Browse > Home /

2012 – a year of irony for the media industry?

December 29th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Comment, Funny, Journalism

By Matt Buck, currently engaged as engraver to @tobiasgrubbe

If…

1. Rupert Murdoch revives the News of the World, but online-only.

2. Nick Davies loses his job at the Guardian, but joins the revived News of the World as part of its investigative team.

3. The Guardian poaches the “fake sheikh” Mazher Mahmood from the Sunday Times.

4. A trend develops for floundering local newspapers to be bought out by local entrepreneurs, returning control and vested interest to their communities.

5. The Leveson inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the UK press concludes nothing needs to be done about unethical and/or illegal media practices, as they are redundant because everyone is publicly revealing everything about themselves on social media sites like Facebook anyway.

6. Journalists are officially declared to be bloggers, thereby ending a perennial (and very tedious) debate.

7. The Guardian launches a paywall.

8. Richard Desmond, founder of Northern & Shell and owner of Express Newspapers is knighted in the New Year Honour list and becomes chair of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

9. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is appointed National Security Adviser to the Obama administration.

10. Facebook buys the Daily Mail, as part of a number of strategic acquisitions of ‘accordant’ news outlets throughout the world.

Thanks to Matt Buck for permission to use his excellent cartoon.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Daily Mail takes after Werrity with dubious use of Fox business card

October 11th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Funny, Newspapers, Politics

It seems Adam Werrity isn’t the only one to have been caught using a business card he shouldn’t have. The Daily Mail, unable to obtain their own picture of Werrity’s now-infamous “Advisor to Rt. Hon. Liam Fox MP” card, simply scanned the Guardian’s. But this wasn’t a right-click-save-image-as off the Guardian website, some enterprising staffer at the Mail actually scanned it right off the newspaper. Brilliant.

The copy was spotted by blogger Tim Ireland, who made his discovery after about 10 seconds’ sleuthing. See his damning evidence from Mail Online below.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

John Bercow calls the Daily Mail a ‘sexist, racist, bigoted, comic’

June 8th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Politics

The speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow described the Daily Mail as a “sexist, racist, bigoted, comic cartoon strip” yesterday, according to a Guardian report.

Speaking at an event at the Guardian offices in Kings Place, Bercow also apologised for breaking the trade descriptions act in calling the Mail a newspaper.

Bercow has been on the receiving end of strong criticism in the past from the Daily Mail political sketch writer Quentin Letts, who recently described him as a “preening, sycophantic, short-tempered and grotesque”.

Bercow was also quizzed about injunctions at the Q&A session with the Independent’s chief political commentator Steve Richards.

Despite warning John Hemming MP in the house recently over his naming of Ryan Giggs in relation to a privacy injunction, Bercow told Richards that “no super-injunction should be preventing colleagues from trying to debate issues”, adding that “it would be very sad if the sovereign nature of parliament as a whole and the House of Commons in particular was eroded by the judiciary.”

He did criticise Hemming at the event however, noting that: “Debating principles and issues is very different from violating an order to score a point.”

Tags: , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Peter Oborne will leave Daily Mail to join Daily Telegraph

May 19th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Jobs, Journalism, Newspapers

Peter Oborne is to leave the Daily Mail as chief political columnist to join the Daily Telegraph, where he will be a columnist and writer, Telegraph Media Group has announced today.

“Peter is a world renowned writer and commentator.  I am looking forward to him joining the Telegraph team,” said Tony Gallagher, editor of the Daily Telegraph, in a release.

“It has been a privilege to work for the Daily Mail. I am delighted to join the award-winning Telegraph as it continues to go from strength to strength,” said Oborne.

Tags: , , ,

Similar posts:

April Fools’ Day: a round-up of media mischief

April 1st, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Multimedia, Newspapers, Online Journalism

The venerable old day of leg-pulling and pranking is upon us again, and British news institutions are doing their bit for the fun. Some better than others, it must be said. Here is a short round-up of some headline hilarity from the web.

The Guardian went big and bold with a mock-election campaign designed to show the rough and ready side of our beloved PM:

Brown aides had worried that his reputation for volatility might torpedo Labour’s hopes of re-election, but recent internal polls suggest that, on the contrary, stories of Brown’s testosterone-fuelled eruptions have been almost entirely responsible for a recent recovery in the party’s popularity.

While the traditionally rowdy readers of the Guardian were treated to this new bar-room-brawling Brown, the refined readers of the National Union of Journalist’s site woke up to the news that the bruiser and the posh boy, along with that other one Clegg, were all joining the NUJ executive council as part of a new “affinity programme”.

Through our new affinity scheme NUJ members will now be able to join the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties at a reduced rate. In fact, from now on they can also get membership of all three parties for the price of one, which we believe will appeal particularly to our members at the Guardian and elsewhere.

Harmony was prevailing elsewhere too on The Register’s site, with the equally unlikely news that highly improbable bedfellows Associated Newspapers and the Guardian Media Group would join forces to share a common editorial facility.

Using the latest technology, a single team will produce stories for both groups flagship titles, the Daily Mail and the Guardian, in a process that will be largely automated.

The Independent went with some highly unlikely technical advances to the Circle Line, claiming that London Underground was in talks with the boffins at CERN about using the 23km tunnel to house a new particle accelarator, similar to CERN’s Large Hardon Hadron Collider. Provided, of course, they can iron out the “geo-magnetic ‘kink’ in the circuitry at Edgware Road”.

It would mean that two beams of protons would be travelling in clockwise and counterclockwise directions at 99.999999 per cent of the speed of light, within feet of Circle line passengers stuck in perpetual immobility.

(Meanwhile the boffins were up to some riotous hilarity of their own over in Switzerland (in that charming science-humour sort of way…), declaring that high-energy collisions within the newly restarted LHC had unearthed a “paleoparticle”. In other words, “a hideous particle from the prehistory of the Universe”.)

Also on the science side, the Daily Mail, with news (and video) about the AA’s new rocketmen, able to fly out to the hard-shoulder at high velocity in your time of need. Unfortunately this corker has come down off the site already.

Rather than muck in with its own side-splitting falsity, BBC News ran with a bit of an also-ran in the form of a collection of true stories that really should be April Fools. Although, tucked away on the Radio 4 site is this deadpan gem about the possibility of William Shakespeare being half French, based on some pretty dubious analysis of his mother’s family tree:

It’s a lock of hair, it’s quite faded, which would mean it’s potentially a lock of hair from Mary Queen of Scots.

Lastly, as this is only just a taste of the press’ Herculean April Fools’ effort, the Telegraph, who claimed this morning that ferrets were to be used in the government’s plans to begin broadband to all:

The animals have been used by Virgin Media for over a year to help lay cables for its broadband service, the company has disclosed. The ferrets wear jackets fitted with a microchip which is able to analyse any breaks or damage in the underground network.

What the Telegraph’s story lacks ever so slightly in humour, it more than makes up for with this deftly mocked-up picture of a ferret on the job. Of laying cables, I mean.

Back to frowning at your desks until next year then folks.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Linking data and journalism: what’s the future?

On Wednesday (September 9), Paul Bradshaw, course director of the MA Online Journalism at Birmingham City University and founder of HelpMeInvestigate.com, chaired a discussion on data and the future of journalism at the first London Linked Data Meetup. This post originally appeared on the OnlineJournalismBlog.

The panel included: Martin Belam (information architect, the Guardian; blogger, Currybet; John O’Donovan (chief architect, BBC News Online); Dan Brickley (Friend of a Friend project; VU University, Amsterdam; SpyPixel Ltd; ex-W3C); Leigh Dodds (Talis).

“Linked Data is about using the web to connect related data that wasn’t previously linked, or using the web to lower the barriers to linking data currently linked using other methods.” (http://linkeddata.org)

I talked about how 2009 was, for me, a key year in data and journalism – largely because it has been a year of crisis in both publishing and government. The seminal point in all of this has been the MPs’ expenses story, which both demonstrated the power of data in journalism, and the need for transparency from government. For example: the government appointment of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the search for developers to suggest things to do with public data, and the imminent launch of Data.gov.uk around the same issue.

Even before then the New York Times and Guardian both launched APIs at the beginning of the year, MSN Local and the BBC have both been working with Wikipedia and we’ve seen the launch of a number of startups and mashups around data including Timetric, Verifiable, BeVocal, OpenlyLocal, MashTheState, the open source release of Everyblock, and Mapumental.

Q: What are the implications of paywalls for Linked Data?
The general view was that Linked Data – specifically standards like RDF [Resource Description Format] – would allow users and organisations to access information about content even if they couldn’t access the content itself. To give a concrete example, rather than linking to a ‘wall’ that simply requires payment, it would be clearer what the content beyond that wall related to (e.g. key people, organisations, author, etc.)

Leigh Dodds felt that using standards like RDF would allow organisations to more effectively package content in commercially attractive ways, e.g. ‘everything about this organisation’.

Q: What can bloggers do to tap into the potential of Linked Data?
This drew some blank responses, but Leigh Dodds was most forthright, arguing that the onus lay with developers to do things that would make it easier for bloggers to, for example, visualise data. He also pointed out that currently if someone does something with data it is not possible to track that back to the source and that better tools would allow, effectively, an equivalent of pingback for data included in charts (e.g. the person who created the data would know that it had been used, as could others).

Q: Given that the problem for publishing lies in advertising rather than content, how can Linked Data help solve that?
Dan Brickley suggested that OAuth technologies (where you use a single login identity for multiple sites that contains information about your social connections, rather than creating a new ‘identity’ for each) would allow users to specify more specifically how they experience content, for instance: ‘I only want to see article comments by users who are also my Facebook and Twitter friends.’

The same technology would allow for more personalised, and therefore more lucrative, advertising. John O’Donovan felt the same could be said about content itself – more accurate data about content would allow for more specific selling of advertising.

Martin Belam quoted James Cridland on radio: ‘[The different operators] agree on technology but compete on content’. The same was true of advertising but the advertising and news industries needed to be more active in defining common standards.

Leigh Dodds pointed out that semantic data was already being used by companies serving advertising.

Other notes
I asked members of the audience who they felt were the heroes and villains of Linked Data in the news industry. The Guardian and BBC came out well – The Daily Mail were named as repeat offenders who would simply refer to ‘a study’ and not say which, nor link to it.

Martin Belam pointed out that the Guardian is increasingly asking itself ‘how will that look through an API?’ when producing content, representing a key shift in editorial thinking. If users of the platform are swallowing up significant bandwidth or driving significant traffic then that would probably warrant talking to them about more formal relationships (either customer-provider or partners).

A number of references were made to the problem of provenance – being able to identify where a statement came from. Dan Brickley specifically spoke of the problem with identifying the source of Twitter retweets.

Dan also felt that the problem of journalists not linking would be solved by technology. In conversation previously, he also talked of ‘subject-based linking’ and the impact of SKOS [Simple Knowledge Organisation System] and linked data style identifiers. He saw a problem in that, while new articles might link to older reports on the same issue, older reports were not updated with links to the new updates. Tagging individual articles was problematic in that you then had the equivalent of an overflowing inbox.

Finally, here’s a bit of video from the very last question addressed in the discussion (filmed with thanks by @countculture):

Linked Data London 090909 from Paul Bradshaw on Vimeo.

Resources:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Lone Star defies downward trend in revised ABC results

August 14th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) has today brought out its revised figures for national newspaper circulation in the UK, reducing the headline circulations of titles including the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Financial Times in the light of an investigation into ‘bulk copies’ distributed by Dawson Media Direct, for the London Evening Standard, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Telegraph.

The UK newspaper circulation body revised the figures because audit trails for ‘bulks’ did not comply with ABC rules.

Earlier this year, the Financial Times reduced its use of bulks, and this week Guardian News and Media announced that it was currently ditching its bulk distribution completely.

A brief summary of today’s ABC results:

  • The Sunday Times was the only ‘quality’ Sunday title to post a year-on-year rise in sales (2.74 per cent). On average the ‘quality’ Sunday titles posted a 2.77 per cent year-on-year fall.  The Independent on Sunday posted the biggest year-on-year drop – 19.98 per cent.
  • All the daily titles audited posted a year-on-year drop in sales, apart from The Star which increased its circulation by 20.12 per cent compared with July 2008.
  • The Sun recorded a tiny drop of 0.4 per cent year-on-year and although the Daily Mirror was down 7.16 per cent compared with last year’s figures, month-on-month the title’s sales rose by 0.73 per cent.

A more in-depth analysis of these results is available on Guardian.co.uk.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

GNM abandons the distribution of bulks

August 11th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

Guardian News and Media announced today that it will abandon the distribution of ‘bulks’.

GNM sold ‘bulk’ bundles of its papers to hotels and airlines for a nominal fee per copy to the businesses, but free to the readers. This sampling method was a way of tempting new readers towards the publications.

But bulk sales only contributed to a fraction of the Guardian and Observer’s overall sales figures compared to other newspaper groups, said a release from GNM.

“To a greater or lesser degree bulk sales are used by newspaper groups to prop up their ABC [Audit Bureau of Circulations] figure.  Yet their credibility in the ad community is low and for those affected by the recent investigation into airline bulks that credibility has been undermined further,” Joe Clark, GNM director and general manager, newspapers, said in the release.

“We are abandoning this practice in order to present a clearer, more honest picture of our sales performance to advertisers and to reinforce the quality of our product to readers.  The success of our subscription scheme has proved the value of rewarding loyal readers and prompted us to question the merit of subsidising a free copy for an occasional reader.

“In short dropping this traditional, and in our view, outmoded practice is a win-win move.  We hope that others will follow our lead.”

On Guardian.co.uk, Roy Greenslade celebrated the decision after a 10-year battle to convince the papers to drop the bulks.

“This so-called ‘sampling exercise’ was anything other than a way to ensure that, in a declining market, headline sales figures remained artificially high,” he wrote.

Over the past 10 years publishers have become increasingly aware that sampling had little effect on their sales.

As Greenslade reports: Trinity Mirror and Express Mirrors were the first to give up the practice, while News International never used bulks for its main titles, The Sun and News of the World, but did for The Times and The Sunday Times.

The Financial Times has also begun to lessen its use of bulks; whereas The Telegraph Media Group continues to use bulks to attract new readers, he adds. In addition The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday have increased their reliance on bulks.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Pulse: Press Complaints Commission to investigate Daily Mail over GP pay claims

Pulse, the leading publication for the UK medical profession, has learnt that the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is formally investigating a Daily Mail story that claimed GPs are earning as much as £380,000 a year.

“A spokesman for the commission told Pulse it had received ‘seven or eight’ complaints from doctors regarding the accuracy of the Mail’s front-page story on Tuesday.

“The story, based on figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from 22 PCTs, claimed to have ‘found one GP earning £380,000 a year and a number pocketing more than £300,000′ – although it admitted that ‘in some cases the figures include cash GPs have to pay out for staff salaries and rents’.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) said that General Practitioners Committe (GPC) chair, Dr Laurence Buckman, had written a formal letter of complaint to the Daily Mail editor, but had not yet complained to the PCC, Pulse reports.

A Daily Mail spokesperson defended its report, in response to complaints about accuracy.

Full story at this link…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Malcolm Coles: Michael Jackson’s kids made the Daily Mail the most visited UK newspaper site in June

July 27th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Comment, Newspapers, Search, Traffic

This is an edited cross-post from Malcolm Coles’ personal website:

The Daily Mail surprisingly overtook the Telegraph and Guardian in the June ABCes – with more unique visitors than any other UK newspaper.

However it was only 4th in terms of UK visitors. Figures from Compete.com, which tracks Americans’ internet use, suggest that, of the 4.7 million unique users the Mail added from May to June, 1.2 million were from the USA. American and other foreign visitors searching for Michael Jackson’s kids – the Mail tops google.com for a search on this – drove this overseas growth.

US traffic to UK newspaper sites
This is what happened to US traffic for the ‘big three’ UK newspaper websites from May to June, according to Compete.com’s figures:

This dramatic increase in traffic, compared to its rivals, from May to June helps explains how the Mail leapfrogged the Guardian and Telegraph.

Traffic leapt from May to July

Google.com was the main referrer to the Mail – responsible for 22.7 per cent of its traffic. More on this below. Next up was drudgereport.com [a large US news aggregation site], followed by Yahoo.com and Facebook.com.

What was behind this rise in US traffic?
So what led to this sudden increase for the Mail? Compete also shows you the main search terms that lead US visitors to sites.

Top five search terms that lead US visitors to the Guardian

  • Guardian/the guardian: 2.6 per cent
  • Michael Jackson: 0.9 per cent
  • Swine flu symptoms: 0.6 per cent
  • Susan Boyle: 0.6 per cent

Top five search terms that lead US visitors to the Telegraph

  • Michael Jackson: 2.5 per cent
  • Susan Boyle: 0.8 per cent
  • Swine flu symptoms: 0.7 per cent
  • Daily Telegraph: 0.6 per cent
  • Michael Jackson children: 0.5 per cent

Top five search terms that lead US visitors to the Daily Mail

  • Daily Mail/Dailymail: 9.9 per cent
  • Michael Jackson (or Jackson’s) children: 2.9 per cent
  • Michael Jackson’s kids: 1.3 per cent

What does this tell us?The main keywords driving US search traffic to the Mail
The Guardian’s top five search terms, as suggested by Compete.com, accounted for just 4.7 per cent of its search traffic. The Telegraph’s top five for 5.1 per cent.

But the Mail’s top 5 accounted for a massive 14.1 per cent – split between searches for its brand name and for Michael Jackson’s kids (and outside the top five there may have been many other MJ-related terms).

Its search traffic in June is heavily skewed to these two search terms in the USA – and elsewhere in the world, I think it’s reasonable to presume.

Can this last?
Searches in the USA for ‘Daily Mail’ have been fairly consistent over the last few months according to Google Insights. I don’t know why so many people do this compared to other newspapers.

But I do know that interest in Michael Jackson’s kids is going to die down. This graph shows how there was a huge and sudden surge in searches for his children and kids after he died. The graph shows just two search terms – there are likely to be many others, and so a significant proportion of the Mail’s overseas traffic increase is down to search terms related to Jackson’s offspring.

Searches for Michael Jackson and kids/children shot up

This increase in searches translates into traffic for the Mail because it is currently TOP for a search on ‘Michael Jackson children’ at google.com and 3rd for kids (it’s also top in Google India for a search on his children, and India is the next most common source of traffic to the Mail after the UK and USA).

So all this data suggests that the Mail’s top spot in June’s ABCes is built on US and other worldwide search traffic around Jackson’s children – the massive peak in late June and again around his funeral in early July.

Once people stop searching for these terms, this traffic will disappear. The Mail may still top July’s ABCes on the back of this traffic – but it’s hard to believe it will still be top in August.

Methodology
You can, of course, pick holes in this argument.

The three MJ’s kids search terms account for 4.2 per cent of Google traffic, which accounts for 22.7 per cent of 5.2 million visitors – so about 50,000 users.

But I think it’s reasonable to assume that there are more search terms outside the top five; there are other search engines; and that the other sources of traffic, such as people sharing links on Facebook and news aggregators, will also partially be about Jackson’s children.

Plus this is the only publicly available data that I’m aware of, and this is the story it seems to be telling.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

© Mousetrap Media Ltd. Theme: modified version of Statement