Tag Archives: newspaper

Talking Biz News: Dow Jones restructuring

Talking Biz News has a memo from Dow Jones & Co. president Todd Larsen, outlining how employees will be organised in its corporate restructuring, with  five separate business groups – separating Wall Street Journal print and digital:

  • The Wall Street Journal in print
  • The Wall Street Journal Digital Network
  • Dow Jones Financial Markets (includes Newswires and products geared to financial professionals)
  • Dow Jones Corporate Markets (includes Factiva and products geared to corporate markets)
  • Dow Jones Indexes

Full post at this link…

(Hat-tip: the revived Editor & Publisher)

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Coventry Telegraph editor promises digital fireworks

Darren Parkin is, at 37, one of the youngest editors in the history of the Coventry Telegraph. But he is determined not to be the last captain of this mini-flagship of the Trinity Mirror empire whose alumni include Jeremy Vine of the BBC and Dermot Murnaghan of Sky News.

Parkin took over the Telegraph ship in a storm last November. He was the third in a year and the third to come and address the Midland’s major media forum – the Coventry Conversations at Coventry University. He attracted a packed house last Friday.

Fortunately for him, he is of a cheery disposition and refused to be downhearted by the task of turning round rapidly declining advertising, declining sales and fewer journalists. He advised the (student) journalists manqué too not be downhearted at the state of the industry either.

They had to learn that they were entering a rapidly changing industry and one in which multi-platform skills were at a premium. It was adapt or die, in his view. But the core journalistic skills of finding, researching and writing  were still vital even if complemented by the newer web based ones.

Parkin announced the launch of a unique internship scheme brokered with Coventry’s Journalism department. Four desks in the Telegraph newsroom will be set aside for Cov university students to be interns three days a week. Seven had already applied. As for his plans for the paper, Parkin said he was planning some fireworks for the Telegraph website with “one of two things that will make other newspapers very jealous”.

He hoped these would be available later in the year but refused, despite being pressed, to give any more detail. As for local news partnerships, he was willing to join in with the likes of BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and did not regard the broadcaster as an enemy “as at least one of my predecessors did”.

The Telegraph like other local papers, he said, needed to reconnect to the audience and do that through any platforms available. He would be encouraging his journalists to once more become active members and the scribes of their community.

Parkin started his career as a Youth Training Scheme intern on the Dewsbury Reporter 20 years ago, paid a pittance by the state. Since he has been Young Journalist of the year three times, a chief reporter on the Solihull Times and at 24, Britain’s youngest editor – of the Wolverhampton News.

Since 2005, he had been editor in chief of the well-regarded weeklies division of Coventry Newspapers. He will need all this experience if he is to guide the good ship Coventry Telegraph away from the rocks of media failure and on to a bright future – or any future.

John Mair is senior broadcasting lecturer at Coventry University and producer of the Coventry Conversations series. 

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MediaShift: Environmental impact of newspapers

For this 5Across video feature, Mark Glasier gathered a group of experts to examine the environmental impact of print media,  e-waste and the energy used by web servers:

Most surprisingly, I learned that newspaper publishers use mostly recycled paper, as well as “virgin paper” that comes from the refuse generated by saw mills when creating lumber for houses. Could it be that over time newspapers are actually the greener option versus using electronic devices? No one knows for sure yet, but it’s a fascinating question to ponder.

Full post at this link…

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#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.

Editors Weblog: Figaro group’s new financial news subscription service

EditorsWeblog reports that the French newspaper group Figaro has launched a financial news subscription service, WanSquare, that sends economics updates to users’ smartphones, available in French or English.

“The newspaper group advertises the service as an exclusive resource for the ‘deciders’ in the French business world.”

Full story at this link…

MediaGuardian: Independent News & Media falls into the red

The newspaper group fell into the red in the first six months of 2009 – a result of a massive drop in advertising revenues, reports MediaGuardian.

The group has reported a pre-tax loss of €48.5 million (approximately £42.7 million) for the six months to the end of June – compare this with last year’s profit of €96.8 million (£85.2 million) – and cited the costs of reducing staff, writing down the value of its newspaper titles and other ‘exceptional items’.

Advertising revenues for the group fell by 25.8 per cent from the last report to €608.8 million (£535.6 million).

Full story and figures at this link…

Gannett Blog: ‘Why I’m shutting down this blog’

“(…) I had grown concerned about health problems I’ve experienced as I’ve tried to keep up with the demands of blogging about a company with 41,500 employees, and many more who have left,” writes Jim Hopkins, former USA Today editor and owner of Gannett Blog, which has been chronicling the fortunes of the newspaper group.

“In the past year, I have lost quite a bit of weight as I’ve neglected proper nutrition and exercise. I could have made better choices, to be sure. But I am a very competitive journalist. I wanted this to be the best newspaper blog possible, because I think the employees deserve that much.”

Hopkins will shutter the blog on July 10.

Full post at this link…

Local media: A stimulating discussion? Your ideas needed

Last week the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) sent an eight-point plan to new culture secretary Ben Bradshaw as an economic stimulus package for the UK’s local media.

In summary:

  1. Reform of cross-media ownership rules with a strengthened public interest test;
  2. Hard and fast commitment to ring-fence licence fee funding for the BBC;
  3. A levy introduced on commercial operators who benefit from quality public service content – including local news – but do not contribute to its production;
  4. Tax breaks for local media who meet clearly defined public purposes;
  5. Tax credits for individuals who buy quality media;
  6. Direct support to help establish new genuinely local media organisations;
  7. Strategic use of central and local government advertising;
  8. Support for training opportunities that open access to journalism

The proposals come ahead of the long-awaited Digital Britain report, part of which will make new suggestions for local media ownership models and provision.

Both, of course, come on top of a select committee inquiry into local media, countless pontifications from media commentators (ourselves included) and lobbying by industry groups of Bradshaw’s predecessor Andy Burnham.

Reactions to the NUJ’s suggestions from a range of industry representatives are featured below – Journalism.co.uk wanted to gauge the feeling on the ground, so to speak (feel free to leave more comments below or email laura at journalism.co.uk).

Having spoken to Society of Editors executive director Bob Satchwell as part of this process, one thing is clear: new ideas are needed to support newsgathering at a local level, whatever shape or platform it takes.

But with the current level of pressure on existing local news providers, it is short-term answers that are needed, says Satchwell:

“While we’re waiting to create new models to deal with new media landscape the existing reality may be so seriously damaged that it may be too late to apply those complex solutions.”

Here are some reactions to the NUJ’s proposals – what’s the next step?

Firstly starting with a comment left on our original post by James Goffin on levies for aggregators:
Presumably ‘A levy introduced on commercial operators who benefit from quality public service content – including local news – but do not contribute to its production’ is aimed at people like Google, but why leave it there – and why only in one direction?

If this is genuinely aimed at supporting local media (and not just shoring up the BBC, which tends to be the NUJ line nationally) then why shouldn’t the corporation be charged when it ‘benefits’ from stories it has followed up from the local press? (Or blogs for that matter).

And much as I enjoy the idea of claiming back my Private Eye subs against tax, I can see it being as effective in stimulating the economy as the VAT cut.

Give them some credit for at least trying; pity most of it is nonsense.

Tom Calver, a communications officer for Blackburn with Darwen County Council, on defining ‘quality’ and a plan for mutually owned local newspapers:
Point 7 calls for us to consider ‘quality journalism’ when we place ads, which puts those of us in council comms in the unenviable position of having to decide what constitutes ‘quality’. Does the NUJ really think we should be doing that? In any case, there is only one local paper here, so I don’t have any choice in which title to use anyway.

What guarantee is there that ad spend would really support quality journalism, rather than just boosting profits while the newsroom is still run down?

I’m also slightly confused as to what’s meant by “identifying appropriate targets”. Generally speaking, my targets are groups of local people. If a local paper is a good way to reach them, I’ll use it. If it’s not, then I’d be wasting taxpayers money, and failing to get the message to the right people. So is the suggestion that only people who read the local paper are appropriate targets for any campaign?

Or is the suggestion that ‘appropriate targets’ are ‘deserving’ newspapers which should be supported in some sort of charitable way? I’d understand that if local papers were not-for-profit with a clear commitment to good journalism and informing local people, but they’re owned by large groups who will look after the bottom line long before they look after quality journalism.

The NUJ just has not gone far enough. It is asking for more money to be chucked at the same failing model, albeit with some loose guarantees about quality from the same groups that have cut back in newsrooms. That might slow the decline, but it won’t turn things around.

How about mutual ownership for local papers? Newspaper staff, local people and those who support quality journalism could all be members. A constitution could guarantee day to day editorial independence, but the editor would answer to a board elected from the membership, which would set parameters for coverage, monitor quality and ensure investment in training.

That sort of organisation could then benefit from tax breaks and have access to funds supporting community development. With a clear duty to improve local coverage, it would probably get back some of the lost readers (and so make itself a more appealing advertising channel for public services!).

Rick Waghorn, ex-regional newspaper journalist and founder of MyFootballWriter.com on practical problems:
I think it’s all very well intentioned, but as ever the devil will be in the detail and the ‘how’ any of this is likely to work…

Or, indeed, who is going to have the political will/leverage to ensure any of this is adhered to.

Tax credits? Who adjudicates on the ‘quality’ assessment panel?

Direct support for ‘genuinely’ local media organisations? How? When? Via whom? Ofcom?

Strategic use of local and central government advertising is spot on – but that can start happening now. But again who is charged with making the ‘assessment’ that it is ‘quality’ journalism?

With Tom Watson out of government, Ben Bradshaw presumably given 10 days to master his new ‘brief’ before the publication of Digital Britain, I don’t see anyone with the drive or the will to oversee this – not whilst the Brown government is so fatally weakened.

Alas, I fear it’s going to be every man, woman and under-fire journalist for themselves for the foreseeable future – and the only people that are ever going to come to our rescue are ourselves.

Former editorial director for a UK regional newspaper group on media ownership problems:
My own concerns would be about possible loss of independence that could come with subsidy.

The cut backs in the industry are already leaving gaps. It might be better to see who and what steps in to fill the vacuum. [More emphasis on new media models – Ed]

On cross media ownership, take a look at Guardian Media in Manchester where it has already happened with TV, radio, web and newspapers under one roof. It has not been a success.

Comment from Dan Mason, director of Dan Mason Associates and former newspaper group managing editor, on journalism enterprise:

Full marks to the NUJ for keeping the ball rolling after the departure of Andy Burnham. I’m delighted to see the appalling lack of support for media innovation and enterprise included (this would top my list), as well as the need to focus on better media training.

My big concern is that trying to define something as subjective as ‘quality journalism’ as a cornerstone of any plan renders it impotent from the start, especially when the suggested criteria includes demands on media companies that are impossible to regulate, like maintaining paginations.

If this keeps the dialogue going and pressure on this government to act, great. But, if Lord Sugar has anything to say about it, ministers will need to focus on what can be achieved, by when, for what cost.

IndexOnCensorship.org: European Court judgement on Times is ‘disappointing and weak’

A guest comment from Peter Noorlander on the Free Speech blog over at IndexOnCensorship.org.

After outlining the details of this week’s Times case (the newspaper group was disputing the UK’s application of libel laws where the ‘internet publication rule’ allows for libel action every time archived material is accessed on the internet) Noorlander gives his own take on the judgement.

“This leaves a disappointing and weak judgment from the European Court of Human Rights,” he writes.

Full story at this link…

Reuters: ‘Johnston Press 2009 ad revenues slump 36 per cent’

“British regional newspaper group Johnston Press axed its final 2008 dividend on Wednesday after saying its advertising revenues in 2009 to date were down 36 per cent,” Reuters reports.

“The group, which has been especially hard hit by its high exposure to local classified advertising and sectors such as employment, housing and motoring, posted 2008 results in line with forecasts, with operating profit down 28 per cent.”

Full story at this link…

and another report from MediaGuardian at this link.