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 Friday, March 22, 2013:
Earlier this week, Slate's economics writer Matt Yglesias wrote
on these being the glory days of American journalism, what with such abundant sources and platforms of content. Conor Friedersdorf, writing for The Atlantic Online,
takes issue with an element of that assertion in his essay. He argues that local coverage is suffering, no matter the breadth of new resources to understand the world. He says citizen journalism hasn't filled any breech opened by local newspaper cuts. "Until some entity is doing the work that local journalists aren't doing anymore, we're likely to see more instances of government waste and corruption, citizens who are more poorly informed about the government closest to them, and all the unpredictable dysfunction that entails," he writes. "Much is better --- and much is worse."
The Economist adds its voice
against measures to impose press regulation in Britain. A royal charter passed in the Commons this week provides a simplified defamation process for those who enlist in the regulator and leaves others open to more severe penalties. The Economist says that in a choice between regulation and expression, it is far better to have expression. Even though tabloids have on occasion broken laws and victimized innocent people, they have also exposed lies and corruption in high places.
In the new edition of Nieman Reports,
filmmaker and author Errol Mendes discusses truth in journalism.
Mendes' new book examines the four-decade-old case of convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald, whom Mendes has concluded was innocent. But Mendes, a former detective, says the truth isn't about what a majority of people believe. "We are constantly creating narratives, but we should remember that narratives can be shown to be false," he says. "The world always trumps whatever story we can concoct for ourselves."
Media stories of note for Thursday, March 21, 2013:
Earlier this week Allyson Bird blogged about
why she left newspapers. Her post has since gone viral. She tired of the extended hours for relatively little pay, emotionally exhaustion and under-appreciation. "I left news, not because I didn’t love it enough, but because I loved it too much – and I knew it was going to ruin me," she writes. Bird, a former Palm Beach Post reporter, now writes more happily for a hospital fundraising arm.
A new study from Deloitte suggests Americans are rapidly becoming "digital omnivores," owning a laptop, tablet and smartphone. Some 26 per cent had all three at the end of 2012, up from 10 per cent only a year earlier. The result, Hollywood Reporter says,
is a massive growth in streamed video online.
Emily Bell, the former Guardian online director and current director of the Tow Center for digital media at Columbia University, adds her perspective
to new British press regulations. She says they're seriously out of touch with the way the Internet has changed journalism. As a result it fails to address privacy concerns and press freedom attacks in a connected society.
Robert Cringely, writing for InfoWorld,
writes about the "death" of Web journalism at the hands of advertisers. He notes the rapid rise of so-named "native advertising" or sponsored content and the increasing number of publishers who are prepared to blur the "fine line between shills and scribes."
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.
An inquiry into Australian media
has concluded that a new press regulatory body is required to deal with public complaints.
The inquiry, called in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal and headed by retired judge Ray Finkelstein, offers several recommendations to deal with public trust in the press.
The inquiry concluded
that existing measures are insufficient and underfinanced to deal with public concerns. Only a limited number of news media participate in such initiatives. Finkelstein recommends a binding authority that would compel apologies and corrections across all platforms. It would be independent but government
Industry response has been negative. The strongest concern has been that a government-financed body has no place in determining the fairness of journalism. It suggests industry self-regulation remains the best solution.
He did not recommend government support of the industry generally, but noted the weakness in some instances of the regional press and said the matter bears continued attention.