Monitoring Change in Journalism - December 2009 Archive

18 December
France: Fears for Job Losses at

Lagardère Radio Stations 


Active Group, the French media conglomerate, announced a restructuring plan at

its local radio stations which caused concerns over job losses from both staff

and unions. According to the management, the company is facing a "structural crisis". It

plans to scale down its regional operation by closing 25 of its local radio

stations and reducing around a quarter of its staff at regional level in France.

US: Official Report Predicts 25% Drop in Media

Jobs by 2018
A recent federal

report of the Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts that employment in the

newspapers industry will drop from 326,000 to 245, 000 by 2018, which will

constitute a decrease of almost 25% of the jobs in the industry. The report

also shows that newspapers are among the top 10 industries slated for job

losses, making the sector the second hardest hit just behind department stores.

Contrary to predictions of the US

employment bureau, a survey of over 530 US and Canadian newspapers executives

and managers believe that the market will be up again with positive gains in

advertising revenues by 2011. 
17 December

France: Le Records 11% Rise in Turnover Thanks to Online

Le, the online edition of French national daily Le Figaro, recorded a rise of 11% in this year's total

revenue while its print edition's income continues to drop.

US: The Future of News in Virtual World?
InfoLab, an academic institute has introduced an

innovative yet alarming idea of the future of news. The project called ‘News at

Seven' shows a virtual world in which newscasts are solely generated by

computer, including its animated TV anchors and the robotic reporting. Further,

another on-going project called ‘Stats Monkey' will virtually play the role of

journalists. According to the director of the project, ‘Stat Monkey' can

generate highly analysed news stories in different topics for different

audiences. Stories will also include quotes from individuals or organisations

involved in the stories. 

16 December 2009

US: Miami

Herald Rolls Out Voluntary Pay Option
The Miami Herald has

introduced a new way of asking their readers to pay for its online content: readers  are directed to a payment page asking them to donate whatever amount they wish.  According to the management, some readers have already donated "a certain amount " 

for their news , but it remains

unclear whether the voluntary pay

option is sustainable.




Economic Crisis Has Taken its Toll on Media Independence & Credibility
A survey conducted by

the Press Association of Madrid (APM) reveals that recent economic crisis has

taken its toll on media independence and credibility. A majority of 57.5% of

the directors of national media outlets (including print and broadcasting

media) said they enjoy  " less

freedom "  in editorial

independence. There is an increasing influence from advertisers and

institutions. As a result, media lost credibility with a record low rating of 4.6/10. The survey

results also show that the working conditions of journalists are worsening,

with 29.4% respondents saying that they face a reduction in wages while 16% of

them lost their jobs. Almost half (41.3%) of the respondents indicated that job

insecurity has become their main concern.

14 December

France: 271 Voluntary

Redundancies at Radio France

271 staff of Radio

France Internationale (RFI) have opted for voluntary redundancies in the

framework of the company's "restructuring plan" which originally

foresaw only 206 redundancies. The unions have always been opposed to the plan

imposed by the management without consultation and they consider the mass

departure as a failure to reform the company. The high number of volunteers

leaving the company represents a risk for the future of RFI.

Canada: 166 Staff Applied for

Voluntary Redundancy at the Toronto

The Toronto Star, one of

the highest-circulation newspapers in Canada, confirmed that 166 of its

staff have applied for voluntary redundancy. Layoff notices were also issued to

nine unionised newsroom employees following the announcement. The management of

the Star said the company is facing a difficult situation: declining

advertising revenues and structural changes in the media industry. The title

has already outsourced around 80 of its copy editing and page production

jobs.  The company expects more layoffs

in the future. A 90-day consultation regarding the newspaper's collective

agreement has also begun.

11 December

: 125 Year Old Journal ‘Editor & Publisher' Ceases Publication
Editor and publisher (E&P), the 125-year old

monthly journal covering US

newspapers industry news, announced its closure after its parent company, the

Nielsen Co., sealed a deal with e5 Global Media Holdings. . It is not known yet

how many staff in the E&P will be affected by the closure. E&P has been

covering the impact of recent economic crisis on the US newspaper industry and the

changing media landscape. The journal was awarded a dozen major awards since

its first publication in 1901.

10 December

US: Rising Revenue and Falling

Some newspapers seem to thrive on and enjoy rising

revenues: according to the ABC October figures, weekly

circulation of 379 US newspapers fell 10.6% year-on-year while circulation of

Sunday newspapers dropped by 7.4%. However, some newspapers such as the San

Francisco Chronicle, the Dellas Morning News, the New York Times and many others recorded a rise in circulation revenues due to the rise of

subscription fees.  Although the rising prices in these newspapers caused

a drop in readership, it also retained those who are loyal to the paper and

value the content rather than price.

UK: Express Considers Replacing All Regional Journalists with News Agency
The British newspaper group, Express Newspapers, which

include the popular press the Daily Express, the Sunday Express,

the Daily Star and the Sunday consider cutting almost all of

regional reporters and replace the content with stories from news agencies.

 At least 33 staff already applied for voluntary redundancy and Express is

looking for another 15 redundancies.

8 December

Belgium: Around 200 Staff Face Layoffs in Dutch Media Groups

Dutch media companies, Perspgroep and Limburg Media Groep finally announced

layoff plans in response to rapid drops in advertising revenue and newspaper

subscription. The Belgium

newspaper group, Perspgroep will lay off 131 staff at the Volksrant and Trouw

newspapers, while Limburg Media Groep will cut 48 jobs. In the past two years,

advertising revenues at the Limburg Media Groep have dropped by 25%. Newspapers

subscription in Dutch households has also dropped by 12% since 1997 and yet,

newspapers subscription account almost 90% of Dutch newspapers sale.


PA to Cut Foreign Correspondents

Press Association (PA) announced further cost-cutting plans to cut its New York correspondent posting following its earlier

decision to withdraw its Brussels

correspondent by 2012. Last month, PA already announced plans to drop seven

reporters from its regional news team.


Journalist Tweeting the Trial

a changing media landscape, the role of social media have become more important

and transformed the way news is produced. A British journalist, Kate Dubinski,

recently used Twitter to report a court trial in Canada and it attracted over 1,000

readers/tweeters to follow her ‘tweeting trial'. Different from traditional court

reporting, she could tweet the trial live while traditional court reporter has

to spend the day in the court and write the report next day. Kate said there is

a huge potential in Twitter for journalists.

7 December

: The Future of Journalism: a Mix of

Fictions and Facts?
As the media industry is searching for new business

models, an Asian media company visions the future of journalism as a mix of

fictions and facts. Next Media, owns the most popular tabloid newspapers in

Hong Kong and Taiwan

recently introduced animated ‘news reports' showing detailed plots that mixed

with fictions and facts. Its recent animated ‘news' video featuring the scandal

of the golf player Tiger Woods and his wife proved to be very popular and it

has been viewed by more than 1.7m people from YouTube  ( ) . The management of Next Media said this could be the future of

newspapers as animated news stories proved to be very popular among young

people. There has also been increasing demand for the animated ‘news reports'

since its introduction.
4 December

Finland: Local Media Shrinking in Ostrobothnia

Paikallissanomat, the regional publishing company in Ostrobothnia, Finland

has been shrinking in recent years as many of its regional newspapers ceased

publications. Recent closures include its local newspaper Kokkolan Sanomat,

which has ceased publication on 3 December. The closure made five staff

redundant. Publication of another local newspaper, Pyhäjokiseutu, will

be reduced to twice a week. Faced with continuous losses, the company also

decided to sell its regional newspaper, Vieskalainen, to the Finnish

publishing company Jokilaaksojen Kustannus Oy.

US: More Job Cuts in the US News

Faced with difficult economic climate, media companies

in the US

including Thomson Reuters, the Washington Times and the Miami

Herald announced job cuts. Thomson Reuters will lay off 240 staff at its

legal publishing division. Staff at the research team in North

America will mostly be affected by the layoffs. The Washington

Times also announced plans to cut at least 40% of its 370 employees and

implement a free-distribution plan in selected governmental and public

institutions. The Miami Herald will cut 24 jobs worldwide to survive the

economic crisis.

UK: New Study Says Erecting Paywall

Will not Save Industry

when publishers can taste their success after forcing the media giant Google to

make a concession on limiting access to its new content (see MCJ 2 December), a

new study shows that most readers are still not ready to pay for online news.

The study also warns that mass paywall shift will not force readers to pay

their online news but alienate newspapers' readers . Among 2,600 respondents,

only 15% to 20% said they would pay £2 a month for their favourite news

websites. However, readers of ‘quality' newspapers (the Independent and

Guardian) said they would pay up to £5 a month for their online news. The study

also suggests that a mixed strategy of subscriptions and micro-payments could

prove more successful.

3 December

Google to Charge TV Shows on Youtube

is in a ‘preliminary discussions' with

broadcasters considering charging its popular video site YouTube to stream TV

shows. The plan also includes the possibility to charge a rental price on TV

shows, which is similar to iTune's rental scheme. It is reported that TV

executives are generally excited about the idea as the plan could offer new

revenue streams for them. In November, the UK broadcaster Channel 4 already

partnered with Google and allowed YouTube to Stream some of its TV shows.

2  December


Google News Limits Free Access to Appease Publishers

finally made a concession to limit access to its free news content after

receiving much criticism from news publishers who have threatened to block

Google News (see MCJ 25 November). Google announced change to its First Click

Free feature for Google News and Google Web Search, restricting free access to

news articles to only five articles a day for each user. The change, according

to Google, will encourage more publishers to open up more content to users but

at the same time, Google also admitted that ‘creating high quality content is

not easy ... and expensive'

1 December

: N24 Staff Send Open

Letter to its Management Demanding Jobs Security
Staff at the German news broadcaster, N24, sent an open letter to the

management of ProSiebenSat.1, Thomas Ebeling to demand the corporation halt the

job-cut plan. On 27 November, Ebeling announced plans to reduce costs for N24,

which include cutting staff and reducing budgets for its news productions.

However, staff at N24 opposed the cost-cutting measures out of concern that the

measures will lead to poor quality content and threaten news diversity. The

German Journalists Union (Deutscher Journalisten-Verband-DJV) also issued a

statement and warned against a series of cuts taken by ProSiebenSat.1 in the

past year.