Thursday, 31 December 2009

AFP: Two journalists kidnapped in Afghanistan

Suspected Taliban militants have kidnapped two French journalists working for France's public television broadcaster and three Afghan companions in the east of country.
Gunmen snatched the group as they were travelling around 38 miles from the Afghan capital on Wednesday, a French journalist working with them told AFP.
Criminal groups and Taliban insurgents have kidnapped several dozen foreigners, many of them journalists, since the 2001 ousting of the Taliban regime in Kabul.
"The two journalists, accompanied by their Afghan translator, and the translator's brother and cousin, were kidnapped on the road between Surobi and Tagab," their French colleague said.
She blamed the kidnapping on the Taliban, saying they had laid an ambush on the road for the group in Kapisa province.

Editor & Publisher goes into exile

Staff on US journalism trade title Editor & Publisher have set up a blog while hoping that offers may come in for the magazine which has been closed by parent company The Nielsen Co.
Editor & Publisher shuts its doors today after more than 125 years in operation as "the bible of the newspaper industry" and one of America's oldest magazines.
Editor Greg Mitchell said: "Staffers are vacating the offices in New York City, but we still hope to be back. We shipped our January issue on Monday and it will be mailed to subscribers next week. This Web site and our two blogs will remain alive but we will not be updating them after today.
"Several possible buyers have stepped forward but any firm agreement, we're told, is at least two weeks away. There appears to be a fairly good chance that Editor & Publisher will resume but we cannot say when or in precisely what form.
"To check for updates, find out what staffers are up to, and keep up with news and commentary that some of us will continue to produce-- in what we hope is merely an "interim" -- go to a new, possibly temporary, blog, "E&P In Exile."

Arrested photographer gets police pay-out

A photographer who was handcuffed, arrested, cautioned and detained for eight hours for trying to take pictures of a road accident has been awarded more than £5,000 after legal help from the NUJ, the union said today.
Andrew Handley, a photographer with 34 years experience, was trying to take photographs of a car accident while working for the local newspaper MKNews. The NUJ says that despite staying behind a police cordon, Handley was approached by a police sergeant who demanded he handed over the pictures and his camera.
He was arrested, handcuffed, had his finger prints and DNA taken, was held for eight hours at Milton Keynes central police station and cautioned.
Following his release he contacted the NUJ, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation for unlawful imprisonment and assault.
Buckinghamshire Police Authority rescinded the caution, apologised for the unlawful arrest and after proceedings were issued settled the claim for £5,250. Handley’s finger print and DNA records have been deleted.
Handley said:“It’s a great relief that I've been cleared. I was concerned that I’d have a criminal record and a caution hanging over my head when I knew perfectly well that I hadn’t broken the law.”
Roy Mincoff, legal officer at the NUJ, added: “Our member was perfectly entitled to carry out his work by taking photographs of the accident. It is a worrying scenario when the police restrict media freedoms in unlawful ways."

Canadian journalist killed in Afghanistan blast

A Calgary Herald journalist became the first Canadian reporter to die in Afghanistan when she was killed on Wednesday along with four Canadian soldiers by an improvised explosive device, The Canadian Press reports.
It says journalists identified the reporter killed as Michelle Lang, 34, a health reporter with the Calgary Herald. She was in the back of an armoured vehicle at the time.
The huge blast occurred during a routine patrol in Kandahar's District 2 abutting the Dand district, where Canada has established a "model village."
Lang was on her first assignment in Afghanistan for Canwest News Service and had arrived in the country about two weeks ago. She won a National Newspaper Award last year for coverage of health and medical issues for the Calgary Herald.
It was her first patrol "outside the wire" as an embedded journalist.

Quotes of the Year

Rupert Murdoch in the Wall Street Journal: "In the new business model, we will be charging consumers for the news we provide on our Internet sites. The critics say people won't pay. I believe they will, but only if we give them something of good and useful value. Our customers are smart enough to know that you don't get something for nothing."

Les Hinton, CEO of Dow Jones: “These digital visionaries tell people like me that we just don’t understand them. They talk about the wonders of the interconnected world, about the democratization of journalism. The news, they say, is viral now – that we should be grateful. Well, I think all of us need to beware of geeks bearing gifts. Here we are in 2009 – more viral, less profitable.”

Times editor James Harding announcing at the Society of Editors' conference how the paper will charge users of its website: "We are involved in the fight of our lives to make sure we can put independent reporting on an economically sustainable footing."

Reporters Without Borders on the massacre of journalists in the Philippines: "Never in the history of journalism have the news media suffered such a heavy loss of life in one day.”

George Monbiot in the Guardian: "For many years the local press has been one of Britain's most potent threats to democracy, championing the overdog, misrepresenting democratic choices, defending business, the police and local elites from those who seek to challenge them."

The Guardian on the Press Complaints Commission report into its allegations about News of the World phone hacking: "This complacent report shows that the PCC does not have the ability, the budget or the procedures to conduct its own investigations."

Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman: "People I know who work in local newspapers now find themselves having to produce so much stuff that there is very little room for them to even go through the basic functions of journalism, of putting in the phone calls and casting a sceptical eye on what people with powerful, vested interests tell them. You can look at the sums. The NUJ will give you the figures. You will find there are fewer local newspapers and there are fewer journalists working on each of those papers. That means they have to cover more ground and cover that ground more thinly"

Baboon-killer AA Gill in the Sunday Times: "Now, baboons aren't stupid. Well, no stupider than Piers Morgan."

Piers Morgan on the prospect of editing the Sunday Times: "The idea of firing [Jeremy] Clarkson and AA Gill could be irresistible."

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger: "Trafigura thought it was buying silence. A combination of old media – the Guardian – and new – Twitter – turned attempted obscurity into mass notoriety."

Independent editor Roger Alton in Word magazine: "Journalists should be involved with everything and everyone around them, but not necessarily sleep with them... Right now some of the connections between the News International papers and Cameron's inner circle are too close for comfort...Journalists like to think we're on the main stage: but we're not. We're in the audience."

The Guardian apologises to its own subs for referring to "journalists and sub editors" in the readers' editor's Open Door column: "Subeditors are journalists."

Political commentator Anthony Howard reviewing No Expenses Spared, the inside story of the Daily Telegraph's scoop on the MPs' expenses scandal, in the Daily Telegraph: "By concentrating first on the Government – and giving the Tories a three-day stay of execution – the published findings tilted in favour of the Tories."

Independent md and editor-in-chief Simon Kelner on the closure of the Neath Guardian, the paper he joined as a trainee 32 years ago: "It seems inconceivable that a town whose people thrive on knowing what's going on, who make it their business to know everyone else's business, will have no town crier."

Grey Cardigan reviews Tanya Gold's Guardian article on Liz Jones: "The day confessional journalism ate itself."

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."

James Murdoch at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival: "The only reliable, durable, and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit".

Noel Gallagher in the Sunday Times on Jade Goody media coverage: "I’ve got f*** all against Jade Goody, that’s nothing to do with me. But it bends my head. That, to me, sums up, in one tiny five-minute thing on the news, what an embarrassing place Britain is right now. You might as well shut No 10 Downing Street down and get Max Clifford to run the country.”

Nick Davies, at the NUJ Jobs Summit, on the public status (or lack of it) of journalists: "Being judged by people on the performance of Murdoch and Dacre is like all Transylvanians being judged on Dracula's behaviour. We have to fight back against it. Our position is similar to that in which gay men and women found themselves in the 1950s and 1960s. They were unable to orchestrate their political strength to change the law because they weren't liked, they were shunned."

Wire creator and ex-newspaper journalist David Simon: "You do not - in my city - run into bloggers or so-called citizen journalists at City Hall, or in the courthouse hallways or in the bars and union halls where police officers gather. You do not see them consistently nurturing and then pressing sources. You do not see them holding institutions accountable on a daily basis.
"Why? Because high-end journalism - that which acquires essential information about our government and society in the first place - is a profession; it requires daily, full-time commitment by trained men and women who return to the same beats day in and day out until the best of them know everything with which a given institution is contending."

Oscar winner Kate Winslet: "I feel like an unlikely hero. I was not the privileged kid things like this could happen to. My mum won a pickled onion competition in the local pub and the Reading Evening Post sent me a picture of her holding her jar. Well, Reading Evening Post, here's your next Winslet picture!"

The Guardian's Steve Busfield on James Murdoch: "When asked if he will succeed his father at the head of their international media conglomerate, James had a very neat way of evading the question: "My father will never stop working." Ah, but what about when he dies? "He thinks he will live for ever." I never worked out the follow-up question to that one as it seemed pretty heartless to tell a son that his father will definitely die."

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Reporters Without Borders end of year report shows 26 per cent rise in journalists killed

Press freedom campaigners Reporters Without Borders has released its end of year report for 2009. There are some grim figures with the number of journalists killed up 26 per cent.
RWB reports in 2009:
76 journalists killed (60 in 2008)
33 journalists kidnapped
573 journalists arrested
1456 physically assaulted
570 media censored
157 journalists fled their countries
1 blogger died in prison
151 bloggers and cyber-dissidents arrested
61 physically assaulted
60 countries affected by online censorship
RWB says two appalling events marked 2009: one was the largest ever massacre of journalists in a single day – a total of 30 killed – by the private militia of a governor in the southern Philippines and the other was an unprecedented wave of arrests and convictions of journalists and bloggers in Iran following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection.
A total of around 160 journalists in all continents were forced to go into exile to escape prison or death, often in very dangerous circumstances.
Wars and elections constituted the chief threat to journalists in 2009. RWB says: "It is becoming more and more risky to cover wars as journalists themselves are being targeted and face the possibility of being murdered or kidnapped. But it can turn out to be just as dangerous to do your job as a reporter at election time and can lead directly to prison or hospital. Violence before and after elections was particularly prevalent in 2009 in countries with poor democratic credentials."
As bloggers and websites continue to flourish, censorship and repression have surged proportionately. As soon as the Internet or new media start to play a leading role in the spread of news and information, a serious clampdown follows. "Bloggers are now watched as closely as journalists from the traditional media," RWB says.
The major concern in 2009 has been the mass exodus of journalists from repressive countries such as Iran and Sri Lanka. The authorities in these countries have understood that by pushing journalists into exile, they can drastically reduce pluralism of ideas and the amount of criticism they attract. “This is a dangerous tendency and it must be very strongly condemned,” RWB secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said as the review of 2009 was released.

Outing ends with 10 predictions for newspapers

Steve Outing has filed his last column for Editor & Publisher - unless the title gets a last minute reprieve - but will continue to comment about the news media on his blog.
He has said goodbye to E&P with 10 predictions on the future of newspapers:

1. Small-town independent newspapers don't grow much, but they are able to continue with healthy print circulation for several more years. But eventually, they start hurting more, like their metro cousins, as local advertisers shift more and more money to cheaper, more effective digital advertising opportunities.

2. Urban metro papers continue to shrink. More papers stop publishing in print on some days of the week; others go to Sunday-only for print and online/mobile for the rest of week; and a few go entirely digital. Unfortunately, we see some more newspapers die.

3. The wave of small news start-ups -- non-profits, hyper-local for- and non-profits, placebloggers who've figured out how to make a living, combo professional- and citizen-reporting digital news services, university-affiliated news entities, etc. -- that we see emerging today grows rapidly. Journalists laid off or bought out by newspapers start many of these services, aided by new companies that help them on the advertising, business and technology sides (e.g., GrowthSpur ), and new local digital ad networks serving all local media, new and old.

4. Some of these small entities partner with local newspapers, gaining for themselves revenue to support their mission, while giving the newspapers quality content much cheaper than the papers could produce it themselves. This is especially the case with costly and time-intensive investigative journalism, where local non-profit public-interest news sites (a la VoiceofSanDiego ) partially support themselves with money from "old media."

5. News aggregators (Google News, et al) and personal digital agents (e.g., Circulate, but more likely to come from the likes of Google or Facebook) become the norm for consumers getting their customized news streams on their computers, mobile phones, e-readers, and other devices. As a result, newspaper Web sites become less important. Newspaper publishers and editors learn, in order to survive, how to get their content into all the appropriate streams. And they develop ways to monetize content as it flees the home pond (Web site) for the many new streams (aggregators, agents, social news streams, etc.). Those that don't, die.

6. The saber-rattling over pay walls at newspaper Web sites will die down as Google, which many newspaper executives seem to perceive as the No. 1 cause of their woes, accommodates their concerns and introduces more technology that helps news producers turn digital dimes into quarters (or more). Paid content by newspapers is supported by new systems, but it's a small amount of the content they produce.

7. Newspaper companies that do survive and prosper do so by devoting significant resources (at executive and technical levels) to mobile as the next platform of opportunity. They don't repeat the mistakes of a decade earlier made with the Web, but instead raise mobile to a top priority.

8. Newspapers that do well adapt quickly to the instant nature of crowd-sourced news (e.g., aggregating and filtering eyewitness reports from Twitter), rather than fight it.

9. Some newspaper companies survive the journey across the chasm between the old print-centric model and a new digital model. These are most likely the companies whose board of directors install new leadership not chained to the success of past business models. Among the survivors, we're more likely to see repeats of National Public Radio's digital transition, where a new CEO (Vivian Schiller) was hired because of her digital experience, mindset and vision, even though she had less of that for radio.

10. I continue to write about the future of news on my personal blog, but don't emphasize newspapers so much.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Goodness, gracious ...what a headline!

Borrowing the title of a Jerry Lee Lewis song, this is how the New York Post headlined the story that police revealed that Umar Farouk Adbulmutallab had explosives in his pants after he was detained on a flight bound for Detroit. The Post goes on to refer to the briefs in question as “jihad jockeys” and “frighty whities.”
Via Greg Mitchell on Twitter.

Christmas Questionnaire: Telegraph and Twitter triumph in the Best Media of 2009

The Daily Telegraph was the clear winner in the Best Old Media category in my Christmas Questionnaire answered by 15 media and other journalists working across various sectors. The Telegraph was heaped with praise for its brilliant coverage of the MPs' expenses scandal. Private Eye was runner-up and chosen not by old hacks but by several who work only online. Other "old media" chosen included The Economist; The Times; the Guardian; The Wall Street Journal; and La Repubblica. Regional titles praised included the Press & Journal, Aberdeen; the New Milton Advertiser and Lymington Times.

Winner of the Best New Media category was Twitter, particularly for its part in the Trafigura affair and the row over the Carter-Ruck injunction which gagged the Guardian. A wide range of other new media was mentioned including BBC Online; the Guardian's live Ashes blog; Spotify; Audioboo; photographer Jane Bown's online archive; The Thick of It; Rupert Murdoch's paywall; Thomson Reuters; and Help Me Investigate.

The Best Story of the Year
was clear-cut. MPs' Expenses was chosen by two-thirds of the journalists who answered the questionnaire. Runner-up was the Death of Michael Jackson.

Journalist of the Year
was Paul Lewis of the Guardian for his investigation into the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 Summit in London. Will Lewis, editor-in-chief of the Telegraph, was praised for risking prosecution by publishing the leaked data on MPs' expenses, as was Ian Cobain for his investigations in the Guardian.

You can read all the answers to Best Media of 2009 Christmas Questionnaire here (along with their predictions for 2010):
Dominic Ponsford; Ian Reeves; Laura Oliver; Judith Townend;Patrick Smith; Grey Cardigan; Jean Morgan; Neil Fowler; Chris Wheal; Adrian Monck; Paul Linford; Jo Wadsworth; Steve Dyson; Steve Busfield; Sam Shepherd.
Many thanks to everyone who answered my Christmas Questionnaire - Jon S.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Good luck to Editor & Publisher

My Christmas wish is that Editor & Publisher magazine survives.
Here is what is hopefully not its last post:"Due to overwhelming reader and advertiser demand, Editor & Publisher is completing what may be its final issue, after 125 years, the January 2010 edition. But there's still a chance that the magazine will survive.
"The January issue will be mailed to subscribers around Jan. 4. In a surprise move, E&P's parent, the Nielsen Co., revealed on Dec. 10 that the magazine, along with sibling Kirkus Reviews, would be shut down at the end of this month, and many assumed no more issues would be printed.
"But the outpouring of support for E&P from within and outside the newspaper industry, and from readers and advertisers alike, led to a decision by staffers to go forward with the January issue, and continuing to post stories at E&P Online until Jan. 1 when, under current plans, the end of the line will arrive.
"Meanwhile, a number of outside companies and individuals have expressed interest in possibly keeping E&P going, so stay tuned for updates. Thanks again for the thousands of messages of support and media/Web coverage. And happy holidays to all."

Borders puts up shutters to press

A reporter was escorted off the premises of one of Borders' biggest stores in North London by a security guard when he tried to interview some of the 40 staff who are losing their jobs as the book store chain closes.
The Islington Tribune reports: "When a Tribune reporter went to interview employees at the N1 centre store on Tuesday he was escorted off the premises by a security guard.
"The Tribune had received many messages of concern about the closure and hoped to interview members of staff and take photographs at the store’s final day of trading.
"One employee, who asked not to be named, later said that staff had been warned they faced losing redundancy pay if they talked to the press."
The Tribune was later informed by MCR, administrators for the 45 UK Border stores which have gone into receivership, that prior permission was needed to interview employees.

Manchester Evening News cuts back on frees

The Manchester Evening News, which the Guardian Media Group is said to be considering selling, has dropped its radical free distribution policy and will go back to being fully paid from Monday to Wednesday, with free copies in the city centre only on Thursdays and Fridays.
The MEN shook up the regional press industry when its weekly free city centre distribution was introduced in May 2006. The Saturday edition remained paid-for.

Northern Echo and Journal merge by mistake

The Northern Echo appeared today with pages of rival The Journal, Newcastle, inserted in it after a printing cock-up.
Echo editor Peter Barron observes on his blog: "I am sorry to report that something terrible has happened to my beloved Northern Echo this morning – it’s been published with pages from The Journal.
"I can’t believe it. It’s Christmas Eve, I'm on day off, and I was hoping for a nice lie-in – but the home phone rang with the appalling news. It was my managing director: “Have you seen today’s paper?” he asked, crossly, before filling me in on what had happened.
"It is perhaps the most bizarre cock-up in my time in newspapers. How can The Northern Echo be published with two pages from the Newcastle-based Journal?
"The answer that is that Trinity, publishers of the Journal, now print The Northern Echo on Teesside and I can only assume someone at the print centre was too full of Christmas cheer last night. The phones at our reception have been ringing non-stop with complaints."
Happy Christmas Peter!

Privacy law: Why the Sun can't name Premier League football manager caught in brothel

Despite widespread speculation about his identity on the internet, the Sun has been prevented from naming a Premier League football club manager it claims visited a brothel.
The Sun yesterday claimed it was gagged from naming the manager because of what it claims is "creeping privacy laws" in the UK.
Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford says today the "Max Mosley effect" has been blamed for stopping the paper naming the manager who it said visited a Thai “vice den”.
In July, the High Court ruled that the News of the World had infringed the privacy of married Formula One boss Max Mosley by revealing that he had taken part in a sado-masachistic orgy with five dominatrices, publishing photos and video.
Lawyer Mark Stephens is quoted in the Daily Mail today stating: "We have gone far too far with our privacy laws. There was a concern that the media was becoming more aggressive in its reporting. That has now been swung back, and the law is now being used by the rich and powerful to stifle legitimate reporting."
Also in the Daily Mail today, media commentator Stephen Glover says: “The sole reassuring aspect of this sordid tale is that various bloggers on the internet are already fingering the culprit. The privacy law which is throttling newspapers makes no impact on the wilder reaches of the internet.
"But for the mainstream media, on which most people depend, the outlook is grim. Today, it is a football manager. Tomorrow, it may be someone really important doing something even worse. In either case, thanks to the rapid progress of judge-made law, and in particular the rulings of one judge, we can't and won't be told the truth."

Best of 2009: Dominic Ponsford

Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford picks his Best Media of 2009 and demands a pint for his labours. Also today, in the posting below, ex-Press Gazette editor Ian Reeves names his Best Media of 2009.

Best old media: Daily Telegraph is a bit of a given, for their expenses coverage. But beyond that Private Eye has been on blistering form of late. And Press Gazette, for rising Phoenix like from the ashes yet again!

Best new media: The Guardian's live Ashes cricket blog, which I had on in the background at work and was then glued to on my mobile on the way home.

Best story: MPs' expenses (obviously!) and The Guardian's coverage of the killing of newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson, made possible by a 'citizen journalist' with a video camera on a mobile phone.

Best journalist: Will Lewis at the Telegraph. For having the guts to go with it on the Telegraph expenses story (when The Sun and Times apparently bottled it) and for betting the farm on it when he did.

Predictions for 2010: The tectonic plates are shifting: A window-cleaner wouldn't wash your windows for nothing but carry advertising on his van, the winners of X Factor wouldn't dream of giving their 'music' away for nothing while sticking advertising on the album sleeve. So why the devil are journalists giving everything away for free! There will still be a big place for advertising supported free content, but for meatier in-depth journalism - people are going to have to start paying. So come to think of it Jon, I think you owe me a pint!
(Isn't comment free? - Jon S)

Best Media of 2009: Ian Reeves; Laura Oliver; Judith Townend;Patrick Smith; Grey Cardigan; Jean Morgan; Neil Fowler; Chris Wheal; Adrian Monck; Paul Linford; Jo Wadsworth; Steve Dyson; Steve Busfield; Sam Shepherd.

Many thanks to everyone who answered my Christmas Questionnaire - Jon S.

Best of 2009: Ian Reeves

Former Press Gazette editor Ian Reeves editor, now head of learning and teaching at the Centre for Journalism at the University of Kent, picks his Best Media of 2009.

Best Old Media: Has to be the Telegraph. Masterful treatment of the expenses scandal, forcing everybody else to dance to its tune for days on end. I can't help imagining the lifelong shame of the Times executives who turned the story down first, and The Sun execs who then botched the negotiations for the leaked data.

Best New Media: ABT. Anything But Twitter. The New York Times for its Open Source project, in which it has allowed developers to have access to some of its archives and other data.

Best story: I refer the honorable gentleman to the answer I gave a few moments ago. MPs' exes.

Best journalist: The fictitious Gus Haines, from the final series of The Wire - the editor many of us would have liked to be: instinctive, nurturing, old school, hard-but-fair. And despairing of the suits on the floors above. In the real world I'd go for Suzanne Breen of the Sunday Tribune in Northern Ireland, for her fight to protect her sources from the PSNI.

Prediction for 2010: The rise and rise of Augmented Reality.

Best ofs, so far: Laura Oliver; Judith Townend;Patrick Smith; Grey Cardigan; Jean Morgan; Neil Fowler; Chris Wheal; Adrian Monck; Paul Linford; Jo Wadsworth; Steve Dyson; Steve Busfield; Sam Shepherd.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Archant staff to get £200 bonus as chief executive says company 'on track' to hit targets

Archant chief executive Adrian Jeakings (pictured) has ended the year by promising staff a £200 bonus.
In a message sent to all employees, Jeakings said: “2009 has been a very difficult year for consumer media and Archant has not been spared the ravages of the recession. However, I am delighted to be able to tell you that we are on track to hit the targets that we set at the beginning of the year, before the full scale of the downturn had become apparent.
“This has been achieved through the hard work and dedication of all of our people. I am proud that we have managed to get through the worst recession for 80 years whilst accelerating our development activities, in anticipation of the recovery."
He added: “I am therefore delighted to be able to announce that a bonus of £200 will be paid in January to all employees who do not participate in a management bonus scheme. The bonus will be paid pro-rata to staff who work part-time and those who joined the company during the year.”
Staff at many other regional newspaper groups are in the grip of a pay freeze.

NUJ celebrates Telegraph pay deal

While many journalists are still shivering under a pay freeze, the NUJ is celebrating a pay deal at Telegraph Media Group which will see in the new year with a pay rise and £500 bonus.
Under the terms of a three-year agreement negotiated by the NUJ, editorial staff will get a 1.5 per cent pay increase. The deal saw journalists at the Telegraph win a rise of two per cent last year.
The NUJ says a further increase of 2.5 per cent is due to be paid in 2010, although the exact rate paid in the final year may be open to negotiation depending on the rate of inflation.
NUJ head of publishing, Barry Fitzpatrick, said: “Journalists on the Telegraph have produced headline breaking news and features against the background of an exceptionally tough climate. This pay increase recognises their efforts over the last 12 months. However, much work remains to be done to address issues such as stress and workload that are of great concern to our members."

Sun claims 'creeping' privacy laws stops it naming Premier manager caught in brothel

The Sun's splash today is about a Premier League manager caught in a brothel but the paper claims:"Creeping privacy laws in the UK, based on the Human Rights Act, mean we are barred from naming him."
The story says: "A Premier League manager spent more than an hour in the company of hookers in a "Thai" vice den, The Sun can reveal. And when confronted by our reporters as he left, the married boss smiled and shamelessly admitted he knew it was a brothel."
Premier League managers are a small group and it could be argued that by not being able to name the manager the Sun story puts them all under suspicion.
If a paper ran a story saying the editor of a national newspaper had been caught in a brothel and did not name them, the rest wouldn't be very pleased.

Johnson Press drops Midlands subs' hub

Johnston Press has dropped plans for a new subbing hub in the Midlands after opposition from staff, HoldtheFrontPage reports today.
The company began consulting last month with sub-editing staff at its weekly titles in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire about the possibility of creating the hub in Chesterfield.
One Johnston employee told HTFP: "The whole process seemed to be going on for ages and we were expecting to be told who would be moving into the hub. But then out of the blue we were informed that it was all off and everyone would be staying where they were for the time being because of the negative feedback they'd had from staff."

Best of 2009: Laura Oliver

Laura Oliver, editor of, choses her Best Media of 2009, and, in the post below, so does her colleague Judith Townend.

Best Old Media: Private Eye. Not everyone's cup of tea, but uses its mixture of entertainment and extensive investigative work to make a great cover-to-cover read. It was ahead of everyone reporting Paul Farrelly's Trafigura question, continues to push its investigation into PFIs and despite its apparent technophobia manages to cut through the jargon and hype that sometimes surrounds online journalism and digital media.

Best New Media: Some really strong candidates here - Reuters for its great debates series, which brought online and offline meetings together to interview leading political figures through a range of social media tools. Breaking News On - the Twitter news service - for both its rapid growth, and its teenager founder's deal with MSNBC. Whether you think it's the right or wrong move its a fascinating rise to watch.

Best story: Nick Davies' investigation into the News of the World/phone hacking allegations.

Best journalist: Paul Foot winner Ian Cobain for his investigation into Britain's involvement in the torture of terror suspects detained overseas for the Guardian. But I'd also like to give a nod to James Ball, senior reporter for the Grocer and freelance investigative journalist, for landing some great investigative stories and teaching me the basics of CAR [Computer Assisted Reporting].

Prediction for 2010: Increased fragmentation of local media with new players emerging to challenge regional monopolies and more assets being sold off by local media groups. Attempts at partnership in the local space (whether public service reporting, or IFNCs) and the results... and hopefully for all media, consolidation online, less social media for social media's sake - killing off older experiments that don't work and focusing on what they're really good at online, whether live coverage or football videos, and exploiting this for both their audiences' benefit and revenue.

Tomorrow: Press Gazette editors past and present, Ian Reeves and Dominic Ponsford.

Best ofs, so far: Patrick Smith; Grey Cardigan; Jean Morgan; Neil Fowler; Chris Wheal; Adrian Monck; Paul Linford; Jo Wadsworth; Steve Dyson; Steve Busfield; Sam Shepherd.

Best of 2009: Judith Townend

Judith Townend, senior reporter,, picks her Best Media of 2009.

Best old media: La Repubblica's Ten Questions for Berlusconi and its global petition signed by many European newspaper editors.

Best new media: The online gallery for Jane Bown's lifetime of work at the Observer. Simple, but absolutely stunning For something small and independent, The Ventnor Blog's coverage of the Vestas sit-in in the Isle of Wight showcased how new local sites can competently compete with established brands: national and local.

Story of the year: Everyone has said expenses, but perhaps Obama and the Fly? Or Brown and the misreported biscuit question? Impossible to choose one, but Wikleaks' ongoing reportage of the extra-judicial killings / disappearances in Kenya sticks in my mind; some mainstream British media also picked it up but Wikileaks' Cry of Blood Report from the year before provides the context.

Journalist of the Year: Paul Lewis' work in the Guardian has been pretty impressive.

Prediction for 2009: I'll be conservative: More mobile and more mainstream paywalling. It would be great to see some further political progress with the Libel Reform campaign too.

Best ofs, so far: Patrick Smith; Grey Cardigan; Jean Morgan; Neil Fowler; Chris Wheal; Adrian Monck; Paul Linford; Jo Wadsworth; Steve Dyson; Steve Busfield; Sam Shepherd.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Suicide bomb attack on Peshawar Press Club

A suicide bomber has killed at least three people outside the Peshawar Press Club in Pakistan, the BBC reports today.
A policeman, a Peshawar Press Club worker and a woman passer-by were killed. At least 17 others were wounded, several of them journalists.
"It was a suicide attack. The bomber wanted to enter the building. The police official at the gate stopped him and he blew himself up," AFP news agency quoted senior police official Karim Khan as saying.
Journalists in Pakistan have been targeted by militants on numerous occasions.
Peshawar, near the Afghan border, has been attacked repeatedly since Pakistan sent its troops to fight the Taliban in the tribal region of South Waziristan.
The Committe to Protect Journalists condemned the attack. "This is clearly an outright assault on local journalists working in the most troubled part of Pakistan —the border areas with Afghanistan,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia programme coordinator. “The reporters there have been under pressure for years from all sides to the conflict, but this marks one of the worst, most overt attempts to silence the media there.”

New London paper eyes up the regions

The new London free, The London Weekly, which plans to launch in February has named its editorial team here and also claims on its website that it plans to launch titles in Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
The website says The London Weekly will be "an entertainment, politics, music, sports and lifestyle newspaper with a circulation of 250,000 copies distributed each and every Friday and Saturday mornings outside main line tube stations in London. The newspaper will be published weekly by GPG (Global Publishing Group) a partnership of 5 private equity investors."
As for the future, it says: " GPG UK plans to expand with 3 titles by 2012, current titles in planning include; The Manchester Weekly, Liverpool Weekly and The Birmingham Weekly."

Oh good, more lists... the top US news and showbiz stories making headlines in 2009

The American economy was the top news story of 2009, followed closely by the inauguration of President Barack Obama, according to The Associated Press' annual poll. Here are 2009's top 10 stories as voted by the editors and news directors:

1. The US economy. Jobless rate topped 10%.

2. President Obama's inauguration.

3. Health care. Contentious debate over plans to overhaul US health care system.

4. The auto industry. GM and Chrysler file for bankruptcy.

5. Swine flu.

6. War in Afghanistan.

7. Death of Michael Jackson.

8. Fort Hood rampage. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Hasan, accused of killing 13 at military base in Texas.

9. Death of Edward Kennedy.

10. ‘Miracle on Hudson'. US Airways passenger jet emergency ditching in the Hudson River. The pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, was hailed as a hero for averting a disaster.

The showbiz and tv stories of the year were:

1.Death of Michael Jackson; 2. Susan Boyle becomes overnight sensation; 3. Late-night tv swap, Conan O'Brien took over the "Tonight" show, and Jay Leno moved to 10 p.m; 4. Death of news anchor Walter Cronkite; 5. Talk-show host David Letterman accused of affairs with staff; 6. Chris Brown assaults Rihanna; 7. Kanye West gatecrashes Taylor Swift speech at the MTV Video Music Awards; 8. Live video on the web; 9. Reality TV stars Kate and Jon Gosselin split; 10. Heath Ledger wins posthumous Oscar.
Via Editor & Publisher.


Does less money for professional journalism mean accepting lower standards?

Interesting post on TIME magazine's blog by James Poniewozik about the impact of journalists losing their jobs on the standards of journalism.
It was inspired by his neighbour complaining about typos in the New York Times which has laid off some of its copy editors (that's subs to you and me).
Poniewozik asks is there a a trade off, where readers have to accept lower standards as price of the news still being covered?
He writes: "So there's less money for professional journalism. Maybe, say, I'm willing to read a few more misspellings in exchange for another body working in the overseas bureau.
"Maybe I'm willing to accept cheesy travel coverage (or, um, reviews of vapid reality shows) if it pays the bills for local news. Maybe I want less national news and more local news in my paper, or vice versa. (The fact that different people will want precisely the opposite priorities—and some will cancel their subscriptions if you disappoint them, leaving you even less money—makes the call all the harder.)
These are all rational trade-offs. But they are trade-offs, and we should acknowledge it. Where are you willing to give less to get less?"
Via Adrian Monck

Best of 2009: Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith has just left PaidContent:UK but he gave me his Best Media of the Year before he went.

Best old media: I'm going for Private Eye. I think I said this last year, but again it's a print mag that doesn't need a huge online presence. It's a little bit sniffy about new media and blogs, but it shines a light on areas of UK life that would go completely unreported otherwise.

Best new media: Too much to choose from... it's not strictly 'media' in the news sense you probably mean, but 2009 has been a great year for online music services: Spotify is potentially a game-changer for the music biz and I'm a big fan. Also good are Audioboo, a mobile audio-blogging service (you can hear my boos here) and Soundcloud which allows you to store and send massive audio files, which is hugely useful for journalists these days.

Best story: I'm deliberately not saying MPs' expenses -- the Telegraph genuinely handled it brilliantly and better than some other papers would have, but it could have been someone else's scoop. In terms of its immediate impact all around the world, I'm going for Michael Jackson's death.

Best journalist: Again, too many good ones, but Ian Cobain of the Guardian was a deserving winner of the Eye's Paul Foot award and the Indy's Martin Hickman's investigations on how the production of palm oil for everyday products is destroying rainforests was fascinating and very scary.

Prediction for 2009: Newspapers will get smaller, some will close and more and more local websites covering specific areas will sprout up to replace the coverage communities are losing. I also tip Sheffield Wednesday to stay in the Championship, narrowly.

Tomorrow: Judith Townend of

Best ofs, so far: Grey Cardigan; Jean Morgan; Neil Fowler; Chris Wheal; Adrian Monck; Paul Linford; Jo Wadsworth; Steve Dyson; Steve Busfield; Sam Shepherd.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Minister confirms planning ads stay with press

Housing and Planning Minister John Healey confirmed today that the rules for local authorities advertising planning applications in local newspapers will not change. New guidelines will say that as well as advertising in papers, local authorities will be required to publish information about planning applications on their website, to ensure local residents are fully informed about planning issues in their area.
You can read the statement from the Department of Communities and Local Government here.

Bazooka strikes wrong chord with Bill Bailey

Another great Guardian correction today: "An interview with comedian and musician Bill Bailey said that his accomplishments include playing the bazooka. This is not quite as unlikely as it seemed to many readers, since the portable tubular rocket-launcher was named after a musical instrument invented by the American comedian Bob Burns. But it is still incorrect: the instrument Bailey plays is the bouzouki, a Greek long-necked stringed musical instrument related to the mandolin (Question Time, 3 December, page 17, G2)."

Can we all have a Tiger Woods' injunction?

Independent media columnist Stephen Glover today returns to the injunction obtained by Tiger Woods in the High Court in London banning the English media from publishing new details about his personal life.
He says: "What was odd about the injunction is that it referred to nude pictures of Tiger Woods which his lawyers say may not exist. In other words, it is possible to obtain an injunction in respect of publication which may be purely theoretical. I suppose any of us, if we had the money, might pop along to Mr Justice Eady to seek a kind of belt-and-braces injunction covering every eventuality."

Government to back local press on planning ads

Good news for the regional press. The Guardian reports today that the Government will safeguard £15m of regional newspaper advertising by ruling that councils will still have to advertise planning applications in the local press.
It says "Housing and planning minister John Healey is due to confirm today that the rules for local authorities advertising planning applications in local newspapers will not change.
"New guidelines will say that local authorities will still have to advertise in papers and councils will be required to publish information about planning applications on their websites."
The recent Killian Pretty Review recommended the removal of the mandatory requirement for local authorities to publish statutory planning notices in newspapers.
The Newspaper Society has been campaigning against the change. It argues that to withdraw the mandatory requirement for local authorities to place statutory notices in newspapers would have the effect of “undermining the public’s right to know”.

New London Weekly website goes live

The website of the planned new London free - the London Weekly - has gone live with a mixture of news, music and showbiz reports.
The paper is aiming for launch on 1 February with a 250,000 print run. The company behind the launch, Global Publishing Group, has said it is based on a partnership formed in 2008 by five private investors who had raised £10.5m to launch the new title.
It's also on Twitter:

Steve Dyson from Brum to blogging

Steve Dyson, who leaves the editorship of the Birmingham Mail at the end of this month, is to become a blogger with a new blog on HoldtheFrontPage reviewing the regional press.
His new blog, called Dyson at Large, will launch on 6 January and appear every Wednesday.
Each week, Dyson will be reviewing a different local or regional title, showcasing its strengths, highlighting its local successes, and occasionally suggesting how things could be improved.
Dyson had already begun reviewing titles on his Birmingham Mail blog after writing about

Best of 2009: Grey Cardigan

Press Gazette columnist Grey Cardigan names his 'Best Media of 2009'.

Best old media: Although the increasing influence of all those Daily Mail imports is becoming painfully obvious, it still has to be the Daily Telegraph. The downgrading of the Obits is very sad (along with the fact that we're running out of war heroes), but the Letters Page is the best in the business. In comparison, the correspondence in The Times is bland and boring.

Best new media: Does The Thick Of It count? Sheer brilliance. If not, then the amazing variety of YouTube content.

Story of the year: MPs' expenses - the source info might have been bought in, but it was handled brilliantly by the Daily Telegraph and set an agenda that has changed government in this country for ever.

Journalist of the Year: For sheer, lunatic entertainment, it has to be Liz-fucking-Jones. She's painted herself into a corner in a dank, Exmoor hovel; has landed herself with a herd of rescue animals that she can't possibly abandon; and, as someone smarter than me has said, now looks as if she's just flown a hang-glider through a flock of crows.

Prediction for 2010: More of a hope than a prediction: that local newspapers might return to local ownership, with sensible margins, a sensible cost base, sensible management and sensible resources. The game isn't up yet if we can prise the odd failing title out of the hands of the greedy mega-groups.

Tomorrow: Patrick Smith.

Best of, so far: Jean Morgan; Neil Fowler; Chris Wheal; Adrian Monck; Paul Linford; Jo Wadsworth; Steve Dyson; Steve Busfield; Sam Shepherd.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Sunday Times claims new libel gagging scandal

The Sunday Times claims today that General Electric, one of the world’s biggest corporations, is using the London libel courts to gag a senior radiologist after he raised the alarm over the potentially fatal risks of one of its drugs.
The multinational is suing Henrik Thomsen, a Danish academic, after he described his experiences of one of the company’s drugs as a medical “nightmare”. He said some kidney patients at his hospital contracted a potentially deadly condition after being administered the drug Omniscan.
The Sunday Times says GE Healthcare, a British subsidiary of General Electric, has run up more than £380,000 in legal costs pursuing Thomsen.
“I believe the lawsuit is an attempt to silence me,” Thomsen tells the Sunday Times. “It’s dangerous for the patient if we can’t frankly exchange views.”
The story will add to pressure on libel laws in the UK to be reformed.

Best of 2009: Jean Morgan

She's back. Ex-Press Gazette chief reporter Jean Morgan says "Bah, humbug!" to email and dictates her Best Media of 2009 by phone.

Best old media: Daily Telegraph

Best new media: Rupert Murdoch's planned paywall.

Best story: MPs' expenses.

Best journalist: Telegraph's Robert Winnett and team.

Prediction for 2010: Growing strife between national newspapers over differing strategies on whether there should be payment for their news websites.

Tomorrow: Grey Cardigan

Best ofs, so far: Neil Fowler; Chris Wheal; Adrian Monck; Paul Linford; Jo Wadsworth; Steve Dyson; Steve Busfield; Sam Shepherd.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

US loses 40,000 newspaper jobs in 2009

Editor & Publisher journalist Joe Strupp has named continuing job losses in the US newspaper industry as the top business story of the year in the sector. The figures are scary.
Strupp writes: "More than 40,000 newspaper jobs were lost in 2009, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is nearly twice the 21,000 cut in 2008 and more than any single year in the past 10 years. Even with furloughs, salary cuts and numerous retirement fund freezes, publishers lopped off a tragic number of positions, even as they sought to expand online and, of course, increase workloads for those who remain. The count at the end of 2009 is 284,220 jobs. In 1999, that number was at 424,500. If things don't slow down, any attempt to properly cover news, and write and edit it, will be lost if it hasn't been already."
Coming in as tenth on Strupp's Top Ten list is the closure of E&P. Strupp says:"Sadly, we are part of the list this year, with E&P shutting down after 125 years. At the moment, talks are continuing to possibly keep us going. But if they do not prove successful, this industry "bible" will cease to exist after more than a century of chronicling everything from newspaper sales to the Pulitzer Prizes. Here's hoping it has a happy ending."

Best of 2009: Neil Fowler

Neil Fowler, media consultant and an associate member of Nuffield College, Oxford, ex-editor of the Western Mail; Journal, Newcastle; Derby Evening Telegraph; Lincolnshire Echo and Which? magazine; choses his top media of 2009.

Best old media: Daily Telegraph - can be no other.

Best new media: Twitter.

Best story: MPs' expenses.

Best journalist: Will Lewis - for keeping his nerve and buying the MPs' expenses raw data.

Prediction for 2010: A staged swap of some regional newspapers to force the Government's hand over ownership regulation ( I said the same last year - but it's got to happen soon!).

Tomorrow: She's back. Jean Morgan

Best ofs, so far:Chris Wheal; Adrian Monck; Paul Linford; Jo Wadsworth; Steve Dyson; Steve Busfield; Sam Shepherd.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Johnston Press extends pay freeze

Johnston Press today announced it was extending its pay freeze for a further six months, HoldtheFrontPage reports. Staff at all JP titles were given 9am briefings by their managers on the decision to extend the freeze this morning.
In a statement, the company said: "In view of the continued uncertainty in advertising revenues, 2010 pay reviews will be deferred for a period of six months for all UK-based employees."
Johnston Press chief executive John Fry has expressed hopes the company will be able to award pay increases by the summer if trading conditions remain stable.

Threat to newspapers in Scottish plan to let council adverts switch from press to online

Scottish ministers have announced plans to allow councils to no longer publish public notices in newspapers and instead put them online in a move that will alarm the rest of the newspaper industry in the UK.
The Scotsman reports that the proposal by the SNP government in Holyrood has been fiercely criticised as "an assault on the Scottish newspaper industry".
SNP finance secretary John Swinney said the move would allow councils to save millions of pounds at a time when they were short of money. Councils have been pushing for the move after they got together to form a "public information portal".
Swinney says the move would save councils £6 million which could be reinvested into frontline services.
In a statement, he said: "Public bodies must provide the best value for money. Councils have collectively identified a need to cut spending on public notices which they are legally required to advertise and pay for, costing around £6m a year.
"The changes we are consulting on will mean councils can use a new public information notice portal instead of advertising in local papers. The new portal will provide more cost-effective public information and a means to improve communication and dialogue with the public."
The portal will publish public information notices across Scotland on one website. Users will be able to click on a map of Scotland to see listings of public notices in any area.
Information that will no longer need to be advertised in the press includes statutory notices about construction and licensing and public notices such as changes to refuse collection.
Scotsman editor John McLellan said: "SNP politicians wring their hands about the future of the Scottish press and then they do their best to damage Scotland's entire local newspaper industry. And they call themselves democrats who believe in accountability. It would be laughable if it wasn't so serious." (Source: Allmediascotland)
As I reported yesterday, The Newspaper Society believes the crucial decision by the UK Government on the outcome of its consultation on publicity for planning applications, which recommended removing the mandatory requirement for local authorities to publish statutory notices in newspapers, will be announced within a week.

Lebedev closing in on Independent says FT

Alexander Lebedev, the owner of London’s Evening Standard, is in advanced talks to buy the the Independent and the Independent on Sunday, the Financial Times claims today.
It says: "Lebedev has held intermittent talks over the past year with publisher Independent News & Media to buy its UK national newspapers. However, plans were put on hold over the summer as INM started wrangling with its lenders about the restructuring of its €1.3bn (£1.2bn, $1.9bn) debt pile.
"Now that process has been completed, talks have restarted, according to people familiar with the matter." Neither Lebedev or INM have commented to the FT.
The FT notes: "The Independent was widely reported earlier this year to be suffering losses of more than £10m a year. INM’s board, led by Gavin O’Reilly, had faced significant pressure from Denis O’Brien, the telecoms tycoon who currently holds 14 per cent, to dispose of the titles."
Update: Media Guardian reported this afternoon that Independent News & Media confirmed it was in exclusive non-binding talks with Lebedev over the sale of the Independent and Independent on Sunday.
INM said the period of exclusive talks with Lebedev over the future ownership of the two London-based papers ran until 15 February. There is speculation that a Lebedev-owned Independent could go free, meaning Londoners would get a free morning and, with the Standard having scrapped its cover price, a free evening paper.

Best of 2009: Sam Shepherd

Sam Shepherd, Digital Projects Co-ordinator, at the Bournemouth Echo, choses her 'Best Media of 2009'.

Best old media: The Guardian, for Trafigura, Ian Tomlinson and the way they crowd-sourced the MPs expenses data. On a more local level, special mention for the New Milton Advertiser and Lymington Times. As old fashioned a weekly broadsheet as you'll come across but the readers love it and it's always crammed with advertising.

Best new media: A predictable answer, but Twitter (if it still counts as "new", that is!)

Best story: MPs' expenses, although I'm not sure it's achieved anything except to make people even more cynical about politics.

Best journalist: Paul Lewis, for the Ian Tomlinson investigation. Proper reporting, that.

Prediction for 2010: A widening gap between the newspapers and groups that push the boundaries of what can be done online and those that close down their online content, either behind paywalls or as part of a drive back towards the print product.

Tomorrow: Neil Fowler

Best ofs, so far: Chris Wheal; Adrian Monck; Paul Linford; Jo Wadsworth; Steve Dyson; Steve Busfield.

Quotes of the Week

George Eaton of the New Statesman on the Tiger Wood's injunction in London's High Court: "Woods would not have dared to seek an injunction in the United States where the first amendment guarantees free speech. But in Britain, where Mr Justice Eady's one man war on free expression continues, he predictably succeeded."

Tim Crook, senior lecturer in Media Law & Ethics at Goldsmiths, University of London: "Amongst the political, media, legal and higher educational elites in the UK (spheres of influence and sub-cultures I know only too well) there is no respect and utter contempt for the sex scandal exposé genre of journalism pursued by ‘tabloid’ media publications such as the Sun and News of the World, and I frequently notice an intense negativity in body language and facial countenance whenever I mention the title Daily Mail."

Editor & Publisher editor Greg Mitchell on the magazine's planned closure: "It took 125 years to build Editor & Publisher, and only 10 minutes to kill it."

Guardian Media Group statement: “Since the publication of the Digital Britain report we have been considering the potential for further consolidation within the regional press sector, and as part of this there have been some exploratory talks regarding our regional media business."

Intro of the week:

Martin Wainwright in the Guardian: "The world pie-eating championships proved once again to be a controversy-strewn battleground today as the sole woman competitor stormed out and officials banned gravy after rumours of doping with cough mixture."

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Genteel BMJ runner-up in correction of the year

The British Medical Journal has come runner-up in the Corrections of the Year named by US website Regret the Error, which chronicles media mistakes, for apologising for changing "pisshouse" to "pub" in an author's copy.
The correction ran: "During the editing of this Review of the Week by Richard Smith the author’s term “pisshouse” was changed to “pub” in the sentence: “Then, in true British and male style, Hammond met Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, in the pub and did a deal.” However, a pisshouse is apparently a gentleman’s toilet, and (in the author’s social circle at least) the phrase “pisshouse deal” is well known. (It alludes to the tendency of men to make deals while standing side by side and urinating.) In the more genteel confines of the BMJ Editorial Office, however, this term was unknown and a mistake was made in translating it into more standard English. We apologise for any misunderstanding this may have caused."
The winner was the Washington Post for: "A Nov. 26 article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number."
My personal favourite was the Guardian apologising to its own subs after the readers' editor referred to "journalists and subeditors" in her column. The apology said: "Subeditors are journalists. In trying to distinguish between the roles the column should have referred to writers/reporters and subeditors."

Newsnight in court apology to Trafigura

BBC 2's Newsnight is to broadcast an apology to oil company Trafigura tonight. You can read the BBC's statement in the High Court today here.
It says:"Following Trafigura's complaint over Newsnight's story, the BBC carried out a detailed further review of the available evidence and of Trafigura's detailed response in its Reply in these proceedings. The BBC accepts the conclusions reached by the experts in the personal injury action and reflected in the Reply. The BBC therefore acknowledges that the evidence does not establish that Trafigura's "slops" caused any deaths, miscarriages or serious or long-term injuries. Accordingly, the BBC has withdrawn those allegations and has agreed to broadcast an appropriate apology on Newsnight, to join in the making of this Statement in Open Court, and to publish the Statement on its website."

GMG confirms 'exploratory talks' on regionals

Following speculation that the Guardian Media Group may be selling its regional newspapers, including flagship title the Manchester Evening News, the company issued a statement today.
It says:“In line with its remit GMG keeps its portfolio under review on an ongoing basis.
“Since the publication of the Digital Britain report we have been considering the potential for further consolidation within the regional press sector, and as part of this there have been some exploratory talks regarding our regional media business.
“However these are at a very early stage and it is not clear whether they will progress or what the outcome is likely to be.”
Story via

CPJ: 'Journalists death toll for 2009 is 68'

At least 68 journalists worldwide were killed for their work in 2009, the highest yearly tally ever documented by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the organisation said in its year-end analysis.
The record toll was driven in large part by the election-related slaughter of more than 30 media workers in the Philippine province of Maguindanao last month, the deadliest single event for the press in CPJ history.
The worldwide tally surpasses the previous record of 67 deaths, set in 2007 when violence in Iraq was pervasive and media fatalities there were common. CPJ is still investigating 20 other journalist deaths worldwide in 2009 to determine whether they were work-related.
“This has been a year of unprecedented devastation for the world’s media, but the violence also confirms long-term trends,” said CPJ executive director Joel Simon. “Most of the victims were local reporters covering news in their own communities. The perpetrators assumed, based on precedent, that they would never be punished. Whether the killings are in Iraq or the Philippines, in Russia or Mexico, changing this assumption is the key to reducing the death toll.”
CPJ has a data base on journalists killed worldwide here.

Guardian Media Group to sell MEN to Trinity?

North West media news website How-Do is claiming today that Guardian Media Group is believed to be in talks to sell the Manchester Evening News to Trinity Mirror.
It is being suggested that GMG Regional Media is to be sold off in a bid to save jobs and continue with the Scott Trust's overarching objective of protecting the interests of the Guardian.
How-Do says a figure of £40m has been mooted for the sale but says its report is not confirmed by GMG or Trinity.
Although I picked this up from How-Do it has been pointed out the Daily Telegraph is running a much more comprehensive story today about the possible sale of GMG Regional Media.
The Telegraph quotes a source saying: "GMG and The Scott Trust, which was set up to safeguard journalistic freedom and The Guardian's liberal values, has turned its back on its heartland to keep The Guardian afloat."
It adds: "People close to the situation said it was unclear if the talks with Trinity Mirror were still underway or how far they had progressed."

Decision on planning ads in papers 'imminent'

The Newspaper Society believes the crucial decision by the Government on the outcome of its consultation on publicity for planning applications, which recommended removing the mandatory requirement for local authorities to publish statutory notices in newspapers, will be announced within a week.
Giving evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee last week, Minister for the Creative Industries Siôn Simon said the Department for Communities and Local Government would make an announcement “fairly imminently”.
The Newspaper Society has raised concerns with government ministers on numerous occasions after the consultation paper, based on the recommendations of the Killian Pretty Review (a wide-ranging review of the planning application process), was published in November last year.
It included a recommendation to withdraw the mandatory requirement for local authorities to place statutory notices in newspapers which the NS said would have the effect of “undermining the public’s right to know”.
At the select committee last week, Simon said: “The DCLG are just about to say what they are going to do about that, I think, fairly imminently. Let us see what that says. Newspaper people are hopeful that they might get some succour from that.”
Story via Newspaper Society

Brighton Argus rocked by student paper

The Argus, Brighton, has barred students at a nearby journalism college from doing work experience at the paper after they started up a special publication aimed at students on its patch, HoldtheFrontPage reports today.
Johnston Press subsidiary Sussex Newspapers recently launched a free newspaper called Student Life which is staffed by journalism students at City College Brighton and Hove.
The paper circulates in the Brighton area and is aimed at giving students real-life experience of writing for a proper newspaper.
But The Argus , owned by Newsquest, has now contacted the college to say that its students will no longer be offered work experience there.