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Regional online traffic compared; Johnston Press comes out top

February 25th, 2010 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism, Traffic

I’ve had a little play with today’s Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic’s (ABCe) six-monthly multi-platform report for July – December 2009 and produced a few graphs.

Johnston Press was top of the traffic charts with 384,016 daily unique browsers – partly thanks to the Scotsman which attracted 86,694 daily browsers on average over the past six months. In second place for daily unique browsers (which ABCe now prioritises over monthly statistics as a better measure of site popularity) came Newsquest with 320,975 browsers. Closely behind, Trinity Mirror, which recorded 287,130. Of the bigger groups, it was Northcliffe in fourth position with 256,123. GMG saw the biggest drop-off overall when period-on-period monthly unique browser figures were compared: -17.8 per cent.

For the next multiplatform report, it could be all change: GMG regional titles will be part of Trinity Mirror, following the sale agreement earlier this month; and the effect of Johnston Press’ pay walls, launched in November may well have kicked in. They seem to have had a limited effect on this period’s statistics, but it’s worth noting that traffic had fallen for the Johnston Press network from 6,985,175 uniques in October to 6,161,875 in December 2009: down by over ten per cent in two months. Traffic had been dropping off since July, however, well before the pay walls were introduced and of course, the group has only rolled out the scheme over a few of its smaller sites so far.  Unfortunately, the trialled sites don’t feature in the individual site break-down.

This chart shows the period-on-period change for each newspaper group, July to end of December 2009. (ie. compared with the previous six months)

Unique daily browsers, by regional newspaper group:

GMG Regional Network

Trinity Mirror

Iliffe News & Media Ltd (note that the largest column is its entire network overall, which includes other sites as well)

Johnston Press

Newsquest

Midlands News

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GMG sells regional media business to Trinity Mirror for £44.8m

February 9th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

Months of speculation about the future of Guardian Media Group’s regional media business is over – the group has announced today it will sell GMG Regionals to Trinity Mirror for a total consideration of £44.8 million.

Within the regionals group MEN Media publishes 22 titles in the north west of England, including the flagship Manchester Evening News; while S&B Media publishes 10 titles in the south of England, including the Surrey Advertiser and Reading Post. Both will go to Trinity Mirror.

Manchester-based TV station Channel M and GMG Regionals Woking titles will not be part of the deal, which is expected to complete by 28 March.

The deal also sees departures for GMG Regionals chief executive Mark Dodson and MEN Media chief executive Ruth Spratt. More significantly it marks the sale of the Guardian’s Manchester roots, as the paper was started in the city on 5 May 1821.

More to follow from Journalism.co.uk.

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Former Birmingham Post editor to launch West Midlands business site

January 27th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers, Online Journalism

It is thought that Marc Reeves, former editor of the Birmingham Post, is to launch a West Midlands franchise of TheBusinessdesk.com.

First publicly reported on Jon Slattery’s blog and on the Drum (in a story with a dead link), the news follows industry speculation and hints of pastures new on Reeves’ blog.

Journalism.co.uk has learned the site will be run by Reeves – who left the Post at the end of 2009 when the the Trinity Mirror title went weekly – and two other journalists. One of the journalists involved is believed to be the former Birmingham Post deputy business editor, Duncan Tift.

It is understood that Reeves has begun offering banner advertising for the new site.

Reeves, who we were unable to contact today, was recently appointed to the panel to decide the Independently Funded News Consortia pilots.

The Business Desk, who could not be contacted for comment today either, was launched in 2007 as business online-only news site for Yorkshire, by former Yorkshire Post business editor, David Parkin. Former Yorkshire Post journalists Ian Briggs and Anastasia Weiner also joined the site.

In 2008, the Business Desk also launched in the north west. At the time Parkin told Journalism.co.uk:

“We think it can work in every region in the country. We’ve got to see how it goes in the north west, but we don’t want to stop here.”

“We are purely online, that’s all we do. All the other players in the area have a print product to support,” he added.

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Trinity Mirror update: One weekly could be rescued at TM North West and Wales, while exec share row rumbles on

September 30th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs, Newspapers

Two updates on Trinity Mirror stories to report:

  • The Whitchurch Herald could be saved despite last week’s announcement that it would be one of three weeklies in the North West and Wales division to close – if a buyer is found. ‘It has been postponed to enable owners Trinity Mirror North West and Wales to consider new approaches from parties interested in purchasing the newspaper title,’ said the company.
  • “There have been some developments in the last few days so we have decided to continue producing the Whitchurch Herald while discussions with interested parties take place. We will keep readers and advertisers informed of developments,” said Carl Wood, Trinity Mirror Cheshire publishing director.

  • Meanwhile, a dispute over Trinity Mirror executives’ share awards continues. Following last week’s announcement that two additional weekly newspaper titles are to close, with around 15 jobs threatened overall at Trinity Mirror subsidiary Media Wales – one division of TM North West and Wales - the NUJ questioned share ‘handouts’ to executives – worth over £800,000 in total, it claimed. But Trinity Mirror denied they were of any value.

We’ll go through this one point by point – please do get in touch with additional points to raise:

1. The NUJ claimed that share awards to directors had not been publicised when a pay freeze and bonus cut across the company – including directors – was announced in November 2008.

TM said it was not new information and it had always been publicly available online.

The NUJ now says: “The fact is that Trinity Mirror employees were not told directly at the time of the pay freeze about this additional remuneration. It was merely stated that the pay freeze applied to directors too.”

2. The NUJ challenged share awards made to Sly Bailey (chief executive) and Vijay Vaghela (finance director) in April 2009.

TM said the share awards ‘have no value’ at present and were provisionally granted until targets are met.

The NUJ now says: “We have not suggested that the directors have already received payment for the value of the shares. In the circumstances, we call on the directors to confirm that they will decline to accept any financial advantage from this share award.”

3. The NUJ also claimed that the three directors – Bailey, Vaghela and legal director Paul Vickers – exercised an option to ‘buy’ more shares on June 29 this year – for no purchase price, before selling them.

TM said: that the shares sold in June were part of the 2007 bonus, which had been deferred until now:

“[P]art of the bonus paid to senior managers is deferred for 12 months and paid in shares. It is the deferred shares from the 2007 bonus that have just been released.

“The only shares that were sold were those that the company required to be sold to pay the PAYE tax liabilities on the value of the shares. None of that money went to the directors and they still hold all the other shares released to them.”

The NUJ now says: “We call on the directors to return this part of their 2007 bonus as it was paid after the imposition of the pay freeze.”

Journalism.co.uk asked TM about the 2007 bonus arrangement: why are the directors required to sell these shares in this way?

“The release of shares is treated as a payment for tax purposes, and – like all other payments – the tax is deducted at the time the payment is made,” a spokesperson said.

And why was the share award system not publicised at the time of the pay freeze?

“All the information about the share award referred to in the NUJ’s press release was already in the public domain before the announcement about pay freezes in November 2008,” said the spokesperson.

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The budget online: Liveblogging and Twitter dominate news orgs’ coverage

April 22nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

Today’s budget announcement is being billed as the most significant of recent times given the UK’s current financial woes.

This is both a breaking news story, but one that requires closer analysis and follow up – and, perhaps most importantly, the ability to make it relevant to the reader.

So how are news organisations covering it online and who’s ticking these boxes?

Telegraph.co.uk
Currently performing well in Google News search for budget, the Telegraph is going in big on online coverage today.

It will be updating throughout the day via its @Telefinance Twitter account (headed up by @hrwaldram). Meanwhile a trio of Telegraph reporters have been liveblogging budget news since 6:30am.

On the subject of Twitter – the Telegraph has reinstated its Twitterfall – an embed aggregating all Twitter updates marked #budget. The feature had to be taken down earlier in the week, because of some mischief, but so far so good with the tweaked (filtered?) version.

In addition there’s a nice ‘What to expect’ guide breaking down the issues that are likely to feature in the budget announcement.

FT.com
Arguably the go-to site for budget coverage given its specialism, the FT is building on tried and trusted features from last year (a budget day podcast, video analysis, a budget calculator) with a new liveblog from 12pm covering Alistair Darling’s speech, editor Robert Shrimsley, who will participate, told Journalism.co.uk.

The format is based on the site’s MarketsLive feature successfully developed and used by its Alphaville blog. As such it will ‘bring people people up to speed, but inform them in an entertaining way’. Financial analysis but entertaining – two styles that rarely meet, said Shrimsley, but that will be key to FT.com’s liveblogging of the budget.

“There’s a premium on getting that information out and telling people what its means. We feel at the FT that we have the right people to pass on that analysis,” explained Shrimsley.

There will be a Twitter feed too, but it’s crucial not spam people with updates, he added. Readers are encouraged to participate in both this stream and the liveblog though.

Alphaville isn’t being used as a lab for experimenting with new ways of coverage, he stressed, but there is potential for more liveblogging across the site. It’s important not to overdose on technology, however, but to use only when applicable, he added.

“Can we offer our audience what is worth reading? There’s lots of innovation on the internet and there’s lots that you can do – that doesn’t mean you have to,” he said.

Channel 4 News website
More use of Twitter by the Channel 4 news team – as introduced by presenter Krishnan Guru-Murphy in the vid below:

There will also be use of CoverItLive (CiL) for a liveblog starting at 12pm, which was similarly used in the site’s coverage of the G20 summit.

Some nice additional touches include the use of FactCheck to test the claims made by the chancellor in the budget; and a wordcloud (or Snowcloud) of Darling’s announcement.

Sky News Online and Times Online
A specially built budget page has been set up including a liveblog, live video streams of the budget speech, and analysis from bloggers, tax experts and taxpayers, the site told us. There’s a good guide to how to use Sky’s online coverage too – one particular highlight, the chance for users to get answers from PKF UK tax accountant Matt Coward.

Meanwhile Times Online will be following up its excellent liveblogging of the G20 summit with a version starting at midday today.

Liveblogging at regional level
Deciphering what the budget means for the average news reader is being tackled head on by the Newcastle Evening Chronicle with a liveblog taking place across a number of Trinity Mirror centres.

“We’ll be mainly trying to digest it for *normal* people with rx [reactions] from experts, rather than the scary £180bn debt figures,” said Colin George, multimedia editor, in a Twitter update.

Wales Online (bringing in a tax expert) and the Birmingham Post – under its dedicated Live! Section – also host budget day liveblogs (using CiL again).

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Digital editors on Twitter – a list for networking and problem-solving

Since I started using Twitter I’ve always been amazed (and grateful) at how quickly calls for technological help and assistance with ideas and projects are answered. It’s one of the main reasons I’m a fan of Twitter.

There are plenty of media/journalist Twitter databases out there, but below are the beginnings of a list of digital editors on Twitter.

What do I mean by digital editor? In this instance, a journalist working primarily online, on web projects or co-ordinating multimedia output. The web editor of a newspaper site or magazine site, for example. It’s in no particular order, except for being divided by ‘traditional’ industry sectors at the moment, but if this isn’t useful, just let us know – would be great to get more international representatives too.

But the criteria for inclusion on the list are intentionally loose – this is aimed at networking, problem-solving and idea sharing between journalists working in the same space and similar roles. (Feel free to nominate any additions or drop us a tweet @journalismnews)

UPDATE April 16please read blog post two on how to message the group via Twitter

Newspapers

Alison Gow (@alisongow) – executive editor, digital, Liverpool Daily Post & Liverpool Echo

Kevin Matthews (@kmatt) – head of web and data, Liverpool Daily Post

Neil MacDonald (@xxnapoleonsolo) – deputy head of web and data, Liverpool Daily Post

Jo Wadsworth (@jowadsworth) – web editor, Brighton Argus

Tom Pegg (@tomatthechad) – digital content manager, Mansfield Chad

James Goffin (@jamesgoffin) – regional web producer, Archant

Sarah Booker (@sarah_booker) – web editor, Worthing Herald

Gustav Svensson (@gustavsvensson) – web editor, entertainment and arts, Sydsvenskan.se

Stephen Emerson (@stephen_emerson) – deputy online editor, Scotsman.com

Sam Shepherd (@SamShepherd) – online journalist, Bournemouth Daily Echo

Joanna Geary (@timesjoanna) – web development editor, business, Times Online

Sarah Hartley (@foodiesarah) – head of online editorial, MEN Media

Iain Hepburn (@iainmhepburn) – online editor, DailyRecord.co.uk

Lucia Adams (@luciatimes) – web development editor, Times Online

Carmen Boles (@carmenb) – online news editor, Gazette.com

Marcus Warren (@MarcusWa) – editor, Telegraph.co.uk

Dan Owen (@danowen) – executive editor online, Trinity Mirror

Steve Nicholls (@steve_nicholls) – multimedia editor, Birmingham Post

Anna Jeys (@ajeys) – multimedia editor, Birmingham Mail

Steve Wollaston (@stevewollaston) – multimedia editor, BPM Media and Sunday Mercury

Julie Martin (@jules_27) – Teesside Evening Gazette

Helen Dalby (@helendalby) – regional multimedia manager, NCJ Media

Nick Turner (@nickincumbria) – head of digital content, CN Group

Christian Dunn (@christiandunn) – digital news editor, NWN Media

Hugh Dixon (@hugh_d) – web editor and production editor, thisisbath/Bath Chronicle

Paul Cockerton (@paulcockerton) – web editor, Lancashire Telegraph

Dan Owens (@hornetdan1979) – deputy news editor, Northampton Chronicle and Echo

Dan Kerins (@dankerins) – web journalist, Southern Daily Echo

Broadcast

Marsha Graham (@marshagoldcoast) – multimedia manager for 102.9FM Hot Tomato, Australia

Rob Winder (@robwinder) – news editor, Al Jazeera website, Washington DC

Tom Thorogood (@TomThorogood) – digital news editor, MTV

Magazines

Martin Stabe (@martinstabe) – online editor, Retail Week

Victoria Thompson (@VicThompson) – assistant online editor, Nursing Times

Neil Durham (@NeilDurham) – deputy editor, GP and Independent Nurse

John Robinson (@PulseToday) – digital content manager, Pulse Today

Peter Houston (@p_houston) – editorial director for Advanstar Communications, Europe

Alex Smith (@alexsmith68) – web editor, Building.co.uk

Keira Daley (@daleyrant) – web editor, Australian print magazine

Lara McNamee (@lovelylara33) – assistant intelligence editor, ICIS

Gabriel Fleming (@gabefleming) – online editor, Nursing Times

Janie Stamford (@janiestamford) – contract catering editor, Caterer & Hotelkeeper

Robin Latchem (@lgcplus) – online editor, Local Government Chronicle

Keely Stocker (@keelystocker) – digital content manager, Drapers Online

Scott Matthewman (@scottm) – assistant manager, The Stage

Specialist website

Michael Hubbard (@michaelomh) – founder and music editor, MusicOmh

Krystal Sim (@krystalsim) – web editor for sustainability magazine BSD – bsdlive.co.uk

Arun Marsh (@ArunMarsh) – content producer/editor, Local Gov

Rick Waghorn (@MrRickWaghorn) – publisher, MyFootbalWriter

Emma Waddingham (@emmawad) online editor, Legal-Medical.co.uk

Michael McCarthy (@HealthGuide) online editor, LocalHealthGuide

Steve Gooding (@rmtimestech)- Romney Marsh Times

Manoj Solanki (@ManojSolanki) – SeekBroadband.com

Graham Holliday (@noodlepie) – digital editor, Frontline Club

Craig McGinty (@craigmcginty) – publisher, ThisFrenchLife

Mark Crail (@markcrail) – managing editor, XpertHR

Freelance

Adam Oxford (@adamoxford)

Rachel Colling (@rachcolling)

Ashanti Omkar (@ashantiomkar)

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New appointment: Ayers is made regional web publishing director at Trinity Mirror Regionals

March 13th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Jobs, Media releases, Newspapers

A week with particularly brutal cuts across UK regional media, but news of a new digital appointment comes from Trinity Mirror this morning:

Richard Ayers has been appointed regional web publishing director for Trinity Mirror Regionals.

“In this key position Richard will work closely with the regional teams across the division to implement digital best practice and develop content and online services to drive usage, audience and online revenues across the regional network,” a release from the group said.

“Richard has a first class background in online publishing and I am delighted to welcome him to the team,” said Chris Bunyan, digital director of Trinity Mirror Regionals.

“The audience for our regional sites has increased by over 30 per cent year-on-year to around 5.5 milllon users a month. Richard’s experience and expertise will strengthen our digital team and will ensure we continue to deliver and drive compelling online user experiences for this growing audience across our regional websites,” Bunyan said, in the release.

Ayers career includes ten years at BBC News online, in ‘a number of senior digital roles;’ he was ‘portal director’ for Tiscali.co.uk, and more recently he was the managing director of a digital production agency, Magic Lantern.

The Trinity Mirror release also announced that Shaun Collins has been appointed as digital recruitment director, a role which sees him focus on ‘driving digital recruitment products and their performance’.

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Scotland on Sunday: Trinity Mirror seeks rule change to allow mergers of newspaper titles – Scotland on Sunday

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

According to Terry Murden of the Scotland on Sunday, Trinity Mirror is lobbying for media ownership rules to be relaxed to allow newspaper groups to merge their regional titles.

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Tracking UK newspaper share prices with Twitter

December 22nd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology

With a little a lot of help from our friends (take a bow Headshift’s Tim Duckett) there’s a new Twitter kid on the block – @jocoukshares.

Following Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press’ exits from the FTSE 250, the aim is to provide almost real-time share price information for the newspaper and magazine publishing groups currently listed on the FTSE.

Below is a key to the company names:

FUTR – Future Publishing

CAU – Centaur

TNI – Trinity Mirror

INM – Independent News & Media

REL – Reed Elsevier

PSON – Pearson

JPR – Johnston Press

DMGT – Daily Mail & General Trust

INF – Informa

NWS – News Corp

Tim’s made stirling progress with setting up feeds of the share prices to Twitter and there’s no reason why this couldn’t be expanded beyond newspapers and mags in the future.

However, suggestions about a ‘front-end’ for the project are welcome. Building a newspaper-share-price-feed-tracking widget will probably be one of my Christmas Eve tasks – any suggestions?

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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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