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Trading places: digital editor takes Liverpool FC story to the wire in print swap

November 10th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

A fantastic blog post from Alison Gow, executive editor, digital, at the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, on her recent job swap with an executive editor on the print side of the operation while the Liverpool FC “sale/saga” broke.

She describes the difficulties of creating a Late Final edition with a solid tip but no confirmation that NESV (New England Sports Ventures) had completed the deal.

Everyone in the newsroom was becoming increasingly desolate as the late special idea looked set to fall down. The confirmation came, we managed to get it online (and cached, for once) before Sky and the BBC were even reporting it and there were celebrations at landing a web exclusive.

Then it turned out we had a print one as well… Echo editor Ali Machray had quietly got the front page change made – including a story announcing the sale, and had sent to the printers on the off-chance. So bundles of the latest news were in vans heading back to outlets on Merseyside… bundles that would have been pulped if no announcement had come through.

Helpfully, she also runs through the elements of print and online coverage that worked well and were valued by readers and those that were not.

Full post on Headlines and Deadlines at this link…

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Journalism Daily: Trinity Mirror’s Midlands consultation, Wikipedia’s editorial changes and the industry chicken and egg conundrum

August 25th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism Daily

A daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter and subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

News and features:

Ed’s picks:

Tip of the day:

#FollowJourn:

On the Editors’ Blog:

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MirrorFootball.co.uk: Bringing Liverpool fans a better result

August 25th, 2009 | 4 Comments | Posted by in Social media and blogging

Hats off to football site Off The Post for this excellent spot – which has now correctly attributed the spot to Keith Belfast’s blog.

It seems the Mirror’s new football website, launched last month, gave an alternative match report for last night’s game between Liverpool and Aston Villa.

The site’s Twitter account @mirrorfootball tweeted the final score as 1-0 Liverpool. In reality the side suffered their second defeat of the season and it finished 3-1 to Aston Villa (as correctly reported elsewhere on the site):

Mirror Football Tweet

Automation problem or just a dreaming Liverpool fan behind the account? Perhaps it’s fantasy football goes Twitter? Journalism.co.uk has contacted the team and is hoping to find out. As of 4:18pm today the tweet was still there…

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Liverpool Daily Post: Madeleine McCann keywords in every main local news story was ‘oversight’

July 1st, 2009 | 8 Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism, Search

It was an ‘oversight’ that Madeleine McCann related keywords were included in the metadata for every main local news story on the Liverpool Daily Post site, a Trinity Mirror spokeperson said, after Journalism.co.uk informed the company that the terms were present in the ‘hidden text’ of a series of unrelated news items.

The automatic inclusion of the keywords “madeleine mccann, madeleine mcgann, kate mcgann, kate mccann” in the HTML for Liverpool news stories has now ceased.

Journalism.co.uk learned in May that specific keywords, including those above, were used in the metadata for the ‘Liverpool News Headlines’ section on the Liverpool Daily Post site, regardless of the story’s relevance. This continued for at least one month before it was drawn to the Post’s attention on Monday (June 29).

Use of unrelated ‘hidden’ metadata is commonly known as ‘keyword stuffing’, a practice which Google firmly discourages. Using popular keywords can help improve a site’s SEO performance. [Update: Google and most other search engines are no longer believed (Wikipedia link here) to recognise these tags: see Lammo.net post at this link.]

Google search results for “Madeleine McCann + Liverpool” shows that the Post and its sister site, the Liverpool Echo, have top rankings for related Madeleine McCann stories. [Update: but lower rankings when a simple Madeleine McCann search is performed. It's unlikely the addition of the keywords aided the LDP's Google ranking. Google says: "While accurate meta descriptions can improve clickthrough, they won't impact your ranking within search results."]

A Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “The metadata was inserted some time ago when the Madeleine McCann story was at its height and was the most-searched item on our web sites. It was inserted to make it easier for our users to access a huge story of national and local interest. The fact that it wasn’t removed is an oversight, which has now been put right.”

The evidence (before Liverpool Daily Post corrected the error this week):

A story about Len Williams, a well-known waterfront manager who recently died.

Waterfront

Keywords in the HTML version:
LENkeywords1
LENkeywords2

livpostlen

The section of the site which used these keywords for all stories:

livnews

Google’s  definition:

“‘Keyword stuffing’ refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google’s search results. Filling pages with keywords results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking. Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.

“To fix this problem, review your site for misused keywords. Typically, these will be lists or paragraphs of keywords, often randomly repeated. Check carefully, because keywords can often be in the form of hidden text, or they can be hidden in title tags or alt attributes.

“Once you’ve made your changes and are confident that your site no longer violates our guidelines, submit your site for reconsideration.”

A definition by Nathan Campbell on SEO.com:

“Some unethical SEOs choose to employ renegade tactics such as keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is overloading the content or meta tags of the web page with every possible keyword or phrase that relates to the site in many different forms.”

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Headlines and Deadlines: Journalist tweets being shot or why Twitter works

Alison Gow gives the back story on deputy business editor of the Liverpool Post and Echo, Tony McDonough, who was caught in the crossfire at a Liverpool pub last weekend.

McDonough tweeted after it had happened and during his hospital visit.

Why?

“People are hardwired to want to share stories; at times of crisis we all want to tell someone (…) Journalists want to get news out too, and they want to get it out fast and first to as wide an audience as possible,” writes Gow.

Full post at this link…

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Click Liverpool: NUJ calls for inquiry into regional newspaper competition

November 28th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Mick Ricket, National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Merseyside branch chairman, has asked for an inquiry by the Competition Commission into regional newspaper ownership in the UK.

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Redundancy round-up: 50 jobs to go at the Telegraph and 78 at Trinity Mirror

November 27th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs, Journalism

A day that saw plenty of job cut announcements. Here’s the roundup for this evening and Journalism.co.uk will update tomorrow.

  • Trinity Mirror: 78 jobs to go as reported at Press Gazette and Hold the Front Page. Press Gazette reported that a restructure will see journalists divided into four centralised multimedia divisions:

“The publisher has today entered into a consultation period with staff and said it envisaged 59 editorial jobs would be cut. It said it was committed to voluntary redundancies where possible.

“The bulk of the job losses will come in Liverpool, where the 175-strong editorial team will be cut to 132 and the Liverpool Daily Post will scrap its Saturday edition.”

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Trinity Mirror pay freeze – Sly Bailey’s email to staff

November 19th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Jobs, Newspapers

Trinity Mirror has implemented a company-wide pay freeze affecting all staff (that’s journalists and non-journalists employed by the publisher).

Below is the email sent by chief executive Sly Bailey to staff:

Company Announcement

Please follow the link to see the letter being sent today to all staff.
19 November 2008

Dear Colleague

We have all seen the severe impact of the economic downturn reported in the media on a daily basis.  Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be any sign of an improvement for the foreseeable future and there are indications that it could get worse before it gets better.  What is clear is that the gravity of the challenge facing our business is unlike anything we have seen before.

As a consequence of this economic climate, all parts of Trinity Mirror have seen revenues come under severe pressure as advertisers have significantly reduced their spending.  In addition, our readers are also looking to curtail their spending with a consequential impact on our circulation revenues.

This in turn is affecting our financial performance, and in particular the cash generated by the business.  As previously communicated to you and the financial community, we anticipate that our profits will fall in 2008, with a further decline in 2009. Whilst we expect to remain profitable going forward, the fall in cash generated will adversely impact our ability to comfortably fund ongoing commitments such as interest payments on our borrowings, taxes, investment in our business (capital expenditure) and pension scheme funding.  To partially address the constraints on cash we have already cancelled the share buy back and have halved the 2008 interim dividend paid to shareholders. The final dividend will also be reviewed by the Board in February.

With our revenues considerably reduced, our priority has to be to safeguard the future of the Group.  To do this we have done much already to reduce costs in many ways.  So far this year, sadly, this has involved the announcement of almost 1200 job losses across the Group.  We have also had to announce the closure of 44 of our titles, 40 offices and our print plant in Liverpool. We do want to do all we can to minimise any further job losses.

I can also confirm now that our performance has been such that we will not be paying any bonuses relating to 2008. This goes for me; the Executive Committee and virtually all other managers.

Nevertheless we need to take further steps to protect the future of our businesses.  I have therefore decided not to hold a pay review for anyone in Trinity Mirror during 2009.  This will apply to me, the Board, all management and employees of the Group.

We all hope that the economic climate improves in 2009 and, whether it does or doesn’t, I know we will all perform to the best of our abilities. To recognise this, a special 2009-only incentive scheme will be introduced.

In January, once we have a clearer idea of trading going into 2009, the Board will agree a target for this scheme.  I can tell you that this target will be lower than the target set for profit sharing in previous years.  The scheme is designed so that it could pay up to £1,000 to each employee (before tax) and will apply to all employees across the Group (see note below). Further details of the scheme will be communicated to you in January.

I appreciate that the times we find ourselves in are some of the hardest in living memory.  I ask for your support so that we can manage our way through it and ensure the long term survival of our business.

Yours sincerely

Sly Bailey

Note:

All permanent staff will participate in the bonus scheme with the following exceptions:

Those not in receipt of contractual pay (i.e. casuals, or unauthorised absence).

Staff that have taken part in industrial action during 2009 will not be entitled to any payment.

In respect of starters and leavers:

New starters may participate and will receive payment on a prorate basis for full months’ service during 2009.

Employees who retire or leave under redundancy will receive payment on a pro rata basis for full month’s service during 2009.  This will still only be paid after auditors approval of the final results.

Staff who resign their employment before end February 2010 (the date of the scheme profit calculation) will not be entitled to any payout.

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Liverpool Echo relaunches print edition

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

As of today the Liverpool Echo hits newsstands showcasing a new style. The Trinity Mirror regional title has undergone a major face-lift after consultations with its readership.

In a statement on the paper’s website, editor Ali Machray said the local paper needed to reflect the the city’s current vibe:

“There’s a buzz about Liverpool right now. And there’s a buzz about an Echo that will bring you everything that reflects the amazing resurgence of our city and its people.”

The new look publication will feature brand new education and health sections, a section for women and comprehensive local football content. It will also sport a new design featuring a new masthead and cleaner layout.

Following last week’s launch of The Birmingham Post’s ‘Post Mobile’ service, this week sees Trinity Mirror’s Newcastle Journal and Evening Chronicle follow suit with their own news services for mobile.

Plans are still on course for Trinity to have 13 of publications active on mobile by the end of the year.

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Looking at the Liverpool papers live blog coverage of the Rhys Jones murder trial

October 21st, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Multimedia, Newspapers, Online Journalism

The Liverpool regional papers, the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, continue their comprehensive coverage of the Rhys Jones murder trial using Cover It Live technology, which allows the reporter to feed back detailed information about what is happening in the courtroom.

The liveblog of the Rhys Jones trial is currently on standby, but should be going again at 14.30 today. The Rhys Jones coverage can also be viewed together on one page.

For ease of reading back through, it would be good to have the live court coverage more clearly marked with dates and days of trial in the left hand margin next to the times.

On October 9 the Liverpool Daily Post’s editor, Mark Thomas, asked for feedback, but it seems none has been offered.

It’s an impressive feat, which has been going since October 9, and brings up questions of modern day court reporting: it will be interesting to see if it enters the public panel discussion at this week’s POLIS debate at LSE. They’re debating ‘Respect for Contempt: Keeping Speech Free and Trials Fair’.

With a panel that includes Maxine Mawhinney from BBC News 24 as chair, and contributions from Joshua Rozenburg (Legal Affairs Editor, Daily Telegraph), Jonathan Kotler (US Attorney and USC Annenburg School of Journalism), Mark Haslam (partner, BCL Burton Copeland, and Nick Davies (Guardian, author of Flat Earth News), it should make for an interesting set of much-needed discussions.

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