Some media stories of note for Monday, May 20, 2013:The New Yorker examines
the ethical challenge of what a media organization does with a sponsor who might be aggrieved. Jane Mayer looks at how PBS dealt with David Koch, the conservative billionaire/philanthropist who was featured in a critical documentary it was about to broadcast.
Mark Thompson, the CEO of The New York TImes Company, spoke last week to Columbia Business School graduates and suggested the decision to institute an online paywall was among the shrewdest moves the organization has ever made. His commencement address did not note, as Jeff John Roberts did in paidContent,
that the Times' subscription base may have reached a plateau.
The BBC Trust has given a general seal of approval to the BBC websites, but found that its local news services aren't as strong as they ought to be. The Guardian reports
the Trust identified some weaknesses in quality and the ability of users to personalize content locally.
Media stories of note for Tuesday, May 14, 2013:
The Associated Press revealed Monday
that the U.S. Department of Justice had secretly obtained two months of telephone records for its journalists at several of its operations. AP decried the move
as an unprecedented intrusion into the rights of a free press. Details of the probe are not known, but it was believed to be in connection with AP's reporting on a foiled terrorist plot. The New Yorker's John Cassidy looks
at the wider political implications of the issue for the Obama Administration.
The Bloomberg terminal controversy continues to draw commentary. It was revealed that reporters were able to advance stories on the basis of their monitoring of login activity of clients on the Bloomberg data terminals. Gawker notes that
the monitoring was supposed to stop, but didn't. And the Guardian suggests
the matter is not a big deal. That said, the Wall Street Journal reports
Bloomberg and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation are cooperating on examining the issue.
Joel Smith, writing for the Pacific Standard,
explores an innovative effort in sociology and journalism in Alhambra, California, to study the news consumption of residents and marry them to a grassroots organization that would use a range of contributors to produce community journalism. He writes that the effort has promise in linking expertise in consumerism to a market's need for content.
Media stories of note for Thursday, April 18, 2013:
The South China Morning Post notes a new press regulation
in China that prohibits quoting any foreign media content without state approval. The regulator wants "strengthened management" of media, effectively a signal that media may not report what has not already been published by state-approved media. It notes a strengthened role for the regulator in recent weeks as it merged broadcast and print oversight.
It may seem self-evident that following a link to open an article would not constitute a copyright infringement, but the British Supreme Court has formally ruled on it. The court overturned an earlier ruling that found newspaper owners' copyright was breached. The Guardian reports
that the case is considered significant enough the court has referred the matter to the European Court of Justice so there may be continent-wide common understanding of rights.
Matt Waite, writing for Poynter,
discusses the emergence of sensor journalism, the use of technology to measure sound, temperature, movement and other factors to create data that are then converted into stories. He looks at sensors used to chronicle cicadas, but offers his own idea to explore how certain city districts have higher noise levels than others. Waite views sensor journalism as a new form that capitalizes on simple devices to make sense of complex information.
Media stories of note for Tuesday, April 16, 2013:
The explosions near the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday were captured by media, but Erik Wemple of the Washington Post notes how Twitter served as a form of media ombudsman
in the hours that followed to verify and not the many assertions and sources that emerged with information about the blasts. Wemple notes Twitter is also a home for those emphasizing caution in reporting on breaking news.
There continues a dispute between the London School of Economics and the BBC over an LSE trip to North Korea in which the BBC had embedded three journalists posing as professors. The Guardian reports
some of the students indicated BBC did not gain informed consent and they only learned of the undercover journalists upon arriving in North Korea. BBC insists the students were briefed in Beijing about the move.The Daily Telegraph notes
the European Commission has poured millions of euros into initiatives aimed at stronger Europe-wide regulation of the press. Among its early work is a report that recommends newspapers be regulated as are broadcasters, much more tightly and with requirements for balance.
Media stories of note for Wednesday, March 20, 2013:
Set aside the dire picture of the news business, says Matthew Yglesias in Slate
. People have never been better served as consumers of news. While this week's State of the News Media report painted a troubled industry, Yglesias says that is only the problem of the producer and not the consumer, who has more and better ways of acquiring information than ever.
The British move to create a new press regulator has settled very little. Newspaper and magazine editors fear the new entity could cripple their publications and The Guardian says
major companies are considering their own breakaway body to deal with standards and practices.
Wonder why Warren Buffett is buying certain types of newspapers? Peter Beller and Sarah Erickson, writing for The News Hook,
have a look at the criteria he appears to select and the equation he has established for survivability of papers.
Three media stories of note for Thursday, March 7, 2013:
The Guardian has an excerpt
of a chapter about journalism's challenges following the Leveson inquiry. The chapter's contributor is Richard Sambrook, former BBC News executive and current journalism school director at Cardiff University, He writes that, post-Leveson, journalism needs to apply a premium on transparent standards in order to rebuild trust. Rather than address standards through statute, what's needed is a shift in perspective by newspapers toward their staff and the public.
Frédéric Filloux, in his Monday Note,
has a look at last week's massive Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Among what interested him: 3.2 billion mobile subscribers, great machine-to-machine growth and data growth, meaning a large opportunity for media through video streaming. He identifies a challenge in the range of screen sizes, features and operating systems.
Earlier this week freelance writer Nate Thayer took The Atlantic Online to task for asking him to rewrite free an article he'd contributed elsewhere. Matthew Ingram, writing for paidContent,
notes that the episode epitomizes the changing landscape for writing --- namely, that there is plenty free writing good enough to meet the audience's expectations. He concludes that a writer's competition isn't the better product but the one that is good enough for others and is free.
Media stories of note for Thursday, February 14:
A British court of appeal has ruled that Google might bear responsibility for libellous posts on its Blogger platform if it has been alerted to the material and done nothing about it. The Guardian reports
court found that the five-week gap between the notification and response was insufficient and might leave it open to libel action. The decision, still open to appeal, might help frame the liability of platforms about defamatory material in the digital age.
Brian Morrissey, writing for Digiday,
says journalists need to understand how advertising works. Models of advertising are changing in the digital sphere and journalists need to recognize the relationship between editorial and advertising content, particularly the emergence of sponsored content. "Separation of church and state is a lovely concept, and it still makes sense in many instances. But the idea that journalists can remain aloof from their real industry — and that’s advertising, for the most part — is a fallacy," he writes.
The Knight Foundation is expressing regret
about the $20,000 speaking fee for Jonah Lehrer earlier this week, Poynter's Julie Moos reports. And Forbes.com's Jeff Bercovici encouraged Lehrer
, whose work was discredited in a plagiarism case last year, to return the funds or donate them to a scholarship --- to no avail.
The sleeping giant within the cost of gathering news is the legal expense to help journalists publish with minimal risk and to defend with minimal damage. Few constituencies are more stressed than the United Kingdom, where the legal framework is challenging for journalism.
The Guardian reports today
on the British Broadcasting Corporation's bills --- nearly 700,000 pounds in recent years --- simply on legal advice to deal with public complaints about its work.
Particular challenge exists to its Middle East coverage and hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent defending its programming. The BBC had to hire external experts to deal with the details of complicated complaints.
"Senior journalists grumble that the constant stream of complaints and legal challenges ties up staff in mounting a defence, often of individual news items or even single quotes; while at the same time complainants are frustrated by the slowness with which complaints are resolved," the article notes.
Internal concerns at BBC suggest the process of dealing with public complaints is cumbersome and open to abuse. The public broadcaster is examining new procedures to mitigate the problem.
Paul Carr starts his lengthy Guardian post with a rather cruel party analogy, but once you get past that, you get on to a much more interesting sense of his ideas for newspapers.
His advice: Stop updating and worrying about speed, start reflecting and worrying more about accuracy and quality. Embrace the bloggers and provide incentives for them to find you subscribers, then they'll stop swiping your content.
The approach: Get reporters to focus on producing quality and not 'vomiting words at a screen.'
The conventional wisdom --- or what stands for it in an unconventional and developing digital sphere --- was that full RSS feeds somehow keep people from eventually clicking to your site. Why do so when the full story is before you on a feed?
But the Guardian has opted for the full feed and is asserting the impact isn't harmful. The head of Guardian's development suggests, in fact, that the move will better engage users. It's a bold move and it'll likely prompt others to follow suit.