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BBC/Milne Media: More than 100 jobs at risk in Scotsman print move

October 5th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Job losses, Newspapers

More than 100 jobs could go at Scotsman Publications’ Edinburgh printing plant as owners Johnston Press have decided to move operations to its Glasgow base.

The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday will no be printed at the Cardonald print works in Glasgow, owned by Trinity Mirror, while 40 other titles will be printed in Sunderland.

Full story at this link…

More background on the move at Milne Media.

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FIPP 09: E-readers and digital editions: what’s the future for magazines online?

May 6th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Magazines

Yesterday, the first panel at the 37th FIPP World Magazine Congress, which looked at the economic situation for the magazine market, had acknowledged e-readers as significant, but not as a direct threat and a show of hands from the audience indicated their limited uptake.

In fact, despite gloomy advertising revenue predictions, time was devoted to preserving and celebrating print, and pointing out that magazines did not necessarily face the same catastrophic fate as their newspaper counterparts. Much was made of the ‘feel’ of the printed product by several of the speakers, for instance.

But magazines are investing in digital editions – so what do they look like?

In yesterday’s session entitled ‘Digital Editions: Opportunity or Blind Alley?’ President (Europe and Latin America) of Zinio Global, Joan Solà, emphasised the importance of structural change, ‘a major change, moving from analogue into digital': “If the publishing industry adopts the right measures to make structural change to industry, it will avoid getting caught in the middle of the ropes,” he said.

We’re moving from a system with a big ‘logistic cost,’ he said. “We all know that paper, printing and distribution has an impact, an environmental impact. In the US 35 million trees have to be cut down each year.”

We ‘move to a new scheme in which content can be delivered in new forms,’ Solà said.

Kevin Madden, publishing director for digital publishing at Dennis Publishing, is not convinced a digital product will replace the role of magazines:

“Ultimately the web is a dipping medium, but I don’t ascribe any loyalty to the sites I visit.”

Publishers should cater for this ‘dipping audience’, whilst also providing a ‘feast’ for those who want it, he said.

Managing director at Menzies Digital, Sarah Clegg outlined her vision for the digital product, in her case, as she has told Journalism.co.uk in the past – includes digital editions of 140 magazine titles, with a look to e-paper developments for the future.

“Slowly the tide is turning,” she began. “In a lot of cases we [the digital product] are still the outcast,” she said. But, she emphasised, ‘the media landscape has changed, and it’s changing at the rights of knots’.

‘How are you tapping into that child of today – who is reading electronic media?’ she asked, using as an example her 13 year old niece, who picks up a range of digital tools on a daily basis.

“We know consumer habits are changing, people are choosing when they want to consume and when they want to consume. Everybody is after their instant fix,” she said.

“These aren’t questions anymore: there’s a market to take advantage of,” she added.

“They present an opportunity, along with economic necessity. We must find a place in the digital publishing model – I don’t think we’ve had our day,” she said.

Clegg wants to see lower prices for the digital product and more cooperation from publishers. She was aggrieved she said, to discover that having negotiated a 25 per cent discount for digital subscriptions, the publisher had offered a 60 per cent reduction on the print edition.

Another annoyance is that on one of their publications, it takes eight clicks to get through to digital edition, she said.

“Publishers should adapt and cater for the consumer – it [the digital edition] is not for everyone but it’s for someone,” she said.

“I think we’re heading towards a golden era for publishing,” she added, optimistically.

Following Clegg, Mark Payton, digital editorial director for Haymarket Consumer Media, described how his company has a contract with Menzies Digital and he’s ‘very keen for it to work.’

Recent digital innovations at Haymarket include:

  • Autosport launched a tiny flash page turner, which received ten per cent of the site’s traffic during the weeks that it ran.

“I no longer have colleagues around talking about web 2.0 – it has become the web,” Payton said.

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NYTimes: MagCloud – the DIY magazine publishing service

March 30th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Magazines

MagCloud – a new web service developed by Hewlett-Packard – offers 20 cents-per-page magazine printing.

“There are so many of the nichey, maybe weird-at-first communities, that can use this,” Andrew Bolwell, head of the MagCloud project at Hewlett-Packard, tells the New York Times.

Full story at this link…

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Project for Excellence in Journalism: The State of the Media report 2009 – ‘the bleakest yet’

Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has released its State of the Media report and – unsurprisingly – the annual evaluation of the US media scene makes for particularly depressing reading this time around.

As the report points out, the problems created by growing online audiences for legacy news organisations have been excerbated by a simultaneous economic collapse.

“Journalism, deluded by its profitability and fearful of technology, let others outside the industry steal chance after chance online. By 2008, the industry had finally begun to get serious. Now the global recession has made that harder,” reads the report.

The report in full, including individual sections on magazines, newspapers, online, local TV and network TV, can be read at this link, but below are some key findings:

Newspapers

In numbers:

  • One in five journalists who were employed by a newspaper in 2001 have gone
  • Around 5,000 professional newspaper jobs are suggested to have been lost in 2008
  • Last year, publicly traded newspaper stocks lost 83 per cent of their remaining value, having already dropped by 43 per cent between 2005-7

On survival:

  • Many US newspapers are planning a geographical retreat in circulation to cut costs
  • Plans to go online-only may not save as much money as hoped, the report suggests:

“Papers still make roughly 90% of their revenue from print and, although the numbers vary by paper, the cost of printing and delivering the printed newspaper averages 40% of costs. For now, it doesn’t add up to sacrifice potentially 90% of revenues to save 40% of costs.”

  • What newspapers will survive and what structural differences to these survivors have, asks the report. Will print still be a part of these news brands?
  • The death of the newspaper industry is not imminent, adds the study, as on the whole US newspapers were profitable in 2008

Hope for the future?

  • Alternative news operations and websites have continued to grow in number, BUT the scale of these is still small and they lack profitability
  • Newspapers have improved over the last year in adapting to new trends and building partnerships

Online

  • Insufficient innovation in online advertising
  • When it comes to alternative, online news start-ups and distribution models, ‘[T]here has been little honest assessment of economic sustainability’, says the research
  • Yahoo news continues to dominant as main news source online – its newspaper advertising partnership and human-based news editing are particular assets, suggests the report

Special analysis of citizen media and new journalism ventures is also offered in the report. Contributor to the newspaper section of the report, Danna L. Walker, blogs here; while the Columbia Journalism Review has created a ‘guess the year of the report’ quiz game.

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Berkeley Daily Planet launches ‘Fund for Local Reporting’

February 19th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

In a frank article about the paper’s future, the owners of US independent newspaper the Berkeley Daily Planet admit they don’t have a solution for plugging the revenue gap in their ailing ad-supported business model.

Enter the Fund for Local Reporting, which is asking for donations large and small to keep the Planet running.

“As we explained in a recent editorial, paying salaries and benefits just for the reporters and editors who cover local news adds up to at least $250,000 a year. That doesn’t include production, rent, printing, distribution, sales etc,” reads the online payment form.

The O’Malleys, the paper’s owners, are also exploring developing the fund into a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organisation. Indeed, they’ve been toying with lots of ideas – part of a ‘reality check’, the editor says – including voluntary subscriptions and migrating to the web [All ideas mooted in today's #cfund debate]. They might not know what the solution is, and this might be a last roll of the dice, but they’re certainly going for it with all they’ve got.

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Thirty things you might miss in a world without newspapers

January 26th, 2009 | 9 Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

1. Material to stuff your Guy Fawkes effigy with on Bonfire Night.

2. Paper mountains at your local recycling depot.

3. Liners for your kitty litter trayers, rabbit hutches etc.

4. The joy of finding and reading other people’s paid-for newspapers on the train/underground/bus.

5. Wrapping for your fish and chips.

6. Material for your papier mâché models.

7. Getting your letterboxes jammed stuck with weekend supplements.

8. Part-time employment for your children.

9. Newsagents. And newsagents whingeing about the newstrade.

10. Ad inserts and catalogues offering 1001 pointless gadgets to solve problems you will never have.

11. The ability to buy soft porn under the not-very-convincing pretence of being interested in the daily news.

12. Cliché-ridden headlines and terrible puns.

13. Insulation when sleeping rough (although cardboard works just as well).

14. Free CDs, DVDs, posters etc that you will never listen to, view or display.

15. Material to protect the floor, soak up spilt tea etc when the builders are in.

16. Something to read when you are on the loo (doesn’t seem quite right to do that with a laptop, although mobile devices are a bit more discreet).

17. Inky, black fingers.

18. Deforestation (although it is equally possible that fewer trees might get planted in managed forests).

19. The unintelligible cry of news vendors on street corners.

20. Having free papers jammed into your stomach at the entrances to underground stations.

21. Training the dog to fetch the paper/attack the paper boy/girl/person in the mornings.

22. Large piles of free newspapers dumped in skips.

23. Skidding on sodden lumps of old newspapers left out in the rain on pavements and roads.

24. For future generations, birthday gifts of a copy of the newspaper that was published on the day they were born.

25. Something to clean the windows with.

26. The environmental impact of printing, delivering and collecting returns (and the loss of related jobs).

27. Trying to read broadsheet newspapers on crowded trains/planes/buses etc

28. The wonderful, if often unintentional, wit of A-boards outside newsagents.

29. A surveillance device for bad spies.

30. Fuel to get the kindling going in your open fire, Aga, woodburning stove, bonfire etc.

But seriously…

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Evening Standard: Save Independent, take it online-only, says Greenslade

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

“INM must scrap printing in favour of uploading,” argues the media commentator Roy Greenslade.

“It will save trees, save ink, wipe out all production costs and eliminate the expense of distribution. It will enable INM to prune its marketing budget. In so doing, the paper will take a giant step into the digital age.”

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links for 2008-07-03

July 3rd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Uncategorized
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