Tag Archives: Newspaper Society

Newspaper Society: Justice select committee calls for evidence on FOI Act

The Newspaper Society issued a reminder this morning that the justice select committee has made a call for evidence on “the operation” of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 – as part of its “post-legislative scrutiny” of the law.

The call for evidence was issued in December, but written evidence can still be submitted until Friday, 3 February.

The committee has asked for feedback on three areas in particular (copied below), but adds that those who submit responses are also “welcome to address additional issues”:

  • Does the Freedom of Information Act work effectively?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Freedom of Information Act?
  • Is the Freedom of Information Act operating in the way that it was intended to?

There is more information here on the select committee’s website.

Media accreditation process open for Paralympic Games

The Newspaper Society issued a reminder this morning that media accreditation has now opened for the Paralympic Games. The first stage of the process, called Press by Number, opened earlier this month and media organisations have until 28 November to complete a document to indicate how many people they would to request accreditation for.

There are more details and documentation at the British Paralympic Association website. Successful media organisations will be contacted early next year to progress their applications to the second stage.

The NS adds that it is currently working with regional and local newspapers and the British Olympic Association (BOA) to put in place a regional press pool for the Olympic Games, which runs a separate accreditation process.

The Olympic Games process has come in for some criticism in recent weeks after it emerged many local London papers have not yet been approved despite certain aspects of the games taking place on their patch.

The NS reports that the minister for sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson said he would write to the BOA about the matter after being questioned by MPs, but said it was “massively oversubscribed”.

He added: “There will be a level of public interest that I do not think we have remotely started to get our minds around. Spots will be tight, but I will absolutely do all that I can.

“There is a possible second channel for non-accredited media, and considerable provision is being made for those who cannot get formally accredited. The mayor of London has done an enormous amount to help that take place.”

Under the pooling system titles would be able to share material on the Games.

Newspaper Society: Round-up of record web traffic for local media titles covering riots

The Newspaper Society today (11 August) published a series of figures for local media titles covering the recent riots across England. According to the NS, many news sites saw record traffic levels as the public swarmed to their local paper’s for the latest updates on the violence.

Some of the highest online statistics from the NS report are below:

  • The Liverpool Echo: Initial story on the riots recorded 850,000 page views. Said to be most-read story on the Trinity Mirror Regionals network. Live blog on Tuesday and Wednesday viewed by more than 85,000 people. Overall website recorded around 3 million page views and 400,000 unique users over the two days.
  • Express and Star: On Tuesday its website recorded 853,000 homepage views.
  • The Enfield Independent: Recorded 203,000 page views on site in 24 hours on Sunday.
  • The Nottingham Post: 120,000 unique users (also on Tuesday), said to be three times the normal level of traffic. Monday night’s lead report attracted 64,000 page views while picture gallery of aftermath received 120,000 page views.
  • This is Gloucestershire: Two picture galleries containing reader-submitted photos received more than 473,000 page views, as of 2pm Wednesday.
  • The Birmingham Mail: More than 100,000 unique users on Tuesday, with page views up more than 300 per cent on average levels.

Read the full statistics here…

Newspaper Society welcomes call for scrapping of media access to family court plans

The Newspaper Society today (21 July) issued a statement to say it welcomed the conclusions of a justice committee report that called for government to scrap the provisions in the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010, which would allow media access to family courts.

The committee report was actually published last week, but in an article today, the society claims the provisions, if brought into force as they stand, “would have resulted in a renewed regime of secrecy – instead of opening up the family courts, as originally intended”.

The NS had said this “will not only fail to deliver the desired public accountability but will represent a major reduction in what can now be lawfully published and will actually further reduce public debate and discussion of the family justice system”.

However, the society added that it is “disappointed” at what it claims is an impression given by the report that “the desire for greater openness and accountability in the family justice system, and that of preserving privacy for the families involved, particularly children, are positions which are necessarily polarised”.

Sue Oake, senior legal adviser at the Newspaper Society, said: “The media has repeatedly stressed that it entirely accepts the need to ensure anonymity for the children and families concerned and we are disappointed that once again this does not appear to have been sufficiently acknowledged.”

Newspaper Society: New law for family court will cause ‘regime of secrecy’

The Newspaper Society has presented a submission to the House of Commons’ Justice Select Committee, claiming that reporting restrictions within the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 that aim to protect privacy within family court proceedings will result in a “regime of secrecy”.

The select committee announced it would carry out an inquiry into confidentiality and openness in family courts – partly in light of the new legislation and invited submissions from interested parties. In its submission the Newspaper Society claims the Act will place more restrictions on the press and not allow for greater public confidence in the system:

The NS says that although the media warmly supported the previous government’s aim of increasing openness and transparency and improving public confidence in the family justice system, its conclusion, regretfully, is that the Act will not achieve this.

(…) The NS points out that the Act’s effect is apparently to make it a contempt of court to publish any article referring to family proceedings, even if derived entirely from material already in the public domain and even if the parties were not identified, if the publication was not derived from an “authorised news report”.

Reporting on its submission the Newspaper Society added that the complexity of the Act may also deter press coverage altogether, concluding:

[T]hat the intention of increased transparency has been lost in the Act’s drafting, that the aim of achieving privacy for the families has been conflated into a renewed regime of secrecy which – if the relevant provisions in the Act are brought into force unamended – will not only fail to deliver the desired public accountability but will represent a major reduction in what can now be lawfully published, and will actually further reduce public debate and discussion of the family justice system.

Calls for local media to apply for Olympics accreditation

Local news organisations are reminded they can now apply for accreditation to cover the 2012 Olympics in London in a release from the Newspaper Society.

Companies wishing to send journalists and photographers to the games must apply to the British Olympic Association (BOA) by the final deadline of 15 October.

The Society says it has held talks with both the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and BOA to remind them how “uniquely placed” local media are to cover the event.

The NS has re-iterated that it is vital that the organisers of the Games should take full account of the particular role and needs of the local and regional press both in terms of those applying for full accreditation and in respect of non-accredited journalists, including as regards access to local venues and facilities to follow and report on particular athletes’ progress. The NS has also raised the issue of balancing broadcast rights against the needs of legitimate reportage on newspapers’ own websites, including blogs.

Applications for accreditation must be made using the downloadable form on the BOA website. According to the NS, accreditation for non rights-holding broadcasters is managed by the International Olympic Committee with application forms available in March next year.

Tributes published after former Newspaper Society president passes away

Tributes has been made to former Newspaper Society president Robbie Thomas, whose death was reported on Tuesday.

David Robert Thomas, who was 78 when he passed away in hospital, was president of the society in 1985, shortly before he retired from his post as managing director of North Wales Newspapers in 1987.

The County Times ran a piece on the former MD of its parent company:

In 1973 he was instrumental in launching the then Evening Leader (…) He was president of the Newspaper Society in 1985, and had been a key negotiator with unions at a time when industry-wide agreements were the norm.

Local Newspaper Week: Mapping a week’s local news headlines

It’s Local Newspaper Week this week – an event organised by the Newspaper Society to recognise the role of newspapers in local communities. This year’s focus is local independent journalism and holding public bodies to account.

To mark the week, we want to create a snapshot of a week’s headlines from local newspapers across the UK. We’ve kickstarted the map with a picture of Journalism.co.uk’s local newspaper the Argus in Brighton, but want your pictures of newspaper A-boards or headlines from where you are – whether you’re a journalist at that title or a local reader.

You can email the images to laura [at] journalism.co.uk; upload them to our Local Newspaper Week Flickr group at this link; or send them via Twitter using the hashtag #lnw to @journalismnews.

Please include where the photo was taken (village/town/city at least) so we can map it and your name if you want a mention.

View #lnw: Local Newspaper Week headlines map in a larger map

Newspaper society calls for urgent action over council newspapers

The Newspaper Society has called for an urgent meeting with the UK government, demanding curbs on council-run publications, which it believes create “direct competition” to regional and local newspapers.

“Central government must not turn a blind eye to this practice any longer,” said David Newel, NS director. “It undermines local democracy and must be stopped.”

Earlier this week, the NS criticised the Audit Commission’s newly published research on council media, arguing that the report did not not address the “key issue” of the publications’ impact on independent local media.

Trinity Mirror CEO Sly Bailey said: “The Audit Commission’s involvement has been a complete waste of time as we knew it would be.

“It was obvious they were the wrong body to assess competition in the local media market or the impact of local activities on commercial entities. In some cases, council newspapers are using tax-payers’ money to compete directly with the independent free press.”

Full release at this link…

Media Release: Newspaper Society launches new audience measuring system

The Newspaper Society has launched Locally Connected, what it calls ‘the UK’s first integrated print and online audience currency’.

It’s a new way of measuring newpapers’ print and online reach: “The development of a robust and reliable system of multimedia audience measurement has been one of the biggest challenges facing all media today,” said NS president, David Fordham.

“Locally Connected now gives advertisers a unique cross-media planning system, allowing them to effectively target local communities across the UK in print as well as online.”

To mark its launch, the NS announced that research conducted by Telmar showed websites extend local newspaper audience reach by 14 per cent, ‘particularly among upmarket and core middle age groups’.

“On average the research shows us that a monthly online campaign in conjunction with a single advertisement in the newspaper will increase reach by 14 per cent- and in some cases much more,” said Dick Dodson, managing director of Telmar Europe.
“This additional reach will be more upmarket and in the core 25-64 age group since the website audiences are significantly biased towards these groups compared to the newspaper audiences.”

In addition, the NS is carrying out a ‘qualitative digital insight project’ which will look at how people engage with their local newspaper website.

Full release at this link…