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PCC seeks ideas from Irish press regulatory system

 

The Press Complaints Commission is looking at the Irish press watchdog system as a possible option for reforming the UK self-regulatory approach, according to reports.

Press Council of Ireland chairman Dáithí O’Ceallaigh is quoted by the Irish Times as saying the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, Lord Hunt, and other senior PCC officials have visited Dublin for a “lengthy meeting” to look at how the Irish press regulatory system works.

The Press Council is part of a two-tier approach introduced in Ireland in 2008. Complaints are first referred to a separate Press Ombudsman, who tries to deal with them through conciliation.

If a resolution cannot be achieved, the ombudsman can make a ruling based on a code of practice and can refer significant complaints to the 13-strong Press Council, which runs independently of government and media.

Mr O’Ceallaigh said:

The fact that they came here at all, and those discussions, reflect the fact that Leveson himself and a number of the witnesses at the inquiry in Britain have already publicly expressed their interest in the origins, the structure and the functions of the Press Council and the Press Ombudsman in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Lord Justice Leveson gave a strong hint yesterday afternoon about the regulatory structure he could recommend when his report comes out later this year.

He discussed allowing group complaints and introducing a “swift” system for dealing with privacy and libel issues without lawyers. Leveson also suggested that an ombudsman could give guidance on whether a newspaper needs to notify the subject of a story before publication.

He said yesterday:

Whatever comes out of this must be independent of government, independent of the state, independent of parliament but independent of the press. It has to have expertise on it or available to it, but must command the respect of the press but equally the respect of the public.

It seems to me that it can do lots of different things. I would like to think about a system that provides redress particularly to those who can’t afford to litigate.

At the moment, the PCC doesn’t take group complaints. So, for example – and I had a number of people giving evidence from, for example, the transgender community and other groups, who say, ‘Well, because there’s no name in this, there’s nobody to complain, and therefore there is no mechanism to obtain redress for them.’

Leveson also said there needed to be “some sort of mechanism to resolve disputes. So that can be consensual, the complaint-solving thing, but a mechanism in the absence of consensual resolution”.

I equally understand that there is an argument that in some circumstances requiring prior notification would lead to litigation and would kill the story. So there has to be some way of drawing a line.

One possibility might be to say there is some mechanism within the regulatory regime that allows the press to say: ‘Look, we have this story, we don’t feel we ought to notify the subject of it for these reasons: he’ll destroy the evidence’, or whatever and to get a view.

If either he doesn’t ask or alternatively he does ask and gets the answer: ‘No, we think you ought to notify’, then again, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t publish, it’s up to him, but then perhaps there should be a potential regime for exemplary damages. I’m just throwing out ideas.

But then I have another mechanism for swift resolution of privacy, small libel-type issues. Not the enormous stuff, perhaps an inquisitorial regime which can be done without lawyers, but some mechanism for members of the public to be able to challenge decisions and get a swift response.

On top of all that, one has to have a mechanism that means that sanctions work. I recognise entirely the parlous financial position of much of the press, but it’s important that sanctions are taken seriously.

Leveson added:

When I said to [Jeremy] Paxman that I didn’t want my report to end up on the second shelf of a professor of journalism’s study as yet another failed attempt, his only comment was to say: ‘As high as the second shelf?’

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SFN Blog: Independent News & Media trials paid content on Irish regionals

March 30th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick

Last week Independent News & Media (INM) introduced a new freemium model to 13 of its regional newspaper websites in Ireland.

Much content on the sites will remain free, but charges will be introduced for iPhone apps, digital editions and online subscriptions, where there will be a choice between micropayments per article, bundles and time-based subscriptions.

Full story at this link…

Introduction to the new premium content sections at this link, via The Kerryman’s website, and a letter about the changes from group editor Declan Malone here.

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Independent.ie: Irish-language paper relaunches and expands circulation

November 18th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Foinse, the Irish-language paper that ceased publication in June, is to relaunch and expand its circulation by being distributed for free every Wednesday.

The ‘refreshed’ Foinse will take on five full-time staff and use a network of freelancers.

Full post at this link…

(via Roy Greenslade’s blog)

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Is there life after a journalism course? The Coventry Class of 2009 – Jason Craig

September 3rd, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Jobs, Journalism, Online Journalism, Training

At the end of the academic year John Mair, senior lecturer in broadcasting at Coventry University, asked just what would happen to his undergraduate journalism class of 2009. In the face of the biggest media recession for many a generation where do they go? Is there life after a journalism course? A few months on, we are re-visiting the students.

Jason Craig graduated with a first class honours in journalism and media from Coventry University last June. He now works as a writer on the Belfast based Pacenotes – a magazine for the many thousands of  rally enthusiasts in Ireland.

As I write this, 10,000 copies of the September issue of Pacenotes Rally Magazine will be returning from the printers in Antrim and winging their way to newsagents, subscribers and leading rally figures across the UK and Ireland.

The days leading up to print deadline, leaving the office just before midnight and rising the following morning at 6am was not uncommon, and after a while you become oblivious to the man-hours needed to compile a 72-page monthly read.

When you are passionate about a subject and you are getting paid to write about it, time really doesn’t become an issue – at least for me, anyway. My last report covered the Ulster International Rally, a mammoth two day operation that required the compiling of driver quotes and pictures on stage and in and around service.

I give up evenings and weekends to be involved in a sport I have followed and admired for so long. To have access to teams and drivers is a privilege, so it is my job to relay this ‘inside information’ to the reader as best possible.

For the same issue, with the help of Phil James (www.pro-rally.co.uk), I have just compiled a one-off, 11 page commemorative feature on the Mini as this year marks its 50th anniversary.

I’ve spoken to many people about this giant-killing rally machine, but none more eloquent than the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally winner, Paddy Hopkirk. This is what makes my new job so varied and exciting.

Recently, in the space of a week, I have been to Dublin to research  a feature on Couture Auto Ltd before jetting over to England the following day to pay the motorsport engine builder, Mountune a visit.

This visit to the Essex based company had added meaning as anyone who knows me will be wholly aware of my admiration for the Blue Oval and rallying in general. As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen so many Ford GT supercars in the same place at the same time, including one worth a cool £1 million!

In October I travel to Cork to cover the final round of the TROA Irish Tarmac Championship where this year’s winner will be crowned, and in November – the weekend before my graduation ceremony, in fact – I travel to the final round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in the hope that Ulsterman, Kris Meeke will prevail as the champion.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had strong leadership and continued support from my lecturers during my final few days at Coventry University: automotive hack Andrew Noakes and media guru John Mair were of particular help. They deserve a special mention for reasons known only to them, with two copies of the current issue soon to land on their respective desks.

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The new Student Publication Association needs to converse with existing communities

August 7th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Training

Josh Halliday, an undergraduate journalism student at the University of Sunderland and InJournalism editor, takes a look at a new student organisation. A version of this post originally appeared on his blog. A disclosure: he launched Euro CollegeJourn, an online student community, earlier this year.

The UK-centric Student Publication Association will be a ‘national representative body’ for student publications ‘which supports student publications and their contributors by offering guidance, knowledge sharing, links in to the industry and become a forum for all involved,’ according to notes from a preliminary meeting last week, which I have permission to quote from.

These early developments suggest that online resources will be central to the SPA (or SJA according to their website.) Such online resources will seek to provide information and resources regarding good practice and legal issues.

Member publications will have the option to upload their content to the SPA website allowing for ‘affiliated publications’ and industry experts to see their work and, presumably, offer feedback and advice.

There is also plans for an ‘alumni association’ to allow for ‘strong industry contacts to be sustained and have a base of knowledge and experience which affiliated member publications can use to their advantage’.

Regarding the set-up, there will be nine regional representatives whose job it is to report back to a central body, enabling the Association to make ‘informed decisions about how it should operate and run itself’. The regions represented are: London and East Anglia, South East England, South West England, the Midlands, North East England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

Now my take. Any organisation which acts as a forum for student journalists and student journalism can only be a good thing.

I think the SPA would do well to get in touch with, and be inspired by, CoPress in the US. CoPress are, in their own words, an ‘organization dedicated to providing college news outlets with the technical resources and support network they need to innovate online’.

Look at what they’ve done with a wiki, a forum, published conference calls, engagement with the online community through social media; all ‘best practice’ essentials, in my opinion.

I admit, when I received the email from the SPA, it concerned me that it was the first I’d heard of their plans.

It would have been good to see mention of it on Tomorrows’ News, Tomorrow’s Journalists, a purpose-built forum for student journalists.

Similarly, with Euro CollegeJourn. Even though my project is currently on a summer hiatus it would have been good to see Association members involved with it.

In the hope the SPA will join the existing and evolving online conversation. I’ve reserved a Twitter account especially for them. It’s @StudentJournUK – take it, it’s yours.

Nonetheless, I wish the Association every luck. What better time can there be for meaningful collaborative work between journalism students?

What would you like to see a representative body for student journalists and student publications do? How could they help you out? Leave a comment below.

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MediaGuardian: NUJ to cut four staff to save £500,000

April 16th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Job losses

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) is itself not immune from the current downturn and has announced the need to cut four posts, as part of plans to save the union £500,000 a year.

National broadcasting organiser, Paul McLaughlin, will take voluntary redundancy, and be replaced by Sue Harris, who currently handles the magazines, books and PR sectors.

One admin position in Ireland is to go and the role of research and information organiser.

Full story at this link…

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Local newspaper sees high traffic for online memorial

November 12th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

By creating an online version of the newspaper’s announcements page, the Limerick Leader has made its site the ‘focal point for entire community’s grieving,’ a press release from iAnnounce, the company which developed the page, said.

More than 17,600 people have now visited the Limerick Leader’s iAnnounce page for 28 year old Shane Geoghegan, who was shot dead in Kilteragh, Ireland, at the weekend.

Since the page was set up 36 hours ago, more than 8,500 ‘virtual candles’ have been lit and 2,000 messages of condolence written.

“The unexpected death of such a popular man as Shane has affected this very close community,” said Alex Stitt, the managing director of iAnnounce, in the release.

“It is a sign of the internet age that they have turned to online messaging to express their shock and sorrow at what has happened.”

iAnnounce is  used by various newspapers in the Johnston Press, Trinity Mirror and Newsquest newspaper groups, and was developed to make use social network tools for newspaper birth, deaths and marriages notices.

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From the Balcony: End of Irish-language paper La Nua

October 24th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Paper will cease publication next month with total losses reaching £270,000.

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Adrian Jeakings will replace John Fry at Archant

September 24th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

Following the news that Archant’s CEO John Fry will be the new chief executive at Johnston Press, Archant have announced that Adrian Jeakings will replace him.

Jeakings, currently finance director at the Archant group, will commence the role on November 1. Prior to working at Archant he was the group finance director of the Stationery Office.

Brian McCarthy will replace Jeakings as Archant’s group finance director.

The chairman of Archant, Richard Jewson, said in a release published today: “Both Adrian and Brian have contributed a great deal to our success and it is a tribute to John Fry that he has created such a strong management team”.

Johnston Press have also released a statement announcing that Fry will take over from the retiring CEO, Tim Bowdler, from January 5 2009.

In the release, John Fry said: “I am extremely excited to be joining Johnston Press and relish the opportunity to build on the success of Tim Bowdler and his team. The company has a strong local media franchise covering large parts of the UK and Ireland which I look forward to developing in both print and digital formats.”

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FT.com: Newsnight editor Peter Barron quits for Google role

July 29th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Barron leaves Newsnight after four years as editor.

He joins Google as head of communications and public affairs for the UK, Ireland and Benelux regions.

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