Monitoring Change in Journalism - January-February 2010 Archive

26 February

:BBC to Close Two Radio

Stations and Cut Web Page Staff
It has been reported that

the BBC is to close two radio stations and cut 25% of its staff working

on the

corporation's web pages. The Times reported that the BBC's

decision to

scale down its operation came out of the "strategic

review" which is due to be announced to the public next month. The

review contains proposals to cut its online services, spending on

imported TV

programmes and on broadcast rights for sport events as well as other


cuts. The National Union of Journalists launched a petition against

these cuts:

25 February

UK & South Korea:

What Do ‘New' Journalists Need - Smartphone or Boot Camp?

the BBC technology

editor and professional journalist Rory Cellan-Jones was asked to give


‘a crash course in citizen reporting', he recommended a list of


tools (including smartphone and social networking tools such as


twitters, etc.) that can equip a citizen reporter to play the role of

journalist. However, professional journalists in South Korea tell a very


story of being a ‘new' journalist. Every year, around 100 to 200 newly


journalists in South Korean media outlets are sent to a ‘boot camp' for

up to

six months of round-the-clock training. These trainees are assigned to

different police stations, courts and hospitals where they will eat,

sleep and

write their stories on a portable computer. They have no smartphones but


little sleep and lots of drinking. Each trainee is also supervised by a

minder who rules his/her every moment.


Who's Blogging

What?, a website about

web hosting recently gathered figures showing the growing ‘blogosphere'


the world. According to its figures, there is a total of 133 million

blogs [note by EFJ/IFJ: these figures seem quite

under-estimated] , of which 75 % belong to college graduates . One

of the top reasons people blog is their desire to see their content


or featured in traditional media. News are among the top five topics


personal musings, technology, politics and computer) which are most


The figures also suggest that 35% of the bloggers are professional

journalists.  However the precise sources of these figures remain




News Applications are Successful
A recent survey conducted

in the US

shows that the majority (56%) of smartphone users (with access to


regularly visit news and current affairs websites. Among the top ten


accessed by smartphone users include the US news websites CNN and

the New York Times.  

Maybe this is another reason for other "traditional" media in

the US

and elsewhere to boost their offers in pay-applications for smartphones.

23 February


- ABC Begins its  Massive

Cuts of

Up to 400 Staff
The American Broadcasting Company

(ABC) News announced its process to cut up to 400 staff. In a memo to the

staff at ACB News, the company said 'massive cuts' involving around 300 to 400

union and non-union staff will take place in the following month. The

management also said that there will be a 'fundamental transformation' as the

company is facing difficult financial situation in the increasingly competitive

market. Major transformation will include expanding the use of digital

journalists and 'eliminating redundancies wherever possible'.

- 'Speed Dating' Services for Freelancers &

The Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists (MSPJ) is to organise

a 'speed dating' event for freelancers to meet editors. The event, according to

the MSPJ, will offer freelancers the possibility to get 'five minutes

of guaranteed face time' with editors from many top Minnesota-based

media. For a $30 fee speed-dating candidates will be

able pitch their stories to

potential employers.

22 February

US: NYT Asks Students to Produce Local News
The New York Times (NYT)

announced a collaborative project with the journalism school of the New York

University (NYU) to create a new local community news and information website.

Journalism students from the NYU will help develop the Local East Village site on Stories

submitted by students will then be edited by the NYT editors. The project will

be launched in autumn this year. In Europe,

some media outlets are also working with students. However, these initiatives

raise the question of salary-dumping and competition with professional


21 February

UK: iPhone Application

Creates new Row Between BBC and Publishers
BBC plans to

develop news applications on the iPhone in April to provide mobile users

with free access to online news were criticised by the Newspaper

Publishers Association (NPA). The NPA wrote to the BBC Trust saying

that the plans would 'damage the nascent market' and 'threaten to strangle

an important new market for news and information'. Currently, the Independent and the Daily Telegraph are offering free mobile

apps to UK

mobile users.

US: 80% Americans Say

Public Broadcasting Services Worth Investing
A recent poll in the US suggests

that about 80% of respondents in the survey think Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

is worth investing in. Respondents said PBS is an 'excellent use of tax

dollars', which comes second to military defense. The poll also shows that PBS

as the most trusted source of news and information about public affairs among

broadcast and cable sources. The results contrast with a previous poll in

the US which suggested the

partisan broadcaster, Fox News, was the 'most trusted' news channel in the US.
Access to the poll results:




NowPublic's Contributors Could Get Up to 30% of


a  user-generated website has announced plans to recruit 1000

" citizen journalists " paying them from advertising

revenue earned from content. According to the management of NowPublic, the site

is to roll out a sustainable business model that will attract 'higher quality'

writers, photographers and video-graphers by offering them payment, training

and even career prospects. Users could earn up to 30% of ad

revenue once GoogleAdsense's revenue-share scheme is implemented on the site.

They will also receive a statistical report at the end of each month showing

total and per article page views and the corresponding earnings.

Global: Living

Stories Can Help Publishers Deliver Online Content and Attract Readers,

Says Google
Google announced plans

to roll out its Living Stories project to journalists, publishers and

web developers that delivers online news content in 'an innovative way'. Living

Stories is a web-based project developed by Google to bind news bits

together in a user-friendly format. It delivers the latest news story with

chronological timeline, graphics, quotes, and resources. If a user signs in, it

also highlights new articles when they return. The project was first

experimented by the New York Times and the Washington Post where it proved




India: Study Says Print

Remains the Most Credible Information Source

the rest of the world is embracing the digital media, a study which surveyed

over 333 million Indian youth (aged 12 to 35) shows that newspaper remains the

most credible source for information in India. Although the study shows

that television is the most popular media for entertainment, around two-third

(63.4%) of youth prefer  newspapers to other forms of media when it comes

to news and current affairs. This massive 'offline' market in India continues

to grow as the country's literacy improves.

France: TF1  Severely

Struck by Contraction of Traditional Media Market
Giant French

commercial broadcaster TF1 announced that its net benefits for 2009

shrunk by 30% compared with 2008, despite special saving measures. This

situation is mainly due to a 13% drop in advertising income which reached

€ 1,429 billion last year.




Media Awards Honour User-generated Content

the growing importance of user-generated content in the fabric of

news, the George Polk Awards, one of the prominent media awards, honoured the

anonymous video of the death of Neda Aghan-Soltan during the 2009 Iranian

election protests. This is the first time in the history of the Polk Awards

that user-generated content is recognised by mainstream media awards. John

Darnton of the New York Times and curator of the Polk Awards said, 'This award

celebrates the fact that, in today's world, a brave bystander with a cellphone

camera can use video-sharing and social networking sites to deliver




Global:  If

Used Well, New Media Can Help Fight for Press Freedom and

Increase Sources of News Gathering

recent report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) suggests

that new media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter and blogs) can help fight for press

freedom  if used in a safe manner . According to the report, new

media helped raise awareness about imprisoned journalists Maziar

Bahari and Roxana Saberi in Iran last

year.  A survey released by George Washington

University last

week showed  that a majority (56%) of US journalists regard social

media as an important tool for their news gathering and

reporting.  However, concerns are being raised that the new

Google Buzz represents a real threat to privacy by

automatically showing the "follower lists" made up of

people you most frequently email and chat with. If not used well, social

networks could particularly damaging for journalist and press freedom activists

working under repressive regimes. 
CPJ report:
Survey results:
About google Buzz:

France: Le Figaro Outlines

Paywall Details
Le Figaro, the French

national newspaper has revealed details of its paywall after it announced its

plan to erect a paywall on its website on 26 January (see previous

MCJ). The model is similar to a metered system offering readers a free

package, Mon Figaro Connect and then offering  them a choice to subscribe

for a monthly or yearly package at a fee of €8 (a month) or €79 (a year) ,

Mon Figaro Select. A special business edition,  Mon Figaro

Business, is offered at a monthly fee of €15 or €149 annually. Readers

subscribed for the free package can also join a social network created to

connect other subscribed readers.

15 February

Taiwan: User-Generated Project

to Complete Reports of Public Broadcaster
People's Post (PeoPo), a

multimedia citizen journalism project launched by the Taiwanese Public

Television is reported to have helped restoring public trust in the Taiwanese

media. MePeoPo has contributed to many critical reporting of the

Government since its launch two years ago and boasts about 4,000

citizen contributors who have sent over 30,000 reports. The

project also organised over 300 face-to-face workshops and 50 online

training programmes to its members to improve the quality of user-generated


Australia: Study Says Online

Newspapers Enhance Print
A recent study conducted

by Celsius Research suggests that online newspapers enhanced the reputation of

print newspapers. The study results break the conventional 'myth' that online

newspaper websites pose a threat to print newspapers as readers migrate online.

According to the study, both online newspapers and print newspapers offer

'complimentary' usage to readers as they have distinct roles in informing

readers. ''Newspapers provide a considered mind-expanding read while

newspaper websites `scratch the news itch' '', the study says.

12 February


Europe/CIS: OSI Survey Points out Dramatic "Footprint" of Crisis on

Media in Eastern Europe
A recent survey on "Footprint of Financial

Crisis in the Media" carried out by the Media Programme of the Open

Society Institute explored the impact of the financial crisis on media and news

delivery to citizens in 18 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the

Commonwealth of Independent States. In addition to -or rather as a consequence

of - the economic contraction of the media sector, findings of the survey show

that the crisis has caused an "overall drop in the quality of news

delivery to citizens" and that media content has become "shallower,

more entertainment-centred, increasingly isolationist, more prone to political

and business influences and lacking in investigative bite".
The whole survey is here:

11 February

France Metro Partners with Citizen Photography Agency
Metro International, the Sweden-based media company

publishing 59 free dailies in 18 countries across the world, announced

plans to partner its news site in France, MetroReporter, with the Paris-based citizen photo agency Citizenside. Members will be paid

between €10 and €70 if their photos or videos are published in print or used on

Metro's primary news site. Recently, Citizenside joined a similar venture with French radio station RTL allowing RTL to

sell its members' photos and videos on their behalf.


countries: "Closed

doors on the Net" Experiment Draws conclusions on Social Media
After being

cut off from the real world for five days as part of an experimenting project

called 'Behind closed doors on the net' ( "huis clos sur le

net", see MCJ 20 January 2010), the five reporters who took part and used

only social networks as sources of information presented their conclusions.

They all noticed that Twitter is quick, much quicker than any media before. But

they also noted that social networks contained few international news, no current

affairs on crime and justice but a lot of national politics and of course a lot

of "people" news. They found that, even on Twitter, most information

is generated by a small number of contributors.
See full

experiment here:


Told Journalists to Embrace Social Media or Leave
Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News told

journalists to embrace social media as a source of information and warned

them that "you're not doing your job if you can't do those things".  This

came almost as a U-Turn of the previous BBC strategy to be rather

cautious about social media. Recently, the UK private broadcaster Sky News

(See MCJ 8 January) also issued a memo to its staff encouraging them

to use Twitter and installed Twitter software in all computers in the


10 February

US: Reporters Get HD Video Cameras as Newspapers

Move to Digital
Forget about

"newspapers" and welcome to the "media company": all

reporters at Journal-Register Co. (JRC), the newspaper publisher of 19 dailies

and 150 other newspapers in the US, will get HD video cameras and move to

digital  reporting . The management said the company's strategy is to

improve local coverage rather than making job cuts. JRC is also considering the

introduction of ‘community journalism media labs' with community bloggers and

institutions to enhance local news reporting.

9 February

US: ‘Bankrupt' News Group to Put Up Paywalls
MediaNews Group, one of the

largest newspaper companies in the US, owning 56 US dailies announced plans to

introduce a metered paywall system after the company filed bankruptcy on

16 January. Two newspapers, the Daily Record and the Enterprise-Record will start charging for their  ‘premium content' in May but some content

will remain free. If the paid model is successful, the MediaNews Group plans to

extend the model to the rest of its dailies in the US.

8 February 

US: Reuters Charged with Imposing Illegal Pay Cut
The Newspaper Guild, an IFJ

affiliate representing US

media workers, accused the global media group Thomson Reuters Corp. of imposing

illegal pay cut to its 420 employees and of imposing restrictions such

as preventing them from twitting. Reuters stopped negotiations with union

members and implemented a 10% cut, including cuts in health care and retirement

plan of its 420 employees. Bill O'Meara, President of New York Guild said the

dispute is about saving quality journalism as the illegal pay cut imposed by

Reuters will encourage other less healthy news organisations to follow suit.
Germany: Newspaper Websites to Charge Online Content
The Berliner Morgenpost and the Hamburger Abendblatt, owned

by the German publishing conglomerate Axel Springer, announced plans to charge

for its online content. Readers now have to pay a monthly subscription fee of

€4.95 to gain access to news content on A mixture of free and

premium content are available on at a monthly subscription fee of

€7.95. In November 2009, Axel Springer successfully launched its paid-for

eMagazine (see MCJ 28 November 2009).

5 February

 Over  100 Staff Made Redundant at Dagens Nyheter
Dagens Nyheter (DN), one of the most popular daily newspapers in Sweden,

announced plans to cut more than

100 jobs after it recorded a loss of  €  9.51 

million. Staff in the editorial department are most likely to be affected. The

management of DN explained that the company faces a difficult financial

situation with increasing competition from other media such as online media and

free newspapers. The management also warned that a series of further

cost-cutting programmes will be introduced after the job cuts.,6172478&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&element_id=12689486 

UK: The Guardian Launches Social Trend Index - ‘Zeitgeist'
The Guardian today announced that it is

launching a social trend index ‘Zeitgeist'. Like ‘Local Trend' of the social

networking website Twitter (See MCJ 29 January), The Guardian's Zeitgeist

provides ‘a visual map' of the most popular news and articles on its website to readers, enabling

them to see what's hot at a glance. However, Zeitgeist is still in an experimental stage. It is not clear where

this 'social trend index' will lead to or whether it is just a

marketing stunt.

4 February

US: Ethical Guidelines for

Social Media
As an increasing number of

journalists and media organisations is using social media for news reporting

and gathering, maintaining ethical standards online becomes necessary. The

Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), an association representing

electronic journalists in the US

radio, television and all digital media, has released

its ''social media and blogging guidelines'' for

journalists to follow. The ethical guidelines for social media will serve as a

supplement to the existing Code of Ethics for the journalists'

association'. These guidelines are mostly based on the core principles of

truth and fairness which represent the best practice of journalism in

traditional media, but they also include advice on how to (re)use content from

blogs and social media.

3 February

Media Conglomerate, News

Corp, Records $254m in Adverse Media Climate
After winning the nation's

minds as the most trusted news channel in the US (see MCJ 29 January), News

Corporation, owner of Fox News, announced its latest triumph on making a

massive profit of $254 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 despite the

adverse media climate the industry is facing. The $254 million profit came mostly

from its cable film and TV programmes, whereas written media

such as The Wall Street Journal, The Times, Sunday Times and The Sun are still trying to implement a business model based on paid

content.  Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp also revealed in an interview

that he is in 'advanced' discussions with portable device developers about a

subscription model allowing consumers to access media content online.

The Netherlands:

RNW Partners with New Internet Platform VJ Movement
Radio Netherlands Worldwide

(RNW), the Dutch public broadcasting service announced its new joint

venture with the Internet platform Video Journalism Movement. (VJ

Movement). VJ Movement was an open source Internet platform providing

short video documentaries on "non-mainstream" issues.

Videos are produced by its members who claimed to be"experienced video

journalists" from all over the world. The website is sponsored by

various media foundations and donations from governments and other

non-governmental organisations, as well as an annual membership fee

of   €35. All material published on the website is subject to its

editorial/ethical scrutiny and members of the public can complain to

its editorial team for any ethical violations. 

2 February


Calls on EU to Act on Crisis for Media and Journalism
A conference organised by

the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) at the European Parliament has

demanded fresh action from European political leaders to confront the media

crisis that is overwhelming journalism across the region. The conference on the

future of journalism was hosted at the European Parliament in Brussels

and heard that thousands of journalists and media staff across Europe were

being thrown out of work, titles were closing down and media were in turmoil in

the face of market changes which undermined Europe's

dual system of private and public media. Speakers called for urgent action to

address the crisis and to ensure that media pluralism and high quality

journalism remains in place within the European Union.

29 January

Gamma and Other Photo Agencies Officially Bankrupt
The Eyedea company which owns eight photo

agencies and pictures databases, including the prestigious Gamma agency, decided on 26 January to officially file for

bankruptcy. Last year the group closed its subsidiary Eyedea Press (see MCJ 29

August 09) with 33 redundancies. This time, the company would lay off its 56

staff and it would be the end of one of the most important photo agency of the

past decades.

UK Kent Photo Agencies Face Closure as Newspapers

Stop Paying
Kent News and Pictures, a British-based photo agency announced

its closure as newspapers are struggling to pay for its content. The closure

led to 11 redundancies at the photo agency, including eight photographers, two

reporters and one freelance. The management said that tough economic conditions

and poor national newspaper rates have contributed to its closure. Other

photo agencies are also struggling and considering shutting down businesses.

The sister agency of Kent News and Pictures, Image International, also closed

last year.

US: Mapping Local News on Twitter

While the future of journalism is yet to be mapped,

social media 'Twitter' has no hesitation to map out local news and trends for

users by launching its 'Local Trends'. The new feature will filter news and

messages on Twitter according to users' localities so that they can see a trend

of popular news of their local areas.  In Europe,

some traditional media have carried out similar test projects

to  recruit bloggers and users to produce their local news (see MCJ on 5

& 13 October 09).

28 January

US: When Partisan Journalism Becomes a Success

The success of Fox News based on the

abandonment of principles of balance and fairness suggests

that this is one of the ways taken by media

companies to attract the public. But how dangerous is this

"model" for the future? 

Global:   Is an "Oversized

iPhone" the Future of

As the future of journalism has been increasingly

tied-in with the technology industry, the introduction of a new portable mobile

device called 'i Pad' has created much hype, hopes  but

also some sarcasm for the future business models in the media

industry. It is reported that media organisations like the New York Times and Conde Nast are considering to strike a deal with Apple and to start

developing applications to distribute its news content online. While the

'rumour' of business deal is yet to be confirmed, the device which is equipped

with micro-payment system (i.e. iTune) will surely have a certain impact on how

readers consume news in the future.  However, it is still unclear if

users will want to carry something that rather looks like an

"oversized iPhone".

26 January
Australia to Launch its Non-profit News
The idea of non-profit news has become increasingly

attractive as traditional business models are shaken by the changing media

landscape. The Foundation for Public Interest Journalism, a non-profit organisation

based in Australia,

has received a generous sum in donation to support its non-profit news project.

Similar projects have also been launched in the US ( - see MCJ12 November

and Connecticut Mirror).

Canada: Metro Canada Partners with Twitter-like

Metro Canada, a

free daily newspaper announced plans to team up with the social networking website,

Foursquare, to produce local news content. The business model of the

partnership is to promote each other's website with complementary news content.

Members of Foursquare can update their activities (at local restaurants, pubs,

libraries, etc.) and post news. Metro Canada will then post

location-specific editorial content targeting local audiences.

France: French News Sites to Erect Paywalls
Although the profitability of the online paid model

is still uncertain, more and more online news sites are erecting paywalls.

French news sites, L'Express and Le Figaro announced that they

will do so. However, definite timeframe and pricing details are not

confirmed yet.

UK: 40

Editorial Staff Made Redundant at Guardian
Guardian News and Media (GNM) announced that 40

editorial staff have taken voluntary redundancies as part of its cost-cutting

scheme introduced in November last year (see MCJ 12 Nov). Those who took

redundancies include the deputy editor and deputy production editor of the

Guardian. The management of the (GNM) also confirmed there are more staff

members who have requested to take voluntary redundancies. Currently, GNM is

making around £100,000 loss a day.

20 January

Francophone countries: Five Journalists

to Report Through Social Media Only
Five journalists will be cut off from the real world

for five days as part of an experimenting project called 'Behind closed doors

on the net' ( "huis clos sur le net") during which

they will report news through social media only. The five reporters from France

Inter, France Info  (France), RSR (Switzerland), RTBF radio (Belgium) and

Radio Canada will be isolated in a house in south of France and allowed to

report only news they find on Facebook and Twitter or  links posted on

these two social media. According to the project manager, the aim is to find

out whether the public can be informed through social media in the same way as

they can rely on traditional media for information. 

Japan: Foreign Correspondentsare Pulling Out as 'Crisis' Strikes at the Home Front
Foreign media outlets and correspondents are pulling

out of Japan

as western media are struggling to cope with the financial crisis at the home

front. According to the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, the number of

foreign correspondents has dropped from its peak at 300 in the

1990s to 144 currently. Major foreign news outlets in Japan

have either shut down or cut down their operational scale in the

past year. The news magazine Time closed down its Bureau in Japan earlier this month; Newsweek also shut

down its editorial section in Tokyo;

and editorial staff of Business Week merged with Bloomberg in October 2009. The

Number of staff at the New York Times, the Washington Post and Los Angeles

Times offices in Japan

were also reduced dramatically.

20 January

Canada: Toronto

Star May Reduce Job Cuts
Following negotiations

between the Toronto Star and the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild,

the Star is considering cancelling its plans to outsource editing jobs

and reducing the number of job cuts which were announced in November (see MCJ 9

November). The deal, which is expected to be signed on Thursday 21 January,

will save around 35 out of 100 jobs which were going to be axed

after the parent company Torstar recorded 13% drop in revenues in the

final quarter of 2009.

US: Nearly Half Google News Users Bypass Newspaper

According to a survey

conducted by Outsell Inc., nearly half (44%) of Google News users bypass

newspaper sites to access information through Google News. Around 30% users

said they either use other search engines to access online news or go directly

to newspaper sites. The survey results appear to support the claim made by

creators and publishers, that news aggregators are stealing news content and

revenues from newspapers. Some major online news sites (See MCJ 11 January

2010) have started blocking news aggregators indexing their news.

France: Government Considers Subsiding Press Distribution

The French Government is

considering subsidising Presstalis, the largest press distribution company

which is going through a 'difficult time'. Le Figaro reported that the

French Prime Minister has entrusted the General Inspector of Finance to examine

ways (including financial grant) to support Presstalis in time of economic

difficulties. At the beginning of January (see MCJ 5 January 2010), the French

Government already initiated subsidy plans for news websites and free

newspapers for young people.

19 January

Switzerland: Ringier Group to Cut 29 Jobs 
Ringier Group, one of the

largest media corporations in Switzerland

has announced plans to cut 29 full time staff positions at its subsidiary

newspaper group 'Blick'. The cuts are due to the recent integration of

newsrooms at Blick. Staff at the production, layout, graphic and proof reading

departments will be affected, with 28% of reduction in the production

department and 11% in the layout department. The management of Ringier Group

confirmed that they are still identifying areas for further cuts. EFJ/IFJ

members CoMedia and Impressum expressed

their outrage over the job cuts and demanded a six-month freeze on the job cuts

until the economic situation has improved.

India & US: Washington

Post and Hindustan Times Sign 'Exclusive'

Content-sharing Agreement
The Washington Post and the Hindustan Times, the second largest English language

daily in India,

have signed an 'exclusive' agreement to share the Post's content. Under the

agreement, the Hindustan Times will share content including the Post's

news, opinion pieces, book reviews and columnists. According to recent figures,

the Hindustan Times has lost 0.2 million of readership since 2008 and

its advertising revenues are falling. 

US: Online Journalism Courses Open New Revenue

Stream for Newspapers
Media organisations start

to extend their business to online education as many of them are struggling to

generate revenues from traditional revenue streams (e.g. adverting,

subscription). The New York Times (NYT) is offering online journalism courses

with certificates from this spring, charging $235 for credit and $199 for

noncredit per course. The NYT has been offering online journalism courses

for working journalists to improve their multimedia skills without awarding

credits. The new credit system aims to attract journalism students

who wish to study multimedia programmes which are not offered at

their universities.

12 January

Global: AOL to Close Offices and Cut Further 1,000 Jobs
AOL, the global media and communications company

announced further job cuts worldwide. Its UK office will be severely affected

as the management said there will be a ''significant reduction'' of staff. Many

of its European offices will also be closed, including those in Spain, Sweden,

Germany and France. In

November 2009, AOL announced restructuring plans to cut 2,500 jobs and save

$300m a year. Since then, around 1,100 staff have already taken voluntary

UK:  Scottish MP Calls  for Free Newspapers for 18-year-olds  Following

Similar Experience in France 
A Scottish MP of the Labour Party, Pauline McNeil, has

called on the Scottish Government to provide free newspapers to 18-year-olds to

promote the culture of reading newspapers. She also proposed that

newspapers make news more relevant to young people by organising visits to

newsrooms. The National Union of Journalists welcomed the initiative.

A Similar free newspaper scheme has been launched in France and some German newspapers

have introduced youth editions to attract a younger readership (see previous

MCJ in December) to revitalise the declining readership in the newspaper


11 January

Canada: Canwest Files Bankruptcy and Seeks Buyers
Canwest, one of Canada's

largest international media companies, owning 10 dailies and 26 community

newspapers filed for bankruptcy today and is seeking potential buyers. Canwest has been operating under creditor

protection due to its large debts since early 2009. Its flagship National Post

newspaper was put under court protection in October

2009 after a rapid drop in

advertising revenues. The company currently employs around 5,300 staff. If Canwest could find potential buyers to pay its debts, most staff

jobs and newspapers would be preserved, said the management.

US: Study Shows Newspapers May Remain the Main

Source of New Information
The prophecy that newspapers are dead has again been proven wrong as

a new study shows that newspapers still remain the leading source of news for

the public. The study conducted by the Project for Excellencein

Journalism shows that around 95% of the news came from ‘old media' like

newspapers. By contrast, a

majority of digital news outlets are criticised by the study as repetitive and


UK: News International Starts Blocking News

Times Online, the flagship UK online newspaper of News

Corporation has finally introduced a technical block to prevent news aggregator indexing its content. The blocking system followed the

announcement by News Corporation's owner, Rupert Murdoch in November 2009 of

plans to erect paywalls to block aggregators. However, News International, the UK arm of News

Corporation has not yet confirmed if they have plans to block other news

aggregators like Google and Yahoo.

8 January

UK: Sky News Encourages its Staff to Use Twitter

for News Gathering and Reporting
As social media becomes an increasingly important tool for

journalists, Sky News, one of the major UK news broadcasting media,

announced plans to install Twitter software across its journalists' computers

as part of the drive to encourage more use of social media for news gathering

and reporting. Twitter, a

microblogging and social networking tool has become increasingly popular for

both readers and publishers. A recent research shows that the average US newspaper

has around 18,000 Twitter followers and tweets 11 times per day. Some

publishers are considering selling paid tweets to advertisers to open up a new

revenue stream.

7 January

France: French Government Proposes ‘Google Tax' on

Online Advertising
The French Minister

of Culture, Frédéric Mitterrand, announced a series of proposals to protect

online content and improve remuneration of creators on the Internet. The proposals

include creating a ‘Google tax' that will be levied on online advertising

revenues generated by major Internet giants like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc.

Another proposal suggests imposing higher tax on internet providers to

compensate revenues lost due to illegal downloading. The

proposals to support content creation will require about 50 million euros of

financing in 2010, then 35 to 40 million a year in 2011 and 2012.

Germany: Newspaper Publishers to Launch ‘Youth

Editions' to Recruit Young Readers
As newspapers are gradually losing

readership, German newspaper publishers are thinking of innovative ways to

recruit new readers. DuMont Schauberg, one of the largest publishing houses in Germany

announced plans to launch a news supplement aimed at a younger audience for its

daily newspaper Berliner Kurier. The launch of the youth edition is

expected to re-invigorate the print media by engaging young readers. Similar ventures were launched earlier and have

proven successful. Spiegel, the German news magazine, launched its youth

edition in 2009 recording a paid circulation of 72,000 copies for its first

issue on federal elections. Weekly newspaper Die Zeit also launched a

similar initiative with "KinderZeit", providing news and

entertainment to its target audience of eight to twelve year olds.

6 January

US: Non-profit

News Site Launched in California
A US non-profit news site, California

Watch, focusing on investigative journalism, launched the 'save the future

of journalism' initiative in December. California Watch, funded by the Centre for Investigative Reporting employs a team of 13 staff

producing investigative news that is free to readers. Unlike other

non-profit news sites, California Watch has proven successful in

adopting a 'syndication-fee model'. Local and regional newspapers had already

published many of its stories on their front pages even before its official

launch last month.