Thursday, September 29, 2005
Kremlin ducks out of press freedom meeting – As journalists talk of 'resistance'
Leaders of the Russian press and foreign publishers and editors, meeting in Moscow to discuss press freedom problems, were stood up by a senior Kremlin official who pulled out of the programme at the last minute. "Another brilliant public relations coup to improve the Kremlin's image on press freedom and independence", said – ironically - Timothy Balding, Director General of the World Association of Newspapers, which organised the meeting together with the World Editors Forum and the Russian Guild of Press Publishers (GIPP), during Publishing Expo 2005, which ends in Moscow today, Thursday.
Natalia Tymakova, Head of President Putin's Press and Information Office, was to have defended the Kremlin's position on press freedom and independence. She gave no excuse for her withdrawal from the meeting, where publishers and editors from Europe, Asia, Latin America, the USA and North Africa discussed a wide range of issues with the representatives of several leading Russian newspapers and magazines. "The Russian media does not face classic censorship, as the word would normally be understood", said George Brock, President of the World Editors Forum (WEF), in his opening remarks. "As far as the government's approach goes, I would christen this technique of smart, informal censorship as 'predatory manipulation,' said Mr Brock, who is Saturday Editor of The Times in London.
"If the authorities, federal or local, believe that press freedom in Russia is 'neither better nor worse' than elsewhere in the democratic world" (as President Putin has claimed ) "they are deceiving themselves," he remarked. "Taking normal press freedoms overall, Russia is currently moving away from - not towards - the basic understandings which underpin the relationship between the media, society and the state in Europe and America."
The Russian speakers and panellists at the meeting pinpointed Kremlin interference, misused subsidies and official advertising budgets, low public trust in the press, poor distribution, the failure to adopt professional journalistic and business practices, and the domination of 'quasi-government' electronic media among the many reasons why newspapers in Russia today remain weak (only 27 out of 1,000 adult Russians buy a newspaper every day). But they were also highly self-critical:
"The lack of trust in the media has more to do with the media than the government", said Vladimir Pozner, a prominent TV presenter. "Many
journalists have sold out, many journalists are on the take". Pyotr Godlevsky, CEO of the Izvestia daily newspaper, said that the "misfortune" of the press was the "lack of solidarity" among publishers and journalists, who were also responsible for the drop in quality of newspapers that had led to such a high level of public disaffection ? only 9 % of Russians trust the media, compared with more than 50 % who trust President Putin.
Andrei Richter, Director of the Moscow Media Law and Policy Institute told the meeting that "only when the people are interested in the destiny of newspapers will they stand up for the freedom of the press", adding: "It is possible to fight the authorities, but it's difficult because the power of the media is incomparable to that of the authorities. We must start by raising the authority of the media".
A glimmer of hope that the "resistance" of journalists has begun was given by Yury Purgin, the CEO of provincial press group Altapress and President of the Independent Regional Publishers Association, ANRI. Mr Purgin said that the authorities were beginning to learn "that they are not dealing with uniquely obedient media". Citing a recent petition signed by several hundred journalists against an abuse of government authority, he said: "We are starting to confront the powers and stand up for ourselves".
"Towards a Free and Independent Press in Russia" was organized by WAN, WEF and the Russian Guild of Press Publishers in the lead up to the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum, the global meetings of the world's press, which will they will organize in Moscow from 4 to 7 June 2006.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Conference: Newspapers Win Back Young Readers
Larry Kilman, Director of Communications at WAN, reporting from Argentina:
It is time for newspaper professionals to stop being defensive about their medium. That was the underlying message from the 6th World Young Reader Conference (see also former posting), which challenged the contention that children don't read and showed what the world's most innovative newspapers are doing to capture their loyalty.
"No more excuses about the vehicle we have chosen to make our living," said Marcelo Rech, Editor of the Zero Hora newspaper in southern Brazil. "The problem is not the newspaper as a medium - it's in our heads. We need to constantly innovate and at times produce a true revolution in our products rather than be content with mere survival."
The conference, which ended Wednesday, provided dozens of examples of what newspapers are doing to capture the young, and challenged the conventional wisdom that young people are exclusively loyal to electronic media. Summaries of all conference presentations are available from the World Association of Newspapers.
Zero Hora shows how newspapers can win back young readers in a multimedia world. One-third of its 190 journalists are under 30-years old. Nineteen journalism students fulfil support functions in the newsroom and "are a permanent focus group to challenge us," said Mr Rech. Forty-two percent of Zero Hora's readers are between 10- and 29-years old.
The conventional wisdom, however, says the young people don't read. "This is false," said Ricardo Kirschbaum, the Chief Editor of Argentina's Clarin daily. "They don't read as we did when we were young, but they do read." The problem is, today's young people did not grow up reading newspapers and have not developed loyalty to their local papers. But newspapers can and do create this loyalty.
Clarin, for example, has adopted a "life cycle" strategy in which the reading habit is created at a very young age - the newspaper publishes a pre-school magazine for children as young as 4-years old. It then provides a
wide variety of products, both within the newspaper and as separate publications, to appeal to readers of all ages. The "life cycle" strategy has been successful in many different markets, and will be examined in depth at the World Editor & Marketeer Conference, to be held in Athens, Greece, on 17 and 18 November.
The World Young Reader Conference, which drew more than 300 participants from 66 countries to Buenos Aires, Argentina, did not ignore digital media. As Dani?le Fonck, the Deputy Chief Executive of Editpress Group in Luxembourg put it, "How on earth can we reach youngsters if we don't use their tools, particularly mobile phones?"
But rather than accept the contention that digital media are a threat to newspapers, the conference looked at how young people actually use them. A new study in nine European countries and Canada shows they are not necessarily using them to open up to the wider world. The study, conducted for the European Union by the French Education Ministry's media and education research agency, CLEMI, finds that teen-agers
are using internet, mobile telephones and other devices primarily to communicate with a small group of friends.
"They are tribal," said Evelyne B?vort, Deputy Director of CLEMI, who described a closed communication loop using internet, SMS messaging, blogs and other media - but mostly to stay connected with a small group, and mostly to talk about themselves.
The Young Reader Conference examined the wide variety of ways newspapers attract young people, in large markets and small, rich and poor. It looked at Newspapers in Education programs, special sections and supplements, games and quizzes, literacy programmes, integration of digital and paper media, total "youth think", and many other strategies.
"At the World Association of Newspapers, we believe that whatever newspapers are doing in this area is valuable," said Aralynn McMane, Director of Education and Development for WAN, which organised the event. "There is no single approach. Even if a newspaper can only afford to do small things, they are worth doing."
5 Lessons from the 6th World Young Reader Conference
"Young think" - Jennifer Carroll, Director of News Development at Gannett Co. described the company's strategy of "including young adults as regular sources." Gannett's research found that young readers' interests vary tremendously and that a paper needs to take into account all of these interests when attracting young readers.
Daniele Fonck, Deputy Chief Executive of the Luxembourg publisher Editpress told of her company's plan that includes youth-oriented content in every section of the paper. The strategy helped raise youth readership over 2.5% in one year.
Marcelo Rech, editor of Brazilian paper Zero Hora explained that 40% of the paper's readership is between the ages of 10 and 29, a feat it accomplished by hiring journalists under 30 for a third of its newsroom staff and including 60 interactive features between the print and web versions per week.
Calling it a "metro for children," Carlos Echeverry, Editor and Publisher of Bolivia's Mi Super Diario described his paper's success - tripling circulation since its introduction in 2003 - by distributing the colorful and graphic filled pages exclusively in grammar schools.
Francis Dufour, editor and founder of the French children's publisher Play Bac Presse suggested that papers aimed at young readers "do news for the young" stick to shorter sentences and stories and include lots of color and maps in their papers.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Conference: Win and Retain Loyal Newspaper Readers
In the fight to win and retain loyal readers, newspaper editors and marketers need to keep pace with a rapidly accelerating business. They will find up-to-the-minute solutions for increasing circulation and readership from a strong cast of international speakers at the World Editor & Marketeer Conference & Expo, to be held in Athens, Greece, on 17 and 18 November. The conference, organised by the World Association of Newspapers, provides an unmatched resource for newspaper publishers, editors and marketers alike: the annual event draws nearly 500 newspaper professionals from 75 countries to network and exchange ideas. The conference has one goal: to help newspapers maximise their circulation success in 2006.
An overview of great ideas - new products, quality services and fresh approaches for newspapers presented by Mike Smith, Managing Director of the Media Management Center at Northwestern University and the chairman of the conference.
A special "Master Class" on circulation science, directed by WAN Strategy Advisor Jim Chisholm, which will include best practice methodologies to increase circulation sales. The class is drawn from the WAN Shaping the Future of the Newspaper project, which identifies, analyses and publicises all important breakthroughs and opportunities that can benefit newspapers all over the world.
The results of an SFN study on the format change phenomenon, which examines the drivers, highlights the opportunities and determines the risk of format change. The session includes a presentation from Marc Sands, the Marketing Director of Guardian Newspapers of the United Kingdom, and will also feature others who are making the change from broadsheet to tabloid or even smaller formats.
How to generate readers and revenue from digital media opportunities. A session on "News - anytime, anyplace, anywhere" will include a presentation on "Monetising news content in interactive media" by Constantine Kamaras, CEO of Sport.gr, a successful sports news site based in Greece that serves the needs of Greek sports fans world-wide.
Exhibitors at the accompanying Expo include Atlantic Syndication Partners, The New York Times News Service Syndicate, Mediafashion, Editorial Sol 90, Comunicacion Uno, and Planeta Marketing Institucional.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Germany: Praise for local journalists
Thanks to journalist Robert Domes for this article:
"Local journalists are grassroots workers of democracy." Those were the words Bernhard Vogel, chairman of the German foundation Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, used to praise the profession of local journalists. For 25 years the Adenauer-Stiftung has been awarding a prize for local journalists. Nowadays the award is considered the "Oscar of the writing guild" among German journalists. To celebrate its 25. anniversary, 450 representatives of newspapers from all over Germany met in Berlin last week, among them winners of the past 25 years as well as editors-in-chief and publishers. They all appreciated the role of local journalists. Dieter Golombek, spokesman of the jury, called it "the largest celebration ever given to the German local journalism". Bernhard Vogel said: "You benefit all of us with your work."
Former Prime Minister Lothar Spaeth appreciated the journalists, saying they helped to connect people with their local community. Sp?th appealed to the local journalists: "Let us try to mobilize citizens and again give them the feeling of being at home."
A Symposium titled "The local editor in its best roles" in the academy of the Adenauer-Stiftung Berlin tried to improve self-confidence of local editors and emphasized the importance of the local newspapers? work.
Hans Josef Vogel, mayor of German town Arnsberg said: "The local journalist in its role as moderator, who accompanies the development and organization of its city, will become ever more important in the next years." Arnd Brummer, editor-in-chief of "Chrismon", a German evangelic magazine, pointed to the importance of quality in newspapers and the personality of authors: "It's a mistake to think that readers do not want a high quality paper." He emphasized: "Without writer personalities there are no newspaper personalities. And if so, newspapers will soon be displaced by the Internet." In his view it's necessary to bring together form and content as well as ethics and aesthetics. Brummer: "Personality survives, and personality ties." Christoph Stoelzl, vice president of the Berlin House of Representatives, requested the editors to be aware of all social incidents and changes in the local community: "Indifference is the key to disaster. Every action that prevents and displaces indifference is therefore highly moral and deeply human."
Also Ernst Elitz, director of Deutschlandradio, a German public radio station, emphasized the journalist's role as citizen representative and watchdog of democracy. Elitz is sure that all social problems can be recognized in local communities. He said: "Watchdogs must be precise and careful workers as well as good criminal investigators, they must be writers and translators."
Source: Article by journalist Robert Domes
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Germany: new developments from weblog to video journalism
Hamburg - The journalist network "jonet" together with the "medium magazine" and the Chamber of Commerce of Hamburg is organizing an international congress for medium-creatives on 12 November 2005 in Hamburg. Experts from all sections will discuss the new developments of the journalistic everyday life, Weblogs as earnings/service model, recent magazine projects, working abroad, chances in new computer journalism, best-sellers from journalists, "enterprise-financed dream objects" in the Corporate Publishing, the boom of the football press or the new field of work of video journalism.
Thanks to journalist Robert Domes for this alert.
Monday, August 08, 2005
6th World Young Reader Conference: Winning the new generation for newspapers
There’s a lot for editors at the 6th World Young Reader Conference, set for 18 to 21 September 2005 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Sessions will include the most thorough survey yet of the world's best young reader editorial strategies, conducted and presented by the Innovations International Media Consulting Group. Participants will also hear the cases of enduring youth editions that have survived the tests of both time and money and learn about how some newspapers that have managed to imbue “Total Youth Think” throughout the entire editorial operation (see programme).
Few people can tell you more about how newspapers can attract younger readers than Jennifer Carroll, Director of News Development at Gannett Co. Inc. in the United States. Ms Carroll was the mentor for Gannett's Gen X Task Force, directed the publication of The X Manual, conducted the 25- to 34-year old Reader Review, and consults for Gannett's free weeklies targetted at young adults.
"It is imperative that our newspapers keep and grow these young adults as readers, if not in daily print then onlne, in free niche weeklies targeted at these young adults, and with other forms of delivery," writes Ms Carroll, the former managing editor of The Detroit News. "Our ability to continue to attract younger audiences means we cannot stop learning about them and their media preferences." Ms Carroll will be participating in the session on "Winning with total young-think: cases of how newspapers learned to think young throughout without alienating the core audience." She will be joined by Dani?le Fonck, Deputy Director of Editpress, the publisher of Tageblatt in Luxembourg, which has grown circulation by making young people present throughout the newspaper.
The 6th World Young Reader Conference will be the first WAN/WEF event ever in Spanish-speaking Latin America. For the evolving programme and online registration information go to www.wan-press.org/argentina2005 or contact: Aralynn Abare McMane, Ph.D. , Director, Development and Education, World Association of Newspapers (WAN), E-mail: email@example.com , 7 rue Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 75005 Paris, France, Telephone:+331 47 42 85 00 (8517 direct line), Fax: +331 47 42 49 48
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Guten Tag! I've just arrived in Frankfurt at the 1st International Wikimedia Conference. to check out what the phenomenon is all about and its possible effects on the newspaper industry. Stop by now and again over the next few days and we'll have some insight into Wikimania for you.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
How to Make Newspapers Essential for Teachers and Students
If you are looking for the next generation of newspaper readers, look to western Australia, where teachers are willing to pay to have newspapers delivered to their classrooms and students and their parents complain if
their newspaper is delivered late.
How The West Australian newspaper helped create this admirable situation will be the subject of a presentation at the 6th World Young Reader Conference, to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 18 to 21 September
Lynn Cahill, the Newspapers in Education Manager at The West Australian, will show how her newspaper has helped schools create valid educational programmes using newspapers -- programmes that have also helped The West Australian to increase its circulation.
She says that many teachers actually pay for the NIE materials out of their own pockets if school funds aren't available. And parents complain to the newspaper when deliveries are late because their children wake them up at 6 a.m. when they can't find their newspaper.
"Today's kids are used to getting a response -- communication is a two-way process," she says. "So at the West Australian, NIE responds to kids and encourages them to be committed to the newspaper and to value their contributions and opinions."
Ms Cahill will focus on successful NIE programmes for children under 12 and will present publications and activities that have led a majority of schools in the region to use newspapers in the classroom. More than 2,000 teachers in Western Australia have attended workshops after school to find out how they can get the most from the newspaper with their students.
Similar presentations will focus on reaching teen-agers and on reaching young adults.
These are just a few of the sessions that will examine the latest research, case studies and strategies for reaching young readers that will be presented at the World Young Reader Conference, organised by the World Association of Newspapers. For the evolving conference programme and on-line registration information, consult http://www.wan-press.org/argentina2005
Other highlights include:
- A presentation on the "journalist for a day" program at Der Standard in Austria, which brought teen-agers into the reporting process and lowered the average age of loyal readers. The presentation will be made by Bettina Reicher, who has lowered the average age of the newspaper's staff all by
herself-- she joined Der Standard seven years ago at the age of 15 and has
been running the paper's student pages since she was 16.
- A session on "The Front Page project", in which some of the world's leading newspapers changed page one to appeal to 10-year olds. The presentation will be made by Fran?ois DuFour, Editor in Chief of Play Bac Presse newspapers in France, and Aralynn McMane, Director of Education and Development at WAN.
- An examination of Argentina's "Investigative Journalist for a Day" project that united Buenos Aires' competing papers, spread to the whole country, and touched and hearts and minds of students.
- How the Bolivian daily "Mi Super Diario" has grown and prospered through its audience of 7- for 7 to 12-year olds. Carlos Echeverry, the paper's editor and publisher, will make the presentation.
- A presentation on how Gannett Co. Inc. in the United States focuses on young readers through a task force, a manual for all its newspapers and through free newspapers targeted at young adults, by Jennifer Carroll,
Director of News Development.
- Study visits to learn more about Argentina's rich NIE experience, hosted by the Education Ministry and the Buenos Aires Herald, which has exercises for Spanish speakers who want to improve their English.
- Presentation of the 2005 World Young Reader Prize, and an examination of the successful strategies that led to the award.
- An outstanding social programme to help participants network with their colleagues from around the world.
- And much more. Consult http://www.wan-press.org/argentina2005 for full conference information.
Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.
The 6th World Young Reader Conference is supported by Norske Skog, the Norway-based international paper manufacturer, by the Argentinean newspaper Clarin, and by the Brazilian Association of Newspapers, ANJ. Sponsorship opportunities are still available: contact Donna Pentier, Director of WAN Training & Events, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry
represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 72 national newspaper associations, individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 11 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: email@example.com
Friday, June 10, 2005
The importance of a watchdog culture in newsrooms
What is watchdog journalism? And why is it important for newspapers to incorporate it in their reporting? The Poynter Institute hosted a conference last week with more than 30 publishers and editors to address such questions. The conference, “Creating a Watchdog Culture: Claiming an Essential Newspaper Role,” touched on strategies to create newsroom cultures that allow watchdog journalism to flourish. Comments from Charlotte Hall, editor of Orlando Sentinel, sum up the participants’ general consensus: “Watchdog journalism is a state of mind for the whole newspaper: Journalism that gives power to the people.” Here’s a quick summary of participants’ reflections after they held small discussion sessions.
1. How can a newsroom evaluate its commitment to watchdog journalism? What actions from an editor and publisher, or in general, may underscore such a commitment?
To measure the commitment departments must examine the caliber of their work, the extent of resources and training devoted to the commitment, and the type of staff the newsroom hires. If the editor and publisher stand united in their commitment and speak of it often, it can become a part of the newsroom culture. The culture will be undermined if the editor and publisher step down from their strong stance of commitment or if stories produced are of poor quality.
2. How can readers evaluate the watchdog journalism in their papers? And what should they expect from a watchdog paper?
Newspapers have to first find ways to explain what a watchdog culture is to readers and then must make sure the culture becomes apparent through the pages. More importantly, from good watchdog papers readers should expect to see aggressive reporting that holds institutions accountable. Readers should also expect reporting with both an international and national mindset and look for stories with a consumer focus. Papers should make readers feel they are looking out for there interests, and should encourage reader feedback and connection. The paper should also be willing to scrutinize itself and must make its goal of watchdog journalism clear to readers, perhaps through a printing copy of the paper’s code of ethics. Paper’s should remind readers that they are on the reader’s side and must remember that a change in culture cannot happen overnight.
3. What role can innovation play in a watchdog culture?
A watchdog paper must be innovative in itself, deciding what to cover and involving readers in its agenda-setting. Online technology and multimedia partnerships can pull out story ideas from the community. Above all journalists should frame their stories with their audiences in mind, with better graphics, design, and information boxes.
4. To whom should an editor entrust the responsibility of promoting watchdog journalism – to which reporters, photographers, editors?
All reporters new and old, photographers, graphic artists and designers, copy editors, and editors should be committed to promoting the watchdog culture.
5. What role should newsroom policies and systems play in the health of a watchdog culture?
Newsrooms should conduct training sessions to promote a watchdog sensibility and help develop techniques. Moreover, editors need to make sure to hire staff that will be committed to the culture and should ensure that everyone in the newsroom is on the same page.
6. What values and assumptions should be associated with the watchdog culture?
A wide range of values should be ingrained in a newsroom committed to watchdog journalism, including: fairness, honesty, collaboration, transparency, and interest in the community. Moreover, staff members need to understand how essential the watchdog culture is to the value of the newspaper.
7. What priority should be given to watchdog journalism? Is there a good business argument to support it?
Since watchdog journalism is critical to newspapers’ mission, it should always be one of the top few priorities. The business advantage to good watchdog journalism will surface not in the short term, but in the long term. A good watchdog paper will eventually become an essential part of the community.
Source: The Poynter Institute