literature like Casanova or the Marquis de Sade.

Yet, even more dramatic changes are just around the corner: there are reportedly 5 different groups who are considering making offers to buy Le Monde. Sadly for Le Monde reporters, none of these candidates plan to allow Le Monde journalists to maintain their unique status that allows them to have a certain amount of control in the company. Yet, Gilles Van Kote, chairman of the Society of Le Monde's journalists, claims that a takeover is inevitable.

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-01 14:19

The format of online news pages is typically straightforward: at the top is the news story, to the side an array of distracting links and advertisements, and at the bottom the murkiest and most unpredictable part of the news page: the comments section. With controversial topics and flaring tempers, it is unsurprising that some online editors are considering censoring the comments section to prevent personal attacks and otherwise aggressive remarks. Clifford Nass, a communications professor at Stanford University, claims that aggressive behavior online is human nature. Posters purposefully post aggressive comments to provoke the greatest number of responses, and online editors are taking note.

Once thinking that the comment box would allow for meaningful discussions, editors are beginning to see the open nature of online commenting as becoming an increasingly serious problem. While some news sources are eliminating comments altogether, others are trying to solve the problem by blocking comments that contain key words while others are establishing a live human monitor who will make sure the content is appropriate.

Author

Carole Wurzelbacher

Date

2010-06-01 11:52


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