Monitoring Change in Journalism - March 2010 Archive

31 March


US: Yahoo!  News Recruits Journalists to Create Original Content

The Internet search engine Yahoo ! 

recently hired a dozen of professional journalists hoping to produce more

original news content to increase the popularity of its

online  search site Yahoo! News. According to the company,

it aims to create more original news articles and videos on various topics

following its success for original sport coverage launched three years ago.


30 March


US:   Sports

are Laboratory for Automated  "Journalism"

StatSheet, a US-based sport news site is

embracing the idea of  " virtual news " by

introducing automated sport news content to its website. According to the

founder of the site, automated news content will play a big part in the future

of journalism as it offers a cheaper and faster alternative for start-up news

organisations, as well as mainstream media. InfoLab, an academic institute

based in the US, is also developing its virtual news project ‘News at Seven’

(see MCJ 17 December 09) and hoping news orgainsations will gradually embrace

the idea of virtual news. According to the spokeman of the InfoLab,

virtual news has  " many advantages "  over

news written and reported by real journalists and reporters , not the least

because it is much cheaper, round the clock and without

complaining, he claimed. 


29 March


UK: Guardian Offers ‘Random’ News to Readers

Inspired by the

online video chat room ‘Chatroulette’, the Guardian online is

introducing the same idea to present its news to readers by offering them

‘random’ news. The idea of ‘random’ news  item  is

to attract readers with interesting news content that is not promoted on the

Guardian front page by offering them randomly picked news stories. Each time

readers visit the web page,they will be shown

a randomly picked news. 


Belgium: VRT to lay-off 279 Members of Staff


Flemish public broadcaster VRT announced its intention to lay-off 279 members

of staff "in a socially accountable way", according to management. The plan is part of a broader cost-cutting series of

measures including a reduction in numbers of in-house production staff, the

scaling  down of online activities and the suppression of some programmes.

One quarter of the staff jobs is at stake and the Flemish

journalists' union VVJ already warned that this plan was



26 March


UK: Twitter Won New Media Award

Twitter has won the New Media Award by Index on Censorship for enhancing

online freedom through the use of new technologies.



25 March


US: Newspapers Ad Revenue

Fell by 27% in 2009

Recent figures released by the Newspaper Association of America show

that newspapers’ advertising revenue plunged by 27% in 2009 to its lowest point

since 1986. Advertising revenue decreased from $37.8 billion in 2008 to $27.6

billion in 2009. The figures also show that all media organisations in the US

including magazines, broadcast television and online media experience a

slowdown in their revenue growth.


UK: New Business Model Offers News Footage

‘A La Carte’

A new business model that offers news footage ‘a la carte’ for media

organisations has achieved success in signing international deals with major

news agencies in China and Turkey. Beamups is an online platform based

in the UK

for news organisations, producers and freelance journalists to sell unused, raw

or archived film and video footages without paying any subscription. Content

providers can upload their video footages on the website and package and price

their content. In return, Beamups will get 35% of the revenue from content

sold to media organisations.


24 March 

US/Canada: ContradictorySurveys on Popularity of Internet and Traditional TV

The fear that traditional TV will be replaced by the growing popularity

of the Internet and online TV may be wrong,

according to a recent study which shows that traditional TV audience in the US isgrowing at the same time as the use of Internet. The findings of a Nielsen survey show that the amount of time Americans spend on

watching the TV increases along with the amount of time they use their Internet

simultaneously. In Canada,

an Ipsos-Reid survey showed the same trend. However, for

the first time, the Internet is actually becoming more popular than TV, with

respectively 18 and 16,9 hours a week. 


Europe: 3D Media on the Move

After the launch of the ‘3D’Belgium newspaper La Dernière Heure,

a fashion magazine Grazia published in the UK by Bauer Media Group, has

introduced its ‘3D’ edition claiming to give readers a 'special' experience.

The ‘3D’ effect will make magazine pages ‘come to life’ when readers place the

augmented reality codes that come with the magazine in front of a webcam or an

iPhone. Readers can then view the images on their computer screen or iPhone in

‘3D’. At the same time, the first 3D television sets are expected on the French

market in April. A set will cost between 1500€ and 5000€, including of course the

special glasses. 






- New York Times Webcasts its own Newsroom Meeting,


On 22 March the NYT launched

"TimesCast", the webcast of the daily editor's meeting. TimesCast

allows anyone online to have "unprecedented access to the news process.

They will see reporters and editors discussing the stories they are working on

as they are reporting them before they appear in the paper and online, "

according to the NYT press statement.


- News Co-operative Could be the Future of Journalism

As the media industry searches

for new business models a group of retired and redundant journalists from major


newspapers led by James O'Shea, former editor of the Los Angeles Times, has

created the Chicago News Cooperative (CNC) with the mission to restore public

service journalism.

Having already published some of

its investigative stories in major US newspapers such as the New York

Times, the CNC is beginning to demonstrate its capacity to  provide public service journalism. However,

its reliance on foundations and grants for funding makes the business model

less convincing. Its first year profits allowed editor O’Shea take a annual

salary of an underwhelming $1. Although members contribute a considerable

amount of money to the Co-operative, no one actually owns the business. Money

from members is invested into newsgathering and creating networks. Any surplus

revenue is re-invested into hiring more reporters, photographers and expanding

the news network.



19 March


Belgium/EU: Number of Foreign Correspondents

Shrank in Five Years

An ‘extraordinary general meeting’ held by the

Brussels-based Association de la Presse Internationale - International Press

Association (API-IPA) revealed that the number of foreign correspondents in

Brussels has

shrunk from 1,150 journalists in 2005 to less than 900 in 2010. In the meeting,

the API initiated the debate on the dire situation of foreign correspondents

addressing concerns over the impact of the crisis on the media industry and

also over the communication policies of the European institutions.






Business Daily Nikkei to Launch

Paid Digital Edition


many American and European newspapers, Nikkei Inc. one of the largest Japanese newspaper publishers

with over 3,000,000 daily copies, is to launch a paid digital edition for its

business daily Nikkei. The newspaper

industry in Japan

has been particularly hit by the lack of fixed revenues in a changing media

landscape and the management of the paper considered the paying model as ‘indispensable’.


17 March


UK:  Self-publishing

Service Allows Users to Print Personalised Newspaper on Demand

The Newspaper Club, a self-publishing

service based in London

and founded by a group of bloggers, allows users to print small runs of

their personalised newspapers for £1.10 a copy. The venture has so

far been success as major media organisations and publishers such as the BBC,

Wired UK, and Penguin were among its first clients. However, the success of the

on-demand newspapers remains far from certain as most newspapers are

struggling to find a coherent business model.  


US: The State of the News Media Report Says

'Traditional Media Content Prevails'

The State of the News

Media, an annual report on American journalism, shows that traditional media

content still prevails when compared to online media content from other

sources. The report warns that recent cutbacks in old media could heavily

impact on what the public is learning through the new media. The report also

points out that both  “new”  and “old”  media face the

same dilemma searching for revenues and new business models. There is also a

growing trend of niche operations in most news organisations as news consumers

are becoming more segmented and seeking news topics from different sources.

Access to the full report:


16 March


France: Audience of Written Press

Declined in 2009

According to a survey by

the AudiPresse company, the audience of daily printed press has declined by

6.9% in 2009 compared to 2008. The authors of the survey point out that 2008

was a particularly good year for media audience because of the Olympic Games

and elections in France and

in the US. However

some dailies clearly lost a major part of audience in 2009, such as La Tribune  (business, - 16,4 %),

La Croix (christian, - 15,3 %) and L'Humanité (communist, -

15,1 %).The most popular daily in France remains the sports newspaper,  L'Equipe,  with 7.8 millions

readers a week, followed by Le Monde and Le Figaro.


UK: 'Creative

Cannibalisation' is Replacing Original Journalism, Inquiry Says

An independent inquiry

looking into the Future of Civil Society in UK and Ireland shows that original

journalism is gradually replaced by  what it calls  'creative

cannibalisation', as the newspaper industry is facing increasing economic

pressures in a changing landscape. The inquiry explains that job insecurity and

commercial priorities pose increasing limitations on journalists' ability to

function ethically. It points out that people depend more than ever on

secondary sources of information. Thus, the inquiry suggests that levies on

news aggregators like Google could 'generate significant revenue to support the

production of new public service and local content'. The inquiry also proposed

other measures such as government subsidy and tax relief to safeguard


Access to the inquiry: 


15 March



- Bloggers on Can Charge Online Content

Bloggers of

can now charge readers for their online content through a new micropayment

system launched last week. Bloggers can use the plug-in feature on Wordpress to

customise the way they charge for an article at as low as $1.50. Readers can

view part of the article before they choose to buy it. They can also buy

bundles of credits which can be used on different sites. However, the newspapers

industry is still skeptical about adopting the micropayment system to charge

for  their online content. 


- Only 11% Google News is Original, Study Says

A study conducted by the

Nieman Journalism Lab found that only 11% of news on Google is real reporting

and the rest is just repeating the original

stories. The study shows that only 13 out of 121 stories reporting on Chinese

hacking on Google contained some original reporting and just 7 of these

stories were produced independently based on primary sources.


12 March



Live Television Gets Second Life thanks to Social Networks

The winter Olympic Games had the best TV rate

in the US

since 1994. This and other sports or culture events show a new trend: with the

development of social networks, the Internet can become the friend of

television, with people watching a public event and chatting at the same time.

The Nielsen media institute found that "simultaneous TV-and-Web viewing

signaled the growing importance of interactivity to the television



US: Reuters Adds Social Media Guidelines to its Handbook

Reuters announced plans to add social media

guidelines to its Journalism Handbooks. Dean Wright, the global editor for

ethics, innovation and news standards at Reuters said that the social media

guidelines aim to offer some basic principles and recommendations to

journalists who are navigating in a seemingly ‘chaotic landscape’ on the

internet. Other media organisations like BBC and the Radio Television Digital

News Association (RTDNA) in the US

have already issued social media guidelines to its journalists (see MCJ 4



11 March  



-  Saving the Future of

Journalism: Citizenship News Voucher or Readership Engagement?

In the second series of the

Future of Journalism workshop organised by the US Federal Trade Commission, a

group of the industry’s players including Google, newspaper publishers,

journalists, lawyers and academics gathered to discuss innovative ways to

respond to the changing media landscape and how to save the future of journalism

in the digital age. The workshop explored different business models including

government subsidies and paid-online content models. It also discussed the

issues of copyright law in protecting journalistic work online. While the

media giant Google is blaming newspapers for failing to engage readership

in the digital age (see bellow), many scholars proposed to the US

Government to take a more active role by giving media organisations direct

subsidies or tax credits/exemptions.  Robert McChesney proposed

a 'citizen news voucher' system which will give financial support to local and

non-profit news organisations while avoiding government

intervention or influence. Under the proposed scheme, every US citizen will

be given $200 worth voucher to donate to any non-profit news medium. 


- Google Wants Newspapers to Engage Readers

Often accused of exploiting

the media content, Google told newspapers to engage readers in order to survive and to

present their news differently. According to Google,  'The average amount

of time (of reader) spent looking at online news is about 70 seconds a day,

while the average amount of time (of reader) spent reading the print newspaper

is about 25 minutes a day.' Google stressed that they are keen on working with

newspapers but denied any responsibility for the problems facing

newspapers and journalists if Google News offers free access

to articles.


9 March

UK: - ASA to Regulate Twitter and Facebook Ads

The Advertising

Standard Agency (ASA) is to regulate digital advertising practices on social

networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. The Advertising Association,

representing the UK advertising and media industry, agreed a proposal to put

digital advertising on Facebook and Twitter under the regulation of the ASA in

the same way as TV, press, poster and radio ads to protect editorial content.

It is expected that the new regime will come into force in autumn this year if

the proposal goes through the Committee for Advertising Practice.


- Northcliffe

to Axe 31 Editorial Jobs for Creation of 'centralised' Newsroom
Around 31 editorial jobs will go at Northcliffe's West Country titles as the

company is merging its subbing operations in Plymouth

and Bristol to

create a centralised hub. The restructuring plan is a result of the continuous

decline of its papers' circulation since 2009. It is reported that the

circulation of the Plymouth-based Western Morning News and Bristol-based

Western Daily Press have dropped 6.5% and 10.7% respectively in the past six

months in 2009.


5 March


Spain: El Mundo to Charge for Premium



reports that 'the most visited Spanish-language news site’, El Mundo will launch a paid

service for its online content. Internet and smartphone users can have access

to its premium online content (including archives, video content, commentary,

etc.) at a price of €14.99 per month or 60cents per day. However, the standard

online version will still remain free to the public.


US: Publishers

Join Web Portal in Crackdown on Copyright Infringement


some news agencies (AP) and publishers (Hachette), a broad

"coalition of publishers" is to join the 'Attributor' web

service to crackdown on copyright infringement over the internet.

Attributor helps identifying copyright violators by searching the web

to find copyrighted content on unauthorised sites. Once the unauthorised

content is found, the web portal will ask hosting services to take down the

content. Failure to do so and the major search engines will be approached to

remove the relevant pages from their search results. According to the

management, several major book publishers have used their services and recorded

a 99% success rate in getting unlicensed eBooks off unauthorised sites.


4 March


Haiti , Chile & Italy: Breaking News and Press

Freedom Campaigns Through Social Networks

Since the tragical

earthquake happened in Haiti

in January, the world has seen how social networks like Twitters, Facebook and

blogs have affected the flow of information. Soon after the earthquake struck

in Chile,

information regarding the disaster (including geo-mapping on affected

areas, death tolls, pictures, etc.) blasted out on the internet ,

sometimes also spreading rumours. Social Networking sites have

mobilised people to contribute to an internet portal 'Person Finder' (created

by Google) to collect information on people who are affected by the earthquake.

Several Chilean journalists also created a web site uploading latest earthquake

Recently, a group  called  'the dignity of journalists and the

respect of citizens' was created on Facebook to defend journalism in Italy .

The Group, supported also by the journalists’ union (Federazione Nazionale

della Stampa Italiana) has attracted over 140,000 members

protesting  against political interference in the running of

public television RAI and for the defence of independent journalism in Italy.


UK : New Media Are Reinforcing

Old Habits, Says BBC Political Editor

When most people are

celebrating and embracing "new" media, Nick Robinson, the

BBC political editor believes that new forms of media are 'reinforcing

the  old habits' when it comes to political coverage. Robinson said

that new media can be 'self-important, narcissistic tosh' as it did not help

the public widen the political debate but reinforce their

existing political opinions. Robinson warned that people should check the

information on social media rigorously as it can sometimes be misleading.


2 March


US: 'Magazines are allowing their Web sites to erode journalistic

standards', Says CJR Report

·                     Speed over Journalistic


A report conducted

by the Columbia Journalism Review shows that US magazine web sites have much

lower journalistic standards than print magazines. A majority (59%) of the

surveyed magazines and their web sites have less copy-editing and

fact-checking. When errors were pointed out on the web sites, 54% said that

errors were corrected without notifying readers of such mistakes being made in

the first place. This, as suggested in the report, is the consequence of speed

over standards in online magazines as the pressure to be the first to break the

news is much higher than in print press.

·                     Cultural  'Chasm'

The report also

reflects the cultural  'chasm' in online magazines as some respondents

said that online magazine tends to offer what the audience  asks for

rather than offering what is of public interest.

·                     Print Magazines as


Instead of

developing stories for print and then republishing them online, the report

shows that an overwhelming majority (96%) of print magazines use content from

the magazine online. Print magazines, as suggested in the report, become the

supplements to online content. Online magazines are no longer considered as

competitors to print magazines but as an 'inferior product' compared to what is

run in the print magazines.

·                     Integration of Social

Networking Sites

A majority (64%) of

the online magazines feature social media such as Facebook, Twitters and blogs

and 60% of them found Facebook and Twitter as 'effective' or 'very effective'

for driving traffic on the sites.

·                     Mixed Business Models

Online magazines

adopt various business models: 52% of print magazines provide all of their

print content free online; 31% provide some print-edition content online; and

the rest adopted both free and paid-content models

·                     Web Editors over Print


The use of 'web

editors' and 'content-strategy consultants' is also increasingly prominent

among online magazines. The report suggests that an online magazines would

 be more profitable if a web editors/content-strategy consultant is in

charge of the content instead of the print editor.

Full report:


1st March 2010



- Internet and Smartphones Change News Consumption,

Research Says

A recent survey conducted in the US  with over 2200

people shows that news consumption on the Internet has overtaken over

print media. Although national and local TV stations remain the most

popular sources for news, the Internet has now become the third most popular

source for news consumption, ahead of  national newspapers and radio

in the US.

The survey also found that an overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple

platforms to get news and that 69% of people consider it a social or civic

obligation to follow news. However, when was asked about the quality of news,

only two-thirds (63%) of respondents think that news organisations have been

doing a good job covering subjects that matter, and 72% of them believe that

most news sources today are biased in their coverage.

Access to the report:


- Media Awards for the Year's Best " Journalist " on Twitter

eMediaWorld, a US-based new wire agency is to name the

year's best journalist on Twitter with the launch of the second Annual Shorty

Awards. According to eMediaWorld, “The definition of journalism and the

reporting function are changing every day. Compelling stories can be told on

Twitter in 140 characters at a time”. There are 26 categories awarding people

(including both professional journalists and organisations) twitting topics

ranging from "weird" things to politics and local governance.


AP to Launch 'Gateway' Offering News Services for

Multimedia Platforms 
The Associated Press (AP) announces the launch of a new 'strategic

business unit' called AP Gateway to develop news services

for  multimedia platforms such as smartphones, e-readers, tablet

computers (i.e. iPad). According to AP management, Gateway will serve as 'the

launching pad for new products and services from AP and other interested news

publishers', and will allow the news industry to deliver the news directly to

the consumer 'in a variety of exciting new ways'. The management also said

that the AP Gateway will develop news content to be delivered through the newly

launched tablet computer iPad.