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Monday, January 31, 2005

Washington Post looks at making money from blogs

From the Blog Herald: "In perhaps a sign old media is finally realising that articles of interest to bloggers are worthy of printing (as opposed to about them), the Washington Post has run a light, yet informative piece on the opportunities to make money from blogs."

Source: Washington Post through the Blog Herald

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on January 31, 2005 at 11:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

US: birth of "Keeping People Connected"

It happens in Indiana, USA and the evolution is quite interesting. First, this little media group from the Middle-West - The News-Sun, The Evening Star or the Herald-Republican - radically changes its name: "For years we had been known as Kendallville Publishing Co. For some people, that’s what we’ll always be, even though it’s an image that isn’t quite true anymore... Finally, the change was officially made to KPC Media Group Inc. with the “KPC” part reinterpreted as “Keeping People Connected.” It's a very clever name because "Keeping People Connected" is the main asset of newspapers. Offline and online. Second, the group recently decided shift towards a paid model: "The first change you’ll notice at the beginning of February 2005 is that the Web site will be moving to a paid model. That is a huge shift, and one worth talking about.

For years readers tell that they couldn’t understand why we offered so much of our newspaper content for free on the Internet. The standard response was that we were being supported by online advertising, much like a free newspaper, or “advertiser,” would be.

The advertiser newspaper analogy broke down at some point, though, because none of the companany’s advertisers, called the Smart Shoppers, carried as much sheer information as the Web site...

Another reason why the Web site is going to a paid model is just plain fairness. You might argue that there are other ways to be fair, but let’s take a look at the situation for a moment, broken down by reader types.

“Group A” gets the regular daily newspaper — the print version.

“Group B” is our Web reader, who hasn’t had to buy or borrow anything, but who is able to take advantage of most of the same content as the person who has bought a subscription... If you only want a subscription to the Web site, that cost begins at $5.95 per month, $29.95 for six months, and so on."

With rumors on big newspapers' websites moving towards paid models, this attempt of a very local media group could be pioneering.

Source: KPCnews.com through paidcontent.org (Stacy Kramer)

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on January 31, 2005 at 04:16 PM in b. Alliances and partnerships, c. Multimedia convergence, h. Young readers / New readers, r. Revenues and business models | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Arab media focus on voting, not violence

Nothing to add to this very good paper from Hassan M. Fattah and The New York Times : "After nearly two years of providing up-to-the-minute images of explosions and mayhem, and despite months of predictions of a blood bath on election day, some news directors said they found the decision surprisingly easy to make. The violence simply was not the story on Sunday morning; the voting was. Overwhelmingly, Arab channels and newspapers greeted the elections as a critical event with major implications for the region, and many put significant resources into reporting on the voting, providing blanket coverage throughout the country that started about a week ago. Newspapers kept wide swaths of their pages open, and the satellite channels dedicated most of the day to coverage of the polls."

Source: The New York Times

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on January 31, 2005 at 11:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Under pressure, Qatar may sell Al Jazeera station

Since my first trip to the Al Jazeera headquarters in July 2004, I'm convinced that the future of the TV station will impact the whole Arab media landscape: Al Jazeera has introduced something new in the news gathering process and it will be very difficult to go backwards. Al Arabiya has already changed its coverage of Arab news - in the sense that it is more conventional - and it could happen to Al Jazeera according to this New York Times article: "Bush administration officials have complained heatedly to Qatari leaders that Al Jazeera's broadcasts have been inflammatory, misleading and occasionally false, especially on Iraq. The pressure has been so intense, a senior Qatari official said, that the government is accelerating plans to put Al Jazeera on the market, though Bush administration officials counter that a privately owned station in the region may be no better from their point of view. "We have recently added new members to the Al Jazeera editorial board, and one of their tasks is to explore the best way to sell it," said the Qatari official, who said he could be more candid about the situation if he was not identified. "We really have a headache, not just from the United States but from advertisers and from other countries as well." Asked if the sale might dilute Al Jazeera's content, the official said, "I hope not."

Estimates of Al Jazeera's audience range from 30 million to 50 million, putting it well ahead of its competitors. But that success does not translate into profitability, and the station relies on a big subsidy from the Qatari government, which in the past has explored ways to sell it. The official said Qatar hoped to find a buyer within a year...
A recent decree from the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, said Al Jazeera would be converted to a privately owned "company of participation," which Mr. Jihad Ballout, the station spokesman, said would most likely be owned by shareholders in the Arab world. But little has happened since then, and now new people have been put on the board to facilitate its sale.

Mr. Sheikh said that Al Jazeera's budget last year was $120 million, including a subsidy of $40 million or $50 million from Qatar. Mr. Ballout said one reason for the shortfall was that businesses were afraid to advertise because of criticism they might get from Arab governments and the United States."

Source: New York Times

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on January 30, 2005 at 08:10 PM in b. Alliances and partnerships, o. Ethics and Press Freedom, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, January 28, 2005

Blog confusion (2): and now the CIA says Eric Alterman

In a former posting, I was wondering about the sponsoring of an Iraqi "independent" blog by an organisation called "Spirit of America". It seems that now a fierce debate takes place in the US about these Iraqi initiavives. Timothy Karr, editor of mediacitizen, reports that "A recent argument between two of the better known bloggers, Eric Alterman and Jeff Jarvis, has spread across the blogosphere. The point of conflict is Alterman's suggestion that two Iraqi bloggers might have CIA ties, made while he was a guest on MSNBC. Jarvis, also a guest on the program, took great offense, citing Alterman's inability to provide any facts as "ammoral [sic] rumormongering." Now the two are airing out their differences via their heavily trafficked websites."

Source: mediacitizen

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on January 28, 2005 at 06:20 PM in a. Citizen journalism, m. Improving editorial quality, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Chicago Tribune launches program to keep subscribers

From MediaDailyNews: "In a bid to keep its subscribers on board, the Chicago Tribune this month launched Subscriber Advantage, a program that will provide benefits to any subscriber of the paper who signs up and activates an account... The program offers subscribers special discounts from Tribune advertisers, special events, Q&A sessions with Tribune journalists, a Chicago help desk and hotline, and complete access to the Tribune's online archives."

Source: MediaDailyNews

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on January 28, 2005 at 04:05 PM in d. Design and infographics , f. Supplements and give-aways, h. Young readers / New readers | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Technology threats to advertising breach newsroom walls

This is a very convincing article on how newsrooms' staffs need to understand the new business model of the newspaper industry. Thanks to Robert Niles and the Online Journalism Review for this analysis: "Technology that allows advertisers and readers to better connect continues to drive economic changes in the news business. The Internet hammered the newspaper classified business over the past decade, and now new technology for placing display advertising on Web sites promises to challenge remaining news industry business models. Many journalists don't give much thought to what happened on the other side of "the wall." But advertising pays the bills – including reporters' salaries – in almost all news organizations. And changes that interrupt the flow of money from advertisers to publishers ultimately result in less cash for newsrooms.

"If a newspaper had umpteen million dollars in revenue from employment advertising, which was the most lucrative category of advertising at newspapers, bar none, and that category has dropped by 40, 50, 60, 80 percent -- that has a significant impact on everything at the newspaper," said industry analyst Peter Zollman, founding principal of Advanced Interactive Media Group...

So are traditional news organizations doomed to watch their top lines evaporate? Not if the people working for them can change and help develop their own new methods to serve readers and advertisers.

"Don't think the old way is going to be enough for survival," Zollman warned. "The mistake of the average journalist is to say I don't want to have to deal with this stuff ? I'm a 'pure journalist.'

"Well, there's a lot a very exciting and very pure journalism in interactive media, and great opportunities to learn and increase your value to your company ... and to increase your value to you."

Source: OJR.
See also this Poynter Online article " an online rescue for newspapers?"

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on January 28, 2005 at 12:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Slate rekindles the blogging debate

Tipped off by Jack Shafer's observations on Slate about last week's Blogging, Journalism and Credibility Conference at Harvard, a small digital battle of opinions has emerged. Shafer thinks that the bloggers are arrogantly and prematurely exaggerating the success of their medium as well as the extent to which blogging is revolutionizing mainstream media by declaring "blogs as the medicine the newspaper industry should take to reclaim its lost readers" and open source journalism as the "tonic for what ails the press." He says that bloggers ignore the historically proven adaptability of the media and the fact that professional journalists have been "Webified" for years, actually being more "Webby" than bloggers are today. He points out that none of the representatives of the "dinosaur" media at the conference felt threatened by blogs and that many journalists have even begun their own blogs. Responses were quick, many and varied from supportive to openly hostile. Theagitator.com agrees with Shafer, saying that bloggers have begun to take themselves too seriously. Jay Rosen on the Conference's website says Shafer, aside from being lazy and lacking decency, writes "false characterizations" about the meeting. Ed Cone calls his Shafer's article "boring" and "innacurate." Read the article and join the debate by posting your own comments.

Source: Slate

Posted by john burke on January 28, 2005 at 12:21 PM in a. Citizen journalism, c. Multimedia convergence, h. Young readers / New readers, m. Improving editorial quality, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Trends in newsrooms to be examined at World Editors Forum

First there was the trend to compact newspapers, and then an explosion of new titles to compete with free papers and attract young readers. But what will be the defining newsroom trends in 2005? The answer is certain to emerge at the 12th World Editors Forum, to be held in Seoul, South Korea, from 29 May to 1 June.

Among the topics to be examined at the Forum, the annual global meeting for senior newsroom executives, will be:
- The rise of the "citizen journalist." Call it what you will -- participatory journalism, public journalism or open source journalism -- it is becoming a clear that more and more readers are becoming involved in the news gathering and debating process. Conference participants will be able to discuss the subject with keynote speaker Dan Gillmor, ex-columnist of the San Jose Mercury News, major blogger and author of "We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People."
- The risks and challenges posed by RSS (Real Simple Syndication) and news aggregators such as Google News and Google Alerts, in which general and personalised news is provided by machines, not editors. "Personalised news" has moved from being a slogan to reality, but very few newspapers are ready for this revolution. The session will feature Rich Skrenta, CEO of Topix.net, Susan Mernit, a US-based consultant and former senior executive with AOL, and a representative from Google.
- An audit of changing formats. The rush to compact newspapers is well documented, but what is less clear are the results of the latest format and design changes. The WEF conference will examine the innovations that have worked and those that have not in a session featuring newspaper designer Mario Garcia and Didier Pillet, Editor of France's largest circulation general interest newspaper, Ouest France.

Hundreds of chief editors and other senior newsroom executives are expected to participate in the World Editors Forum, which runs concurrently with the 58th World Newspaper Congress and Info Services Expo 2005. The events are
the global meetings of the world's press, drawing more than 1,000 newspaper executives to a unique annual gathering organised by the World Association of Newspapers.

Other highlights of the WEF conference include:

- A session on "Visual journalism: infographics at the cutting edge", which will provide practical tips on how to benefit from the new infographics wave. Katie Ratcliffe, the Asia Pacific manager for graphics for Agence France-Presse, will chair the session.

- A session on "Editorial networks: do more with less" will examine alliances among newspapers in different markets to share coverage of international (and sometimes regional) events. The session will feature Miguel Angel Bastenier, International Affairs Director for Spain's El Pais (which created such a network with Le Monde in France and La Repubblica in Italy) and Imtiaz Alam, the General Secretary of the South Asian Free Media Association in Pakistan.

- Three special events to encourage networking among editors: a cocktail reception, and breakfast meetings with Korean editors and will Chinese editors.

- A press conference with Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun, who will also be a
featured speaker during the joint opening ceremonies.
- And much more.

The World Editors Forum theme is "Your readers are changing? Change your newspaper!" For more information, including the evolving programme details
and registration information, contact Julia Hewkin, Events Coordinator, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, 75005 Paris, France.
Telephone +33 1 47 42 85 00, Fax +33 1 47 42 49 48, e-mail: jhewkin@wan.asso.fr.

The Paris-based WEF is the organisation of the World Association of Newspapers that represents senior news executives. WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, represents 18,000
newspapers; its membership includes 72 national newspaper associations, individual newspaper executives in 101 countries, 13 news agencies and nine regional and world-wide press groups.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy
St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36.
E-mail: lkilman@wan.asso.fr

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on January 28, 2005 at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

UK: new focus for regional newspapers

An article in the UK's January 14 press gazette reports on the change in focus of a regional paper, the Norwich Evening News. Research done by a London marketing agency, The Future Foundation, showed that the internet and 24 hour news stations have made it much less important for regional papers to carry breaking news. The Norwich Evening News decided to heed the study's results. It moved its edition times forward by 40 minutes, meaning that late-breaking stories could not be included, but assuring that the paper would be on the streets when people were out of work. Now, if a story breaks after the paper goes to press, it is simply posted on the paper's website. The research also showed that readers of regional papers, normally pressed for time, now prefer smaller news summaries. The Norwich Evening News adapted accordingly, adding a summarizing paragraph at the beginning of lead stories.The public reaction has been positive and circulation has risen 4%. The paper's editor, David Bourn, commenting on the way the industry is changing, said, "Local exclusives will always be our meat and drink but these days national and world events are reported as they happen on TV and the internet. This has changed the role of a newspaper from being the medium to break news stories to being the medium providing detail and analysis."

Source: press gazette (print edition)

Posted by john burke on January 28, 2005 at 09:52 AM in d. Design and infographics , h. Young readers / New readers, k. Circulation and newspaper launches, m. Improving editorial quality, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack