Monitoring Change in Journalism - November 2009 Archive

28 November 

Germany: Paid-for Magazine Received

Positive Reviews
A new paid-for magazine, eMag, owned by the publishing conglomerate Axel

Springer, was launched on  27 November. eMag is the supplementary

weekly magazine of the German ‘quality' Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

The creator, Jördis Guzmán Bulla is confident that most audiences are prepared

to pay €1.50 for its ‘high

quality'. Media analysts predict that if eMag is successful, it will set a new

business model for the publishing industry.

UK: £5.5m Raised to Launch London Freesheet
While  British freesheets

have ceased publications in the past few months (see previous MCJ), a group of

unknown investors from the Global Publishing Group raised £5.5m to launch

a  new  weekly freesheet, London

Weekly. Despite the economic downturn, the publishing group expects to

publish 250, 000 copies to be distributed twice a week outside rail and tube

stations in London.

It also plans to charge the optimistic prices for its full-page advert at £5,

250 and £9, 291 for double-page spread.

US: AOL to Employ 3,000

Freelancers to Run its ‘Popular' News

the global media company owned by Timed Warner

announced the launch of its news site, employing around 3, 000

freelancer editors to produce news articles, videos and photos. The

news topics will be

predetermined by a system that can analyse the most popular topics from


collected from the AOL subscribers. Freelancers then will make the


palatable' articles to match the marketers. Final article will be

edited by the

editors after it has gone through an automated system to screen its

grammar, spelling

and plagiarism. There will also be an automated tracking system tracing


secondary use of the news, which could provide additional remuneration

for the


26 November


Financial Daily "Les Echos" First to Merge Newsrooms According to

« Hadopi » Law
Management and trade union SNJ at

French financial daily Les Echos agreed on a merger of the newsrooms of

the paper version and the online   version, following the

implementation of the « hadopi » law stating that « the

collaboration between a company and a professional journalist concerns all

platforms of the media ». The merger was negotiated with the unions who

welcomed the agreement and the fact that journalists are « linked to a

title » and will not be asked to work for other titles of the same

company. Journalists will earn around 600€ per year for authors' rights and a new

professional category of "web editors" will be created. However unions deplored

the risks that the merger will leave less time for investigative journalism.

- Mixed Tendencies as Media

Companies Records Drastic Drop in Profit
Daily Mail & General Trust

(DMGT), one of the largest media companies in Europe,

recorded a 23% fall in profits for the year ending  4 October. Associated

Newspapers (AN), recorded a year on year decline of 11% while digital revenues

of the AN websites recorded an annual growth of 11%. However its flagship

newspaper, the Daily Mail, reported the second-highest profits in its history

despite the economic recession and the structural change in the media industry.

The UK

magazine publisher, Future, also recorded a 61% fall in profit.

-More Papers Erect Paywall
The UK regional newspaper publisher,

Johnston Press, announced plans to erect paywalls at six of its weekly

newspaper websites from next Monday. Users have to pay £5 subscription fee for

three months. Johnston Press is the second largest newspaper owner in the UK, owning 147

weekly paid-for titles and 116 free titles. The move to paid content model is

to experiment the reaction of readers and advertisers to its six chosen news


US: Media Lawyer Calls for

‘Compulsory Licensing Fee System' for News Aggregators
Gerry Byrne, the media lawyer

called for the introduction of a ‘compulsory licensing fee system' for news

aggregators or re-distributors like Google to protect online content. The

compulsory licensing fee system will provide the legal certainty for newspaper

publishers to require news aggregators like Google to pay a portion of the


25 November


-More Newspapers

Consider Blocking Google Search
MediaNews Group, one of the largest

newspaper companies in the US, considers blocking Google News when it starts

charging online content for its newspapers in Pennsylvania and California. However, it free online content

will still be available through Google search.  Early this month, the media

conglomerate News Corporation also announced that it will block Google search

from its news website once the pay wall is set (see MCJ 9


- Magazine

Publishers in Talk to Set up Digital Newsstand
Magazine publishers including the

Time Inc. and Conde Nast are in talk to set up an online newsstand for their

digital magazines. The online newsstand will be like an ‘iTunes for magazines',

which makes it easier to buy print and electronic copies of publications. As the

media industry is in transition from print to online publishing, magazine

publishers want to get hold of its digital readers by providing easy access to

readers. Some newspaper owners also expressed their interests the online


24 November

Portugal: Motorpress to Lay off 28 Jobs
The publishing company Motorpress announced to lay off 28 jobs and

cease the publications of its journals Auto Loan and Maxi Tuning.

Early this year, Motorpress already made seven jobs redundant and cut its

staff's salaries as a result of the financial crisis. The journalists union in

Portugal, Sindicato dos Journalistas, expressed its concern over the

restructuring plan and the working conditions of the journalists.

Spain: Paid Online News Site ‘Factual' Lanches
The Spanish journalist, Arcadi Espada, who is currently working as

a columnist for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, announced his venture on

launching the paid online news website Factual on 30 November. Factual will have a start-up budget of €250, 000 and it plans to charge readers

an annual fee of €50 for unlimited access to all of its content

online. Some

media critics are skeptical about the prospect of the pay online news

site as

the award-winning Spanish news site Soitu just announced its closure

(see MCJ

28 Oct) due to its unsustainable business model.




First Joint Reporting by Ohio Newspaper Groups to be Published

In response to

the changing media landscape, a group of Ohio newspapers decided to corporate and share

their resources with each other instead of competing. The first joint reporting

project investigating pensions of public employees will be published on 29

November by the seven Ohio newspapers (The Columbus, the Dispatch,

the Repository, the Plain Dealer, the Akron Beacon Journal, The Blade of Toledo,

the Dayton Daily News and The Vindicator) involved in the consortium, the Ohio

News Orgainsation (ONO). Newspapers in the ONO started working together since

2008 after complaints about the coverage by the Associated Press on some of the

local issues.

UK: BBC Changes to

Longer Headlines to Reach ‘Search Engine

The changing

patterns of how readers consume news (through news aggregators and social media)

have also changed how news is produced today. The BBC announced today that its

news website will change its short headlines to longer ones. As the BBC

explained, there are a growing number of readers who are using search engines,

news aggregators, Twitter and other media to consume news, longer headlines will

enable readers to retrieved BBC news via search engines easily.



UK: News Corp Sets its Priority on

Entertainment over Journalism

Murdoch, head of the media conglomerate News Corporation, said that journalism

no longer plays a big role in the corporation's future. Talking the future

business plan of the Corporation, he said the Corporation will focus on the

profitable entertainment. He also signaled that the Corporation is working with

publishers to speed up the process of transition from print to online media and

developing a wholesale market place for digital journalism.


AP Confirms 90 Layoffs

Associated Press (AP) confirmed today it laid off 90 news employees worldwide

after it was reported that 71 AP union members has been laid off on Tuesday

(see MCJ 17 Sept). In October 2008, the AP set a target of reducing 10% of its

annual payroll costs to compensate the reduction in the subscription fees for

newspapers and broadcasters. Recently, it was reported that around 130

newspapers submitted their cancellation notices to the AP (see MCJ 6 Nov).

19 November


-More than 5,000 Unemployed Journalists in Spain

The media industry in Spain is still facing tough times with La

Opinión de Granada announcing 45 jobs cuts (25 of them are journalists) on

the top of the 3, 000 redundancies made  in the last twelve months. The

IFJ affiliate, the Federación de Asociaciones de Periodistas de España (FAPE) has created an Observatory for the Crisis and its member, the Asociación

de la Prensa de Madrid (APM) just recorded 5,155 unemployed journalists

registered with the National Institute for Employment (INEM). The APM will

publish a report regarding the situation of the journalists' profession in the

middle of December.

-New Draft Broadcasting Law Will Put 10, 000 Jobs at Risks
The Forum of Journalists Organisations (Foro de Organizaciones de

Periodistas) revealed that a new draft broadcasting law, concerning the

scrapping of fourteen audiovisual laws and a wider privatisation plan, could

put 10,000 jobs at risk. Journalists working in the public broadcasting sectors

will be the most affected by the draft law. Wider privatisation means that it

will become easier for media tycoons to merge with other media and worsen the

situation of media concentration in Spain. This will pose further

threat to media pluralism in Spain

and in Europe.

UK: ITN Is to Cut 20 Jobs
The Independent Television News (ITN), the UK news and content provider, is to

cut around 20 staff posts as part of its restructuring plan to tackle its £39.9

million pension deficit. The company has already decided to close its final

pension salary scheme and a decision will be made by March 2010 regarding its

future pension plan.

Launches Manga Style Newspapers
Japan launches two manga style newspaper

websites, Manga no Shimbun and Nihon IT Manga Shimbun, presenting news in a

comical perspective. The manga style newspapers put complicated news such as

politics, economics and social issues in a simple narrative to attract young

readers. The two newspapers also plan to translate their content into different

languages (such as English, French and Korean) in the future, depending on the

readers' responses and demands.



US: ‘Computational Journalism' to Help

Holding Media Accountable
As the media landscape is deeply

affected by the technological advancement, a report published by DeWitt Wallace

Centre for Media and Democracy advocates the use of ‘computational journalism'

(CJ) to hold media accountable  and improve reporting of corruption, for

example . According to the report, ‘computational journalism' could promote

media accountability by enabling reporters and citizens to interact with news

through the computer tools (e.g. text from scanned government documents , tools to

create information timelines, databases and alerts) and reduce the costs for

investigative journalism. Further, this will engage new ‘players' such as

citizens and NGOs as watchdogs. It also suggests a ‘customisable Google News'

service for ‘beat reporters' to update them on the latest news from different

media platforms (including the traditional media and social media).

17 November


"Le Parisien" to Axe 100 Jobs

A special meeting of the works council at the French daily

LeParisien will decide on 26 November on major staff

restructuring including cutting one hundred jobs -25 in national news and the

rest in local editions. Sales of the first semester in 2009 decreased by 7%

compared with the previous year, whereas commercial income dropped by 20%.

Journalists fear their paper will become a "super freely" without relevant

local news.


"Black Tuesday" at AP
Dozens of Associated Press (AP) staff were laid off on

Tuesday 17 November, as the company plans to achieve a ten percent payroll

reduction by the end of 2009. According to estimations of the Newspaper Guild,

more than 38 terminations took place in the US, affecting managers, reporters,

editors, photographers, and editorial assistants. The company has not yet

provided formal notice to the union and it is still unknown how many non-US employees

are affected. Earlier in the year, about 100 employees accepted a voluntary

early retirement package. In early November, the Puerto

Rico branch of AP laid off eight staff, who learned of the

reductions from clients before being informed by AP.

News Organisations Can Now Call for ‘Citizen Reporting

' through Youtube Direct
Youtube, the popular video sharing website owned by Google

Inc, launches a new feature called Youtube Direct that enables news

organisations to ‘request, review and re-broadcast user-submitted videos'

directly. Youtube Direct will serve as a platform for news organisations,

non-profit orangisations and businesses to call for ‘citizen journalists' and

amateurs to submit their ‘breaking news' and ‘promotional videos'. US Media

organisations like the Huffington Post, the National Public Radio (NPR),

Politico, the San Francisco Chronicle and some of Boston TV stations are

testing the service. Meanwhile, the largest Spanish-language television

network, Univision, agreed to feature its programmes in the US on Youtube

(including the latest programmes and archives). In return, Univision will receive

most of the advertising revenues.

Europe: Mecom

Records 18% Fall in Ad revenue
Mecom, the Pan-European publishing Group which owns around

300 titles has recorded a massive drop of 18% in its advertising revenue for

the third quarter of this year. Its operations in the Netherlands

suffered a decline of 20% in advertising revenue year on year.  So far

this year, Mecom has made €115m cuts. However, the group still has to meet its

11% of cost-cutting target year on year to make up the fall in advertising


-The Times to Be the First National Newspaper to Charge

Online  Content
At the Society of Editors' conference, the Times editor

James Harding revealed the plan to charge its online content by early next year

and admitted that the Times ‘had contributed to the culture of free'.  The

planned paywall package will include a subscription service for loyal readers

and a 24 hour access for less frequent readers. However, the Times has not

decided the pricing level.  Once the plan is implemented, the Times will

become the first national newspaper in the UK

to charge its online content and end the ‘culture of free' in the UK newspaper



of Media Week Will Cost 18 Jobs
The weekly magazine, Media Week, owned by the Haymarket

Group, announced its closure and redundancies of 18 editorial staff. 

Affected staff are undergoing a consultation with Haymarket. Other titles in

the Haymarket Group are also affected by the business restructuring plan. The

monthly publication, Revolution, will become a quarterly supplement within

Marketing. A ‘centralised hub' of reporters is expected to be formed to cover

the media, advertising and marketing sectors across the weekly titles within

the Brand Republic portal of the Haymarket Group.

16 November

Europe: Online Ad Spending to Increase More

than 7% in 2010
In the recent report, the Marketers' Internet Ad

Barometer, conducted by the European Interactive Advertising Association

(EIAA), predicts that online advertising spending across Europe

will be increased by 7.6% yearly. Meanwhile, traditional TV advertising

spending will certainly follow an opposite tendency.


Europeans More Likely to Pay for Online News as Americans
A study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

shows that 48% of American internet users would pay for online news at an

average rate of $3 a month. However, respondents from European countries showed

a higher percent (around 60%) of support for online paid content.  The

Italians would pay an average of $7 for online news. John Rose, head of the BCG

explained that the low percentage of Americans who would pay for online news is

due to the vast and rich amount of free online news that are available to them

than to their European counterparts.

13 November

US: More Job Cuts at the NYT and Change of Strategy at CNN

The New York Times Service is to

cut around 28 jobs in the editorial team and move its office for services to Florida. Non-union

employees were also told that contributions to their pensions will be stopped

at the end of this year. They will only receive an additional 3% of their

salaries as the new pension contribution scheme. In October, the New York Times

already announced its plan to cut 100 jobs by the end of this year (see MCJ 20

Oct). In broadcasting, CNN has taken ‘cost-effective' measures cutting back its

web video production and laid off four web anchors. The management claims that

the current practice at is not ‘cost-effective' and that the company

will put more resources to on-demand video. Under the new plan, seven employees

will be hired for the production of on-demand video.

12 November

: French Broadcasting

Giant Announces over 50% Drop of Revenues
The largest French private television, TF1, announced a drastic drop of

54% of overall revenues since the beginning of this year. Compared to last

year's figure, the economic contraction led to a 19% decrease of advertising

revenues in TF1. Contrary to many observers, the recent removal of advertising on

public broadcasters did not boost revenues of private broadcasters.

Finland: YLE May Resort to

Cutting Jobs or Channels to Cut Costs
One the sanctuary of the public

broadcasting in Europe, the Finnish public broadcasting Yleisradio (YLE), may resort to cutting jobs or

channels to meet its €31 savings scheme by 2012. Faced with decreasing general

revenues, the financial condition of YLE was further worsened by the replacing

of the television licence fee by a lower "media fee". Currently the YLE is

cutting its number of imported programmes and giving up some of its expensive

sports broadcasting rights to cut costs.

US: New York Times Publishes

‘Community-Funded' Reporting
The New York Time published an

investigative article on the pollution in the Pacific

Ocean, which was reported by the ‘self-identified' freelance

journalist Lindsey Hoshaw. Hoshaw has raised $6000 over the past three months

from more than 100 donors through the community-funded reporting project

Spot.Us, a project of the non-profit Centre for Media Change. Concretely this

means that people can donate money for stories they want to be investigated and

"journalists" would receive up to $1,400 for their reports.

UK: Drop in GNM's Revenues

Results in More than 100 Job Cuts and Reshuffling at Observer
The Guardian News and Media (GNM)

announced to cut more than 100 jobs due to ‘worse-than-anticipated' drop of

revenues by £33m. The cuts will affect its staff in the editorial and

commercial departments but according to the management "only around 8% to 10%

of editorial staff would leave" after voluntary redundancies and redeployment.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) expressed ‘extreme concern' over its

plans as they ‘have not seen any creative plans taken by the GNM'.
Part of the plan is also to

integrate the Observer's four monthly magazines (Observer Food Monthly,

Observer, Observer Sport Monthly, Music Monthly and Observer Woman) into a

single four-section paper. Affected journalists at the Observer will be

integrated into GNM's other titles, the Guardian and its website
NUJ's response:

Birmingham Post Publishes its

First 180-page Weekly for Just £1
After the reshuffling in Trinity

Mirror's news groups in Midlands (see MCJ 21

Oct), the Birmingham Post launched its first weekly offering its 180-page

comprehensive coverage at £1 only. In addition to the weekly, dozens of

regional reports will be uploaded to its website Online

readers can also subscribe to its daily news update E-zine for breaking news

service in a daily basis. So far 15, 000 readers subscribed to this service.

Online readers can also print or download the news to their Kindle


10 November

US: Star Tribune to Cut 100 jobs

Star Tribune
, the largest daily

newspaper in the U.S. state

of Minnesota

announced to cut 100 jobs. The newspaper was deeply affected by the recession

and the structural changes in the media industry, which forced it to file

bankruptcy in January. Its number of staff has shrunk by nearly 40% since 2006.

The cut is due to the continuous falling circulation and advertising revenue.

9 November

Canada:Toronto Star to

Replace Editors with Outsourced Contract Workers
The Toronto Star, Canada's

most widely circulated paper, plans to replace one third of its editors (up to

100 people) with contract workers, maybe even outside the country. The

management of the paper announced voluntary buyouts to its 1,300 employees in

all divisions. "Star readers will be shocked to hear that core aspects of its

daily journalism, that vital role in our society, are now to be farmed out"

said Maureen Dawson, the head of the Star's union. The Toronto Star has already

moved circulation jobs to India

and classified-call-centre jobs to Buffalo,


Global: Google Launches Digitalised

Magazine Stand While News Corp. Considers Blocking Searches for Google News
Google launched its digitalised

magazine stand displaying a comprehensive list of magazine archives including

the Life, the Liberty, the Popular Science and many others for free. Users can browse magazine

covers and read the original articles or the entire issue of magazines in full

colour through Google Book Search. At the same time, Rupert Murdoch announced

that he  was considering blocking Google searches from displaying its news

content. Murdoch said its media groups, the Sun, the Times and

the Wall Street Journal, will block Google entirely once they enacted

plans to charge their content, Guardian reported. Murdoch also

criticised news aggregators and Google as ‘parasites' for stealing away its

news content without paying for it.

6 November

:First Newspaper owned by its


The West Highland Free Press,

a left-wing weekly local newspaper in Scotland

becomes the first newspaper in the UK owned by its staff. The ten

staff in the Free Press become shareholders in the trust that now owns the

paper. Despite the economic downturn and the media crisis, its staff show faith

and optimism in the paper by putting their stake in the shares of the


-  AP to Revise Fee

Structure as 130 Submitted Cancellation Notices 
The news wire agency, Associated

Press (AP), is to revise its fee structure for 2010 to maintain its sales as

many newspapers filed their cancellation notices.  Around 130 newspapers

submitted the two-year required notices to the AP that they may not subscribe

to its news wire service as it has become too costly for them. The AP announced

that it will revise its fee and its members will benefit from a savings of $65.

Recently, 50 newspapers just rescinded their cancellation notices. But this

week, the Chicago Tribune and other Tribune Co. newspapers are experimenting

AP-less week without running any news from the AP. 

  - Google  Pushes

for More Convergence but Remains Unclear about its Role
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

believes the future of news will rest on further integration and convergence of

different news media and technology. In an interview with the Nieman Journalism

Lab, a foundation funded by the Harvey University, Schmidt  repeated that  he

believes ‘new media ' that emerge out of ‘a deep

convergence of text, video and audio' will change journalism fundamentally.

Moreover, the sources of revenue have to be from both advertising and

subscription. However, when he was asked about the responsibility of Google in

the play of the news' future , Schmidt said Google has ‘not yet figured out how

to exercise that responsibility'.

5 November

Europe: Stand Up for Journalism Day, Campaigning for Change in Europe

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its members, unions and

associations of journalists across the region, marked the  Stand Up for

Journalism Day, an annual event which takes place on 5 November. The

Stand Up for Journalism campaign was launched in 2007 on issues of

concern to all who value media and democracy - decent jobs and

professional rights for journalists. On this day, journalists across

Europe focus on the challenges they meet in their daily work through

debates, statements, demonstrations or collective actions. 

Germany: Süddeutsche and B.Z. go for Paid Content

Two German

newspapers Süddeutsche and B.Z. announced plans to adopt the paid content model

in charging for its articles and photographs online. B.Z., the most popular

tabloid in Berlin

plans to charge a one-off fee of just 79 cents for users to have access to all

its content. Mobile phone users can also subscribe to its content. Süddeutsche

will also offer a monthly subscription fee of €1.58 from the middle of November

to online subscribers.

- Investigative Journalists are in Demand
Faced with the

crisis in the media industry, the public needs more investigative journalists

than ever before. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a non-profit

organisation founded by a group of experienced journalists in the UK (including

veterans Phillip Knightley and Nick Davies) to support investigative journalism

announced it is going to recruit up to 20 journalists for its investigative

teams. The Bureau recently received a substantial sum of £2 million from the

David and Elaine Potter Foundation founded by former Sunday Times journalists

Elaine Potter .

- More Job Cuts, Merseyside

Journalists to Ballot on Industrial Action 
The Trinity

Mirror group announced 17 further job cust in the newsrooms. The cuts will

affect seven multi-media journalists' posts, four photographers, the

copy-taking unit and the electronic picture desk. Journalists from Merseyside

start the balloting process for industrial actions since the same Trinity

Mirror already axed around 150 jobs since 2008. The National Union of

Journalists (NUJ) regards the cuts as ‘relentless' and ‘damaging' to the

quality of the papers and websites, and to the

local economy.
NUJ Campaign


Stand Up for Journalism Day, Campaigning for Change in Europe

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its

members, unions and associations of journalists across the region, marked the

 Stand Up for Journalism Day, an annual event which takes place on

5 November. The Stand Up for Journalism campaign was launched in 2007 on

issues of concern to all who value media and democracy - decent jobs and

professional rights for journalists. On this day, journalists across Europe focus on the challenges they meet in their daily

work through debates, statements, demonstrations or collective actions.

3 November

Global: Newspaper Sites Record Sharp Decline of ‘Unique

New statistical analysis from Mediacafe, created by

Jeff Mignon,  a  product strategist, and Nancy

Wong,  a business strategist suggests a sharp decline in ‘unique

visitors' (UV - measuring a unit of traffic to a Website). The findings show

all major US newspapers (including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times,

Boston Globe, etc) recording a sharp decline of UV since October 2008. Major

news sites for national newspapers in France (i.e. Le Monde, Le Figaro,

Libération , etc), Canada

(i.e. Globe & Mail, La Presse, Toronto Star & National Post) and the UK

(the Guardian, Times Online, the Independent, the Scotsman & the Telegraph)

also experienced a decline of UV. The findings ultimately point to the

saturation of online audience and the high penetration of local news sites in

the competitive online market.


Freedom To Close Pulitzer-Winning Newspaper

communication Inc., the US

publishing group which owns more than 100 daily and weekly newspapers announced

the closure of its Pulitzer-winning newspaper East Valley Tribune.

Earlier this year, the Tribune was awarded the Pulitzer prize for local

reporting despite its ‘limited resources' after Freedom filed for bankruptcy

protection at the end of August after recording $770 million in debt. The

closure of Tribune will affect 140 employees.