Some media stories of note for Friday, May 10, 2013:
Large British newspaper proprietors have made a concession in the negotiation to create a press watchdog. They have conceded they cannot have a veto power over the appointments to the new self-regulating body, a move that aims to assuage concerns that they would steer control of the entity into hands favourable to them. It also makes more likely that other newspaper groups will join the effort to create the regulatory body. Talks are ongoing on the structure of the new watchdog in the wake of the Leveson inquiry, the Guardian reports.
The Centre for International Media Assistance has released a report
that examines the need for ethical standards for media owners. The focus of media ethics has been on journalists, but this handbook examines the conflicts that arise from ownership, particularly the conflict of content against commercial interests. The handbook, written by veteran journalist Eugene Meyer, asserts the need for the application of principles of ownership that are congruent with the journalists in their employ.
Ann Friedman, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review,
argues this is the best moment to be in journalism. There is access to a world of sources, consumers have access to the widest range of media, and journalists have access to those who consume their work. Besides, she argues, there is little point in lamenting the days of old: They aren't coming back.
Media notes for Thursday, April 25, 2013:
Most national British newspapers have rejected a government royal charter plan to regulate the press and have proposed an alternative plan that avoids state-sponsored regulation they say would reduce press freedom. BBC reports
the move, supported so far by nine of 11 national titles, has thrown open the debate once more on how to regulate the press following the Leveson inquiry's efforts to identify a new process in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
The New York TImes, which Bloomberg notes
missed analysts' revenue expectations in its first-quarter results, has revealed a new digital strategy. Forbes.com reports
the plan includes tiered pricing that would permit access to "important and interesting" stories only at a lower rate (a plan now termed NYT Junior, aimed at younger readers), an expansion of its live events, and even an initiative to introduce games.
Not so long ago it was considered beneficial to be included on Twitter lists because it spread your content and associated you with particular expertise. But Nina Diamond, writing for Poynter,
suggests journalists reexamine which Twitter lists they are on and consider removing themselves from ones that do not help their brands, make you uncomfortable or are inappropriate.
Some media notes for Tuesday, April 23, 2013:
Jack Shafer, writing for Reuters,
defends the mistake. He notes that journalism has been making errors big and small forever, although he also observes that corrections and retractions don't happen the way they could. The difference now is the audience's ability to help correct the record and "talk back" to the press, making the second draft of history much better.
Frédéric Filoux, writing for his weekly Monday Note
, wonders what the fuss is about with sponsored editorial content, also known as native advertising. He says the controversy is a "festival of fake naivety and misplaced indignation." Editorial content has often been there to flatter the advertising that surrounds it, he says. That being said, he also believes the site's editor, and not its chief revenue officer, should be the one to decide if that advertising crosses the line.
Ombudsmen often determine when the line is crossed, and the Washington Post drew criticism when it recently discontinued the role and replaced it with a readers' representative. Craig Silverman, writing for Poynter,
profiles Doug Feaver and how his job will differ. Feaver came out of retirement to take the part-time role, which ostensibly answers readers of the paper and its site. His first column
noted the disappearance of the Print button on the site, something that restored once he identified the complaint. But he's not there to serve as an ombudsman, he notes.
A follow-up: An amendment to legislation proposes that smaller blogs (those with fewer than 10 employees and two million pounds in revenue each year) will be exempt from the harsh penalties if they do not join the new press regulator under the royal charter governing media in the country. The Editors Weblog notes
this is a welcome relief for organizations that would have been subject to the penalties originally devised for large companies.
Media stories of note for Tuesday, March 19, 2013:
The British House of Commons has passed measures
to establish a new press regulator. Press Gazette reports that judges will be permitted to award punitive damages against publishers who do not sign on to the new entity, which will be established by royal charter, seek arbitration of disputes, and be amended only by two-thirds support in both Houses of Parliament. Major newspaper firms have reacted critically
. The measures follow the Leveson inquiry into press conduct.The Atlantic delves into data from the new State of the News Media report and identifies the critical slide in advertising revenue for the newspaper business and their websites. In 2012, newspapers lost $16 in ad revenue for every $1 they gained in online ad revenue. Indeed the entire growth in the last decade of digital revenue does not make up for a single year of declines since 2003.The Knight Foundation is critical of many journalism schools, noting they haven't mastered the Web much less prepared their students for even more modern developments in gathering, telling and distributing their content. Where Knight is financing social and mobile applications, some schools haven't found ways to integrate the Web, Poynter's Andrew Beaujon reports.
Media stories of note for Monday, March 18, 2013:
The annual State of the News Media report
has been released by the Project for Excellence in Journalism. The report is a scorecard on media, primarily in the U.S., in the last year with special examination of elements of media. This year's report identifies several critical problems, principally a smaller workforce in traditional outlets and the rise of special-interest groups in covering significant news. Its other main conclusions:
the public is noticing the cuts, the news industry isn't earning a large share of digital advertising, there is a sharp growth in sponsored content, the growth in digital subscriptions appears to be having an impact on revenue, local TV news is following newspapers into cuts, word-of-mouth is leading to deeper news consumption.
Britain's Parliament will vote Monday on a proposed charter to regulate the media. On the eve of the vote, The Guardian reports t
hat three major news companies indicate they would boycott any regulator with legal clout (a proposal from the opposition Labour party) and establish their own self-regulation. The proposal follows the collapse of all-party talks on the matter following the Leveson inquiry into press conduct. Early Monday, though, the three parties agreed on a plan,
although they are publicly disagreeing on whether there is legal underpinning of a regulator.
Ken Doctor, writing for the Nieman Journalism Lab,
has an elaborate look at what he believes will be the newsroom economics (newsonomics, as he calls it) in five years. His main expectation is that data will be gathered about the audience to permit advertisers to understand and value the content creators appropriately, but he has an extensive blueprint, much of it patterned on the recent successes of Financial Times in this space.
Justin Ellis, also writing for the Nieman Journalism Lab,
examines how The New York Times last week experimented with an online comment filter following the announcement of the Pope to filter their identities and moods. The result was a more structured and arguably more relevant online discussion, he concludes.
Media stories of note for Friday, March 15, 2013:
The British government has shut down talks
among political parties and determined it wants a vote Monday on its measures to regulate the press. Prime MInister David Cameron called off all-party talks Thursday and today his party's culture secretary urged support for Cameron's press charter. Among other things it would levy up to million-pound fines and publish up-front apologies in cases of intrusion or misreporting. Opposition parties had been calling for stronger moves, including laws, but Cameron has ruled out legislation as excessive and unenforceable. The measures follow the Leveson inquiry into press conduct in response to the phone-hacking scandal.
Alan Mutter, in his latest post for Reflections of a Newsosaur
, has a prescription for newspapers that includes specifics on what they should and should not cover. Stop rehashing stories already widely known, use graphics instead of words, and quit writing background-padded articles in long-running stories, the veteran newsand tech executive says. Also: focus on people, not process; be local, not global; look forward, not back; show transparency; discuss, don't dominate; and be diverse.
A Reuters social media manager has been indicted
in the United States for alleging assisting the Anonymous hacking group with entering the Tribune Co. computer system and defacing its websites. Matthew Keys, a former Tribune television employee at the time of the episode, has been suspended by Reuters.
The Wall Street Journal examines
the emergence of online video advertising as a force in media growth and change. While ad rates are declining due to increased inventory, several major players are entering the space. The result will be a bigger, if less profitable, sector.
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 Tuesday:
The British Information Commissioner has expressed concerns
about the potential impact of recommendations of the Leveson inquiry into journalism. The Guardian reports Christopher Graham is particularly worried about a proposal to permit those covered by the press to have access to information journalists hold about them, a move he says would have a "chilling" effect on investigative work. He also believes the inquiry's recommendations reshape his office in a manner that borders on that of a press regulator.
Steve Hermann, the editor of the BBC News website, outlines for the Journalism.co.uk site
a range of essential skills for the emerging journalist: traditional curiosity and legal understanding, speed and accuracy, visual storytelling, social media and an appreciation of data.
Joyce Wadler, a reporter for The New York Times, writes for the Silurian News (reprinted here
by the Columbian Journalism Review) on the importance of building trust as a journalist.
The expectations, after so many events and so much discussion, were mighty. The swift critique of the Leveson inquiry report
into the British media ought not to surprise.
The inquiry (summary from The Guardian here
) produced four volumes and a range of observations and recommendations
that have met quick rejection
in some quarters and disparagement in others.
Among the recommendations:
- An independent regulatory body for the press, detached from editors, government and business, with a role to promote high standards and impose sanctions.
- A whistle-blowing service for journalists who feel they are being asked to do unethical things.
- Incentives for organizations to join the regulatory body and direct regulation if they don't.
- An arbitration system for those who seek media redress without having to resort to the courts.
- Legislation to enshrine the government's role in protecting freedom of the press.
The inquiry did not find widespread police corruption intersecting with media practices, but was critical of the relationship some politicians had with journalists. It was critical, too, of media practices in the invasion of privacy and
The first phase of the Leveson inquiry into journalism conduct is drawing to an end, and the influential British media publication Press Gazette has created a new "manifesto"
for journalists in light of what it has heard.
Its Journalists Code, designed to assist the deliberations of the inquiry, would require a signed pledge from journalists to uphold several provisions, including:
- More respect for the privacy of celebrities, but continued scrutiny of any illegality, dishonesty or hypocrisy.
-Greater transparency among news organization to deal with press inquiries about them.
-A ban on mentions of advertisers in editorial content.
-Libel reform to protect journalism in the public interest.
-A stronger Press Complaints Commission that can stipulate how corrections and rulings should be published.
-An independent commission with a majority of its non-journalist members.
-An end to unpaid internships.
-An end to copy approval by publicists and others pre-publication.