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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: ‘Trolls’ can become an asset in data journalism projects

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

The creator of a data-driven fact-checking tool for the French presidential election says data journalists should welcome having their own work fact-checked by readers – and says “trolls” who question your methodology can become an asset.

Sylvain Lapoix, a senior journalist at online news site OWNI, has just finished working on Véritomètre – a fact-checking tool analysing the statistical claims made by the presidential election candidates during the campaign – and which took a year to build.

He said the project was inspired by US political journalism and had not been done properly in France before.

In France, there is a tradition in political journalism which is mainly a Voltaire way of doing things – a very literary way. Politics is about speech, attitude, how you behave. Getting numbers and all the facts back into the subject was a (challenge) we had to go through.

Speaking at the News World Summit in Paris today, Lapoix said:

One thing we learnt is that when you’re a data journalist or a web journalist, you should never ever ever – I insist – ever assume that your readers won’t look that close into your own (work) because eventually they always do.

A guy actually did all the maths from the quotes we fact-checked. At some point we considered him a troll – but he was taking it very seriously so we decided to answer to him.

Lapoix said he eventually “became an asset” to them. He added:

Your readers are your biggest database of experts you could ever have. They realise they matter to journalists. At some times the readers were defending us against other readers who were doubting 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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