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#WEFHamburg: Google quiet on Newspass, debunks myth that it is at odds with paywalls

October 8th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Search

Google wouldn’t be drawn today on rumoured plans for Newspass – a reported micropayment system that could be used by publishers and news websites.

Answering questions at the World Editors Forum in Hamburg, Madhav Chinnappa, Google’s recently appointed strategic partner development manager, would only say that the search company is continuing to talk to publishers about their strategies.

There’s a myth in the industry that having paid content means you’re out of Google. [But] there’s lots of stuff there that allows control at a publisher level to allow them to do what they want.

When asked by Journalism.co.uk what accessibility publishers behind a paywall would have to Google’s tools (Chinnappa had showcased Fast Flip, Living Stories and YouTube direct), he said that publishers had to realise the levels of information required by tools such as map and the “quid pro quo” arrangement that means they get to use them for free. Google technologies, such as FastFlip, are opt in, he stressed.

Related reading:

#WEFHamburg: Invest in a more human side, Zeit Online editor tells Google

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#WEFHamburg: Successes and failures of hyperlocal close World Editors Forum

October 8th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Events

An open and up-front session to close the 2010 World Editors Forum, with publishers discussing their hyperlocal web projects: the successes, the failures and the lessons.

And that’s just how Bart Brouwers, managing editor for hyperlocal online at Telegraaf Media Group, likes it. Browers, who is responsible for de Telegraaf’s four hyperlocal pilot sites in the Netherlands, urged editors and journalists to be open about their work, to discuss what they’re doing with their projects and ask for feedback without fear of sharing ideas with “competitors”: “The more I tell, the more I get back.”

De Telegraaf is trialling a range of sites: two aggregation websites, one a mix of editorial and commerical content and another community news site. The newspaper group isn’t just approaching hyperlocal as a something that fits into one definition and format: “What’s hyperlocal to me, might not be hyperlocal to my neighbour.”

Brouwers gave some practical advice for publishers planning to launch community sites and his full slides can be seen below. Perhaps most important, he said, is keeping things personal. If you want to reach a specific local audience, you need to be hyperpersonal and hypersocial too.

On the other side of the coin was fellow Brouwers’ fellow speaker Roman Gallo – five days out of his role as CEO of PPF Media, which launched the Nase Adresa hyperlocal project last year. Nase Adresa, after an initial pilot, had been given the green light for a combination 1,000 websites, 89 news cafes and 150 weekly newspapers.

But in August it was announced that Nase Adresa would shut, despite its promise. Gallo was given the order to close everything to do with project in four days. (More on this from Journalism.co.uk soon).

Gallo could however share some of the learnings from the short-lived, but seemingly successful hyperlocal venture:

  • the goal of creating a team involving editorial, sales and a cafe with “no walls between them” was a must, but Gallo said the difficulty of getting people to straddle these roles was underestimated;
  • training was crucial: older, experienced journalists were used, but they had multimedia skills and understood why the project was necessary and good;
  • coffee shops were a key element to the success of this project, adding financial support and a great marketing tool;
  • for newsroom cafes you have to make a decision is it a newsroom with a cafe or a cafe with a newsroom?
  • realise that having a physical space, the cafe, can give advertisers a unique offering and a physical presence.

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#WEFHamburg: Staff training in multimedia need motivation, direction, goals

October 8th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Training

There has been plenty of discussion about moving digital journalism forward at the World Editors Forum this week, and the first panel debate today looked at the state of new media training and how editors can improve the teaching of their staff to enable full exploitation of the new media environment.

Announcing the results of a survey mainly of North American journalists by the Poynter Institute’s News University, Howard Finberg told the conference that while reporters felt more proficient in multimedia than five years ago they need to be motivated to learn.

The number one motivator for success is “I need to learn”. You need to tell staff there is a reason why you’re getting the training, it’s because we need to move the organisation from here to here. Give them the reasons to learn, give them the background.

He added that “training cannot stop”.

We do not have the luxury of declaring victory and moving on, this is not mission accomplished. What your staff are telling us is that they need direction, they need goals.

Up next was Joyce Barnathan, president of the International Center for Journalists. In her speech she gave four recommendations to editors in summary below:

  1. Train your staff to engage your readers. In her example of Malaysiakini.com, the site found that whenever citizen journalists posted their videos on the site “the web traffic would just shoot up”. Now the site relies on its citizens to surface stories and editors are able to cover under-represented communities.
  2. Train your staff to use new tools – “let me tell you that the benefit of a free web is that there are free resources that you can take full advantage of to make your website more interactive. Don’t have to have a huge budget to gain access to the technology” e.g. Factual, Dataviz.org, Google fusion tables, Wordle.
  3. Train your staff to be experts in areas of intense interest to your readers – Expert reporters are able to find great stories in their field that others may not.
  4. Use the web to train, such as the ICFJ is doing with ICFJ Anywhere which enables the training of journalists in places where it would be difficult to send trainers.

She echoed Finberg in saying that media training is “a moving target”.

You can feel that you’ve learned the tools to get by today, but there are new tools coming out tomorrow. Journalism can be enhanced in this technological area and we can be better journalists if we embrace the new tools and new partnerships.

Finally the conference heard from Tarek Atia, media training manager for the Media Development Programme in Egypt which organises donor programs which have helped to train more than 4000 journalists in four years.

His lessons to trainers were:

  • It helps to be a journalist.
  • Certificates matter.
  • Be patient – “if we had thought after the first 10-20 workshops on the idea of local media, this isn’t working, then we wouldn’t be where we are today, which is that all of a sudden after two or three years of these courses, in late 2008, suddenly there was a breakthrough and several newspapers started producing local editions.”
  • Breakthroughs happen (see above).

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#WEFHamburg: WaPo mulling its own paywall plus all the news from the World Editors Forum

October 8th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in About us, Events

Yesterday at the World Editors Forum in Hamburg, Raju Narisetti, managing editor of the Washington Post, told Journalism.co.uk that the Post was not ruling out its own paid-content model.

The quality of the content we produce needs to be well funded, and one of the ways could be to make users pay for it, not all of it. I am not a big believer of putting everything behind a paywall. I am a big believer in saying we should monetise.

More power to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal in figuring out and if they do we would be happy to look at that. We may find our own way.

You can read the full interview with Narisetti at this link and below are all the stories from the WEF meeting on Journalism.co.uk:



For a digested round-up of the conference subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes.

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#WEFHamburg: Danish newspaper showcases the iPad app built on a shoestring budget

October 8th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Events, Mobile

“Think of a number, quarter it, and you’re still not there.”

This was Annemarie Kirk’s answer when asked what her budget was for developing Danish newspaper Berlingske‘s first iPad app to be launched later this month, which she showcased yesterday at the World Editors Forum in Hamburg.

A shoestring budget and a small team were both necessities in developing the business news app and driving forces behind it. Find talented people in your newsroom, young people who will see things differently and get them to work on it, said Kirk. Don’t overlook existing skills though: much of the design for the new app was done by a newspaper designer from Berlingske’s print edition who had never even worked on design for the website. He was set to work on the iPad app though, alongside an external web designer brought in for the project.

The application, which is awaiting approval by Apple, will combine content from the print and online editions of the business section through a semi-automated process, said Kirk. Concept design and project management were carried out in Denmark and technological development in Kiev, Ukraine following a study into what applications and devices Berlingske should be launching onto, that began back in March.

It’s clear from the development that has taken place this has been a tightly managed project, but Kirk said there has been a real need to get onto the iPad, despite the device not being on sale in Denmark, as traffic stats show a significant growth in the number of users accessing the Berlingske website via an iPad.

Fellow panellist at the WEF event, Alfredo Triviño, who as director of creative projects at News International has overseen many of the publisher’s iPhone and iPad application developments, said the success of building apps for “liquid media” devices relies on understanding the technological boundaries.

“Tablets are not websites, they’re not newspapers, magazines or books. Not all of our content we produce is consumed. (…) probably we need tablet newspapers,” he said.

“Loading time is critical and progressive downloading is a must (…) Success also grows from envisioning what is next.”

When developing apps for tablet devices, news organisations must look out how these apps will scale and be iterated.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk after the debate, he said news organisations will have to reassess their plans when the next wave of technology comes to tablet devices, including built-in cameras and better integration with social media. Hear more of what he had to say in our WEF podcast at this link.

Speaking more generally, president of media for Thomson Reuters, Chris Ahearn, said that “whether it’s a tablet or a smartphone or a device we haven’t seen yet” news organisations have to embrace change. As an industry they must “lean into the wind together” and, to make these new apps part of a successful business model to support journalism, “collectively rise”.

When designing apps or tablet propositions, news organisations must look at what their readers and consumers want and need, and build a subscriber base, he said.

How can we add unique value to each subscriber? The answer for us is not always more content. It has to include more services. We have to embrace the technological advances to build compelling user experiences. We have to put that content into context and develop a loyal customer base.

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#WEFHamburg: Multimedia newsrooms vs. online-only outlets

October 7th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Multimedia, Online Journalism

Multimedia news organisations or purely online outlets – which has the most sustainable model? This was the question posed in this morning’s panel discussion at the World Editors Forum. But before the debate could even begin, the question itself was quashed by Raju Narisetti, managing editor at the Washington Post.

The idea that one of these models is more sustainable for the other is a false choice for those of us in traditional media. It isn’t like we can just dump that and go to the purely online model. It’s an issue of legacy and mindset, the legacy is we all have fairly profitable newspapers to manage in addition to what we do online. We have to embrace the legacy and deal with it, we can’t walk away.

Comparing the models of each newsroom he outlined what he perceives as a different mindset behind online-only ventures which contrasts with that of traditional media.

Most traditional journalists talk about themselves as gatekeepers telling readers what they need to know. Some feel our job ends once we publish. But the online players have a very different mindset, their DNA is different. Their speed is not once a day as some of us are used to. They don’t think of themselves as gatekeepers, more like gate openers. They are much more metrics focused. (…) But there are different standards (…) I am happy to be held up to a higher standard.

Speaking next was Benoît Raphaël from LePost.fr, a news site subsidiary of Le Monde. He explained the theory behind Le Post’s model, which features news curated and aggregated from other sources.

You have to write about the most important topics of the day, so this means that 80 per cent of your newsroom are rewriting news stories everybody else is already writing about and that users can find in real time on Facebook and Twitter. So we felt the best service was to curate these stories from the media and web and then save time for unique stories. Users can help you as you don’t always know how to write stories, but they are experts in their hobbies (…) and this helps us to collect and then add value by finding the angle.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk, he added that the model of digitised content is the future for all newsrooms, regardless of the platform or tools used to present it.

You have to focus the production of the news on the digital world, so you have to digitise all of your newsroom and then you can display it and organise it using different tools. A website is a tool, a newspaper is a tool – it’s just an offline browser.

The good question is how can we learn from each other.

More on Raju Narisetti’s comments during the debate at this link.

Click here for more information on how to follow the World Editors Forum with Journalism.co.uk.

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#WEFHamburg: Values at the heart of a news organisation’s journalism, structure and business

October 7th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Journalism, Multimedia, Newspapers

The panel was called “How to break away from the “he said yesterday” journalism?”, but the discussion moved on to what values should be at the heart of a news organisation’s journalism, structure and business.

Some valuable advice came from Francisco Amarai, director of design studio and media consultancy Cases i Associats and formerly artistic director of and executive editor of Correio Braziliense

Successful newspapers see the news through the eyes of their readers, he said. And through print and online design and editorial choices, newspapers can rethink the relationship that they have with their readers.

According to Amarai, newspapers that are successful:

  • have well-defined values;
  • know their readers;
  • are newsy;
  • have talented staff in their newsrooms, who can offer their own points of view as well as news;
  • and have time.

In discussing time, he referred to the restructuring of O Estado de Sao Paulo in March this year. The paper decided to lengthen its editing time, starting checks, editing and layouts earlier in the day. Since the change in working patterns, circulation has increased by eight per cent in six months and page views have grown by 110 per cent over the past 12 months.

For fellow panellist, Abdel-Moneim Said, chair of the Al Ahram Group in Egypt, said newspapers need to see themselves as part of a media house not just a publishing house.

“We’re not journalists, we’re part of a larger family called media, which means to inform people in a variety of ways,” he said, adding that “different moods [of people] will call for different ways of getting information” and different means of deriving revenue.

Click here for more information on how to follow the World Editors Forum with Journalism.co.uk.

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#WEFHamburg: Al Ahram chair defends photoshopped image of Egyptian president

October 7th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Photography, Press freedom and ethics

The chairman of the Al Ahram Group, whose newspaper was internationally critcised for publishing an altered image of world leaders at recent Middle East peace talks, defended the photoshopping as an artistic illustration of the story.

Speaking at the World Editors Forum in Hamburg, Abdel Moniem Said said the photo, which showed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak walking ahead of other world leaders, including Barack Obama, at the talks, was viewed out of context.

“We published all the photos after the Washington meetings, and then we had another meeting 14 days later in Sharm el Sheik led by Mubarak [the Egyptian president],” Said told delegates.

The subsequent feature in the paper was labelled “special report” and used five photos from the meeting, of which the altered image was one. According to Said, there was a caption accompanying the changed picture describing how Egypt was leading the piece talks

The story of the “tampered” image was picked up by international news outlets, including the Guardian and Telegraph, after first being spotted by a blogger.

But Said condemned the way in which the photo was republished, saying it was stripped of its titling, caption, artist’s signature and context.

“I can give at least 100 cases that did the same thing to illustrate a case even using Obama himself,” he said, referring to criticism of a recent Economist front cover.

Said said he had written to many of the news organisations who had reported the picture, but none had published his response. The Guardian did include a report on Al Ahram’s editor’s defence of the image.

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#WEFHamburg: Google keynote – ‘we are not eating your omelette’

October 6th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Events, Online Journalism, Search

The relationship between Google and news publishers returned to the spotlight today as the search engine’s vice president for Northern and Central Europe Philipp Schindler made his keynote speech at the World Editors Forum in Hamburg.

When asked if news publishers ‘produce the eggs’ while Google ‘eats the omelette’, Schindler argued that there was a “fundamental misunderstanding” about Google’s role in the new media environment.

I do not believe at all we are eating your omelette in any way. Google sends four billion people a month to our partners. This is of significant value. We’re paying out 1.7 billion dollars a quarter to our partners.

For years Google has had a close relationship with publishers and we then later we went on to buy companies to develop products to help publishers monetise better. We helped support them through a transition process. This process was not triggered or really accelerated by Google. There is a fundamental misunderstanding that what we are seeing today was caused by Google. It was a consumer trend.

Part of the challenge is coming from technology and this is also being faced by Google, sometimes people think we are immune to it but they are wrong. The path for us is that we should play the role of a technology partner, we should support the newspaper industry in developing platforms that help them to be successful based on those technology and consumer trends we are seeing.

But this is likely to be far from the final world on this at the World Editors Forum this week as a workshop scheduled for Friday will also look at how news publishers and Google can co-operate.

Also in Schindler’s keynote speech he outlined what he sees as the biggest current trends impacting on the publishing industry, focusing on mobile technologies which he said we still widely underestimate the power of.

The mobile revolution is an unbelievably big and powerful trend. This is in no way going to go away. I believe that we are underestimating the size of the trend.

Google, he added, is now a “mobile first company” with its top engineers busy working on finding the best in mobile.

Other important trends he highlighted include what he perceives as a “fundamental shift” towards richer media, with the increasing use of visualisations, personalisation and “a higher level of smartness”.

He added that news publishers could learn a lot from the gaming industry, indicating that the use of personalisation and rich audio/visual products will be key to the successful development of online publishing.

Finally, he put forward a trend of the future, using the increasing availability of mobile connectivity to improve the ease of translating news and building worldwide audiences.

Imagine a world where anybody can access any information in any language he wants, where you can use mobile phones to automatically translate a conversation between people for example.

Your audience could become truly global. Suddenly your niche is becoming pretty big. It’s going to take a few years before it’s at a point where it is seamless, but don’t bet against this one.

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#WEFHamburg: WAN-IFRA calls on Iran to improve press freedom standards

October 6th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Awards, Events, Press freedom and ethics

The World Association of Newspapers and IFRA (WAN-IFRA) used the opening ceremony of the Word Editors Forum (WEF) in Hamburg to call upon Iranian authorities to adhere to international standards of press freedom.

Presenting the annual Golden Pen of Freedom Award to Iranian journalist Ahmad Zeid-Abadi, Xavier Vidal-Folch, president of WEF, said Iranian journalists are “essentially trapped in a prison within a prison. A hellish place, where, in Ahmad Zeid-Abadi’s own words, ‘the desperation they create in prison is so bad you think it’s the end of the world’.

“Though we honour Mr Zeid-Abadi here today, it is also important to remember the other jailed journalists, the ones who don’t win awards but nevertheless suffer under despotic regimes, We should never forget them and we in the international newspaper community should do our utmost to win their release.”

Zeid-Abadi, who has worked for a range of daily and weekly newspapers in the country, is currently in prison in Iran. He was jailed, not for the first time in June 2009, after calling for Iranians to boycott the country’s election. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment and has previously been jailed and banned from practising journalism, because of his work.

According to WEF, 22 Iranian journalists are currently in prison in the country, accounting for around a fifth of all journalists imprisoned worldwide.

Accepting the award on his behalf, fellow Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji made an emotional speech in which he said treatment in prison had driven Zeid-Abadi to the “edge of suicide”. Ganji, who has himself spent time in jail because of his work as a journalist, said the family members of press freedom fighters and activists are often overlooked.

I have no doubt that if Ahmad Zeid-Abadi was here with us, he would have shared the honor of this prestigious award with other political prisoners.

One must interpret these awards as a kind of ethical and moral endorsement of democratic activists who are committed to liberty and human rights.

Today members of the world community of journalists have selected Ahmad Zeid-Abadi as the courageous journalist of 2010 fighting for democracy, and have honored him with the Golden Pen Award. This is a judicious and fair choice worthy of Ahmad Zeid-Abadi. He uses the might of his pen not just to tell the truth and expose political corruption.

In addition he also tries responsibly to use his pen and his ideas to make the world more ethical, reduce people’s pain and suffering. Without a doubt this pen will bring its responsibilities to fruition, for what that pen writes gushes forth from the soul of the person holding that pen and is the bright and shining mirror of his noble heart and his humane ideas.

Last month, Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan, who has dual citizenship in Iran and Canada, was jailed for 19 years after being convicted of “collaborating with hostile governments, committing blasphemy and propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and managing an obscene website”, according to an Al Jazeera report.

Read Xavier Vidal-Folch’s speech in full at this link…

Read Akbar Ganji’s speech in full at this link…

More from Journalism.co.uk:

Half the world’s jailed journalists were working online, says CPJ

Human rights lawyer arrested in Iran

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