Wednesday 30 June 2010

Action over BBC pay and pensions 'more likely'

The NUJ warned that a strike ballot of its BBC members on pay and pensions looks more likely after talks with BBC management and the broadcasting unions on the 2010/11 pay review broke down today with no agreement.
The BBC’s has offered staff a flat rate increase of £475 for staff paid up to £37,726 a year. The NUJ says more than a third of BBC journalists will receive nothing.
The unions have argued that the BBC can afford to pay more to its staff across the board given the 2 per cent rise in its licence fee income. NUJ, Bectu and Unite negotiators will meet with BBC staff over the next few weeks at a series of meetings across the country starting on 5 July. Union reps from all three unions will meet in London on 19 July to assess the feedback.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “If the BBC fails to address the real concerns members have over pay and pensions then a ballot for industrial action seems inevitable”.

Grey Cardigan shreds that Johnston Press memo

Grey Cardigan in his latest Press Gazette column lays into the infamous "workflow memo" from Paul Bentham, managing director of Johnston Press' South Yorkshire titles, which was sent to editors setting out new rules following the introduction of the Atex content management system.
The memo suggested that the best practice was for all stories to be templated, that editors should not continue with the old practice of reading every story and, instead, "should evaluate the risk for each story based on content and the seniority of the journalist and act accordingly."
Grey thunders: "Suggesting that an editor need not glance over every story in their newspaper is utter madness. The lawyers must be rubbing their hands with glee.
"Does this silly man know nothing about newspapers? Perhaps in Mr. Bentham's barmy new world, not only are subs expendable but editors too.
"He's not really thought this through, has he? Because if there's no editor patrolling the proofs, who's going to end up before the beak for contempt when a cock-up saunters through? Yes, you, Mr. Bentham."
  • Press Gazette magazine is only available on subscription but Grey Cardigan has put an extract on his blog.
  • Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog has also commented on the JP memo today. He says: "How many times must we say, and mean, that content is king. The very notion that editors should stop doing their job by not reading every story is a disgrace. By this memo Johnston Press has reversed several centuries of journalistic good practice. The technology should be our servant, not our master."

Is this the best ever statement from a Mayor?

Great story about a Mayor's trouser fail on the Leicester Mercury website today which reports: "In a statement, Coun Hall, 46, said: 'Whilst giving a vote of thanks, I suffered a problem with my trousers..."

'Inside the mind of the anonymous online poster'

Boston Globe Magazine journalist Neil Swidey has written an article Inside the mind of the anonymous online poster which looks at the issues surrounding abusive postings and whether people should only be able to comment on news websites if they give their real names.
The starting point for the article is the amount of abusive postings the Globe received after reporting that President Obama's aunt had been allowed to stay in the US.
Swidey writes: "The raging commentary on Obama’s aunt is a microcosm of the thorny problem many websites are grappling with right now over what to do with anonymous comments...Given their anonymous nature and anything-goes ethos, these forums can sometimes feel as ungovernable as the tribal lands of Pakistan."
He adds: "Newspapers find themselves in a strange position. People wanting to have a letter to the editor printed in the paper have long been required to provide their name, address, and a daytime phone number. Yet on the websites owned by these same newspapers, all it usually takes to be handed a perpetual soapbox is an active e-mail address."
Swidey notes: "Many media heavyweights, from The Washington Post to The Huffington Post, have begun to modify their policies. The goal is to take the playground back from anonymous bullies and give greater weight to those willing to offer, in addition to strong views, their real names."
For the article, Swidey tracks down and interviews some of the Globe's frequent anonymous posters like Xenophonic who "has no wife, no children, and a job requiring just 20 hours a week. He doesn’t follow sports, doesn’t hang out at bars or go on many trips beyond the occasional visit to play the slots at Twin River, and isn’t involved in any organizations to speak of. But he is extremely active in his community. It just happens to be one that only exists online."
There is also Yoshimi25, who has attracted ugly anti-Asian slurs online, but turns out to be a blue-eyed Irish-American named Kelly.
The article refers to a plan by new-media strategist Steve Yelvington who is working with Morris Publishing Group, and pushing the Morris sites to insist on collecting (but not publishing) real names and street addresses for everyone who comments, yet allow users to continue to post under pseudonyms.
But Swidey concludes: "While news organizations debate scrapping anonymity, the ground may be shifting beneath them. With all of our identifying information getting sliced, diced, and sold, by everyone from credit card companies to Facebook, is there really such a thing as the anonymous Web anymore? Consider this demonstration from the late ’90s by Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor Latanya Sweeney. She took three commonly available data points: sex (male), ZIP code (02138), and date of birth (July 31, 1945). Those seemingly anonymous attributes could have described lots of people, right? Actually, no. She proved they could belong to just one person: former governor William Weld. She tells me that 87 percent of Americans can now be identified with just these three data points. Maybe the best approach to getting people to behave better online is just reminding them how easy it is to figure out who they really are."

* I recently did a piece on moves by the Independent and The Times' to stop anonymous postings for InPublishing:Ending the online free speech free-for-all

NUJ shows Regional Press Awards can be saved

The NUJ proved yesterday that you don't need a big events team and fat cheques from corporate sponsors to run an awards' ceremony.
For a few thousand pounds they were able to save the 2010 Regional Press Awards after the Wilmington Group, which had hung on to them after disposing of Press Gazette, decided to drop the event this year on the grounds they would not "be viable" in the current economic climate.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear (top), introducing the event, said: "We hope the industry itself will recognise local and regional journalists. If it doesn't we will consider running these awards again. We think it is vital to recognise the hard work you all do."
Apart from, hopefully, embarrassing those who were too quick to bin a great event, the NUJ also showed that the awards could be impartially judged. How else could the big winner at the event be The News, Portsmouth, owned by Johnston Press - the company that has just taken the NUJ to court to stop a group-wide strike?
  • For all the winners see post below.

Tuesday 29 June 2010

The Winners: NUJ Regional Press Awards

The News, Portsmouth, was named Newspaper of the Year at the 2010 NUJ Regional Press Awards today.
The Johnston Press-owned title was chosen from a shortlist that included The Cumberland News, the Hampstead & Highgate Express, the Irish News, the Nottingham Post, The Press, York, and the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Journalists from the Portsmouth paper also picked up a clutch of individual awards.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said the union would run the event again next year if the "industry itself" didn't back awards recognising the talent in the local and regional press.
The awards were dropped this year by the Wilmington Group which held on to them after selling off Press Gazette, a move described by Steve Busfield, Guardian News and Media's head of media and technology, as "disgraceful" at today's award ceremony in London.

Individual winners were:
Reporter of the Year Daily/Sunday
Allison Morris, Irish News.

Reporter of the Year Weekly
Eleanor Harding, Wandsworth Guardian

Multimedia Journalist of the Year ,

Sion Donovan, The News, Portsmouth

Feature Writer of the Year Daily/Sunday

Jayne Dawson, Yorkshire Evening Post

Feature Writer of the Year Weekly

Roger Lytollis, Cumberland News

Sports Journalist of the Year Daily/Sunday

Neil Allen,The News, Portsmouth

Sports Journalist of the Year WeeklyItalicItalic

Eric Mackinnon, West Lothian Courier.

Specialist Writer of the Year

Carl Eve, Plymouth Herald

Columnist of the Year

Stacia Briggs, Norwich Evening News

Student Journalist of the Year

Rosie Taylor, Forge Press

Designer of the Year

Graeme Windell, The News, Portsmouth.

Photographer of the Year Daily/Sunday

Stuart Boulton, Northern Echo

Photographer of the Year Weekly

Chris Whiteoak, Surrey Advertiser

Sports Photographer of the Year Daily/Sunday

Lucy Ray, Bradford and Telegraph Argus

Sports Photographer of the Year Weekly

Stephen Garnett, Craven Herald

Scoop of the Year

Cherry Wilson, Rotherham Advertiser.

Campaign of the Year

Kathryn Torney, Belfast Telegraph

Multimedia Publisher of the Year

Stuart Kirkpatrick, Caledonian Mercury

The Felix Dearden Reporting on Race Award

Mary Griffin, Coventry Telegraph

  • Pic: Allison Morris of the Irish News - Reporter of the Year: Daily or Sunday - receives her award from NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear. (Pic: Jon Slattery)

Polly Toynbee puts heat on Vince Cable over Sky

Polly Toynebee in the Guardian today questions whether Business Secretary Vince Cable has the "nerve" to stop Sky taking full control of BSkyB - and she also describes the exposure of Chris Huhne's affair by the News of the World as an example of "raw Murdoch power".
She writes: "Cable has 25 working days to decide if Murdoch's purchase of the rest of BSkyB is in the public interest. The takeover will require clearance from the European commission, but if Cable wants to intervene he must do so before the commission's judgment: he can call in the Office of Fair Trading and Ofcom. His officials will do what officials do – advise he takes the primrose path of least resistance. He has the power to declare this monopoly is not in the public interest: it plainly isn't. The question is whether he has the nerve.
"It's a tough test so early on in his new job. The fate of Chris Huhne was a well-timed reminder of raw Murdoch power, sending snoopers out to trap this arch critic of News of the World phone-tapping under Andy Coulson. Cable needs to show he is not easily intimidated."
Toynebee also suggests that if Jon Gaunt wins his High Court case over the Ofcom reprimand for the former talkSPORT shock jock calling a councillor a "health Nazi" it will "let presenters rant and rail more, sliding into Foxification" of broadcast news.
Gaunt is being supported in his court action by human rights group Liberty.

World Cup: The view from Germany

This is how views the World Cup from a German perspective. Not very different from how the English tabloids would have reported the match against Germany...if England had won.
  • has a slightly different view of England's disallowed goal by remembering 1966: "Germans now feel justice has been done, an alleged wrong righted 44 years later. They didn’t believe it would ever happen, but yesterday evens the score for many."

World Cup: Sun dubs England team 'a shower' as press welcomes home 'our lads' from South Africa

The England team get a good kicking today from the tabloids as they arrive home after their humiliating defeat to Germany in the World Cup. Even the Independent says "blame the players" rather than the manager.

Monday 28 June 2010

'Our forces in the Cape have suffered a reverse': Tobias Grubbe on England's World Cup exit

I am a big fan of that Georgian man of letters Tobias Grubbe who rather incongruously has established himself on that new fangled thing called the internet via twitter @tobiasgrubbe, and his opinions can be read at the Telegraph and at journalisted.
His latest missive is on England's humiliating exit from the World Cup, although Grubbe puts it more elegantly as "Our forces in the Cape have suffered a reverse".
I was lucky enough to bump into Grubbe's creators Michael Cross and Matthew Buck at the news:rewired conference at the Microsoft headquarters in London before they headed off to the nearest coffee house or tavern.
More power to Grubbe's elbow says I.

Sackcloth and splashes: England's World Cup exit

The tabloids mourn England's exit from the World Cup today. The Star manages a "Fritz" on its front page and the Daily Mail a reference to the Second World War and the Battle of Britain with columnist Richard Littlejohn's comment: "If The Few defended as badly as England we'd all be speaking German now."

Exclusive pic: Why journalists must grow up

"I won't sell ads," said Violet Elizabeth. "I'll thscream and thscream and thscream unitl I'm thick."

Sunday 27 June 2010

Sunday Times: 'Online can shovel out pap and press releases but proper journalism costs money'

Richard Woods in the Sunday Times today makes the case for the paywall that will be going up around the paper's website.
In an article headlined: 'Why a free press is worth paying for,' he writes: "Online, you can shovel out celebrity pap and press releases for virtually nothing. But properly informed reporting, analysis, investigations and the sharpest wit will cost money.
"That is why The Sunday Times and The Times are about to start charging a fee for their new websites, believing that it is the best interests of both readers and journalists."
He adds: "A business can give away its products - or have them plundered - only for so long without collapse, as the music industry knows to its cost."
  • The article says that to understand the cost of "good journalism and real news" readers should look at the Sunday Times' investment in covering Iraq and its in depth investigation into Japan bribing some nations to support its slaughter of whales.

Saturday 26 June 2010

New website puts focus on the funding models that could save quality journalism and journalists

A new website has launched which looks at the new funding models that could sustain quality journalism and journalists in the future. has been launched by journalists Alex Klaushofer and Tim Dawson and aims to provide comment and analysis of the revolution that is currently sweeping the media, changing how journalism is paid for and how it is done.
Alex Klaushofer says: "Newspapers, magazines and broadcasting are in themidst of the most profound change in their history. As advertisers andreaders move online, traditional providers of news and analysis have struggled to keep pace. None have so far found funding models to replicate their traditional revenue streams.
"At the same time, a galaxy of new, often niche providers have found freshways to fund journalism and find readers. Our aim is to understand how such models work, and to examine how far they can provide a vibrant future for professional journalism."
  • Tim Dawson is a reporter and feature writer whose work has appeared in the Sunday Times for the past fifteen years. He is a former Scotland correspondent for the New Statesman and has worked as a reporter for People Weekly.
  • Alex Klaushofer is a London-based journalist writing on social affairs and politics in Britain and the Middle East. She has contributed to the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman and a variety of BBC programmes.

They think it's all Pravda: Government to tighten up rules on council newspaper 'propaganda'

The government wants to tighten the rules on council-funded free newspapers, saying they undermine a free press, BBC News reports today.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said independent local papers should not face competition from "propaganda on the rates".
The BBC says: "Mr Pickles wants to stop what he called "town hall Pravdas" passing themselves off as independent journalism. The government will hold a consultation on the best way to tighten the rules.
"The Newspaper Society has welcomed the government's move to tighten the council publicity code, saying local papers fulfilled a vital democratic role.
"Mr Pickles said: "The previous government's weakening of the rules on town hall publicity not only wasted taxpayers' money and added to the wave of junk mail, but has undermined a free press.
"Councils should spend less time and money on weekly town hall Pravdas that end up in the bin, and focus more on frontline services like providing regular rubbish collections. In an internet age, commercial newspapers should expect over time less state advertising as more information is syndicated online for free. The flipside is our free press should not face state competition from propaganda on the rates dressed up as local reporting."
According to the BBC, the government will now consult with councils - as they are legally obliged to do - and form a plan "by the end of the summer" as how best to tighten the rules.

Friday 25 June 2010

You'd want to read this: Great MEN billboard

I've heard of getting legless at a wedding but...Irresistible Manchester Evening News' billboard via George Dearsley.
  • Here's a link to the story which tells how heartless thieves have stolen the artificial legs of a paralympian Anthony Booth just days before he was due to walk his sister down the aisle.

Marc Reeves: 'Journalists need to grow up'

Marc Reeves, launch editor of online business news site TheBusinessDesk West Midlands, told the news:rewired conference in London today that journalists need to grow up and get involved in all aspects of the media company they work for - including selling advertising.
He said: "Journalists have to grow up and realise they have to be part of the business. We can't afford the luxury of two tracks of a business that are not relating to each other at all."
Reeves, a former editor of the Birmingham Post, added: "I’ve worked with generations of hacks to whom the very idea of passing on a sales lead was regarded as a murderous betrayal of the memory of C.P. Scott."
He argued that an editorial department of journalists insulated from the rest of the business was a big mistake that could no longer be afforded.
"To all of you who are saying 'Sorry I’m just a journalist, I don’t sell advertising or organise events,' I say 'tough' that’s just the way it will be from now on. We tried it the other way and it broke.
"That artificial divide we created when we put the noisy people in a room marked ‘advertising’ and the studious types in another labelled ‘editorial’ was the biggest mistake newspapers and other media ever made.
"It allowed journalists to insulate themselves from the business they were in to the point of revelling in their detachment. . .No wonder so many didn’t see the meltdown coming."
  • Marc has posted a full version of his news:rewired speech on his blog.

Met Police apology for journalists covering protest

Investigative photojournalist Marc Vallée and videographer Jason Parkinson have received an apology and damages from the Metropolitan Police Service after being forcibly prevented from working by officers at a political protest outside the Greek Embassy in 2008, the NUJ said today.
Both members received this apology:"The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has accepted liability for breach of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The MPS apologise for this and have paid compensation. The MPS confirms its recognition that freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy and that journalists have a right to report freely. The MPS recognise that on 8 December 2008 they failed to respect press freedom in respect of Mr Vallée and Mr Parkinson.The police have accepted liability for breaching Article 10 and made a payment of £3,500 compensation to each and are paying their legal costs."
Responding to the settlement Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary said:"Professional journalists and photographers have detailed numerous attempts by police officers to stifle the reporting of protests. Today we have achieved a significant victory - it is right that the police admit liability, apologise and compensate those whose basic human rights were breached in such a blatant and aggressive manner."

News:rewired plugs in via Microsoft in Victoria

I am at the news:rewired conference in London today, which is held at the Microsoft offices which overlooks Westminster Cathedral (see pic above).
The conference kicks off with a keynote from Peter Bale, a former Times journalist who is now executive producer MSN UK.
Encouragingly, he speaks of the demand by MSN users for hard news and the investment being made by the company in journalism, with the number of journalists and web producers employed by MSN increasing from 11 to 50 over the past few years. He says: "We have built up at a time when other news organisations are cutting back."
Bale also reveals that MSN is today introducing an ethics Code of Conduct which is published on the site (see post below). He says MSN will never take copy from PA or Reuters and put their own by-lines on stories "unlike some other news organisations."
Bale highlighted three of his favourite online journalists who have created their own brands - and one hyperlocal site.
The journalists are: Josh Halliday, the Sunderland journalism student who has just got a job on the Guardian; Jemima Kiss, of the Guardian; Robert Andrews, of paid:contentUK; and the hyperlocal website for the Kings Cross area of London launched by Will Perrin.
Mike Harris, public affairs manager of the Libel Reform Campaign, told the conference how social media had been more important than Google in promoting the campaign. He said one tweet from Stephen Fry had driven 1,918 people to the campaign's site.
Harris added: "Twitter and blogs can make a lot of noise. Success is turning that into your desired outcome."

MSN's new Code of Conduct

MSN Code of Conduct
1. Commitment to truth
  • MSN will ensure editorial content upholds the journalistic commitment to truth, accuracy, fairness and freedom from bias, offering users balanced content. Opinion will be clearly labeled and differentiated from factual content. MSN will respect users from all backgrounds and perspectives.

2. Commitment to transparency
  • MSN users can expect transparency and openness in editorial and business practices, the best identification of information sources in stories possible and explicit identification of advertising-supported content. MSN will clearly identify the creators and sources of its published content. MSN is accountable and will always try to flag and correct factual mistakes quickly.

3. Commitment to integrity
  • MSN will ensure editorial content upholds the journalistic commitment to truth, accuracy, fairness and freedom from bias, offering users balanced content. Opinion will be clearly labeled and differentiated from factual content. MSN will respect users from all backgrounds and perspectives.

4. Commitment to independence
  • While MSN is owned by Microsoft, its portals, content and commercial policies will represent independent judgment. It will resist undue political or commercial pressures, internal or external and offer a forum for free debate.

5. Commitment to privacy
  • MSN will protect user privacy and personal data.

6. Commitment to quality
  • MSN listens to its users who can expect a dedication to the highest quality in content services and advertising. It will use reliable, effective and innovative technologies to deliver compelling experiences and will respond to feedback.

NUJ: Regional Newspaper of the Year shortlist

The NUJ today released its shortlist for the Newspaper of the Year category of the 2010 NUJ Regional Press Awards.
The shortlist is:
The Cumberland News
The Hampstead & Highgate Express
Irish News
The News,
Nottingham Post
The Press,
Yorkshire Evening Post
Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary said: “This was a particularly hard category for our judges to shortlist. The quality of journalism throughout our local and regional titles is outstanding. These awards are a great showcase for the excellent work being carried out by journalists throughout the industry, in newspapers that are doing a fantastic job for the communities they serve.”
  • Winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony in London on Tuesday.

Quotes of the week: From a dandy to a hangover

Rowan Pelling in the Daily Telegraph remembers an email from dandy Sebastian Horsley: "Don't tell my mother I work as a journalist. She thinks I am a prostitute."

Francis Beckett on his blog: "The TES and Times Higher Education are a shadow of what they once were. The freelance market is littered with good journalists who know education and care about it, and once wrote for these two publications. Now they make their living doing public relations for official education bodies, and their independent voice is silenced."

Richard Desmond defends the Daily Express in the Independent:"Everything we've been crusading for ... we were mocked, laughed at and ridiculed. [But] the immigration situation, the pension situation and inheritance tax were the three spot-on things that frankly decided the election."

Andrew Anthony in the Observer on Piers Morgan: "He looks set to become the kind of international star by whom he's always been fascinated."

Chris Bullivant on his new launch, the Birmingham Free Press: "I am more excited about this concept than I was producing either the first free newspaper or the first metropolitan free daily."

Sky News political reporter Niall Paterson, who broke the Gillian Duffy 'bigot' row story which sunk Gordon Brown's election campaign, on "It's not commonly known, but I landed the Gillian Duffy story because of a hangover. Actually, more accurately, I got to report the gaffe first because of the anticipation of a hangover. The night before (in the bar with the team), aware of a swelling pain in my temples (thanks to the team in the bar), I begged my colleague Michelle Clifford to do the early two-ways. That'd mean I'd get on the Labour Vengabus after breakfast, and have an extra hour in my bed. Bliss. Survival on an election tour depends on these snatched moments."

Thursday 24 June 2010

Guido backs himself against Times paywall

Political blogger Guido Fawkes has made a wager that within a year no political columnist on The Times behind the paywall will have more readers that he has online.
Guido writes: "The wall is up at The Times even if payment isn’t required yet. It started on May 24 and traffic has more than halved in the month since. It will probably halve again and then some when the cash register opens… I’ll wager Danny Finkelstein, who is overseeing the Wapping paywall project, that within 12 months no Times political columnist will have more measurable readers online than Guido. Lunch at the restaurant of his choice…"

Straight banana drama ding dong!

Has the silly season started early this year? The story of Harrogate pensioner Irma Gledhill and the moment she was given a straight banana after eating dinner one night at her residential home, as featured by the Harrogate Advertiser, is becoming an internet phenomenon to rival the famed Whistable mum in custard shortage .
Irma told the Advertiser: "I said, 'Oh, I've got a straight banana! I thought it was a joke" and the paper headlined the story: 'Banana drama for Irma'.
I first saw it on Peter Sands' blog where it is described as a contender for non-story of the year.

From Fritz to the Hun: For the English tabloids the war with Germany is never over

In 1996 the Mirror was roundly criticised for a football front page: "For you, Fritz, ze Euro 96 is over!" as England were drawn against Germany.
Whereas the Mirror went back to the Second World War for its headline; today the Daily Star harks back to the First World War by describing Germany as the "Hun" in its splash on the forthcoming World Cup clash between England and Germany.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Steve Dyson on what led to his and Steve Brown's departure from Trinity Mirror's Midlands centre

Steve Dyson in his blog reviewing regional newspapers, hosted by HoldtheFrontPage, refers today to the reasons behind his departure as editor of the Birmingham Mail and the "sacking" of Trinity Mirror Midlands managing director Steve Brown.
Dyson's makes his comments while comparing Northcliffe's Sutton Coldfield Observer favourably to Trinity's Sutton Coldfield News - claiming the former "wipes the floor" with the Trinity title.
He writes: "I remember all this was the reason for an action plan demanded by one of Trinity Mirror's former regional managing directors in the Midlands, Steve Brown, when he was sent on his rescue mission at the end of 2007 after the failed sell-off.
"As one of his 'key 25 challenges', he asked one of his fellow 'rescue' directors to plough some energy into thinking through the editorial weaknesses and commercial opportunities in Sutton Coldfield.
"A return to number one was the target. But the momentum for any turnaround plan disappeared with the onset of recession, initial cost cuts and then Brown's sacking for not going further. With Brown out of the way, then came the loss of the News' own editor and the consequent £6 million 'cost savings challenge' imposed by Canary Wharf.
"The latter programme led to my departure from Trinity Mirror's Midland base at The Fort, but I still remain a resident of Sutton Coldfield and I've seen no sign of anything but acceptance of a conquered status quo for the News ever since. This is a shame for a paper first launched in 1869, but must be manna from heaven for the Observer."

Tuesday 22 June 2010

SIPA UK congress heads for London in July

Topics such as how to ensure successful launches and monotise web traffic will be on the agenda at the Specialised Information Publishers Association UK annual congress which takes place in London on 12-13 July.
Among the speakers lined up for the event are Fotini Liontou, CEO of Lloyd’s List Group and Claire Enders of Enders Analysis who will give an assessment of the state of the industry. Other topics to be covered include making money from the iPad and ereaders; the most powerful ways to integrate web, search, ezines, telemarketing, DM and sales into the marketing mix; walls and paywalls – free versus paid content; proven techniques to boost lead generation and subscriber retention; and how to profit from the App economy – using apps, tools, widgets and social media.

Chris Bullivant launches Birmingham Free Press

Free newspaper entrepreneur Chris Bullivant's Bullivant Media is publishing the first edition of The Birmingham Free Press this week.
The Free Press is a free sister paper to The Press and will have a circulation of 60,000 copies weekly.
Bullivant says: "The concept of a journal of record allied to a mass distribution free is being tested in Birmingham and, when successful, will be offered to entrepreneurs in English cities as a franchise to compete with then replace the ailing metropolitan dailies in those cities.
"In my opinion, the most remarkable lesson learnt from the launch of the Press two months ago is the way Tony Lennox [the editor] gathers news and feature material and then produces pages; potentially, it really turns regional journalism back into the cottage industry it was prior to the industrial revolution.
"Obviously Trinity Mirror are throwing everything other than the kitchen sink at us now that they have started to understand the new concept but I am hopeful that we will achieve breakeven within the next three months or so and, when we do, just watch this one “go”. I am more excited about this concept than I was producing either the first free newspaper or the first metropolitan free daily[Birmingham Daily News]."

Company-wide strike at Johnston now 'unlikely'

The NUJ looks set to abandon plans for a group-wide strike across Johnston Press titles, HoldtheFrontPage reports today.
Its say the union held a group chapel meeting at the weekend after a planned strike across the company was called off following a legal challenge. "It is understood journalists at a number of centres are still keen to go ahead with new ballots for industrial action - but they look unlikely to gain support from all chapels, as union chiefs had hoped."A national strike had originally been planned for 19 May over the introduction of the new Atex content management system but lawyers for JP challenged this, saying it did not directly employ journalists, leading to the strike being called off.

Monday 21 June 2010

Francis Beckett: 'We are losing education journalism just when we need it most'

Journalist and author Francis Beckett has written a hard hitting blog on the state of education journalism.
Beckett says he understand the Independent will stop publishing its Thursday education pages after this week.
He claims: "Education - real education, that is, not training in the skills required for work - is in greater danger than it's been in my lifetime. Education journalists, who a decade ago would have been sounding the alarm, don't have access to their platforms any more.
"At the Independent, until now, two long-serving and much respected education writers, Lucy Hodges and Richard Garner, were allowed to continue to practise their trade.
"The TES and Times Higher Education are a shadow of what they once were. The freelance market is littered with good journalists who know education and care about it, and once wrote for these two publications. Now they make their living doing public relations for official education bodies, and their independent voice is silenced. The Tuesday Education Guardian, once the place for education debate, has become a diminished scarp of advertorial."

Sunday 20 June 2010

Former hostage Anthony Grey speaks out on behalf of French journalists held in Afghanistan

Anthony Grey, the Reuters journalist who was held hostage by Mao Tse-tung’s Red Guards in China for 27 months in the 1960s, is trying to help highlight the plight of the two French TV journalists Herve Ghesquière and Stephane Taponier who have been held hostage in Afghanistan since December 2009.
In a letter to the French journalists' families, Grey says: "Visiting France this week for the first time in a few years, I learned that Hervé and Stéphane had been held hostage in Afghanistan since 30th December 2009.
"There has been very little publicity about their plight in the UK to date. I now know that France 3 television mentions them everyday – but otherwise is enough being done to publicise their situation and bring about their early release? ... If you feel I can help in any way by making any appeals on your behalf, please let me know.
"When I became arguably the first Western hostage of the modern era, held in Beijing in solitary confinement for two years by Mao Tse-tung’s Red Guards, my case was widely publicised in France as well as all the countries of the Western world – eventually!
"For eighteen months the advice to the media from the British Foreign Office was in effect: publicity will not help and might do harm. Unfortunately this advice was largely observed, even by my employer Reuters news agency, with no notable success. This “embargo” was ultimately ignored after eighteen months and a welter of worldwide publicity lead to my release eight months later."
  • The French journalists were taken in Kaspia province northeast of Kabul in December and are believed to be held by Taliban group.