Guardian Asks Users to Help Investigating British Parliamentarians’ Expenses
Following the political scandal over the fiddling of
expenses claims by British Members of Parliament, The Guardian newspaper
is asking its readers to help checking the 457,153 pages of documents and
expenses reports submitted by Members of Parliament. This is certainly the
first time that readers are directly involved with media at such a large scale
in a “watchdog experiment”.
Media Minister to Impose Ceiling on Public Broadcasting Salaries
Dutch Media Minister Ronald Plasterk proposed to cap
salaries of public broadcasters at €181,000 a year, but this ceiling excludes
individual TV stars with a “unique talent”. Mr Plasterk sent this proposal to
the Lower House on 26 June and he expects the regulation to come into force on
1 September. It will not apply to existing presenters but only to newcomers.
YouTube Opens Reporters’ Center
YouTube opened an online journalism training site with
comments and tips from senior journalists. The YouTube Reporters' Centre hosts
short video tutorials on subjects such as investigative journalism, journalism
ethics and how to conduct an interview. The site also invites “users with
reporting experience” to upload "how-to" videos to YouTube to
"share knowledge with citizen journalists around the world."
Agelopoulou Family Closes Down its Media Outlets Without Warning
Greek billionnaires Theodoros and Gianna Angelopoulos have
closed down the media outlets of their Eleftheros& Typos Group,
without any warning. The Group owned Eleftheros Typos and Sunday
Typos newspapers and radio station City 99,5 and their closure will cost 450 jobs of journalists and media workers.
The Greek media tycoons said the decision was a consequence of the crisis.
Greek journalists have criticised the recent dramatic deterioration of working
conditions in most media organisations. Some journalists have not been paid (at
the Express) or have been dismissed (at broadcasters Skai, Alter and Star TV,
radio station Xenio and newspapers Chora, Derby and and Apogeymatin).
Individuated News to Challenge Media Decline
“There are two kinds of content now : you choose it or it's chosen for you”, declares Peter
Vandevanter, the Vice-President of targeted products
for Denver-based Media News Group, which owns 54 daily newspapers in 11 US
states. Thanks to recent internet technologies,
readers can choose their own criteria for selection of news stories, to be
delivered to computer screen, palm device or even home printer, together with
discount coupons for local shops. This issue was debated at the “Individuated
News Conference” hosted by the Washington Times on 25-26 June 2009.
Online Journalists Feel Like “Second-Rate” Reporters
A survey of the Bavarian Journalists Association (BJV),
which is part of the Deutscher Journalisten Verband, confirmed the impression
among online journalists that their economic and social conditions are much
worse than those of staff journalists working for daily print newspapers.
Though the survey is not representative, it gives an insight into the actual
situation: Online journalist basic salary is between 1.000 and 3.800 Euro gross
per month without holiday and Christmas bonuses. The weekly working time is
around 40 and 55 hours. And most of them have very often temporary individual
Teenagers Still Interested in Traditional Media
A recent report by The Nielsen Co, entitled "How Teens
Use Media," shows that teenagers are still engaged in traditional media
such as newspapers and television. Most of them simply “make time” for both
traditional media and new forms of communication such as Twitter, Youtube or
Facebook. The survey shows that
television is still the leading type of media with a thrilling average daily
watching time of 3 hours and 20 minutes
in the US.
The survey was conducted in 50 countries.
Group to cut 20per cent of Jobs
group Handelsblatt (VHB) is going to dismiss a fifth of around 1000
employed staff according to German newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt and
other insider sources. It is not clear yet whether the job losses will hit most
the newsrooms or the publishing sector. Das Handelsblatt and the weekly
magazine Wirtschaftswoche and several specialised titles belong to VHB.
Netherlands: Plans to
Create Internet Tax to Fund Media and to Deregulate Ownership
Temporary Commission on the Future of the Press has recommended the creation of
an Internet tax to support newspapers and traditionnal media. However, the
Dutch Media Minister Ronald Plasterk did not react positively. Other proposals
by the Commission include the withdrawal of the Media Concentration Act in
order to develop “partnerships” between the press and broadcasters for online
services. The latter proposal is also highly controversial since it would threaten
Newspaper Licensing Agency to Regulate Use of Hypelinks for Commercial
The Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) has announced that by 1 September 2009 it
would regulate "web aggregator services that forward links to newspaper
websites and for press cuttings agencies undertaking this type of
activity". The NLA controls reproduction of newspaper clippings by news
monitoring services and public relations agencies. From January 2010, the
licence charges will also apply to PR practitioners and "other
organisations forwarding links to newspaper websites as part of their commercial
Global: How Should Journalists
Use Facebook? (part 2)
Wall Street Journal (see Monitoring Change of 27 May 2009) the Associated Press
is adopting a strong policy on social networks for its employees “'to make sure
material posted (...) doesn't violate AP standards”. According to the Newspaper
Guild, representing about 1,000 AP journalists, the AP's policy is “perhaps the
most restrictive” the union has seen on social networks such as Facebook and
Twitter. The guidelines are designed to “Monitor the profile page to
make sure material posted by others doesn't violate AP standards: any such
material should be deleted”. This means that AP staff could be held
responsible for comments or pictures posted by their friends.
Publishers’ Associations Are Merging
In an interview
with the Huffington Post, the President of the World Association of Newspapers
(WAN), Gavin O'Reilly, confirmed that WAN is to merge with IFRA, the
other main publishers’ association.
Study Shows Repetitive Nature of Online News Services
French online magazine backchich.info reported in a recent
survey that most online news services work in a “closed cercle”. Taking as an
example the crash of the AF447 airplane between Rio de Janeiro and Paris on 1st June, the survey which studied 80 websites showed that a huge majority of them
simply repeated three major sources (AFP, AP, Reuters) revealing the tendency
of “reactivity rather than for creativity”. It also confirmed results of previous researches which showed the
disproportionate concentration of most articles on very few news subjects.
US: Internet Increasingly Popular Source of Information
A Zogby Interactive survey showed that the internet is by far the most popular source of
information and the preferred choice for news ahead of television, newspapers
and radio in the United
States. More than half of the people said
they would select the internet if they had to
choose only one source of news, followed by 21 percent for television and 10
percent for both newspapers and radio. When asked about the future, 82 percent
of respondants said the internet would be the
main source of information “in five years time”, compared to 13 for television
and 0.5 percent chose newspapers.
US: New York Times
Blogging Initiative Assigns Tasks to Readers
In these times of crisis, the New
York Times newspaper (NYT) has officially begun to outsource part of its local
news coverage to readers through a “Virtual Assignment Desk”. Earlier in the
year, the NYT supported the launch of a local blogging initiative called “The
Local”. One of these blogs covering a Brooklyn
area is now assigning tasks to readers such as “Theme: The Gloom of Day. Send
us a convincing photo of fog, haze, drizzle, mist or other bleakish meteorological
conditions”. Interested content
providers are also asked to take part in a community board meeting on specific
US: Study Finds how Newspapers
Disappearance Impacts Civic Life
On 10 June, the American
Journalism Review published an article on "Cities Without
Newspapers", written by Rachel Smolkin and based on findings of Princeton University economists Sam
Schulhofer-Wohl and Miguel Garrido. The Princeton researchers examined how
public life would be affected in a city without a newspaper using Cincinnati as a case
study since the city's newspaper The Cincinnati Post closed in December
2007. The most striking finding is that newspapers matter to public life in
terms of the number of people voting in elections or the number of candidates
running for positions in the city councils. At the same time as local papers
disappear, online nonprofit organisations are developing to play the watchdog
role. “For newspapers' survival to matter, though, the core of the new models
must remain the same as the old: the dedication to illuminating stories and
rich storytelling, the commitment to serving democracy”, Smolkin writes.
Norway: Norske Skog to
Cut 600 Jobs
Norwegian print company Norske
Skog will cut 600 jobs (9 % of its workforce) because of falling demand for
newsprint and magazine paper. The company said on 12 June that the main
reductions would take place at its Dutch production plant, Norske Skog Parenco,
as well as at its Norske Skog Follum mill in Norway. Norske Skog owns 16 mills
in 12 countries and employs around 7,600 staff.
EU: Only Slow Growth of Online Advertising in 2008
A survey published on 10 June by the Interactive Advertising Bureau
Europe (IAB Europe) showed that in 2008 the European online advertising market
was worth € 12.9bn with a growth of 20% compared to 2007 (only 10.6% in the
US). However 2008 was “one of the worst years for advertising in any medium” in
the 19 countries covered by the survey.
New Website to Promote "Entrepreneurial Journalists"
Veteran US Journalist Lewis Dvorkin launched True/Slant to promote the concept of the "entrepreneurial journalist" and which
encourages individual journalists to think of themselves as “brands”. This
initiative follows the success of the Huffington Post, which aggregates news
from other outlets. With True/Slant, writers combine their original
reporting with commentary and links to headlines from around the Web. The 100
or so signed up members are contractually obligated to engage with readers by
flagging a certain number of comments per month as noteworthy by highlighting
them in their posts on the site. Some writers receive monthly stipends while
others get incentive-based pay. Is this the latest way for journalists to make
a living as newspapers are dying?
Increasing Media Concentration Following New Law on Cross-ownership
As the Spanish media industry is struck by the crisis, the
Spanish government passed a law in February that repealed the 5% limit on
cross-ownership and the media landscape is now changing dramatically. The most
spectacular change occurred last Friday when the Prisa group, owner of leading
daily El Pais, announced its intention to merge its television
operations with rival Imagina - Prisa runs the television channel Cuatro while
Imagina holds La Sexta. Prisa and Imagina's parent company Mediapro also
announced that they had reached a deal on sharing broadcasting rights of the
Spanish football market for the next three years. Prisa also owns business
paper Cinco Dias, sports daily AS, as well as several radio stations in Spain and in Latin America.
E-Reader Consortium Proposed by Digital Publishing Alliance
The Digital Publishing Alliance (DPA), which
includes 32 members including The New York Times, The Los
Angeles Times, The Washington
Post, and the Newspaper Association of America, proposed to create an
“e-reader consortium” for newspaper publishers and other content providers. The
aim is to agree on standards around content presentation and advertising.
Germany: Pionner Public Broadcasters Will Reduce Web
ARD and ZDF, Germany's two public broadcasters,
announced that they will drastically reduce the programming they put online.
German public broadcasters were long considered as pionners for online
activites and this shift in strategy comes in response to attacks from
commercial channels and newspapers considering public broadcasters as “unfair”
competitiors. In the case of ZDF, online content will be reduced by 70 percent,
for example by cutting the period of availability for streaming and the amount
of text-only services.
Global: Newspapers Sales Grew in 2008
Global newspaper sales still slightly increased last year,
contradicting the general predictions of a sharp decline. Growth in Africa,
Asia and Latin America offset the drop of circulation in Europe and the US. This
tendency was revealed last week at the Conference of the Word Association of
Newspaper in Barcelona.
Newspaper sales grew by 1.3 percent worldwide last year from 2007 to 539
million daily. However, global advertising revenues fell by about 5.0
Irish Public Broadcaster RTE Threatened by Bankruptcy
RTE announced that it is losing EUR 1m a week and would
not be able to pay staff salaries by October unless a plan for 12.5 percent pay
cuts and redundancies is implemented in the coming weeks. According to the
Director-General, Cathal Goan, up to 300 jobs are under threat as the company
is facing the 'worst case scenario' of a budget loss of up to EUR 100m - far
more than the current estimate of EUR 68m. Unions will ballot this week on
whether or not to accept proposed pay cuts.