Tuesday, November 30, 2004
US elections: a failure of mainstream media, but not what you believed
Jay Rosen, Pressthink, has recorded 21 articles about the failure of mainstream media during the US presidential campaign. But his conclusion is original: he is convinced there was a failure but not the one columnists witnessed: "A reportage to meet and inform those passions is not the same as "news to help in your decision". It never came about. The passions went elsewhere. This is one way journalists "lost the plot." I don't think Big Media lost an election they were trying to win for Kerry. But I'm curious why some people do. I believe the political press largely (though not entirely) failed in 2004. It failed to innovate. It failed to move with the times. From what is called the mainstream media, "the famous MSM," we did not get a reportage suited for the political era we were actually living in. That means Big Journalism failed some ultimate test of currency: to report the truth about our struggles with politics... in time."
Google's Orkut puzzles experts
On January, "Google released a social networking service called Orkut, named after Orkut Buyukkokten, a Google software engineer who developed the project during personal time allowed to him by Google," according to a SearchEngineWatch article . "All employees at Google are allowed to spend twenty percent of their time working on personal interests, a policy Google has to encourage creativity. Buyukkokten had an interest in social networking and so developed his service, Google says. The company then decided to open it to the public." "Until now, the company has resolutely opposed creating content, as some rival portals do, in favor of simply connecting users to information from other Web sites" reports Verne Kopytoff of the San Francisco Chronicle. However, "The debut of several columnists on Google's social networking Web site, Orkut, has some in the Internet industry scratching their heads. Is the popular search engine's first foray into generating content simply an anomaly or a sign of bigger things to come?"
"The articles on Orkut are in an area called "media center" that includes links to author profiles and a photography gallery, the Global Image Cafe. Gavin Tachibana, a former reporter for the Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper, is identified as editor. Five staff writers and two photography editors also contribute, but their affiliation with Google - whether as employees, freelance writers or volunteers- isn't disclosed. Analysts said Google's baby step into the media business could dead end with the Orkut columns. Or the company could follow the footsteps of Yahoo and America Online, which offer online concerts and interviews with musicians, among other things. For now, major publications needn't worry about readers being siphoned off by Google's writerly ambitions. Orkut's columns feature a stream-of-consciousness style common to Web journals, otherwise known as blogs.
Wikipedia Creators Move Into News
Another example of citizen journalism, launched this month, this time by Wikipedia. According to Joanna Glasner of Wired News, "after doing much in recent years to revolutionize the way an encyclopedia can be built and maintained, the team behind Wikipedia is attempting to apply its collaborative information-gathering model to journalism. Through a new effort, Wikinews, members of the open-source community who write and edit Wikipedia's encyclopedia entries are encouraged to test their skills as journalists." "Our mission is to create a world where citizen journalists report the news on a wide variety of current events" says the main page of Wikinews.
"The news site follows a similar set of rules as the encyclopedia, which allows anyone to edit and post corrections to entries, so long as each change is recorded," reports Joanna Glasner. Unlike Wikipedia, Wikinews will present original material rather than just compiling and summarizing information found elsewhere, according to the news site's organizers. For future submissions, organizers also want to set up a system for accrediting Wikinews reporters who have actively participated in the project. The current rendition of Wikinews is an experimental version that, according to Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, offers just a taste of what's to come when the news effort builds momentum."
92 articles have been written so far, featuring among others subjects the Ukraine political crisis, and the creation of a trade area by China and South-East Asian countries.
Posted by Valérie Gazzano on November 30, 2004 at 12:34 PM in a. Citizen journalism, c. Multimedia convergence, h. Young readers / New readers, k. Circulation and newspaper launches, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Netherlands: National daily Trouw to go compact
According to PCM Uitgevers, "the daily newspaper Trouw will be issued in compact size starting February 3, 2005. Trouw will be the first quality daily newspaper in the Netherlands to move to the tabloid format. A survey has confirmed that readers of the newspaper are enthusiastic about the change.The newspaper will maintain the quality of its editorial content, but it will bring more colour and pictures as well as a better and varied presentation. The articles will be not shorter, but more accessible."
Source: PCM Uitgevers through Publicitas
What's in the gadget bag of a war correspondent?
Peter Mass is a very well known war correspondent for the Washington Post and now the New York Times Magazine (and Slate). Gizmodo asked him: What gear do you carry in Iraq? "Too much. Being a correspondent in a war zone requires a duffel bag of equipment, not to mention the trouble-shooting skills of a Tekserve geek. The most crucial piece of electronic hardware is a satphone. The best is made by Thuraya and is the size of a first-generation cellphone. It doesn't work indoors and its short antenna must be pointed in the direction of wherever the Thuraya satellite happens to be. Niftily, it has a GPS locater, so if you get lost you can acquire your GPS coordinates and call for help. With the aid of a Belkin serial adapter, the Thuraya transmits data at 19K or so, which is fine for email but slow for browsing the web or filing photos. Many photographers now use a Bgan transmitter, which is the size of a laptop and transmits at 56K or higher. You don't need a hardened computer, though breakdowns are frequent. I use an Apple iBook and took the precaution, during the invasion of Iraq, of covering the screen and keyboard in saran wrap, to keep out the sand. An item I didn't have, but dearly wished for, was night vision goggles. If you have to drive at night with the military in a warzone, as I and other non-embedded journalists did, you can't use any lights (you even have to tape over the red-light indicators on your dashboard)...
Useful doodads include a Sony shortwave radio, so that you can be aware of what's happening elsewhere. A small flashlight is essential; most journalists use maglites... As I often work with a photographer, walkie-talkies come in handy, to quickly be in touch when we're separated but nearby (Motorola T5320 works well in a radius of about a mile or so). As cellphones work in some areas, a GSM phone is necessary (I carry a Nokia 6610)."
Spain: El Mundo launches a new edition in Málaga
The Spanish daily El Mundo launched El Mundo Málaga last week. "This new edition is the fourth of El Mundo in the Andalusia region (Andalusia, Seville and Huelva). The general manager of this edition will be Rafael Porras, who will work with 8 editors. The regular issues will have 12 pages, the front and back pages will be in color."
Source: El Mundo through Publicitas
Swedish new trend: Svenska Dagbladet drops registration on the web
Thanks to Hans Kullin, Marketing Communications Manager in Stockholm, Sweden, for this interesting posting explaining why a Swedish leading newspaper turns 180° its web registration strategy. It is insightful, especially in that its strategy is the total opposite of British newspapers'. (see former posting). "Svenska Dagbladet has stopped offering premium content to registered visitors of svd.se and is instead aiming for increased reach to attract advertisers. The paper has broken a downward trend and recently increased the number of visitors to the site, in terms of unique web browsers. According to Mattias Fyrenius, Manager of New Media at SvD, the paper has redesigned the web site to make it clearer and added content like travel, wine and stock information. In addition, Fyrenius tells Dagens Media, SvD has started a weekly newsletter with game and music reviews to attract more readers. With the launch of the newsletter SvD also dropped the demands for registration to access premium content because registration became a big obstacle for the readers. SvD.se had 676,000 unique visitors during October wich is an increase with 39 per cent from the same period last year. SvD also launched Sweden's first op-ed blog this fall and is one of a number of Swedish media that has started distributing content via RSS .
Source: Hans Kullin, Marketing Communications Manager, Linklaters, Stockholm
Monday, November 29, 2004
France: Le Monde editor-in-chief resigns... and it's just a first step
For the French press, it's a big deal: the editor-in-chief of the most prominent daily, Le Monde, announced today he was leaving the post "to go back to the simple joys of journalism and writing." Edwy Plenel was (is) one of the most influential journalist in the country and he contributed to change the style of the newspaper and especially its front pages (more aggressive titles, more investigative articles...) with Jean-Marie Colombani, paper's publisher (an ex-journalist too) who called the dismissal "a trauma" for the whole newspaper after ten years of close cooperation.In fact, Edwy Plenel appears as the scapegoat of a Le Monde affair. Colombani was under pressure after the newspaper (and the group) revealed losses of 100 million euros (more than 130 million US$) in the last three years, even if in the same time Le Monde acquired new interesting publications (Télérama, Courrier International...). As it was impossible so far to make Colombani responsible of these poor results, the newspaper number two must fall! In my opinion, there is a sort of "Vivendi Universal syndrome" in the French press. As Jean-Marie Messier - but at a different level -, Colombani wanted to build a big media group, but losses have increased to an unbearable level. And today, Le Monde says its strategy of "group building" will not change. Messier said that as well in May 2002 one month before he was dismissed... Nevertheless, it's difficult to compare the Vivendi board to Le Monde board were journalists have still a short majority. The conclusion of this story is that it's just a first step in the reorganisation of the French press.
Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on November 29, 2004 at 03:08 PM in b. Alliances and partnerships, j. Staff changes, k. Circulation and newspaper launches, n. Online strategies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Korea: Ohmynews' first figures released
We have already written about the Korean news website Ohmynews a few times on the Editors' weblog, but until now we didn't know the precise figures concerning this website. "According to Min, director of international development, OhmyNews is generating almost US$500,000 a month in advertising revenue."We broke even last year and since then kept generating a monthly profit of about $27,000," The website is ranked in the top 15 in South Korea. According to a website message from the founder, Oh Yeon-ho, after three years OhmyNews was breaking even, with 2004 anticipated to yield a modest profit. According to OhmyNews sources, only 20% of the site's copy each day is written by staff journalists. The balance is totally dependent on outside contributors, including professors, police officers, students, housewives, business people - everyone. "OhmyNews citizen-reporters are paid from US$20 to as little as $5, depending on the place [each article] is assigned by our editors," Min said. The site was recently recognized at the fifth World Forum on E-Democracy hosted by PoliticsOnline, in a ceremony in France, as one of the global players instrumental in changing the world of the Internet and politics.
Source: Asia Times
Revival of the "good news" paper?
The idea of a "good news" newspaper has been numerously debated upon in reaction to the constant flow of bad news featured by newspapers. In the Philippines, it looks like this idea might materialize: according to publisher, Jose Cruz-Santos, "the bad-news syndrome could be an explanation for why fewer Filipinos are reading newspapers. You don’t want to get upset first thing in the morning when you scan your paper, he says. I wouldn’t buy a paper that tries to scare me and my family everyday. the dailies report the good news only below the fold, or in the inside pages." The solution would be to launch "a newspaper that reports only good and nothing but good news." The launching of such a newspaper has yet to be confirmed, we will keep our eyes open for further information on this matter.
Source: The Manila Times