Monitoring Change in Journalism - June 2009 Archive





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."


26 June



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.






Germany:  Handelsblatt

Group to cut 20per cent of Jobs

The publishing

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

The Dutch

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

media pluralism.



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)

Following the

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. 



18 June


France :

Study Shows Repetitive Nature of Online News Services

French online magazine 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.,07902.html (in French)


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.


16 June


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. 


9 June



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.



5 June


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.


2 June


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.