Author Archives: Nora McKeogh

#FollowJourn: @xxnapoleonsolo/ deputy head of web and data

#FollowJourn: Neil Macdonald

Who? Deputy head of web and data at Liverpool Daily Post and Echo.

What? Has been a journalist since 1995 after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire, contributing to weekly and daily titles. Spent a year working in NHS PR. Specialities include newspaper and magazine design, sport, and internet development, especially journalism blogging.

Where? @xxnapoleonsolo or http://www.scyfilove.net/

Contact? neil.macdonald at liverpool.com

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

Johnston Press’ ad revenues feel effects of recession

Johnston Press has today reported half-year revenues of £218.6 million – down 25.4 per cent year-on-year.

Print advertising revenue fell by 33.5 per cent; while digital advertising revenues also declined – by 18.8 per cent.

The publisher’s revenue from employment advertising was down by 53.8 per cent, property ads by 54.2 per cent, motors by 29.3 per cent and from other classifieds by 11.5 per cent.

The company’s interim report said ad revenues were down 32.7 per cent in the first six months of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008.

In an attempt to improve their digital recruitment sites and therefore their appeal to recruitment advertisers, Johnston Press has entered into a joint venture with Daily Mail & General Trust, giving them access to the latter’s Jobsite software.

The report also expresses the group’s struggle ‘to compete with the regional activities of the publicly funded BBC digital presence’, claiming that it ‘distorts the markets within which they operate through making the charging for news content extremely difficult’.

“The timing of the economic upturn remains uncertain but advertising revenues are demonstrating greater stability
and we expect the cyclical improvement when it comes to more than compensate any structural change. We will
maintain our focus on costs and look to secure operating efficiencies during the second half of the year,” said CEO John Fry in the report.

Yesterday the publisher celebrated success after it was announced that it had attracted the most unique users, to its network of regional newspaper websites, in the first six months of 2009.

The publisher, which is responsible for more than 323 websites, recorded 6,864,820 monthly unique users on average over the period, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic’s six-monthly report for regional newspaper groups.

A reminder of the ‘perils of reporting’ in Pakistan

On Monday, Shamshad TV reporter, Janullah Hashimzada, was killed in Pakistan.

The murder of the Afghan journalist is a reminder of the very real threat that faces journalists in the region, said the International Press Institute.

Janullah Hashimzada was travelling by mini-bus near the Pakistani town of Jamrud in the Khyber tribal district when the vehicle was intercepted. Assailants fired at Janullah, killing him and seriously injuring his colleague Ali Khan. No one has claimed responsibility for the killing so far.

“Hashimzada was murdered in cold blood because he dared to exercise the profession of journalist, and knew too much,” said IPI director, David Dadge. “His death underscores the perils of reporting from such a dangerous part of the world for journalists.”

Other casualties this year include:

  • Muhammad Imran, a trainee cameraman with Express TV and Saleem Tahir Awan, a freelance reporter with the local dailies Eitedal and Apna Akhbar, were both killed on January 4, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the Government Polytechnic College in Dera Ismail Khan in the Northwest Frontier Province.
  • Musa Khankhel, a reporter for Geo TV and the English-language newspaper The News, was shot dead on February 18,  while on assignment covering a peace march led by Muslim cleric Sufi Muhammad in the Swat valley.
  • Sadiq Bacha Khan, Aaj TV correspondent was gunned down, on August 17 in broad daylight in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan.

103 cases of ‘intimidation or threats’ against journalists were recorded from May 2008 through May 2009, according to a report by the Pakistani media research group Intermedia. Numbers of deaths vary according to the source: while Intermedia reports 15 in the last year, IPI’s Death Watch said that 11 journalists have been killed in the last two years.

Dominic Mohan named editor of the Sun

Dominic Mohan has been appointed the new editor of the Sun, News International confirmed earlier today.

Mohan, who has worked at the Sun for 13 years, most recently as deputy editor, will become the seventh editor of the red-top since Rupert Murdoch bought the Sun 40 years ago.

Mohan joined the Sun from the News of the World and worked on its showbiz column, Bizarre, in 1996. He was promoted to editor two years later, taking the helm in 1998. Bizarre’s longest serving editor, he left after five years to write a weekly opinion column.

Before Mohan was deputy editor, he spent three years as associate editor, features, and prior to that, two years as assistant editor.

“I believe the Sun is the best paper on the planet. It is a privilege to take over as editor and I cannot wait to get started,” said Mohan, commenting on his appointment.

The vacancy arose when Rebekah Brooks was appointed as News International chief executive in June. Brooks said Mohan had been an ‘outstanding leader at the paper, supporting me with energy and enthusiasm’.

“He has an unrivalled understanding of what makes the paper tick and a real grasp of what makes a great Sun headline. I am delighted to be handing the reins over to such a talented successor. I look forward to continuing to work with him in my new role,” she added.

Both Rebekah Brooks and Dominic Mohan will be starting in their new roles on September 2.

#FollowJourn: @Pixelsmith/news editor

#FollowJourn: Tom Hay

Who? Newspaper staffer by day, web comedy writer by night.

What? News editor (plus opinion writer/columnist) for a UK weekly local paper series. Created RollZero.com (geek humour) and the RollZero Electric Letter (weekly email) as an antidote.

Where? @Pixelsmith

Contact? www.rollzero.com (sign up for the Electric Letter in the page header).

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

Manchester Evening News tweets live from police control room

Three thousand police officers hit the streets last Friday for Operation Admiral – a series of co-ordinated raids over a 24 hour period, aimed at hunting down Greater Manchester’s most violent drunken thugs.

During the operation 672 people were arrested and multiple weapons found including an AK-47 machine gun with a rocket launcher.

Manchester Evening News (MEN) reporter Dean Kirby was in the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) control room from 9am through till just after 5pm using Twitter to provide live updates to the MEN website, which were streamed via a CoveritLive blog.

Readers of Kirby’s coverage began leaving comments from as early as 11.35 am, one anonymously advising that ‘They need to concentrate more on Rochdale’.

Throughout the rest of the day sporadic messages of support filtered in from the public, one such said, ‘well done GMP keep up the good work’. In response assistant chief constable Garry Shewan thanked ‘the public for their strong support over the last 24 hours’.

The MEN’s online coverage provided a host of stories in the weekend’s print editions – broken down by the 12 divisions of the Greater Manchester Police – and several online follow-ups.

The MEN has previously made good use of data from news stories online – see its homicide map for the Manchester area – so figures from the raids could provide a starting point for new visualisations.

Social and mainstream media join forces to cover Afghanistan election

Rivals currently claim to both be on track for victory in the Afghan elections, in a race watched closely by the world’s media – mainstream, citizen and social.

The Guardian, for example, reports that ‘President Karzai’s staff said he has taken a majority of votes, making a second round run-off unnecessary,’ while Abdullah’s spokesman, Sayyid Agha Hussain Fazel Sancharaki, said the former foreign minister ‘was ahead with 62 per cent of the vote,’ even though preliminary results are not yet expected.

But publicity hasn’t always been courted by the government: critics the world over were shocked by the Afghan foreign ministry’s demand for a media blackout. On Wednesday, the government ordered all journalists not to report acts of violence during its elections, as a last minute attempt to boost voter turn out.

Both the foreign and domestic media said they intended to ignore the ban. Rahimullah Samander, head of the Independent Journalist Association of Afghanistan said that they would ‘not obey this order’. “We are going to continue with our normal reporting and broadcasting of news,” he told the Associated Press.

Both domestic and foreign reporters turned out in force to cover yesterday’s election.  Although the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that there have been reports of at least three foreign journalists and several local journalists detained and other acts of aggression towards the media, it is believed that no one was seriously injured.

As with the Iranian election protests, yesterday highlighted the pivotal role social media and citizen journalists now play within mainstream news. Here are a few examples:

  • Alive in Afghanistan introduced a new system during yesterday’s elections allowing citizens to ‘report disturbances, defamation and vote tampering, or incidents where everything ‘went well’ via text message. BBC report at this link.
  • Demotix, the citizen-journalism and photography agency which saw its profile rise during the Iranian election protests, was also instrumental in documenting the day’s events. Follow Afghanistan photographs and stories at this link. “We’ve had reports from Kabul, Helmand, Kandahar and most other provinces during yesterday’s election and the preceding weeks. As well as the political campaigns, our reporters covered the fierce violence including last week’s Taliban attack on a NATO convoy,” said commissioning editor Andy Heath.

Fifth International Photography Award open for entries

The British Journal of Photography in partnership with the Association of Photographers is calling for entries for its fifth annual award.

There are two award categories this year: one recognising a single outstanding image; the other an exceptional body of work.

Anyone of any country can enter and there is no theme. Photographs can be captured in any format, film or digital, and can be of any style or genre.

The prize fund is worth more than £13,000 with the winner of the single image category receiving a SIGMA DP2 professional compact camera and the winner of the body of work category receiving a LEAF CAMERA (the exact model TBC).

The winning work of both categories will be given a solo show at a leading London photography gallery, printed by one of Europe’s top fine art laboratories. Both winners will also feature in the British Journal of Photography.

Entry is £25 for the series category, and £5 per single image. Photographers are welcome to enter both competitions, and to enter more than one body or work or image.

The deadline is September 11 2009. Full details of how to enter and the criteria are available at this link.

Express under fire for advertorials again

Only last week Journalism.co.uk reported how the Daily Express was criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for masking advertorials as features.

Yesterday, as reported by MediaGuardian and others, the Express again came under fire for a similar incident.

An advertisement for Goldshield’s Rozip took up the bottom half of a page, with an article on the qualities of the product sitting on top.

Previously the ASA investigated as to ‘whether the features had been controlled by the advertiser and also whether the claims made by the products were true or exaggerated’.

They came to the conclusion that ‘both publisher and advertiser were purposefully trying to get around elements of the advertising code by presenting the articles and adverts in this way’.

When criticised for unsubstantiated claims made by the Express journalist about the healing properties of the products, Goldshield’s Rozip responded that ‘they were not responsible’ for the contents of the article.

Monitoring staff at the ASA said that the advertisement and the article were clearly linked. As with the previous cases reported last week, Goldshield had booked the ad on the understanding that the editorial would also appear.

The ASA state that because of the ‘reciprocal arrangement’, Goldshield in fact had implicit control over the top half of the page and as such Goldshield was responsible for ensuring the contents of the entire page complied with the Code.

In the latest issue of Private Eye (August 21 – September 3) it was suggested that the Express might not be the only newspaper guilty of this tactic. On August 5, the Evening Standard printed a piece about a world cruise that the Eye described as an ‘unmarked advertorial’ – it fell opposite a full-page ad for the very same cruise. The Evening Standard article in question can be found at this link.

It seems no action has yet been taken against the Evening Standard; the Daily Express on the other hand has been told ‘the ad must not appear again in its current form’.