Tag Archives: chairman

Johnston Press Release: Board changes at Johnston Press

Ian Russell to succeed chairman Roger Parry from March 2009.

Simon Waugh to leave board from January 30 following appointment as chief executive of the new National Apprenticeship Service.

Full release at this link…

Journalism in Africa: Kenyan editors reject ‘draconian’ communications bill

Kenyan editors are demanding the government withdraws a bill from parliament that could give the state powers to raid media houses and seize broadcasting equipments at will.

Editors have described the Kenya Communications Amendment Bill 2008, also known as the ICT bill, as draconian and oppressive to a media that has previously successfully fought against the introduction of such an act.

Last year media practitioners took to the streets protesting the Media Bill 2007, which looked to force journalists to disclose their sources.

When first tabled, journalists sought the removal of sections that would bar cross-ownership of media – a move seen as an attempt to close down the nation’s largest media houses, The Nation and The Standard, which both own a broadcasting and print outlet.

David Makali, chairman of the country’s Editors Guild, has questioned why the government has hurried to enact the laws, arguing that it should concentrate on the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill that has been going through parliament for the last four years.

The Freedom of Information Bill seeks to replace the existing Official Secrets Act and improve access to public information by the public.

“Why is the government obsessed about controlling the media and seeking power to get into media houses at will, instead of freeing the ground for us to access information. What is the priority: punish media houses or inform the nation?” asked Makali.

Hannington Gaya, chairman of the Media Owners Association (MOA), said if passed into law, the repercussions of the bill, which mainly targets broadcasters, could be ‘even more dangerous’ than those from the Media Bill.

“This bill is illegal, immoral and unconstitutional. Through this bill, the information and communications minister and his internal security counterpart are working together to frustrate the freedom of press,” claimed media consultant and politician, Tony Gachoka.

According to Gachoka, the bill is meant to justify acts like the infamous raid on the Standard Group.

In March 2006, the then internal security minister, John Michuki, ordered a police raid on the Standard Group, resulting in a loss of millions of shillings.

In an unprecedented attack on the media, around 30 heavily armed and hooded police from the elite Kanga squad, ostensibly formed to fight armed and dangerous criminals, descended on the Standard’s offices at midnight, beating up employees, breaking doors, stealing employees’ mobile phones, removing CCTV cameras and carting away 20 computers.

Police officers later took broadcaster KTN TV off air for about 13 hours and disabled the Standard’s printing plant, setting light to thousands of copies of the day’s edition as it rolled off the presses.

In a phone interview information and communications minister Samuel Poghisio said the bill seeks to harmonise law and policy in the ICT industry, which is the fastest growing industry in Kenya.

The bill will be tabled in its current form, said Poghisio, adding that any further amendments will be done according to the vibrancy of the industry and that editors should await the passage of the laws in parliament to raise their issues.

“If they do not revise those issues we will seek redress in court,” responded Makali.

NCTJ Journalism skills conference: Is shorthand ‘vital’ as a journalism skill?

The full results of the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) convergence skills survey are in under the fairly predictable headline of ‘you need old and new skills’ to survive in this journalism age.

But the study, which questioned 217 employers and 50 NCTJ-accredited institutions, did flag up some interesting skills gaps – cited by employers – between new recruits and employer expectations:

Here’s Paul Bradshaw’s video of the presentation of the results from the Society of Editor’s conference last month:


A combination of new and ‘traditional’ skills (finding own stories, use of language, writing, media law, shorthand, newsgathering, video, SEO) were all areas of particular concern for the 71 per cent of those employers surveyed who reported skills gaps among new entrants.

But it was the gaps in traditional skills that employers and educators saw as most important. As the NCTJ chairman Kim Fletcher says in his intro to the results, a worrying gap in recruits’ ability to write shorthand was reported, a skill which is ‘as vital as ever’.

The above claim has already been causing some debate amongst twittering journos:

Is shorthand a ‘vital skill’ or just a handy one? It was part of my training and I find it useful for quick transcriptions, but there are growing calls for reporters to tape everything – something which has the added benefit of allowing you to post audio clips.

Excerpts from interviews conducted as part of the skills survey raise sound ideas on the whole – but are they really referring to shorthand when they mention important traditional skills? For example:

“It is a difficult task, but teaching the traditional skills must be maintained while cultivating multimedia talent as well – and both to a high standard. The traditional should not be  downgraded to accommodate the ‘sexy’. The basics are needed for whatever medium is being used.”

(For me there’s still a slight hangover from the print (solid, traditional, credible) vs online (sexy, irreverent and all front) in the above…)

Educators reading this – what emphasis do you place on different skills and why?

New recruits and journos – in what proportion are you using the new and traditional skills you’ve learnt?

NewsNow goes mobile

News aggregation site NewsNow, which includes articles from newspapers, magazines and TV news, has launched a mobile version, according to a press release.

The service, which runs using mobile browser Opera, aggregates around 200,000 articles a day, organising these into 2,500 subject-specific feeds.

Chairman of NewsNow Publishing, Struan Bartlett, describes the tool as a ‘killer app’ for mobile phones.

Online video site, Masher.com, now live

This week saw the beta launch of Masher.com, a site which allows you to mash together the content of different videos, and use a free BBC archive of generic content. It was originally developed by the BBC Motion Gallery, a press release said.

Masher.com’s chairman, Neil Fenton said, in the release, that for content owners, “Masher offers a completely new way for users to engage with their content, in which those users don’t just consume content online passively but become both producer and consumer in an application that is highly engaging and allows for the maximization of online advertising and sponsorship revenues.”

New media types among Evening Standard’s 1000 most influential Londoners

Peter Mandelson had to be a last minute addition to the list because the magazine had already gone to press: being offline seems to be a recurring theme for the London Evening Standard’s 1000 most influential Londoners list, out this evening.

Can we get an online version? Can we heck! After time wasted going round the editorial houses through the Evening Standard switchboard, Brighton-based Journalism.co.uk is getting sent a print version.

So in the meantime (till the print copy arrives) here’s the online media and general media types we’ve spotted on the list of 50 that are featured on the website. And it looks like new media gets a fairly good representation.

The little ‘see new media’ under the names almost had us thinking we could click on links… no chance. Well, we’re not in London; we don’t really exist, clearly.

Shiny Media’s three founders are included – and quoted as being “highly influential in the UK online world”. They aren’t among the very top 50, but you can see a scanned in bit of the list on the Shiny blog.

Media/Online types from the top 50:

  • Nikesh Arora, GOOGLE, EUROPEAN VP: Boss of the internet giant’s most important base outside California, bringing in close to a billion pounds a year in advertising revenue in the UK. Landed Google job after 17 interviews. (New Media, TV & Radio)
  • Jonathan Ive, 41, APPLE, DESIGN GURU: The world’s most influential product designer, involved in the iPhone and iPod. He is returning to British roots, buying a £2.5 million retreat here. (New Media)
  • Mark Thompson, 51, BBC, DIRECTOR-GENERAL: From deception scandals to swingeing job cuts, Thompson has had to weather many storms while rival broadcasters pitch for a slice of the corporation’s income from the licence fee (Television & Radio)

Outside of the big 50 we’ll have to rely on the Guardian’s Media Monkey for information:

“…chief exec James Murdoch, Ashley Highfield, chief exec of the Kangaroo on-demand TV project and, drum roll please, Evening Standard owner Lord Rothermere, chairman of DMGT! Who’d have thunk that thisislondon.co.uk was such a groundbreaker?

Other media bods on the list were Paul Darce, Rebecca Wade, Ed Richards, Mark Thompson, Simon Cowell, Simon Fuller, Nick Ferrari, Emily Bell, Eric Huggers, Evan Davies, John Humphrys, Jay Hunt, Peter Horrocks, Alexandra Shulman and Gok Wan.”

Journalism in Africa: New media laws force journalists to pay ‘registration fees’

Dennis Itumbi reports for Journalism.co.uk from Nairobi:

New media laws are threatening confrontation between Kenyan journalists and the government’s self-appointed media regulator, the Media Council.

Under the laws, which were passed despite protests by Kenyan journalists late last year, journalists in the country have to register for accreditation with the Media council.

Journalists must pay a compulsory sum of 2,000 Kenyan Shillings (£15.87) to register, regardless of whether they have registered in the past.

Those who fail to pay face imprisonment.

Foreign journalists are required to pay 10,000 Kenyan Shillings (£79.48) per month, while those working for less than three months will pay 5,000 Kenyan Shillings (£39.73) per month.

A letter from Kenya’s Media Council sent to all media owners said journalists would have to seek accreditation on an annual basis – a move seen as retrogressive by media groups.

Owners are also challenging the legislation, as it states that media houses must pay 20,000 Kenyan Shillings (£158.73) every month to fund ‘self-regulation’.

“[Y]ou have two months to comply or face the risk of deregistration,” it reads.

Eric Orina, secretary general of the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ), warned the move by the government would not be taken lightly. The organization would mobilize journalists to the streets to force the withdrawal of the fees demanded, he said.

“Self-regulation is the spirit of the laws and while we support accreditation of journalists we cannot allow the government through the Media Council to decide who practices journalism and who does not,” explained Orina, whose sentiments were echoed by Martin Gitau, chair of the Journalist Association of Kenya.

The Media Council has said it is merely implementing the existing Media Act 2007 and should not be blamed.

“We are a product of negotiation between the media and the government and since we have a legal mandate we have to implement it,” Wachira Waruru, chairman of the Media Council, maintained.

Elias Mbau, the journalist who helped organise demonstrations over another controversial clause in the act that would force journalists to disclose their sources, warned that the move to charge fees on a yearly basis would not be easily accepted.

“Nurses, engineers and lawyers are accepted into practice once; why should we renew accreditation as if it is membership to a club or a professional body?” said Mbau.