Tag Archives: Guardian Media Group

How to get involved with the Guardian’s latest venture into hyperlocal

Six months ago the Guardian Media Group called time on its regional news pilot Guardian Local, but it is continuing to experiment in the local market, its latest venture being n0tice, a location-based online notice board to share and read news and notices.

The hyperlocal website and mobile site is currently in private beta, with a team of three at GMG along with an army of contributors helping to shape the online version of the village notice board. Others who want to get involved will soon be able join.

n0tice was born out of a Guardian hack day and has SoLoMo, a trend towards social, local and mobile, at its heart, but as it does not currently have Guardian branding it feels more like an independent start-up than a child of the news outlet.

The platform is a space for people to buy and sell, like the classifieds section of a local newspaper, and can be used for general notices, local news and liveblogs or updates posted by citizen reporters as community news breaks.

It is like a reverse Foursquare, where rather than checking in to a business or venue, you allow your computer or mobile to grab your location information and the site finds the community groups, items for sale and news near you.

How is it going to make money?

Listing on n0tice is free but users get the option to pay for a featured post. Pricing is yet to be confirmed but the figure currently being worked with is a charge of £1 for each mile radius from the seller’s location per day.

The site, which can be used worldwide and white labelled, will be given free to hyperlocals and sold to commercial ventures, such as anyone who wants to use the technology to set up a location-based site, according to community strategist at GMG Sarah Hartley, who was head of online editorial at the Manchester Evening News and later launch editor of the now defunct Guardian local experiment.

And of course, being a Guardian platform, it has an open API.

Along with Hartley, who this week spoke about n0tice at the Brighton Future of News Group, two others are working on the development of the platform: Matt McAlister, who is director of digital Strategy (who in May announced n0tice with this thorough explainer) and developer Daniel Levitt (whose blog is here).

One of the areas the team is looking into is how to best reward users who contribute, with a current system in place of an ‘Editor’ badge which goes to the first user in an area.

The next round of users will be invited into the platform soon soon, with a planned release of the site next year. You can sign up to be one of those by entering your email address here, you can follow @n0tice on Twitter and get involved by joining this Flickr group and “celebrate noticeboards” by contributing photographs.

Greenslade: Change of direction for Guardian Media Group?

Roy Greenslade reports on the Sunday Times’ coverage of a new direction for Guardian Media Group. According to the Times’ print edition yesterday, GMG is planning to separate its newspapers and their website from the rest of its multimedia assets.

The report follows previous claims by the paper that Andrew Miller, new GMG chief executive, is looking at a sale or stock market listing for its Trader division.

Full post on Roy Greenslade’s blog…

Media moves: Telegraph gets Mike Seery; Guardian appoints new CFO

Telegraph Media Group (TMG) has appointed Mike Seery as its new chief information officer. Seery, who was heavily involved in the Economist’s launch online, will take up the post on 8 November 2010.

Richard Halstead, who is already at TMG, has been promoted to group chief technology officer, reporting to Seery.

The group is replacing Paul Cheesbrough, who joined News International as CTO and is one of a host of digital executives to leave TMG for its Wapping-based rival this year, led by the departure of former Telegraph editor Will Lewis.

Meanwhile, the Guardian Media Group (GMG) has named Darren Singer as its chief financial officer. Singer takes on the role from Andrew Miller, who was promoted to CEO in July following Carolyn McCall’s departure. He joins GMG from WPP-owned global agency network GroupM where he was chief financial officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Guardian and Apax begin talks over future of Auto Trader

Guardian Media Group and Apax Partners have begun discussions with banks about the future of Trader Media Group (TMG), owner of Auto Trader, the Guardian reports.

A trade sale or a flotation of TMG, which could value the owner of Auto Trader at up to £2bn, are the likeliest options. But a debt-funded dividend payment to the two shareholders is also a possibility, as is bringing in another investor to buy a minority stake of between 20 per cent and 40 per cent.

According to the report, it could be until late 2011 or early 2012 before a deal on TMG is done.

Full story on Guardian.co.uk at this link…

Stephen Glover: The Guardian can’t go on like this

Interesting take on the Guardian’s business model from Stephen Glover in the wake of Trader Media Group (TMG) writing off £463 million of the value of its magazine – TMG is part owned by Guardian Media Group.

Maybe GMG will be able to bankroll its national papers for ever. Personally, I wouldn’t count on it, especially if more of its investments go wrong. The trouble is that there seems to be no one in the Scott Trust or Guardian Media Group or on the papers themselves able or prepared to stand up and say what is blindingly obvious to everyone else in Fleet Street – that these newspapers are continuing to live dangerously beyond their means.

Full piece on Independent.co.uk at this link…

Update: A GMG spokesman has told Journalism.co.uk: “The write down Stephen Glover refers to is an accounting adjustment with zero impact on the overall value of TMG or its main brand Auto Trader (…) The write down reflects a transfer of value from print to digital rather than a drop in the actual value of the company. The net book loss arises simply because accounting rules don’t allow you to ‘write up’ the part of the business that has grown.”

#wmf: Guardian will target international audiences as ‘untapped business’

Global audiences are an untapped business opportunity for the Guardian, Steve Folwell, Guardian Media Group director of strategy, told a Westminster Media Forum gathering on ‘The Future of News Media’ today.

According to the last Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic (ABCe), 65 per cent of traffic to Guardian.co.uk in March came from outside of the UK. Revenue generated by UK and non-UK audiences does not break down the same way, but the figure points to “significant opportunities from global audiences”, he said.

Editorially-speaking the Guardian launched an American spin-off site in 2007. But according to Editor & Publisher the venture was due to cut six staff last year, the site’s separate homepage was axed and its content was brought back under Guardian.co.uk’s US channel, suggesting that international business expansion might not be matched by editorial launches overseas.

There is a crossover between GMG’s approach editorially and its business model, however, said Folwell. The group is not interested in short-term profits, but in fundamentally changing its business model, he said. In particular the new opportunities that new devices, platforms and technology provide for distributing journalism and making money will be full explored – developments yet to come such as a Guardian presence on IPTV, for example, and the newly launched commercial side to its data and development service, Open Platform.

Technology has always been on the side of journalism. It has radically increased it’s reach, it’s immediacy (…) But all is not rosy in this garden and it’s a fair question to ask if this brave new age of journalism can be sustained economically?

Technology is certainly not on the side of those who want to preserve the status quo. You either hang on to the old bus models for as long as you can (…); or you can make a more fundamental change to your bus model. In taking the latter route it obviously helps hugely to have strong owners with strong balance sheets.

Beehive City: Alan Rusbridger on the Times, paywalls and industry in-fighting

Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, adds some “industry context” to other paper’s reports of the Guardian and its business, in particular the departure of Carolyn McCall, CEO of Guardian Media Group (GMG), last week.

In a memo to staff reproduced by Beehive City, Rusbridger takes on the Times:

The Times’ print circulation is falling at exactly the same rate as the Guardian’s – but the Times’ web traffic is down seven per cent year on year while the Guardian’s rose by 22 per cent.

The Independent:

Having vociferously argued (in 2006) that newspapers were dangerously under-priced and that the future was about boosting cover price rather than hoping for increased advertising revenues, it is now talking about going free.


What’s right for Murdoch (with Sky as a digital subscription model in the background and infinitely deep corporate cross-subsidies) may well not work for us at GNM, and vice versa. There may be different models within one newspaper. We’ll all make some mistakes along the way. We can all learn from each other.

And why the Guardian and GMG will stick to its plans and be swayed by “the pecking and sniping of outsiders”.

Of all media companies I truly believe we are better placed than the great majority to make the transformative change that will be demanded of us. The editorial future has the potential to be richer than anything any previous generation of journalists could have imagined. We can imagine it – and we are well on the way to achieving it.

Full memo at this link…

Two weeks left to apply for Scott Trust journalism bursaries

Each year the Scott Trust Ltd, owner of the Guardian Media Group, offers eight bursaries to help aspiring journalists into postgraduate study. The deadline for applications this year is 1 March.

The bursaries are divided up between print, broadcast and online journalism courses, with five for print, two for broadcast and one for online.

The trust says the awards are designed to “assist students who face financial difficulty in attaining the qualifications needed to pursue a career in media,” and they “particularly encourage graduates from diverse social and/or ethnic backgrounds to apply”.

Winners will have their tuition fees paid and receive a subsistence allowance of £5,000. They will also be offered several weeks’ work experience within Guardian Media Group.

Round-up: Reaction to GMG Regionals sale to Trinity Mirror

Trinity Mirror’s acquisition of Guardian Media Group’s regional businesses, including Manchester Evening News publisher MEN Media, and plans to relocate MEN Media staff to Oldham has stirred mass discussion amongst media commentators online. Below are links breaking down the fundamental aspects of the story:

The Guardian’s Steve Busfield covers the imminent MEN move, reporting claims by Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of Guardian Media Groups, that the £44.8m sale of GMG is in the best interests of GMG Regional Media.

Holdthefrontpage.co.uk has a statement from Bethan Dorsett, organiser of the NUJ chapel at MEN Media Weeklies, and Judith Gordon, director of the MEN chapel, describing their concerns for MEN staff.

The Drum covers the various reactions produced by the deal, questioning whether Trinity got a good deal or gained a dying media group, including comments from analyst Jim Chisholm, who told the Drum it was “a great deal for Trinity Mirror” though “not such a great reflection of the way the regional print industry is today viewed”.

On Press Gazette, the financial benefits of the deal to GMG and Trinity Mirror – pointing towards the FT’s analysis of the sale, which considers the issue of consolidation, but comes down in favour of TM saying it was a bargain for the group.

Crain’s Manchester business takes notice of the exclusion of Channel M in the GMG sale to Trinity Mirror. Channel M lost GMG a significant amount of money since it’s launch and its segregation has left questions being asked about the channels future.

Former Trinity Mirror employee Craig McGill on the GMG Regionals sale

Craig McGill from digital communications company Contently Managed worked at Trinity Mirror – at the Sunday Mirror and Daily Mirror from 2000 to 2006 – and has freelanced for The Guardian.

Journalism.co.uk asked him for his comments on today’s announcement that Guardian Media Group is selling its regional news business to Trinity Mirror. His reaction is in full below:

Well, this is just comical – or it would be if it didn’t show the state of hysteria in UK press ownership and the fact that it will probably lead to a loss of jobs.

Firstly, we have Guardian Media Group looking as if it wants to go from being a ‘group’ to just looking after The Guardian because I wonder how much this sale was driven by the £89.8 million loss that GMG made last year.

Secondly, The Guardian is the very title that tells us constantly – almost as much as it goes on about The Wire in fact – that local content is what people want, it’s the future, it’s the killer app that will keep people looking for news.

If that’s the case why are they dumping all their local content creators? Or are they admitting that instead of highly paid professionals, a couple of bloggers can do the job instead? Or do they just want to be London-centric with a stringer or two elsewhere? That’s hardly inspiring in an age of devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. What should readers in those areas do? Go elsewhere?

Secondly, what makes this even more tragic is that they are being bought by Trinity Mirror. Now there’s two aspects to this: one, Trinity Mirror continually says that it has no money and is skint. However, they managed to pull together a £44 million package – including nearly £8 million in cash – that’s hardly my definition of skint. That’s a complete slap in the face to the journalists Trinity Mirror has thrown out over the years and for the miserable pay freezes, small pay rises and ridiculous cost cutting measures that the survivors have endured – all because there was a lack of money. That £8 million could have done so much more in many titles.

To add to that, Trinity Mirror has a record of poor investment in the regions – it chopped the Scottish Daily Mirror from a team of 30 to one over three years, the Daily Record and Sunday Mail titles work wonders with a small budget but are walloped by having to do more with less each year, which lead to the Scottish Sun overtaking them as the best selling daily in Scotland.

This buy smacks of a panic buy – almost as much as it was a much-needed sale for GMG. Who are the losers going to be? The obvious one is the people who have already lost their jobs – more will follow, we can be sure of that. Over time the readers will be losers too as there’s less journalistic competition bringing more stories.

And even at the Mirror’s Manchester office, there must be people wondering what’s going to happen next. After all, does Manchester need two big news hubs? Surely a building merger is on the cards, followed by ‘shared resources’ and then ‘merged resources’.