Tag Archives: internet content

The new news subscription system from Journalism Online: what the web says

So here’s the story, from a range of open-to-all sources:

[as told by the AFP]: “Three veteran US media executives teamed up and launched a company designed to help ailing US newspapers and other publications make money on the web by charging readers for news.”

[as told by the AP]: “Three media veterans plan to bundle the internet content of newspaper and magazine publishers into a subscription package that will test web surfers’ willingness to pay for material that has been given away for years.”

[as told by Jeff Jarvis]: “…[F]ormer online publisher Steven Brill, former Wall Street Journal online exec Gordon Crovitz, and former cable exec Leo Hindery had teamed up to to create a company to enable news companies to huddle behind a wall and charge for their content.”

[as told by its founders]: “Citing ‘the urgent need’ for a comprehensive, immediate plan to address the downward spiral in the business of publishing original, quality journalism, experienced journalism and media industry executives Steven Brill, Gordon Crovitz, and Leo Hindery today announced the formation of Journalism Online, a company that will quickly facilitate the ability of newspaper, magazine and online publishers to realize revenue from the digital distribution of the original journalism they produce.”

[as told by Gawker]: “Now he’s [Steven Brill] launched Journalism Online Inc, whose goal is to make it easy for technologically-challenged newspaper companies to sell online subscriptions and individual stories.”

A sample of what else is available outside the wall on the launch:

  • The first part of an interview with paidContent – Staci D. Kramer reports: “The biggest surprise so far? Brill says that every publisher they’ve met with has asked about picking up an equity stake.”
  • Mark Potts’ blog post titled ‘Herding Cats’: “I think the whole online subscription idea is harebrained and doomed to failure, and I’ve ranted about that more than enough,” he writes.

Sir Christopher Meyer’s speech in full: plea to publishers to aid PCC

As reported on the main page, Sir Christopher Meyer will tonight urge publications to support the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) in its role, which he emphasises is still relevant in light of online developments and recent privacy issues. Here is his speech in full, courtesy of the PCC’s website:

“It is always a pleasure to be in Manchester – a city with a vibrant media which I have visited more than any other in England during my time chairing the PCC. It was in this very room five years ago that I launched the first of our Open Days: public meetings in the towns and cities of the UK aimed at making the PCC as accessible as possible. Then, as now, we were given all possible support by the Manchester Evening News and Paul Horrocks. One of the most respected and innovative editors in Britain, Paul was also an outstanding member of the PCC for four years.

It has always been my ambition to hold a full meeting of the PCC outside London. It is vital to get over the message that we are not a body shut away inside a metropolitan bubble, dealing with the complaints of celebrities, royals (and near-royals), and politicians. The reality is far different. We exist for all the citizens of the United Kingdom; and of the thousands who come to us for help and advice, over 90 per cent lay no claim to celebrity whatsoever.

So, tomorrow’s meeting of the PCC is an historic moment in the 17-year life of our organisation. My colleagues from the board, all/most of whom are present tonight, are the people who take the decisions under the Code of Practice: about where the public interest meets the individual’s right to privacy; what constitutes a significant inaccuracy; when payments for information can be made – in short, on how the UK’s newspapers and magazines should gather and report news in print and online.

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Ofcom: where does it stand on internet regulation?

Speaking at Ofcom‘s annual lecture this week, Ed Richards, the regulator’s chief executive, made some fairly non-committal comments about Ofcom’s role in regulating content on the internet.

Understating the matter he noted that there was ‘quite a bit of content’ on the web that was ‘very nasty’.

More usefully he volunteered that in previous incidents where harmful content has been found ‘a voluntary takedown policy’ has proved ‘ineffective’.

“What we need is a policy response that is based on the data and evidence of the prevalence of this kind of content and of the potential harm it causes,” Richards said.

He added that more conclusions on internet content regulation could be drawn when the government’s Byron Review of internet content is completed at the end of November.

While this may be more of an admission to involvment in internet regulation than Ofcom would have made a few years ago, there seems to be an uncertainty over what responsibility the organisation has in this area.

The Communications Act 2003 describes one of Ofcom’s special duties as:

Applying adequate protection for audiences against offensive or harmful material

These duties apply to ‘television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services’ – Ofcom’s domain. Yet no provision is made by the act or in the regulator’s principles for where these areas cross-over with the web.

Perhaps Ofcom should take its lead from the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), which has adapted its code to include regulation of audio and video content produced online by newspaper and magazine sites.

Yet, as this addition to the PCC’s code states:

Some websites cannot be categorized as “on-line versions” of newspapers and magazines. Some material – such as syndicated news broadcasts or radio programmes edited by third parties – may already be regulated on-line or off-line by another body …All such material will continue to fall outside the jurisdiction of the PCC.

While regulation offline may be possible in some cases, to prevent content from going unregulated Ofcom needs to more clearly (and quickly) define where exactly its responsibilities lie when it comes to video and audio content online.