Wednesday, 30 September 2009
They are Rich Simcox, who edits Activate magazine for the Public and Commercial Services union; Michael Cross, a freelance who has written for the Guardian and has worked for the New Scientist and the Independent; Steven Usher, Daily Star FoC; Frank Morgan, Daily Record; Christine Buckley, ex-Times; Mark Watts, freelance, FoI campaigner and investigative journalist; Tim Arnold, freelance with broadcasting experience; Stephen David Tilly, Trinity Mirror content editor.
The ballot starts on 6 of October and lasts a month. All candidates have been invited to a hustings meeting to take place between 7pm and 8.30pm on Wednesday 7 October, at the NUJ’s headquarters, 308, Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8DP.
"Yet it's hardly a secret that the Daily Mail is Britain's most influential newspaper, far more frightening to politicians and other establishment targets, far more sophisticated than the Bun and – nowadays – selling almost as many copies as the sinking redtop. Its influence, not all of it angry and malign, can be seen in every corner of public debate, including Brown's speech.
"I think the basic difference, apart from the fact that the Mail's journalism is much more formidable, is that – allowing for a sensible dose of cynicism, always wise where media is concerned – the Mail and its editor Paul Dacre do believe in things.
"In contrast, the Sun's policy switch is dictated by Murdoch and his well-documented policy of being on the winning side."
The report says that shares in Gannett were up $1.73, or 17.3%, to $11.71 a share and that "the good feelings about Gannett extended to the rest of the newspaper sector, with every NYSE-traded newspaper company up -- some by even bigger margins."
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Not a surprise given Labour's low poll ratings but the timing is a crushing blow to Brown and bound to detract from coverage of his speech.
Watts is a freelance journalist and broadcaster, a member of the NUJ’s London Freelance Branch and the Society of Authors, and the co-ordinator of the FOIA Centre, which helps the media and other clients obtain information using the Freedom of Information Act and other open-access laws.
Carl Wood, Trinity Mirror Cheshire publishing director, said: “There have been some developments in the last few days so we have decided to continue producing the Whitchurch Herald while discussions with interested parties take place."
BECTU represents production staff across all roles in broadcasting and has on previous occasions pledged to support any member who chooses, as a matter of conscience, not to work on output which either involves or promotes the BNP.
I've already mentioned Rich Simcox, who edits Activate magazine for the Public and Commercial Services union and has the backing of the NUJ Left.
Other possible candidates, expected to be shortlisted this week, are said to include Michael Cross, a freelance who has written for the Guardian and has worked for the New Scientist and the Independent; Steve Usher, Daily Star FoC; Frank Morgan, Daily Record; Christine Buckley, ex-Times; Mark Watts, freelance, FoI campaigner and investigative journalist; Tim Arnold, freelance with broadcasting experience; Dave Tilly, Trinity Mirror content editor.
Once a shortlist has been approved by the union, a ballot of the membership starts on 6 of October and lasts a month.
Monday, 28 September 2009
"Their 'big idea' was to send in the time and motion men. Blokes with reams of paper, who surveyed every inch of the business looking for fat to trim so that it could post the even-bigger profits its shareholders demanded.
"Every newsroom had a visit from these people. Who came up with stunning ideas like: "Rather than check, rewrite and add to press releases, why not just cut'n'paste them into the paper, saving time and money?" Brilliance like that is beyond price.
"As a result newsrooms were slashed. Not through redundancy, but by non-recruitment of trainees and non-replacement of staff. A gradual process of attrition that has left these places understaffed and lacking in experienced reporters."
"And that was in the times of plenty. Ad revenues were good, circulation was in a gentle but manageable decline. These businesses were very, very profitable.
"Then the bad times come round and what's their big idea now? More cuts. This time redundancies which, understandably, have been seized by some veteran journalists who were the heart and soul of these operations. And who can blame them leaving newspapers where their knowledge, contacts and expertise are treated with such contempt by national management?"
Banks adds: "If TM cannot or will not give local communities the service they want, then I hope the BBC's ultra local plans are revived and this time the protests of newspaper corporations are ignored."
The union says the share awards to chief executive Sly Bailey, finance director Vijay Vaghela and group legal director Paul Vickers have been unearthed by NUJ members at Media Wales in Cardiff, who are about to take part in a strike ballot following an announcement last Thursday of 13.2 editorial redundancies at the Trinity Mirror-owned subsidiary.
Bailey wrote to all staff last November telling them there would be no pay rise in 2009 because of poor trading conditions and the group's difficulty in meeting interest payments on borrowings and making pension contributions. She said the pay freeze applied to all employees, including directors, adding that no bonuses would be paid either.
The NUJ says: "It has now emerged that on April 3 this year, Ms Bailey was awarded 270,270 Trinity Mirror shares at no cost to herself. At the time shares were trading at 28.5p, so the value of the chief executive's handout was £77,026.95. Since then, however, the share price has risen, and when trading closed on Friday it stood at £1.60. That meant Ms Bailey's free shares had rocketed in value to £432,432.
"Mr Vaghela was awarded 123,964 shares on the same day. Over the same period they rose in value from £35,329.74 to £198,342.40. Equally, Mr Vickers' 108,108 shares grew from being worth £30,810.78 to £172,972.80 on Friday.
"On top of this, the three directors exercised an option to "buy" more shares on June 29 this year. Ms Bailey "bought" 28,898 shares, Mr Vaghela 15,568 shares and Mr Vickers 12,060 shares.
"In fact, according to the London Stock Exchange website, there was no purchase price, and the shares were handed over to the trio free of charge. On the same day, Ms Bailey sold 11,755 of her new shares, picking up £5,995.05. Mr Vaghela received £3,241.56 after selling 6,356 shares, while Mr Vickers pocketed £2,516.85 after selling 4,935 shares."
Martin Shipton, NUJ FoC at Media Wales, said: "It beggars belief that at a time when these directors have been slashing jobs and freezing the pay of those left behind, they have been rewarded so handsomely in this way.
“Nothing was said about these share handouts at the time of the pay freeze, when much was made of the fact that it applied to directors too. This is an insult to every Trinity Mirror employee, and especially to those whose jobs are on the line."
Straw told the BBC he would join a panel which will include Griffin, a Conservative and a Liberal Democrat, in London on 22 October. The programme will be chaired by David Dimbleby (pictured). Labour has previously refused to debate with the BNP. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had already said they would take part in the programme.
Speaking on the Politics Show, Straw said: "Wherever we have had BNP problems in my area and when we have fought them hard, we've pulled back and won the seats back. And that's what we have to do. We've got to make the argument for people and I am delighted to do so."
No BNP representatives have appeared on Question Time, but the BBC reviewed its position following the party's success in last June's European elections, in which Griffin was one of two BNP candidates to be elected as an MEP.
Glover writes:"The newspapers' apology is unprecedented in these circumstances. Ill-mannered and intrusive they may have been. The fact remains that it is not an infringement of the Press Complaints Commission's published code to carry photographs of public figures taken in a public place, and I should be surprised if it were illegal."
He adds: "On grounds of taste I am on the side of the Capellos. Why not leave them alone? Moreover, Mr Capello is something of a national treasure, having revived England's footballing fortunes. We don't want him legging it back to Italy in disgust, though I suppose he would be unlikely to do so as it would entail giving up a salary of £6m a year.
"But this case is not fundamentally about taste. It is really about the freedom of the Press. By all means let the Capellos ask newspapers not to run holiday snaps of them. But if it becomes an offence to publish pictures of public people in public places, one can imagine all manner of concealment. At the very least, such a measure might enable celebrities to present themselves to the world on Hello! terms, with all their imperfections airbrushed out. In an extreme example a politician might object to being photographed in public when publication would be in the public interest."
"It may seem a trivial case, but I am sorry that the News of the World and the Daily Mail should have run up the white flag so quickly. A new precedent may have been established which takes us further than the J K Rowling case towards a de facto law of privacy. "
Saturday, 26 September 2009
John Wick, the former soldier who handled the leaked data on MPs' expenses and sold it to the Telegraph, says in the paper today: "At no time has the Daily Telegraph identified the source and yet the various other media outlets have inferred the leak came from either the military personnel, staff of the Stationery Office or even the Civil Servants themselves. The fact is that no one knows and that is how it will stay. The rampant speculation only adds extra pressure onto the people who worked on the project in good faith."
He adds: "What was interesting was the anger that was felt by all the people involved in the redaction process to what they were seeing and the way in which the House of Commons authorities were trying to cover up. The team carrying out the censorship was made up of civil servants, private contractors and of course the moonlighting soldiers. It covered a complete cross section of all ages, backgrounds, race and religion and they all felt the rage at what they were seeing."
On the issue of the £110,000 payment from the Telegraph, Wick says "it is I who placed a requirement to have money paid for the data and not anyone else involved. It was there to pay for legal advice before the campaign started, to have contingency funds available if charges were made and legal representation was needed - and to give financial support to those persons whose involvement in the campaign could affect their and their families’ livelihood."
For more information visit www.editorsinc.co.uk
Friday, 25 September 2009
The union wants the company to improve its offer to all freelance photographers, after it was able to negotiate an agreement that covers those working under retainer contracts for the paper.
The dispute relates to a decision by the Guardian to refuse to pay fees for re-using commissioned photographs.
However, this only applies to contract photographers, and the union is demanding improved conditions for all photographers commissioned by the paper.
The day on which the protest will take place will be specified nearer the time, minimising the advance notice that will be given to the company.
NUJ freelance organiser, John Toner, said: “We’re pleased to have reached an acceptable deal for contractors. Now we’re looking to The Guardian to show the same willingness to review its position for all photographers. Our coordinated ‘day of rest’ will show management just how strongly our members feel about these changes.”
In July the Guardian wrote to all freelance and contract photographers stating that it would no longer pay re-use fees for photographs that they commission.
A mole leaked MPs' expenses details to the Daily Telegraph because he was angry about the Government’s failure to properly equip Britain’s armed forces while politicians spent millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on themselves, the paper reports today.
The MPs' expenses mole tells his story in a new book, No Expenses Spared, telling the background to the MPs' expenses scandal which became the newspaper scoop of the year. The book reveals how the mole was among the workers who processed the MP's expenses files, and his colleagues included serving soldiers who were moonlighting to earn extra cash for body armour and other personal equipment.
The soldiers’ fury when they saw the way that MPs were lavishing taxpayers' money on their second homes led to the mole's decision to leak the data to the Daily Telegraph via a middleman. The man behind the leak - who is a civilian - says he has broken cover to tell his story for the first time, in the hope that it will shame the Government into supplying the right equipment for soldiers risking their lives in Afghanistan.
No Expenses Spared is written by two members of the Telegraph’s investigation team, Robert Winnett and Gordon Rayner. It describes the anger of employees at The Stationery Office – where the MPs’ files were sent for censorship before their intended publication by parliament – when they first saw the MP’s claims for second homes, furniture and luxury goods.
According to a report on the BBC, the Telegraph says it paid £110,000 for the story which is certain to win a string of journalism awards.
DailyFinance says "with its good reputation for digital media coverage, sources say, ContentNext could make for an attractive acquisition target. One company interested in potentially scooping up ContentNext is WebMediaBrands, formerly JupiterMedia."
Via Rory Brown on Twitter
The Independent's media columnist Stephen Glover on Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger: "Some journalists on The Guardian blame The Observer for their financial predicament, but the paper is not the chief culprit. The Guardian used to be run as a low-cost operation that kept an eye on the pennies. In recent years, its ambitious though mild-mannered editor, Alan Rusbridger, has tried to turn the paper and its website into an internationally renowned publication. He was the Gordon Brown of Fleet Street."
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger: "Since 2002/3 our spending on guardian.co.uk (operational and capex) has exceeded revenue by just £20m. There's a crisis in the industry, and the Guardian is no more immune than anyone else, but it's a myth that we've ploughed lunatic sums into digital."The Committee to Protect Journalists' message to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Dear Mr. President, While you are in New York this week to attend the United Nations General Assembly, your visit will be covered by the hundreds of journalists from around the world who are in the city for the annual gathering. But as many of these journalists report freely and openly on your speech and meetings they will no doubt be thinking of the dozens of journalists back in your country who are behind bars for trying to report on events in Iran."
Thursday, 24 September 2009
The company has also announced its intention to close the Neath and Port Talbot Guardian paid-for weeklies on October 1.
Martin Shipton, NUJ FoC at Media Wales, said: "Although we have been briefed fully about the financial position of the company and the group, we are determined that no NUJ member should be made compulsorily redundant as a result of these cuts. We expect the company to ensure that will be the outcome."
Describing the decision as “illegal and devoid of any basis,” Zahidov’s lawyer, Elchin Sadyhov, said he was determined to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
The union says it told Express Newspapers that the numbers involved required workers to be consulted for three months rather than 30 days and the company responded by reducing planned redundancies in London and Glasgow from 106 to 75. This would lower the number of journalists' jobs being cut from 80 to 57.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ deputy general secretary, is a former Express Newspapers union rep and has attended talks with the company this week.
She said: "The reduction in job cuts was only announced after the NUJ had warned the company that they were not following the right procedure. While we welcome the reduced numbers we still don't know how the papers can be produced with the few people who will be left. We want to see some proper plans and we want guarantees that there will be no compulsory redundancies."
So far, the NUJ says, 16 people in London have volunteered for redundancies, five in Glasgow and one in Preston.
Grieve's responsibilities include the Freedom of Information Act and access to courts, including Family Courts which have just been opened up to more media scrutiny.
Olympic gold medal winner Jonathan Edwards will speak at a session looking at the relationship between the press and the 2012 Olympic Games.
New Press Complaints Commission chairman Baroness Buscombewill deliver the 2009 Society of Editors Lecture that will open the conference.
The study states: "Local newspaper journalism not only underpins the delivery of local news on other media, but also makes a key contribution to the national news agenda.
“Consumers and citizens value the role local and regional content plays in their lives; local and regional news in particular helps to inform people about what is going on in their local community, while news and other types of local content contribute towards reflecting UK cultural identity and representing diversity and alternative viewpoints.”
Ofcom also said: “Within the local media ecology, local newspapers are the most trusted source of fair and unbiased local news and information, after regional TV, and closely followed by local radio.
“Many respondents felt an emotional tie with this medium, and considered it essential for those interested in following local politics."
“The DCMS consultation on sustainable, independent and impartial news in the Nations, locally and in the regions’, to which the NS also responded, closed this week.
But you said that you would try to get the American hikers released. Could you try to do the same for Maziar?
paidContent:UK says: "One possible hope that arises on our final day of results is to consider print and online in tandem. While only five percent of people who read a news site at least once a month told us they would pay for online access, when you throw in a free or discounted subscription to the printed paper, that rises to a combined 48 percent.
"While the proportion of respondents who said they would still not pay remains a majority, it’s a slight one - it seems the printed edition could leverage online subscriptions; not just among existing readers of the paper, but also among those who don’t already buy it.
"The message is loud and clear - people continue to believe that touchable products command tangible economic value but, divorced from physicality and its associated costs, digital content should manifest itself cheaper."
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Message to Iranian president in New York: 'We haven't forgotten the journalists behind bars in your country'
It says: "Dear Mr. President, While you are in New York this week to attend the United Nations General Assembly, your visit will be covered by the hundreds of journalists from around the world who are in the city for the annual gathering. But as many of these journalists report freely and openly on your speech and meetings they will no doubt be thinking of the dozens of journalists back in your country who are behind bars for trying to report on events in Iran."
"It is an imaginative attempt to overcome the worrying prospect of courts, councils and other public bodies going unreported as traditional news organisations cut back on their reporting staffs."
Greenslade adds: "News has always been costly to provide, a fact concealed by the funding of advertising. Now that ad income is drying up, we are finally discovering that news comes at a price. It is a sobering thought that we may have to rely on charity and, ultimately, State funding to give us the news in future."
The paidContent:UK/Harris Interactive poll today asks the question: "how much would readers be prepared to pay to access news websites?" and gets the answer "as close to nothing as they can get away with..."
paidContent says: "When asked the maximum amount they would be prepared to pay, respondents who read a free news site at least once a month gave us the lowest possible amount in each category - annual subscriptions under £10, a day pass costing under £0.25 and per-article fees of between 1p and 2p."
The poll has already revealed that only five percent of regular news site users would pay if their favourite site started charging, and that readers would prefer to subscribe annually.
Chris runs Wheal Associates, with his wife, Kate, writing and editing for a range of publishing companies and producing magazines for small professional membership organisations, such as the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Following her departure, after ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev took a majority stake in the paper, Wadley snapped back at the Standard's "sorry" ad campaign in which it apologised to Londoners for having been too negative in the past.
"London is laughing at this ludicrous campaign. It is utterly humiliating for the staff and contributors. They are in despair," she told MediaGuardian and said of the Standard's new editor: "As for Geordie Greig, well, Etonians have a history of collaborating with the KGB."
The deadline for applications ended yesterday. A shortlist has to be approved by the union and then a ballot begins on October 6, ending on November 6. Among the candidates are Rich Simcox, who edits Activate magazine for the Public and Commercial Services union, and Coventry freelance Chris Youett.
Per-article fees (ie. micropayments) are the favourite option of only 21 percent.
The paper's last staff photographer was made redundant this month. Yesterday the editor Paul Horrocks resigned.
The MEN is one of the great regional titles dating back to 1868. Before the cuts announced earlier this year, the MEN had an editorial staff of 90. When I was a judge in the Regional Press Awards' reporter of the year category a couple of years ago, three of the six shortlisted entries were from MEN reporters.
With the Observer saved, and GMG looking for editorial cuts elsewhere, who's going to 'Stand Up for the MEN'?
Monday, 21 September 2009
Photographers in London have the choice of transferring to the new branch or staying in their current branch - for example London Freelance or London Magazine.
The change was requested by a meeting of photographer activists in London in July.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ deputy general secretary, said: "Whether it's fighting cutbacks, highlighting the problems of covering public events or standing up for copyright, this new branch will give London photographers a chance to make their voices heard."
MEN deputy editor Maria McGeoghan will become acting editor as publisher MEN Media seeks a new editor.
Horrocks, who joined the MEN from the Daily Mail in April 1975, said in a statement: "Leaving after such a long time is a wrench, but it is the right time for me and my family. I leave on the best of terms with Mark Dodson and the rest of the management team and wish them every success in a tough environment.
"At the MEN we have created an integrated, multimedia newsroom that is the envy of many other publishing companies. It is an achievement I am proud of, and the whole editorial department shares in that."
Horrocks has edited the MEN since June 1997. He is also editor-in-chief of Manchester Metro News. In 1984 he was appointed the MEN's crime correspondent covering the whole of the Stalker Affair and the re-opening of the Moors Murders excavation. In September 1989 he was appointed news editor responsible for news investigations and campaigns. In July 1994 he was promoted to assistant editor and in March 1996 was again promoted to deputy editor. He was a member of the organising committee for the Commonwealth Games Manchester 2002.
A story about Tim's retirement after 21 years editing the magazine says: "He is retiring reluctantly, having applied to work on until the summer of 2010 to continue to develop the new-look magazine and a Journalist presence on the union website, but his request was turned down by General Secretary Jeremy Dear.
"His bid to work on was made under a new law that allows people reaching normal retirement age to do so - a law that the union supports - but it requires that the employer agrees. To retire an employee compulsorily can constitute age discrimination but the NUJ followed a procedure that complies with the law."
The story adds: "Last year's NUJ conference resolved that the Journalist "should have a more visible daily presence" on the website., but talks to achieve this have made little progress.
The deadline for applicants for the elected post of editor of the Journalist is today. A ballot begins on 6 October and ends on November 6.
One candidate to reveal he is standing is Rich Simcox, who edits Activate magazine for the Public and Commercial Services union and has the backing of the NUJ Left.
Place North West has been a subscription-only website since its launch in August 2007 but from today will be entirely free to access.
Place was launched by business and property journalist Paul Unger, with the backing of a group of private investors. Unger will remain as editor and retains a significant minority shareholding in the business. He is supported by reporter Michael Hunt and Paul’s father, editorial director Mike Unger, formerly editor of the Liverpool Daily Post, Liverpool Echo and Manchester Evening News.
How-Do's publisher Nick Jaspan said: “We are optimistic and confident that by converting the site into a free to access news and information service and simultaneously encouraging greater reader participation, we will increase traffic levels and a greater degree of visibility and engagement with the substantial market that the North West’s commercial property and regeneration sector is.”
Story via HoldtheFrontPage
Glover writes: "Some journalists on The Guardian blame The Observer for their financial predicament, but the paper is not the chief culprit. The Guardian used to be run as a low-cost operation that kept an eye on the pennies. In recent years, its ambitious though mild-mannered editor, Alan Rusbridger, has tried to turn the paper and its website into an internationally renowned publication. He was the Gordon Brown of Fleet Street.
"About £100m was spent on new presses. Staffing soared so that at one stage there were over 850 journalists on the payroll. The paper moved from cramped, but surely adequate, premises in Farringdon Road to capacious, ritzy new offices near Kings Cross containing a small concert hall. This was all nearer to Citizen Kane than the old Manchester Guardian. The trouble is that, far from challenging The New York Times for world supremacy, The Guardian has been slowly leaking sales (though not, to be fair, as much as some titles, including this one) while the costly website has never produced any profits.
"Generally speaking, I am all for newspaper editors spending as much as possible, and I do not really blame Mr Rusbridger for presiding over a spending spree. The trouble is that high-rolling editors sometimes need to be reined in. Mr Rusbridger long ago galloped over the horizon. Now, as Tim Brooks indicates, The Guardian and The Observer have a cost base wildly out of synch with their ability to generate revenue. Savings achieved by further integrating the two newspapers represent only a small proportion of what will be needed."
Sunday, 20 September 2009
The Sunday Times report also says dummy copies of a new look slimline Observer have been circulated, containing fewer sections and which folds business coverage inside the news pages. It claims the Observer's music, sport and food magazines are at risk.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
It reports: "GMG and its sovereign body, the Scott Trust , have had heated internal debates, with senior staff questioning the level of investment in the lossmaking guardian.co.uk at a time of recession. 'When the future of the Observer has been resolved, the issue will remain for [the Scott Trust] of how do you monetise online,' a person with direct knowledge of recent high-level discussions said."
The FT story adds: "A measure of the extent of the challenges faced by GMG is that up to 150 of the 850 jobs across The Guardian, The Observer and the guardian.co.uk website will go as part of the review of strategy, several senior executives said. Under one of the plans being debated by group management, it was feared the ranks of journalists on the Observer could be reduced to as few as five full-time staff, although a senior editorial figure denied this and said the reduction in headcount would be relatively small."
Friday, 18 September 2009
Instead, GMG said it will give the Observer a new look and integrate it more closely with the Guardian.
The rally, jointly organised by the NUJ and Press Gazette, will be fronted by comedian and columnist David Mitchell. The event - which also features former Observer editor Donald Trelford - takes place in the Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London, at 7pm.
Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, said: “We welcome the commitment to retain the Observer as a distinctive title with its own editorial autonomy.
“But we want to see plans which give the paper the resources it needs for a viable future, and we want reassurances about staffing levels. Without reassurances our campaign to defend the paper and its journalists goes on”
An Observer staffer told Press Gazette: "It will be an opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the campaign and to celebrate what we have, but also to note that we have no idea what a future Observer will look like or whether it will have adequate resources."
It says the broadcaster will issue a phased rollout of the sites, to be called STV Local, to serve communities across Scotland. Each site will be a mix of news and local listings with the broadcaster aiming to fill the sites with content provided by members of each community.
He says that the BBC would be required to restrict its ambitions to "core broadcasting" and suggests discussions over the future of the licence fee would hinge on the BBC agreeing to dramatically scale back activities that are "forcing out commercial competitors".
Hunt is also in favour of scrapping the BBC Trust, with powers transferred to an independent body – possibly Ofcom.
He also proposes changing the law to "free" commercial broadcasters from rules requiring political impartiality. "We have to ask in a free society whether it’s appropriate to have such tight regulations," he says.
'When Desmond bought the Express titles in 2001 I think he thought he was buying Express Dairies as he has been milking us ever since'
He says: "Richard Desmond’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for journalistic blood demands the sacrifice of a further 96 London jobs from a total of 600 across the Daily Express, Daily Star, Sunday Express, Daily Star Sunday and their associated magazines.
"The Glasgow office is to lose a quarter of its staff – that is 10 from just 40 serving four national titles.
"Initial proposals, full of words like “eliminate” and “review”, indicate that no one is safe. Merging desks between titles and copy-sharing are strong possibilities.
"District reporters look set to be consigned to the history books, replaced by agency copy.
"The 1 January pay review for this year was postponed until 1 June. Then it was postponed completely. On the day we were due to commence pay negotiations for 2010, the company announced its latest cull.
"The NUJ chapel has warned management before that it views these constant cuts with anger. We believe they herald the demise of the Daily Express and Sunday Express as national titles.
"Redundancy exercises have become as regular as Daily Express splashes on the McCanns, or Jordan and Peter Andre front pages in the Daily Star.
"When Desmond bought the Express titles in 2001 I think he thought he was buying Express Dairies as he has been milking us ever since. He has paid himself millions in both salary and pension and then says the company is fighting for survival. I wonder why."
Johnston chief executive John Fry in a message to staff announced the company was to get a new editorial and content management system. Insiders have told HTFP the new system will mean reporters writing onto a template on a pre-designed page, and also writing headlines for both the paper and the web. Copy would then be subbed by the newsdesk and the page completed by the editor or deputy, with subs being retained only for page-design purposes.
In a further move, notices have gone up at some JP centres asking for editorial trainers on an 18-month secondment which staff believe is linked to the introduction of the new system.
One journalist told HTFP: "It looks as though the long-rumoured clear out of subs will be happening at Johnston Press. They want people to train reporters how to use a new system, which will see reporters write directly onto pages. Therefore, no subs required!"
Johnston Press said only that there will be "no formal announcement" about the new system at the present time.
Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw on the BBC Trust: "Although the Trust has performed better than its predecessor, I don’t think it is a sustainable model in the long term. I know of no other area of public life where – as is the case with the Trust – the same body is both regulator and cheerleader."
Guardian News & Media md Tim Brooks Brooks warns staff in a memo that the company is losing £100,000 a day: "We are looking at everything – literally everything – that we do, to see how we can economise, and we will do whatever we can to keep the impact on staff to a minimum. However, because the biggest portion of our costs is people's salaries, we have to review staffing levels."
F1 boss Max Mosley in the Guardian: "The strange thing is that, because there is so much in the press about the Taliban or religious extremists, people are beginning to understand that it's not up to grubby little newspapers like the News of the World or Daily Mail to do the same in England."
Jon Swain in the Sunday Times on the mission to rescue Stephen Farrell and Sultan Munadi from the Taliban: "The overriding purpose of the mission was to save the two hostages’ lives, but a subsidiary reason for the operation was to scupper ransom negotiations. Intercepted telephone conversations revealed that the Taliban were demanding a large ransom for Farrell. If paid, any ransom would swell Taliban coffers, enabling them to buy more weapons to kill British and other Nato troops."
BBC director general Mark Thompson in MediaGuardian: "I would rather the BBC was abolished than we started encrypting news to stop people seeing it. The absolute first building block keystone of the BBC is delivering impartial, unbiased news."
Thursday, 17 September 2009
The announcement was made just days before a 'Stand Up for The Observer' rally is due to take place in London on Monday, headed by celebrities and high profile journalists.
The GMG statement said: "As announced earlier this year, Guardian News & Media (GNM) is conducting a strategic review of its operations. One element of the wider process was a review of weekend publishing, which considered a range of different products and editorial structures across Saturday and Sunday. As a result of this review, GNM will develop its current weekend offering and introduce a greater degree of integration between the editorial teams of the Guardian and Observer.
"In research readers responded very positively to a new-look Observer developed by editor John Mulholland and his team, and to new ideas for the Saturday Guardian. The further editorial integration will continue a process that began before the two titles moved to a common home at Kings Place."
In an internal email to staff today Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of GNM, warned of the possibility of further job cuts and said that a voluntary redundancy scheme would be reopened.
Rusbridger said in a statement: "Given the present state of recession and digital transition there isn't a media group in the world that isn't reviewing its publishing operations and the nature of its journalism. The weekend review has been rigorous and very helpful in understanding the changing needs of readers. A new-look Observer produced by John Mulholland and his team, and new ideas for the Saturday Guardian, were extremely well received. As a result of the review we will be publishing a formidable weekend package – with two papers that complement each other, each retaining a distinctive tone and voice."
Its political blog Coffee House will remain free along with other online content that does not appear in magazine.
To read magazine content online, without subscribing to the hard copy, users will now have to take out an annual digital subscription of £67.50. The Spectator claims to attract 300,000 unique users a month to its website.
Andrew Neil, the chairman of Press Holdings, which owns The Spectator, said: "The idea of a magazine or newspaper giving away its content for free over the internet was never particularly logical, but the industry was feeling its way in a new market. The Spectator has now agreed a clear business model, online and offline.
"Our website is profitable within its own right, through advertisers and sponsors, and its bespoke online content will remain free. But the magazine is a distinct entity and has to be paid for; we are asking those who want to read its superb content to pay for it and we have come up with a variety of ways in which they can do so."
AP quotes a report from market research firm TNS Media Intelligence which said the rate of decline in overall advertising spending held steady from the first quarter to the second. Also, early data for the current quarter "hint at possible improvements for some media" because they will be comparing against steep declines a year ago, according to Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at TNS.
Shares in Newsquest parent company Gannett were up 10 per cent.
Via Editor & Publisher
“This travesty of justice must be brought to an end,” RWB said. “The Iranian judicial authorities want to humiliate journalists and bloggers by staging forced confessions and requests for forgiveness. Journalists and ordinary Internet users are being tried just for sending emails and looking at news websites. The regime wants to punish not only professional journalists but also anyone accessing news and information.”
RWB said the prosecutor told the court: “There are 25 million people in Iran who use the Internet. The United States supported websites such as Facebook and YouTube with the aim of influencing the rioters and undermining the government’s position both nationally and internationally. Sites such as Facebook and YouTube were devised by the United States in order to wage a psychological war against Iran.”
The Labour-Independent council, which already publishes a bi-monthly newspaper, Community News, has been criticised by councillors and an MP who claim the TV station will be used for "self-promotion" and as "a propaganda tool".
A provider and funding for the channel, which could be similar to Kent County Council’s, are currently being discussed. Carmarthenshire Council is planning to drop one issue of its Community News magazine to pay its share of the start up costs. The majority of the funding will be provided by the Welsh Assembly which brought forward the bilingual TV channel as a 12-month pilot project.
“This is something that concerns me greatly,” said councillor Huw Lewis reported in the Carmarthen Journal. “We are in a recession and vital and essential services are having to suffer cuts.
“Are we going to spend money on communication or building relationships with people? We have to invest our money in people and not in technology. What we don’t need at all is a computer programme which is simply a propaganda tool.”
Plaid Cymru leader councillor Peter Hughes Griffiths said he was concerned and pointed to alleged one-sided reporting in Community News. “There is a view about Community News in the community that it is very, very one-sided,” he said. “That’s a concern about the way we provide information.”
Adam Price MP added his voice to calls for the plans to be scrapped, as reported by the Journal on Friday. He said: “I am quite astonished that the county council would think it is appropriate to spend thousands of pounds of taxpayer's money on a TV channel and self promotion at the same time people in the county are struggling to make ends meet."
Via Newspaper Society
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
The position will shortly be advertised in the national press, and interviews will be undertaken by a panel appointed by the board of the Press Complaints Commission, which is responsible for the appointment of the director, in October.
Toulmin, who has been director of the PCC since March 2004, and was acting director from January-March 2004, said: "I decided earlier in the year that - after 13 years at the PCC, and nearly 6 as its Director - it would be right for me to move on after helping to ensure a smooth transition from Christopher Meyer to Peta Buscombe (the new PCC chairman).
"It has been a privilege to be part of an organisation which has adapted well to the challenges of media convergence and the changing legal environment, and it is gratifying that there is an ever-increasing demand and respect for the PCC's range of services - from pre-publication action preventing intrusion to the negotiation of prominent corrections and apologies.
"The way in which the press is regulated will perhaps always divide opinion, but thanks to its brilliant and dedicated staff the PCC has a record of achievement of which any director would be proud".
A motion adopted by the conference declared the government’s Digital Britain report to be “a woefully inadequate response" to the crisis facing public service broadcasting.