Tag Archives: editor

Monbiot, the Spectator and the ‘spiked’ debate

Environmental campaigner and journalist George Monbiot vents his anger with the Spectator on Guardian.co.uk today. It’s the latest update to a saga in which the Spectator and the Guardian columnist dispute the facts over a proposed debate between climate change denier Ian Plimer and Monbiot.

It has never taken place but both sides disagree as to why. Spectator editor Fraser Nelson declares the publication of Monbiot’s correspondence with the Spectator on Monbiot.com ‘an act of desperation’. Today Monbiot retorts that he is glad he did publish the emails in full:

“Among other accusations, he [Fraser] maintains that I spiked the debate the magazine was hoping to organise between myself and Ian Plimer. This is the opposite of the truth. It was the Spectator that spiked the debate.”

Readers prefer subscriptions to micropayments – according to paidContent:UK/Harris survey

PaidContent:UK has this week launched a series about online payment models, using the results of a poll conducted by Harris Interactive. Its first story reported that if newspaper groups were to begin charging for their websites, three quarters of users would abandon them in favour of a free alternative.

Only five per cent would pay for their favourite free news website

The research, which polled 1,188 British adults, found that among users who read a free site at least once a month as their top source of news, only five per cent would pay for that website, if such a payment model was introduced. Seventy-four per cent would find a free alternative news source; a further eight percent would continue reading the website’s free headlines only; and 12 per cent were not sure what they would do.

Long term subscriptions more attractive

Today’s update indicates that long-term subscriptions rather than micropayments, is ‘by far the most attractive option’ to consumers:

PaidContent:UK reported:

[Harris Interactive] asked users who read a news site at least once a month what their favoured option would be if they either chose to pay for their favourite site or were forced to pay by all news sites going pay-for:

  • Per-article fees (ie. micropayments) are the favourite option for 21 percent.
  • A day pass giving unlimited articles within a 24-hour period is favoured by 26 per cent.
  • But a subscription of up to a year is the most desired model, supported by 54 per cent.

So what does this mean for micropayment models?

“There’s been a lot of buzz about micro-payment recently, and some prominent players, like Google have moved into this field,” said Andrew Freeman, the  senior consultant with Harris Interactive’s technology, media and telecoms team.

“But there are massive challenges: and not just technical ones. From a simple business point of view, micropayments are disproportionately expensive to administer. Until you have an enormous volume and value, it just won’t be worthwhile.

“If consumers are going to give up their preference for single-subscription payments they can more easily check and monitor, they will need to have real confidence and trust in the brands they use. Micropayments will probably benefit only the very largest of companies.”

The survey

“The likelihood of newspapers instituting online charging models has become a hot topic. But the debate has mostly been led by what the publishers, and not the readers, want. We felt it was important to ask them and put some data in the public domain to inform publishers currently faced with this decision,” paidContent:UK editor, Robert Andrews, told Journalism.co.uk.

“Everything we’ve learned over the last few months tells us that there’s likely a bigger pay-for market for mission-critical, business and niche information than for general consumer news like sport, celebrity or perhaps even politics.”

Although they didn’t ask about specific news categories for this survey, paidContent:UK hopes to take these questions to consumers in a follow-up survey, he added.

Forthcoming stories will look at what price consumers would be happy to pay; and whether including a newspaper subscription would affect users’ willingness to pay online.

Surprising findings

“The top-line results are in line with my expectations. Conventional wisdom that has grown up around this debate in recent months has told us that, whilst there may be a pay-for market for mission-critical, business or niche news content, there’s enough plurality in the global consumer news market that readers can find an alternative source with just a few mouse clicks,” said Andrews.

“But some specific findings surprised me. For example, those in their teens and early 20s are many times more likely to say they’ll pay than those aged 35 to 54, whom I would have thought would have more disposable income.

“The working class and those on subsistence are nearly as likely to say they will pay as the upper middle class and middle class. And some of the regional variations, for example Wales are right up with Londoners on propensity to pay, and those in the north east of England far more likely to say they would continue reading their favourite site but only via its free headlines.”

Advice for the industry

“Publishers will need to carefully consider the effects of implementing a pay wall before mixing their cement – our survey suggests most of their readers would flee to a rival paper,” Andrews said.

“Sites must consider whether they have a value proposition unique enough to retain readers despite our findings. And they need to do the maths: raising a pay wall would reduce the number of eyeballs achieved for publishers’ advertisers, so are payments from five per cent of readers enough to offset the decline in ad income?”

Sunday Times: Breakingviews.com in ‘advanced talks’ with Thomson Reuters

The Sunday Times reports that Hugo Dixon is in ‘advanced talks’ to sell Breakingviews.com to Thomson Reuters – for a reported £10 million.

Dixon, former Lex editor at the Financial Times, co-founded the online financial analysis site in 1999 and could receive £2.7 million if the deal goes through. The other founder, Jonathan Ford, left in 2007 and has no remaining shares, according to the Sunday Times.

Full story at this link…

(via paidContent:UK)

#FollowJourn @lgcplus/online editor

#FollowJourn: Robin Latchem

Who? Online editor for Local Government Chronicle.

What? Latchem is responsible for maintaining and developing LGC online. This includes both day-to-day reports and introducing digital content to complement LGC’s magazine offering.

Where? @lgcplus

Contact? robin.latchem [at] emap.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.

#FollowJourn: @christiandunn/digital news editor

#FollowJourn: Christian Dunn

Who? Digital news editor, NWN Media

What? Manages the online content for a regional newspaper group publishing in north-east Wales and Chester

Where? @christiandunn and http://christiandunn.blogspot.com/

Contact? christian.dunn@nwn.co.uk

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.

New local site and verticals for HuffPo

The Huffington Post has launched its third local site, as expected, for Denver, Colorado.

An introduction from Ethan Axelrod, HuffPo’s Denver editor, explains the thinking behind launch in Denver and not another US city – namely the political importance of the state and Denver’s position as a destination for young professionals and businesses, he says.

The site is also planning launches of new technology, sport (end of October) and books (October 5) verticals – a move examined by the New York Observer:

“The advantage to adding verticals ad infinitum to general-interest websites is simple: they make it easy for web designers to mimic that familiar feeling of pulling out the business pages or flipping to the top sports story in traditional print newspapers. Drilling down on one topic at a time and carefully tailoring content by subject makes it easier for visitors to read what they want to and for advertisers to reach a specific, targeted audience,” the Observer reports.

Being able to roll-out new sections and topic pages quickly may suggest a landgrab approach towards attracting users.

As usability expert Jakob Nielsen tells the Observer, these sections allow sites to ‘scoop up’ users with specific interests and perhaps attract them to other parts of the site. To do this however, the content these sections offer must be more than just a filtering of the broader site.

Nieman Reports: Latest edition focuses on journalism and social media

This quarter’s Nieman Reports, from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, has too many good articles in one place to select just one as an Editor’s Pick – so here’s a link to the whole index of pieces on journalism and social media.

Some highlights include:

Magazine news: PPA chief steps down; BSME shortlist announced

Two bits of news from the last few days for the magazine publishing industry:

  1. Lisa Burrow, Closer
  2. Sue James, Woman & Home
  3. Jeremy Langmead, Esquire
  4. Sue Peart, You Magazine
  5. Morgan Rees, Men’s Health

Journalism Daily – that’s all folks

The more eagle-eyed among you may have noticed a new service we recently introduced to the Editor’s Blog – the Journalism Daily, a round-up of news and features published on the main site and quick links to the day’s blog updates.

We ran it for around a month, but it didn’t seem to pick up much of a following so we’ve decided to stop running it. If you found it useful let us know; or if there’s an alternative you can suggest, we’re all ears.

Either way, thanks to those who subscribed – your last Journalism Daily post was on Friday. The good news is: you can still receive daily e-newsletters with all our latest news and job ads by signing up at this link.

The Jobless Journalist: Week three – To sub or not to sub?

This is the third post in a series from an anonymous UK-based journalist recently made redundant. To follow the series, you can subscribe to this feed.

You can also read posts by our previous ‘Redundant Journalist’ blogger at this link.

So far I’ve applied for a total of seven jobs (that’s not including the CVs sent to editors on the off-chance they know of something going). Two of these formal job applications have been for subbing roles.

The question is: I am a writer, not a sub-editor – should I even be applying for these jobs?

I do have a year’s sub-editing experience on the magazine I was made redundant from as well as on a couple of nationals, but I have been warned by editors in the past that I should stick to writing if that’s what I want to do.

I’ve always been of the opinion that sub-editing sharpens your writing and being able to write headlines and standfirsts, for example, can only be a bonus.

What is more, I can see from the sub-editing I have done how this could lead to being an editor, which is ultimately what I want to be.

Sub-editing involves being aware of the overall look of the piece – from pictures to pull quotes – as well as having impeccable grammar and spelling.

What is more, the increasing importance of online journalism means a journalist must be a sort of Judge Dredd character: writer, sub-editor and editor, rolled into one.

But the question still remains – should I apply for sub-editing roles? Or does the fact that I’m even asking this question mean I’ll never get anywhere with an application for a sub-editor’s job vacancy?

After all, if I can’t convince myself, then what chance do I have of convincing an interviewer?