Tag Archives: The Herald

Reuters: Connecticut papers saved by new investor

Two Connecticut dailies facing closure have been rescued after a new buyer for the titles was found.

Michael Schroeder, owner of Central Connecticut Communications, will buy The Bristol Press and The Herald of New Britain at a time when some media commentators are calling for US state aid to help ailing newspapers.

‘A sad day for Scottish Journalism’: job cuts at Herald&Times and BBC Scotland

All staff at Newsquest’s three Glasgow titles, the Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times – bar a handful of senior management roles – have been made redundant and told to reapply for their jobs in a move to cut 30-40 posts.

The announcement follows the appointment yesterday of Donald Martin as editor-in-chief across all three titles.

According to a blog post by Shaun Milne, staff have been put on 90-day notice, as part of plans to integrate the three titles. “[T]he titles will adopt a 24/7 approach from a single operation taking in the web, evening, daily and Sunday titles,” writes Milne (in reference to one of the industry’s worst kept secrets this year…)

The announcement comes as BBC Scotland said it would axe 70 jobs, including an expected 20 from news and current affairs – this figure is on top of the 96 redundancies implemented in September, a release from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said.

The NUJ chapel at BBC Scotland has sent a letter to controller Ken MacQuarrie protesting against the proposed job losses.

In a release, Pete Wishart MP, SNP Westminster Culture spokesperson, said the cuts marked ‘a sad day for Scottish journalism’.

Commenting on the Herald&Times cuts, Wishart said:

“Any decision that threatens news coverage and quality is clearly troubling and these cut backs are a backward step by the group’s owners.

“When Newsquest acquired these newspapers they made a commitment to develop and invest in them, regrettably those words do not seem to have been backed up by investment.”

Allmediascotland: Herald&Times editor-in-chief ad renews merger speculation

The Herald&Times newspaper group is advertising for an editor-in-chief to replacing outgoing Herald editor Charles McGhee.

The ad states the new role will be involved with editorial operations across the Herald, Sunday Herald and Glasgow Evening Times – renewing speculation that the group is to merge the daily and Sunday titles into one seven-day operation.

Herald adds web stats to homepage

Have just noticed The Herald is now featuring monthly and weekly web stats for the site alongside a ‘most popular story’ list at the bottom of its homepage.

The current figures suggest 259,215 visits and 1,039,215 page views for the site last week.

They also show 492,914 site visits for April, with 4,479,649 page views.

Newsquest attracts 4.8m unique users in 2007

According to results release by its parent company Gannett, Newsquest’s network of newspaper websites in the UK recorded 4.8 million unique users last year.

While this is a rise from last May’s ABCe figures – which showed a figure of around 4.5 million unique users to the sites – the numbers seem low, given the portfolio includes over 180 websites, boasting such titles as The Herald in Glasgow, The Press in York and Bradford’s Telegraph & Argus.

Are the numbers smaller than expected? – I’m trying to get hold of someone at Newsquest and I’ll let you know the response.

Update – No one at Newsquest could give me an official comment, as the figures were released by Gannett and not them. One contact, however, did point out to me that whatever the level of traffic announced the fact that Newsquest participates in the ABCe audit gives a reliable point of reference.

Newsquest, Northcliffe, Kent Online and the Midlands News Association are the only regional news publishers to have their sites audited – where are the other players?

Miami Herald cancels editorial outsourcing

US daily newspaper the Miami Herald has dropped plans to outsource part of its production operations to India.

Owners the McClatchy Company have backed down on the move to outsource the Herald’s regional Broward Neighbors section, because it would remove ‘news judgement’ from the process.

“We’ve decided this would not be an appropriate use of this service so it won’t be tested, nor will other newsroom and editing design like it,” a memo from Anders Gyllenhaal, Miami Herald executive editor, is reported as saying in a report on MiamiHerald.com.

“The more we looked at the prospects of editing and layout from outside the newsroom, the more it was clear these skills involving news judgment and experience are not likely to work well from afar.”

According to the article, other outsourcing projects at the paper, including the production of some advertising sections and monitoring of website comments, will continue.

The Scotsman’s new website – will it be the destination Scotland needs?

Last week we were treated to a brief glimpse of screen grabs of the new version of Scotman.com.

Present version:

Old Scotsman

New beta version:

New Beta Scotsman

It’s worth a look again now that it’s nearing the end of its beta development phase and especially as it is now sending email out to its subscribers about its improvements, changes and impending launch.

The redesign has placed greater emphasis on multimedia – more video upfront although not much more than that- and expanded the level of navigation from the homepage by increasing the number of tabs across the top.

The paper has also introduced a most popular stories feature to the revamp.

The left side of the page is now ad-heavy with the great number of links directly below that as eyeballs seem to be endlessly attracted to the left side of web pages.

There are also significantly more links on the page, yet is seems less cluttered as the site has adopted a wider format.

The front-page video opens in a pop up box, rather than playing in the page. Often an annoyance to users and not conducive to viewing, as test at the BBC found out.

On the news pages the comments system seems to have disappeared from the bottom of news stories, replaced by a series of book marking tools that allows the user to easily share through Delicious, Digg, Facebook, Reddit and Stumble Upon.

The new site will ask all users to register before they are able to leave comments on this and other JP sites.

Registering will also open up a user’s ability to personalise their home page (so the site blurb claims).

However, none of that functionality seems to exist on the site yet, most likely because it’s still in the beta phase.

The Scotsman has also added enhanced site search where none was immediately apparent previously. The search offer up a tabbed selection of results of news, web and blog results – promising you’d think.

But all the blogs currently listed are from Johnston Press’s own Blogstoday.co.uk platform, which can best be described as clunky and limited.

Web search returns a series of what looks like sponsored ads, no links to stories, when generic terms like ‘football’ are used. The term ‘Rangers’ again brings up adds for eBay, Ask and credit cards.

My name as a phrase “Oliver Luft” brought no results, a final search for “Kenny Miller” brings an odd set of websites as results, very few weighed in favour of the Scottish international footballer, as you’d perhaps expect.

Again, these may be just teething problems ahead of the full launch (although other JP sites seem to run the same search system with similar results).

If all the missing and frankly odd elements are just teething problems then why show it off to the readership at this stage?

For a newly redeveloped site, it seems a little old fashioned. The level of interactivity on offer and how the site sits with the broader web seems a little basic.

Where is the linking to other sources from news stories, and fostering of online communities? Why does that PA ticker on the home page still have UK-wide news?

Not being a Scotsman I consulted with those living and having lived North of the boarder to gauge opinions.

The general consensus is that if this is more-or-less the finished product then the Scotsman seems to have missed a trick to really turn itself into the natural dedicated Scottish online news destination.

The fact that users still have to subscribe for near £30 a year to get the sites premium content, also still rankles with some.

The BBC offers relatively little online that is Scottish-focused; treating it like more like an English region on the web than a separate country, and The Herald seems to have been through turmoil which has stunted its ambitions online.

Against that backdrop the Scotsman could have really made a big splash with this relaunch. It still may do yet if it builds on these new incremental improvements.