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 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 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 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.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has decided to steer clear of regulating the Internet as it does broadcast media and phone companies.
It had been considering the move for the third time and concerns continued that its effort in that sphere would create new taxes to pay for Canadian content.
Having said that, the CRTC has asked the courts to clarify the status of service providers and whether they should adhere to the same provisions as television in delivering Canadian content. Both could have major impact on Internet firms.
The CRTC chairman believes Canada needs a comprehensive digital strategy. It shelved any further review, though, for the next five years.