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#GEN2012: Three ideas for getting more women in journalism management

May 31st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

Newsrooms should make substantial changes to their workplace culture and workers’ rights to attract more women to journalism and encourage them to take up management jobs, senior editors at the News World Summit in Paris have suggested.

The discussion, on how to get more women into senior journalism jobs, came after the International Women’s Media Foundation surveyed 500 media organisations in 59 countries and found 27 per cent of top management positions are held by women.

Sylvie Kauffmann, editorial director at French daily Le Monde, told the conference:

When I joined this business 30 years ago, I never thought 30 years later I still had to answer this question. I do think that women, generally speaking, do bring a different style of management, as they have brought a lot of different things to journalism.

The massive numbers of women joining this profession has I think made a difference in the kind of journalism we are publishing or broadcasting. I think basically more female leaders attract more female readers or viewers – it’s as simple as this.

A campaign was recently set up in Germany to get 30 per cent of journalism management positions occupied by women by 2017. Zeit Online editor-in-chief Wolfgang Blau said:

One of the ambiguities of this campaign was it didn’t define what was a leadership position. We are already at 30 per cent but we are surprised because we think it’s not enough.

Nadia Salah, editor-in-chief of L’Economiste, a daily finance newspaper in Morocco, said:

I counted how many editor in chief women there were in Morocco. I found seven out of 47 people in that job title – that’s two less than last year. They left because they got married.

So what can be done? Here are three of the ideas that came out of the panel debate.

1) Get more women experts quoted in stories

A recent survey of Le Monde newspaper found women were quoted seven times less often than men as expert sources. Alison Smale, executive director of the International Herald Tribune suggests:

I think it’s very important to consider how we depict women in the media. If you look at a front page, I think you should see at least one woman depicted there or talked about and it shouldn’t always Angela Merkel.

I really do believe that having sources quoted as women – people on television in positions of power being women – it sends its own message.

2) Change the workplace culture

Arne Jensen, assistant secretary general at the Association of Editors in Norway said “macho culture still rules in many newsrooms”. He said:

There has to be a possibility to combine working life with family life. They (colleagues at the last paper he worked at) thought that to be editor of a newspaper you had to work long hours every day. They did this because their wives picked up the children.

I said to these guys: this is not working because the signal we are sending out to journalists is that if you are going to have kids and you have a man who has a job, then you can’t be an editorial leader.

3) Equal (or at least, similar) maternity/paternity leave rights

Wolfgang Blau, from Zeit Online, said changes to German parental leave law had made a “really crucial” difference to managers’ attitudes to hiring women. He explained:

When it comes to staffing a position that’s really strategically important and I’m looking at a female candidate in her thirties, the question of course is how long will she stay.

I’m genuinely happy when any of my colleagues has babies. German law incentivises fathers [to take more time off]. The risk now is evenly spread when I look at young men and young women; the risk is pretty much the same, that he or she will take off for the year. The law can do wonders.

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#GEN2012: Will we still have digital development editors in 10 years?

May 31st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Multimedia

Newspaper publishers need to “keep looking outwards” and make changes – even the titles that are the most digitally advanced – the Guardian’s digital development editor told editors at the World News Summit in Paris today.

Asked at the conference whether jobs like hers – helping newsrooms find and implement new processes and tools – would still be needed once newspapers had migrated further towards digital, Joanna Geary replied:

I’d like to hope that in the future it’s something that every journalist would play a role in and would start to understand and have an interest and curiosity in how they connect with readers in meaningful ways.

I still think there is a need to be honest and open with ourselves that this is not a communication revolution that is going to slow down any time soon. If that means we have to have a role that is constantly looking outwards at how our readers are changing, I think there is always going to be a need for this.

She later added:

The Guardian has a very unique culture, specifically about embracing new ideas and understanding new platforms and seek opportunities from new tools. When you see journalists work closely with developers, what’s great is watching both sides learn what’s possible.

For anyone who’s working on internal change it’s so easy to become internal looking and focused on internal structures and politics. My own bit of advice would be to keep looking outwards.

Guardian network editor Clare Margetson said there were still some journalists who needed a hand getting to grips with digital.

When I was on the newsdesk 10 years ago it seemed like a very different place. One of our best reporters would sit smoking a pipe and would not touch a computer. He would call in his story. It seems a world away.

There are still some who need help and some for whom Facebook is still quite a scary thing to use, but it’s quite collaborative and you find the younger reporters on a bank of desks will help out the older ones.

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#GEN2012: Netizine ‘turns magazines into social networks’

May 31st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Magazines

A new HTML5-based service that aims to “connect” magazine readers – allowing them to share, recommend and comment on what they’re reading with like-minded people – has been showcased at the News World Summit in Paris.

Netizine is in invited beta mode at the moment and aims to “turn magazines into social networks”, building communities around content and bring interactivity to magazine pages.

Readers interested in the same subject can chat about articles on the page itself and join groups around specific topics. Editorial teams would also be able to connect with readers in real time.

Magazines can be personalised and bookmarked to read offline – and Facebook and Twitter are integrated directly into each page.

There’s a video explaining more about the service on the Netizine website.

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#GEN2012: Swiss news start-up on why it ‘forced’ editors to join Twitter

May 30th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Online Journalism

The blogs editor of a new Swiss weekly newspaper and website that required all of its senior staff to join Twitter says the move has helped them better understand the challenges of multi-platform publishing and engage with readers.

Tageswoche launched in October – and had 3,000 people buying a subscription “before they even knew what it was about”, David Bauer told the News World Summit in Paris today.

Reflecting on the lessons learnt from the launch, Bauer said getting journalists to be truly platform-neutral was something of a challenge at first:

It’s difficult to get into journalists’ minds that they’re working on a story without knowing where it’s going to be published. Up until recently it wasn’t common in Switzerland for journalists to be on Twitter. We forced all our editors to join Twitter – it teaches you about pace, about interaction, about information flows, about making mistakes and being open about them.

The one thing that surprised me and astonished me the most was the great quality of user content. We required everyone to sign up to post a comment, keeping out the trolls. We actively and prominently featured good reader comments, thus setting a bar. Our editors actively engage in discussions about their own articles, be it on Facebook, Twitter or our website.

He spoke about the importance of apps and being seen on mobile:

We had to learn the hard way. We didn’t have a native app – we just had a website that was optimised for mobile devices. But what happened was people went to the App Store, didn’t find us and concluded that it didn’t exist.

Story selection – and what works best online – was also an interesting discovery:

A lot of people told us that we need to have more news on our website but when we look at what articles people read and share the most it’s when we go beyond news, comment on news, add background information and explain the news. We curate a lot, send people away, and have them come back to have the news explained by us.

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#GEN2012: There is ‘great opportunity’ in local advertising

May 30th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Events, Local media

Local online advertising is one of the top opportunities for growth for news publishers this year, according to a new trends report by World Newsmedia Network due to be published in September and previewed at the News World Summit in Paris today.

World Newsmedia Network chief executive Martha Stone said:

Local advertising is on the up – it is a great opportunity – but half is coming from pure players like Google, Microsoft, Facebook. Only a quarter is from newspapers, 10 per cent is going to local TV and about 11 per cent directories like Yellow Pages.

We can’t let the pure plays and telecom groups take that money from us. We need to take that opportunity and run with it.

The group’s new World Digital Media Trends report will also identify the Asia Pacific region as a key growth area.

The opportunities for revenue are diminishing in traditional media – they’re in negative territory for newspapers, zero per cent growth in television and you see all kinds of opportunities for digital forms of media. The traditional media aren’t looking good.

Traditionally the strong markets for online advertising have been the developed countries of North America, Europe and Japan but that’s starting to change in a big way and the developed world is starting to kick in with the advertising opportunities online.

She added:

South Korea is the biggest consumer of downloading apps next to US, Sweden, South Africa and Japan.

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#GEN2012: Follow the Global Editors Network News World Summit in Paris

May 30th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Online Journalism

For the rest of the week Journalism.co.uk will be reporting from the Global Editors Network’s News World Summit in Paris.

The three-day event will is following the mantra of “Converge. Hack. Innovate.” As GEN says:

This is the strategy that newsroom executives everywhere need to follow to drive their organisations successfully through a cross-platform media world. This is the strategy that the News World Summit (NEWS!) will define through sessions, debates, and workshops.

We will be reporting on Journalism.co.uk and tweeting live via @journalism_live and @journalismnews where you can follow events with the #GEN2012 hashtag.

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#news2011: Russia Today on raising awareness through its FreeVideo platform

After the second day of sessions focused on business at the Global Editors Network news summit, including paywalls and paid-for app, it was fitting that during the third and final day of presentations we heard about projects offering content and platforms for free.

One such project came from Russia Today which outlined its FreeVideo platform, described as an “English language video agency”. The website, which should be of interest to journalists worldwide, provides free video footage that journalists can download, edit and reuse for their own projects and output.

Answering a question from the floor about the business model, Alexei Nikolov, managing director of Russia Today, said it was to “promote the channel” on a global scale.

The site includes “stock footage” as well as video covering specific news events. Xenia Fedorova, head of the department of promotion and development of media projects for the broadcaster, explained that all the footage comes with multilingual scripts and shotlists.

She added that the website has more than 9,000 news channels already registered and using footage “on a daily basis”.

I spoke to her more at the end of the session about the decision to go down the free distribution route, their attribution methods and to find out whether there are plans in the pipeline to monetise the platform.

There are of course other platforms out there offering video content to journalists, such as the UK-based Video News Agency and also in 2009 Al Jazeera opened up its footage under creative commons licensing.

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#news2011: ProPublica model ‘not feasible’ as commercial venture, says editor-in-chief

November 29th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Events, Investigative journalism

A commercial version of ProPublica is not “feasible at present”, its editor-in-chief told the Global Editors Network news summit today.

The US investigative news site, which relies on funding from philanthropic donations, was launched in 2008.

Giving a keynote speech to the event in Hong Kong via video-link Pro-Publica’s Paul Steiger, a former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, said he did not think a commercial organisation would be able to do as ProPublica does and “concentrate on doing nothing but investigative reporting”.

“It is possible that news organisations can have investigative reporting as part of the menu of reporting”, but not to the same extent.

The industry has gone from a high profit margin business model to one with much tighter margins.

As a result news organisations are “much less able to take the risk of sending reporters out on a project that might not produce a viable story,” he said.

I don’t think it is impossible at to make it happen in places outside of the US though. It just requires energy and ingenuity.

Click here for more on ProPublica and how it is funded.

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#news2011: ‘Public responsiblity’ of journalists under spotlight in ethics debate

November 29th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

The phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World has prompted numerous debates about ethical practices in newsrooms in the UK and abroad, as well as a public inquiry in Britain and calls for a new regulatory framework in Britain.

So it was under the frame of the News of the World closure that the Global Editors Network news summit today held a session on ethical journalism.

But board member of the Stiching Democracie en Media in the Netherlands Adriaan Stoop warned that governments “feeling the need to regulate media” given “developments in technology” is a “big threat”.

The problem is if we do not decide to do it ourselves, then somebody else is going to do it and that’s the last thing you want.

Interestingly in opening the session Francois Dufour, editor-in-chief of Play Bac Presse in France had already taken a first step in the DIY approach, by proposing 10 “world journalism principles”.

These included keeping certain things separate, such as the roles of editor and publisher, journalism and advertising and facts and opinion.

Other points include double checking of facts, respecting privacy and where “people are presumed innocent it is respected”.

Other panelists also shared their ideas on good and ethical journalism and their views of best practice in the media.

Bambang Harymurti, CEO of Tempo Indonesia, and also a member of Indonesia’s press council, said the question is whether mistakes are made with “malicious intent”.

It’s very important that society has that understanding … A good journalist is not a journalist that never makes a mistake, but when they make a mistake, before anyone complains, they make a correction and tell the public.

He said that journalists should say to themselves: “When I write something I truly believe it is the truth and if later I find I made a mistake I will quickly correct it and tell the public”.

The issue of standards and ethics also moved to the online environment, with standards editor of the Associated Press Tom Kent asked to comment on the fact journalists who tweeted about the arrest of fellow reporters covering the Occupy Wall Street protests were told to stop doing so.

He said this was not considered “a competitive news situation”.

It was about the welfare of journalists. We told them to cut it out and I feel comfortable with that.

He added that when it comes to reporting generally on Twitter, the news agency has “an obligation to people who support AP” to preserve exclusives for the wire.

As for reporting online generally, the rules are “largely” the same, he said.

Do not have different standards. I think that one thing that has changed in the landscape is the existence of bloggers and they do play very important role in press coverage in lot of countries. We are very interested in helping to protect bloggers and not in providing tools that can be used against them.

Summing up, GEN consultant Aidan White said the question to be asked is:

How do we in journalism try to make sure the person producing the information, editing the information and putting it out has got a sense that they’re doing something as a part of public responsibility. That is the challenge.

As a result, he announced that GEN will launch a coalition for ethical journalism which will “bring in partners from the online industry, print, broadcast etc” and another debate on the topic has already been scheduled for GEN’s next summit in Paris next year.

He also shared the following links as useful resources on the topic of ethics and standards in journalism:

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#news2011: ‘Content is king, efficient delivery is King Kong’ and ‘experience is queen’

Media consumers today have the options of numerous screens when accessing content, but a session at the Global Editors Network news summit today focused on building a “four-screen strategy: mobile, tablet, PC and IPTV”.

The session opened with a powerful speech from former director general of Al Jazeera Wadah Khanfar, whose comments embodied the standpoint of content being “king”.

Concentrate on content. People demand accuracy and credibility. Content is the king, platforms and distribution should be there to service, but the strategy is always to integrate the content in a centralised location then redistribute the output.

He went on to say that “technology sometimes distracts us”.

It should not become central to the extent that the journalist becomes a technician and loses touch with the pillars of the profession. He has to be the journalist, but sometimes he has to be the technician.

We demand too much sometimes for our journalists. It starts from one important departure – from our responsibilities.

… We are here to understand what is behind the surface and what exactly the story means. We need to think beyond the data.

Continuing the metaphor Guido Baumhauer, director of strategy for marketing and distribution at Deutsche Welle, said that “content is king, efficient delivery is King Kong.”

We have to understand what it is people are interested in, that’s where the technology kicks in.

And the delivery of this is determined by their POPE strategy, he said – “plan once publish everywhere”. He described it further to me in an interview after the session:

The idea behind it is if you want to reach different platforms with your content you have to tailor it to the needs of the platform and target groups. It can never be done if you produce once and publish everywhere. So if there’s a television item that you then put on a mobile device or on a similar device, it doesn’t really make any sense.

But if you plan from beginning that there is some part of the content that you have produced that will go to mobile and some that will go to television, it means you plan once then publish everywhere and that does make sense.

During the session he also said “we have to stop thinking in broadcasting terms”.

We have to become part of the dialogue. If [the audience] still stands at the gate, he or she will just walk around us because the gate has no fence anymore. We have to become part of the network.

The BBC’s controller of digital and technology James Montgomery also shared the broadcaster’s approach to multiplatforms, telling the conference the BBC is “trying to move towards seamless coherence between platforms” and offer “access to the same content in different ways”.

By creating a “joined-up experience and content delivered across multiple platforms” he said that “adding a fifth or sixth [screen] in the future wouldn’t be difficult”.

In terms of use across different platforms at different times of the day, he said mobile devices tend to “spike” in the morning while access via desktops is more prevalent at lunchtime. He said the research also showed mobile – and especially tablets – were peaked in the evenings.

On the subject of tablets, the final panel member to present, Patrice Slupowski, vice president of digital innovation and communities at Orange, unveiled for the first time a new iPad app not yet launched called Newsblend, with the declaration that “if content is king … experience is queen”.

The app brings together “videos, drawings, polls and social media” along with news articles, and mixes them together to create a “social magazine”.

It is a smart clustering of news and social media.

The app content is currently in French but there are plans to launch an English version also when it goes live next year.

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