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Following up on Guido Fawkes’ Scottish media speculation

February 27th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Jobs, Newspapers, Social media and blogging

Earlier this week Guido Fawkes published what seemed to be a segment of the minutes from a North Lanarkshire council meeting. The original PDF link on Guido’s blog no longer seems to work. The council told Journalism.co.uk that this information about appointments is always made public (see end of post).

Guido speculates who the people were on the shortlist for the position of head of corporate communications and marketing at the council. Could it be that five senior figures in Scottish journalism were up for the role?

FleetStreetBlues suggests – probably based on the minute – who the final candidate was, while this report from February 1 over on AllMediaScotland suggested the new head is Sunday Herald deputy editor Stephen Penman. (Update – Deputy editor of the Scotland on Sunday, Tom Little, has now confirmed to Journalism.co.uk that he was offered the job but turned it down, and Stephen Penman has confirmed that he will be taking up the position in April.)

North Lanarkshire Council supplied Journalism.co.uk with this statement from Gavin Whitefield, chief executive of North Lanarkshire Council:

“It is this council’s practice to ensure transparency and accountability in all aspects of our business – including the recruitment process for Chief Officer posts. For that reason we have always included the names of shortleeted [sic] job candidates, and of successful applicants, in the minutes of the Appointments Committee, which deals with Chief Officer appointments. Although we have not received complaints about this practice in the past, we do keep our processes under review in response to comments and experience.”

Update: Journalism.co.uk asked the council why, if the material had been intended for publication did the link not work? “In light of the concerns raised in relation to this post, we consider it appropriate to remove the minute from the council’s web site and we will review our practice for the future. The web site is being amended today and the appropriate section is therefore temporarily unavailable. It should be available again later today,” Gavin Whitefield, Chief Executive, said.

Journalism.co.uk will try and contact the relevant parties involved for more information.

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NY Times response to Atlantic article suggesting death of its brand: ‘leaves a lot to be desired from the standpoint of journalism’

January 14th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers, Online Journalism

In its January/February issue an article in the Atlantic entitled ‘End Times’ suggested a scenario where traditional media brands die out completely. What if highly-revered brands could not make the leap, when the time comes to go entirely digital, it asked.

“What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if The New York Times goes out of business- like, this May?,” Michael Hirschorn wrote.

Now the New York Times responds (published in full on the Poyntor Online Forum).

“Your article ‘End Times,’ which speculates on whether The New York Times can survive the death of journalism, leaves a lot to be desired from the standpoint of… well, journalism,” writes Catherine Mathis from SVP, Corporate Communications.

“It’s not unusual that a journalist calls the subject of a piece before actually publishing the article or column. In fact, in some areas of journalism that’s standard practice. We wish that had happened with this story. We could have helped. Here are some of the things we would have told you.”

Read the NYTimes.com’s ‘things’ here.


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Jeremy Dear responds to regional media/BBC Local row

October 27th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism

Following coverage of last week’s comments by National Union of Journalists (NUJ) chief Jeremy Dear, about his bemusement with the regional press’ opposition to the BBC’s proposals to extend local video offerings online, the general secretary has responded, saying that there’s ‘room for everyone’ in the regional market.

“My point is that the local newspapers campaign is for their own vested interests – they don’t care about ensuring local people have a variety of sources of news, comment and entertainment. They want to be able to capture the market themselves. I fully support the newspapers’ expansion in to online media and I hope they capture a significant part of the audience – but it has to be done through quality content, with enough staff and resources to win ‘eyeballs’ not by stopping the licence fee payer being able to access BBC local services,” he writes in a blog post.

Dear adds that he has replied to a letter from Trinity Mirror’s director of corporate communications about his remarks, but is yet to receive a response:

“I simply asked him the question that if we believe in media plurality and we accept that commercial local TV and radio can exist alongside the BBC what is so different about online?”

Regional newspaper publishers have previously told Journalism.co.uk that ‘enough staff and resources to win “eyeballs”‘ would be a much easier prospect if a £68 million, five-year investment plan was available.

The final decision on the plans is fast approaching – it’s scheduled for February 25 2009 – and perhaps now is the time for the regional press to ask themselves what can be done if their opposition fails.

Is there potential for collaboration with the BBC online, and could this drive further innovation by regional titles online in response to the competition? Or will approval of the scheme lead to a reduction in online investment by the regional media?

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