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If no one likes journalists, then we need to look after our own

Journalists' Charity

Earlier this year, a US study claimed that becoming a journalist is the fifth worst career choice. As well as citing factors such as stress, industry outlook, income levels and general working environment for the ranking, the study quotes a reporter as saying the younger generation “doesn’t care about the news”.

This is against a background of continuing decline in public trust of communications professionals, no doubt exacerbated by the ongoing findings of the Leveson inquiry as it investigates the underbelly of journalism and politics.

Of course it’s not all bleak. In many ways, this is a time of renaissance for journalism as our ways of gathering and disseminating news proliferate online. And journalism will always offer rewards that outweigh the financial ones for the majority of us.

Nevertheless a life of low salary and high stress can take its toll, if not on you then for some of your colleagues. So why not do something small to help that collectively can amount to something big?

The Journalists’ Charity “started in 1864 when a group of parliamentary journalists met up in a London pub to set up a fund to help their colleagues and dependents who had fallen on hard times. In the days before state benefits, grants were made to meet the costs of providing some of the necessities of life”. The Victorian novelist Charles Dickens was a founder supporter.

These days it has widened its remit to include all journalists and is always ready to help them and their dependents with advice, grants and other forms of financial assistance. The Journalists’ Charity also runs a care home for journalists, Pickering House, in Dorking, Surrey as well as sheltered and extra care housing.

Given that most of our pensions are not going to add up to much, that’s quite a nice safety net isn’t it?

On 8 June I’m going to cycle solo and unsupported from Brighton (home of Journalism.co.uk) to Oslo, Norway to raise money for this under-appreciated charity. I will be cycling approximately 850 miles in 11 days, an average of 77 miles a day, cycling through England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Denmark.

You can do your bit by sponsoring a fiver or more on my sponsorship page and helping to spread the word via Twitter, Facebook etc.

Sponsors who do not wish to remain private will be rewarded with recognition and thanks on our @journalismnews Twitter channel (58k-plus followers) so that’s pretty decent exposure, especially if you sponsor on behalf of your media-related business.

And if you’re still not convinced that the Journalists’ Charity is a worthy cause, I will also be raising money for two cancer charities – alternative sponsor page here.

John Thompson (@johncthompson), cycling to raise money for charity

Journalism.co.uk owner John Thompson (@johncthompson), who will be cycling Brighton to Oslo in 11 days to raise money for the Journalists' Charity

The route I plan to cycle from Calais (once I have cycled to Dover and taken the ferry)

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Crowdsourcing the perfect press release: some follow-up thoughts

July 22nd, 2009 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Media releases

Thanks to everyone who has commented, tweeted and emailed with their advice on writing the perfect press release – from the journalist’s point of view.

We’re doing this to create a guide for PRs, press officers and other communications professionals with no nonsense tips from those receiving the releases.

What’s been interesting from the responses so far is the degree of consensus regarding what should and shouldn’t be included.

I’d like to get your views on the following specifics too:

  • What information should the headline of the release contain?
  • Are summaries required or useful?
  • What is the optimum length for the whole release and for individual paragraphs?
  • Is including case studies useful?
  • Should images be supplied or on request?

Leave a comment below, email me (laura [at] journalism.co.uk) or send a message to @journalismnews.

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Going back to the backlink licensing case: NLA’s full statement

June 26th, 2009 | 6 Comments | Posted by in Legal, Online Journalism

This goes back to last week, but it seems worth putting up here anyway. Last Thursday Matt Wardman covered this story for Press Gazette: about the Newspaper Licensing Agency regulating hyperlinks for commercial agencies and aggregators.

“The NLA will be introducing a new form of licence from 1 September to regulate ‘web aggregator’ services (such as Meltwater) that forward links to newspaper websites and for press cuttings agencies undertaking this type of activity.”

Craig McGill also picked up on it and asked a series of provocative questions. He got a lengthy response from the NLA, including this:

“This is not about bloggers adding links to newspaper sites. Our focus is on professional media monitoring organisations (news aggregators, press cuttings agencies) and their client business who make extensive use of the newspaper content.”

More questions are raised in the comments beneath McGill’s piece, including this one about copyright law.

Last Friday Journalism.co.uk spoke to the NLA who said it was part of their new e-Clips service – ‘a feed of newspapers’ online content direct to cuttings aggregators and press cuttings agencies.’

Here’s the NLA statement in full:

“The Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) today [dated June 2009] announced a new business-to- business clippings database for newspaper websites to launch in January 2010. It also has said it will extend its licensing remit to cover newspaper websites from January 2010.

“The new service, called eClips web, will offer a complete feed of newspapers’ online content direct  to cuttings aggregators and press cuttings agencies. Powered directly from newspapers’ own content-management systems, eClips web will make web-based media monitoring faster and richer and provide a permanent record for PR and communications professionals.

“The NLA will also extend its licensing remit to cover local and national newspapers’ web content. David Pugh, managing director of the NLA, said: “We have two aims: to contribute to the growth of web monitoring; and to protect the rights of publishers. Research shows that 23 per cent of newspapers’ online content never appears in print and that the internet is growing in influence as a resource for news. So it is vital to have comprehensive monitoring coverage of newspapers’ websites – and vital that the publishers are properly rewarded for their work.”

“From September 2009, web aggregators that charge clients for their services will require a NLA licence and be charged from January 2010, The press cuttings agencies that either ‘scrape’ content themselves or buy in services from aggregators will also be licensed and charged. Client companies that receive and forward links from these commercial aggregators within their organisation will also require a licence.

“David Pugh added: “We have consulted extensively across the industry – the incremental charges for web cuttings will be low and manageable. I stress this is not about individuals sharing links – we think that’s great for newspapers and promotes their websites and their readership.  What we are doing is making sure that newspapers are rewarded fairly for professional use of their web content by businesses.”"

Further notes:

“The NLA is owned by the 8 national newspaper publishing houses and generates B2B revenues for
1,300 national and regional publishers through licensing use of their content by press cuttings
agencies (PCAs) and their client companies.

“The new licences will cover all local and national titles with the exception of the Financial Times and
the News International titles. These will all, however, be included in the eClips web database.”

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