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Video by The Times outlines thinking behind Olympic wraps and community reaction

August 14th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Photography

The Times has published a video today on YouTube which hears from deputy editor Keith Blackmore, design editor Jon Hill and deputy picture editor Elizabeth Orcutt, as well as communities editor Ben Whitelaw, about the thinking behind its Olympic wraps. As Blackmore says:

The first one was terrifying. Once you made a commitment to do it, and we’d committed right from the start to do this every single day of the Olympic games … you’ve got to do it.

The video includes a look at the decision behind the very first wrap, which wanted to visualise the dawning of the Olympics in London. The Times sent a photographer out every morning the week ahead of the Olympics to photograph the sun coming up over the Olympic stadium, before it was decided a shot of the London Bridge with its Olympic rings was the better shot for the job.

The video, which can be played below, also talks about the reaction to the wraps on social media from the community.

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Shortlists out for British Sports Journalism Awards

February 24th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Awards, Journalism

The Times has picked up 12 nominations in the writing categories for this year’s Sports Journalism Awards, more than any other news outlet.

The winners will be announced on March 12, alongside the entries in the photography and broadcasting categories (the shortlists for which have already been announced).

Chairman of the judges Jon Ryan said:

I don’t recall a time when so many of our judges have commented on the high quality of the entries. I am also delighted that the number of entries kept up during what has not been the easiest time for newspapers.

If you want to show anyone why newspapers are important, why they matter and why journalists should be respected for their writing, news reporting and investigative skills then you need to look no further than the SJA awards. I would like to thank our team of judges for their thoroughness and diligence in reaching their decisions.

The full shortlist can be found on the SJA website.

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#soe11: Editors of the Mirror and Times on phone-hacking coverage

November 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

Editors of the Mirror and the Times were today questioned at the Society of Editors conference about their coverage of the phone-hacking scandal.

Editor of the Times James Harding said earlier on in the scandal that the newspaper’s decisions were informed by “a combination of the company denying it, police saying there was nothing to see and an issue of rivalry”.

I look back and think why didn’t we jump on it? There’s often the sense that there’s an agenda there so I think when that story broke in the Guardian there was a tendency to see that and when news broke the police came out and said there’s nothing to see here. That did inform the thinking.

It was only as a few more pieces fell into place … I remember thinking there is something that is seriously wrong here.

He said following more allegations of wrongdoing the “engines fired up a bit” at the Times and there was “a real attempt to ensure we were reporting on it as any other story.”

Editor of the Mirror Richard Wallace added that when it first started “it was very much a meeja story”.

We didn’t think our readers were interested in it and frankly they weren’t.

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News International: ‘no decision made on Sun paywall’

October 17th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Online Journalism

News International has responded to reports that it has decided not to introduce a paywall at the Sun, as it has for the Times, Sunday Times, and did for the now-defunct News of the World site, denying that a decision has been made over charges.

A report today by paidContent suggests that new chief executive Tom Mockridge has decided against a paywall.

News International has finally decided against introducing usage fees for The Sun’s website and is performing a restructure to place more emphasis on advertising sales, paidContent understands.

The Sun will introduce a paid mobile content app imminently; it is currently consulting with readers on the appropriate fee. But it will not be following Rupert Murdoch’s edict in which he appeared to say that all his news titles’ websites should charge.

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Forbes: Times and NY Times paywall figures compared

Forbes reports on encouraging subscriber stats for the New York Times, the second set of figures released since it went behind a porous paywall in March.

Since then, the paper has amassed some 224,000 digital-only subscribers. Another 57,000 subscribe to replica editions delivered on e-readers like the Kindle and the Nook. On top of that, there are the 100,000 people getting e-subscriptions sponsored by Lincoln.

Jeff Bercovici goes on to compare the NY Times with the Times.

The Times of London launched its own, very different pay model about nine months before the [New York] Times. (Briefly: the Times [of London] has an impermeable paywall, while the New York Times uses a metered system that allows non-subscribers 20 free pageviews a month.) It only recently hit the 100,000 mark. The Times of London is smaller, but not all that much so: it has a weekday circulation of about 500,000 and a Sunday circulation of 1.2 million, versus 900,000 and 1.3 million for the [New York] Times.

Importantly, the [New York] Times managed to add a new leg to its business without significantly cannibalising its existing web audience. [The site] averaged 33 million unique visitors per month in the second quarter, in line with its average for the preceding 11 months, said CEO Janet Robinson on a call with analysts.

Forbes’ full post goes on to explain the challenges facing the New York Times.

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Select committees: Reaction to appearances by police, the Murdochs and Brooks

July 20th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Politics

The focus on Twitter seemed to be entirely on the appearance of Murdoch and son, Rebekah Brooks and two senior Metropolitan police officers at two parliament select committees yesterday (19 July).

Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates appeared before the home affairs select committee, before Rupert and James Murdoch – and then Rebekah Brooks – came before the culture, media and sport committee.

Below is a Storify to show some of the reaction on Twitter to MPs’ questions and the responses MPs received.

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News International sites targeted by hackers

July 19th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers

Lulzsec's faked Sun website featuring the false story about Rupert Murdoch

Hackers last night (July 18) targeted the Sun’s website and put up a false story announcing the death of Rupert Murdoch.

The group behind the attack, Lulzsec, also redirected all traffic to its Twitter feed.

Visitors to the site were greeted by the headline ‘Media moguls (sic) body discovered’ – a story that alleged Murdoch had ‘ingested a large quantity’ of radioactive palladium, before ‘stumbling into his topiary garden’.

On Twitter, LulzSec also claimed to have hacked into email accounts and began posting what appeared to be passwords to individual email addresses as well as mobile numbers for editorial staff.

People trying to access the Sun website were directed to new-times.co.uk, a News International-owned domain.

The group gloated of their success last night, tweeting: “The Sun’s homepage now redirects to the Murdoch death story on the recently-owned New Times website. Can you spell success, gentlemen?”

The hackers did not explicitly say why they hacked the site, but various tweets suggested it was linked to the phone hacking scandal.

It remains to be seen whether this will be the last of the action after the group tweeted: “…expect the lulz to flow in coming days.”

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Guardian: Phone-hacking round-up from the papers

Roy Greenslade has written a thorough round-up on how the weekend newspapers covered the News of the World phone hacking apology. He also looks at the coverage – and non-coverage – in today’s papers.

But where will those headlines appear (and which papers will remain silent)? There is a clue in today’s papers.

The Guardian carries a page one story, Civil service blocked hacking probe. The Independent runs two pages under the headline Lawyer claims up to 7,000 may have had phones hacked, plus a leader – Saying sorry is not enough – and a column by Donald Trelford (the ex-editor who thinks hacking isn’t much of a story).

Elsewhere, silence. Well, not quite. Boris Johnson pops up in the Telegraph to argue the News of the World was not the only paper to have hacked.

In a piece which makes light of hacking while calling on “every editor and every proprietor to appear before an inquiry and confess” to having been involved in such activities.

This was just what the Times wanted to hear. It quickly drew on Johnson’s column to run a news story on page 4, Johnson calls on editors to tell the whole truth on hacking.

This is nothing more than the continuation of a News International strategy to deflect from its own paper’s misbehaviour – and its accompanying cover-up operation – by spreading the muck.

Greenslade’s full blog post is at this link.

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Should we ‘pay the wall’ to maintain quality journalism?

March 30th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Online Journalism

Should we pay for a digital subscription if we want to maintain quality journalism?

In this article on ZDNet, Tom Foremski, a former Financial Times reporter who writes about the intersection of technology and media, is urging people to “pay the wall” to “help to make an important contribution to the quality of our society and government”.

We need quality journalism because: media is how a society thinks about things.

Media is vital to our decision process.

We are facing a media landscape that is becoming ever more dominated by garbage media and that means that we, as a society, will be making bad decisions.

He argues that just because online news started out being free, it doesn’t – and shouldn’t – have to remain that way.

It seems that the Geekorati believe that once something is free then it should be free forever, and that if you can get past the New York Times paywall, then you are smart.

But will becoming a paid-up digital subscriber raise newspaper revenues? And what effect is digital having on falling print circulations?

The Guardian’s Dan Sabbagh and paidContent UK’s Robert Andrews have both taken a closer look at News International’s claim that, despite a sharp decline in sales of the print edition of the Times, overall circulation has increased with the addition of 79,000 digital subscribers, who pay to read the Times and Sunday Times online, on an iPad, or on a Kindle, according to figures released this week.

Sabbagh has made an educated guess at income from digital versus print and reckons the Times makes around £7.50 a month from each digital reader and £25 a month from those who buy a paper.

Now we can apply these values to the paywall numbers. What’s been lost are 58,421 print buyers of the Monday to Saturday Times – and 74,557 readers of the Sunday Times. The blended average decline is 60,726 – and the lost revenues for each of those readers is £25 a month as discussed. That’s a monthly revenue lost of £1.51m, or £18.2m a year. (Actually it’s a bit lower because there’ll be some print subscribers paying less than the news stand rate, but never mind that – the broad principle still holds).

Meanwhile, there have been 79,000 new online customers at £7.50 a month. That’s revenue gained of 592,500 a month (£7.1m a year). That’s a useful sum of money, but it is clearly not as much as the revenue lost from declining print copy sales.

Andrews also delves into the Times stats:

Our take (1): In other words, the papers notched 50,000 digi subs in their first four months – but only 29,000 additional subs in their second four months.

This is a slowdown. The Sunday Times iPad app, which launched in the second period, should have bumped up these total subs slightly. The challenge now is to maintain new subscriptions at a high rate and, in time, to keep churn low – new concepts, when applied to consumer news.

The Times has another challenge. It has seen a decrease of 12.1 per cent in circulation of its print edition within the past year. But is the decrease due to the fact the Times increased the cost of its print subscription or have newspaper readers moved to become digital readers? It is impossible to say but it will be interesting to keep an eye on the subscriber and print figures for the New York Times, which went behind a ‘porous paywall’ last week, easing readers in with  $0.99 a month subscription rate. Its model differs from the Times in the UK, but the more the paywall model is tested, the greater the understanding of the paid-for digital era.

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Times and Sunday Times reach 79,000 digital subscribers

March 30th, 2011 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Business, Newspapers, Online Journalism

A total of 79,000 people have subscribed to read the Times and Sunday Times online, on the iPad and on the Kindle, according to figures released by owner News International yesterday. The number represents an increase of 29,000 over the previous five months.

News International claims that overall readership of digital and print editions for the newspapers have risen by 20,000, despite a sharp decrease in the circulation of the print edition of the Times, which has fallen 12.1 per cent within the last year, and the Sunday Times, which has fallen by 6.9 per cent.

News International has not released a breakdown of digital subscribers into those reading online, via the iPad or via the Kindle, but reported that total sales of digital products stood at 222,000 at the end of February, up from 105,000 on 31 October.

Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International said that the figures represent that “ever larger numbers of people are willing to pay for quality journalism across a variety of digital formats”.

She added: “Our industry is being redefined by technology and we will no longer measure the sales and success of our newspapers in print circulation terms alone.”

An online subscription to the Times and the Sunday Times costs £2; an iPad subscription costs £9.99 a month or £1 for one-day’s access to the Times and £1.79 for the Sunday Times.

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