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State-owned media to go on sale in Russia

December 1st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick

Newspapers, television channels and radio stations owned by members of the Russian government will be put up for sale, according to a post on the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper blog.

The SFN blog report, which is based on articles by Polit.ru and Trud.ru, says the announcement followed comments by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that public figures “should not be the owners of ‘factories, newspapers, steamships”.

He said official bodies should only be involved with fields that encourage quality performance of duties, suggesting that all other industries should be privatised.

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Cameron’s personal photographer taken off public payroll

November 16th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Photography, Politics

David Cameron has performed something of a U-turn on the controversial employment of a personal photographer and videographer. It was announced today that Andrew Parsons and Nicky Woodhouse will now be paid from Conservative Party Funds and not from the public payroll.

Parsons was Cameron’s personal photographer during the election campaign, while Woodhouse produced the WebCameron videos for the party. Cameron defended Parsons appointment to the payroll, claiming he would work across departments.

Full story on the Evening Standard’s website at this link…

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PR Week: Who’s buying breakfast, lunch, and dinner for coalition special advisers?

November 4th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Politics

PR Week has done some great analysis on figures released by the UK coalition government last week, which give details of hospitality received by special advisers.

According to PR Week’s report, special advisers between 13 May and 31 July received:

  • 11 breakfast, lunch or dinners paid for by the Daily Mail;
  • two lunches with journalists from the Independent;
  • no lunches with journalists from the Daily Express;
  • eight lunches with the Guardian – where all meetings were with special advisers to Clegg and Cameron;
  • 22 hospitality meetings with the BBC;
  • and 22 lunches and dinners provided by News International.

More from PR Week on the figures in this report…

The full data from the Ministry of Justice is available in this pdf.

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Covering the cuts: how the media is reacting to the spending review

October 20th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Online Journalism, Politics

First of all, a gauntlet, laid down by Steve Schifferes, Professor of Financial Journalism at City University London. Says Schifferes:

News coverage of the spending review and Budget has been too focused on presenting the government’s viewpoint that large and rapid reductions in public spending are both inevitable and desirable.

This example of group think has been exacerbated by the lack of an effective opposition, with Labour hobbled by its long-drawn out leadership campaign. The coverage of this spending review will be a test for the media as well as the government, in showing whether they can cut through the rhetoric and the confusing welter of figures to come up with the real story of the cuts and their effects on ordinary people.

So how are the big online news sites in the UK handling the cuts’ coverage?

Going live

BBC News Online editor Steve Herrmann says the site’s main focus will be on live coverage with two video streams: a special Andrew Neill programme and BBC Parliament.

We’ll be aiming to reflect the latest of these live entries on other parts of the site too, including the front page, to give a sense of how the detail of the story is unfolding – a technique we developed and first used for our live election coverage earlier this year. Beyond that we’ll be summarising the key elements of the story with graphics to show the extent of the cuts to various areas, and integrating our correspondents’ expert analysis throughout, all brought together on a Special Report page at www.bbc.co.uk/spendingreview

Channel 4 News will be streaming the statement from Chancellor George Osborne live on its website and offering immediate reactions from its experts via their on-site blogs. But the site is also planning a series of infographics that will be used during the speech to better explain what the cuts mean for the public.

Skynews.com will also carry a livestream of Osborne’s speech.  Shortly after there will be an interactive guide to the cuts, showing how much each department’s spending will be cut over the next four years and highlighting key spending changes by government department.

The Telegraph has a comprehensive liveblog of minute-by-minute news relating to the cuts. What’s great about this liveblog is it’s also linking out to other news coverage, as well as Telegraph.co.uk coverage elsewhere, including a DIY guide for UK households wanting to introduce their own money-saving measures.

Interactive games and putting the public in the picture

The BBC has a simple but effective video wall of short clips from members of the public explaining what they would save and cut.

Top of the graphics is the Guardian’s colourful chart of UK public spending since 1948, where you can see today’s spending as a percentage of GDP.

The BBC, Guardian and Channel 4 have all produced some interactive games allowing you to pick and choose what you would cut and see the impact that this would have on overall savings:

BBC

The Guardian

Channel 4 News

How are you covering the cuts? Let us know in the comments below.

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BBC CoJo: In defence of Mark Thompson’s visit to Downing Street

September 6th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Politics

Last week several news outlets, including the BBC, reported on a visit to Downing Street by the BBC’s director general Mark Thompson, who was allegedly there to discuss BBC news coverage of the government’s spending review.

It was suggested that such a visit may risk damaging the impartiality of the broadcaster, with Thompson reportedly trying to ensure a good relationship with the government in light of a licence fee review on the horizon. Others indicated that the meeting was on the order of senior government figures who wanted to “quiz” Thompson on content.

Commenting on the press coverage, Kevin Marsh, editor of the BBC College of Journalism criticizes what he regards as a promotion of appearance and impression over the facts in a post on the College of Journalism discussion blog.

Is it really a surprise for example, to learn that David Cameron’s press chief, Andy Coulson, had lunch with the BBC head of news, Helen Boaden, and that the subject of spending review coverage came up? Or that Mr Coulson would press for more ‘context’?

(…) Now, I have no special knowledge or insight here – but certainly when I was running Today or World at One it wasn’t that unusual to recruit senior executives to put in a good word when you were trying to fix big interviews.

And it’s easy to see that with a huge, high-profile season on the horizon – and the spending review season will run across all of the BBC’s national and regional programming as well as the news website – a bit of shoulder work from the chaps at the top is no bad thing.

See his full post here…

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Bloomberg to begin hiring in Washington DC for new policy news wire

August 19th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Data, Politics

Financial news wire Bloomberg will be creating jobs for more than 100 journalists and analysts in Washington DC with the release of its new policy news service Bloomberg Government, according to a report by the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism.

The resource, which is currently in development stages, advertises itself as “a customized resource for professionals who need to understand the business implications of government actions in real time”.

This comprehensive, subscription-based, online tool collects best-in-class data, provides high-end analysis and analytic tools, and delivers deep, reliable, quick and unbiased reporting from a team of more than 2,300 journalists and multimedia specialists worldwide. It also offers news aggregated from thousands of the top trusted news sources from around the globe.

Those interested in filling the new roles will need to be data-focused and able to combine reporting skills with policy information analysis, a spokeswoman told the Reynolds Center.

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Online Journalism Blog: Can the UK government save journalism?

August 21st, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

Paul Bradshaw suggests a number of steps (with examples) that the government could take ‘to create an environment that supports good journalism':

  • Release of public data
  • Tax relief on donations to support investigative journalism
  • Encouraging innovation and enterprise
  • Reskilling of redundant journalists
  • An effective local news consortia

Well worth a read – and more suggestions are welcome.

Full post at this link…

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Boston.com: US Senate to hold hearings on newspaper industry finances

April 22nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Senator John Kerry will oversee a series of hearings in Washington next week on the US newspaper industry’s financial problems.

Full article at this link…

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MediaGuardian: Government could relax local media ownership rules

January 5th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

As part of his Digital Britain report to be released later this month, Lord Carter, minister for communications, technology and broadcasting, is expected to recommend relaxing ownership regulations in local media to aid struggling newspaper publishers.

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NMA: UK government signs up for new media lessons

November 19th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Training

Departments, including Culture, Media & Sport, are to receive digital media training, including sessions on user-generated content, social networking and search.

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