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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Journalism panel: gay marriage coverage presents tough issues

The debate over marriage for same-sex couples has forced journalists to rethink long-standing notions about objectivity, language and their audience, according to a panel of media professionals. Whether the gay civil rights battle can be compared to the struggle for equality fought by black Americans, what to call same-sex spouses who have married, and when gay journalists should be kept from reporting the story are questions being debated in newsrooms, the panelists said.

"... One of the issues here for everybody is it's new territory," said Robert Rosenthal, managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and a member of the panel, which was sponsored by the Northern California chapter of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association.

The Chronicle was criticized recently when it removed its lead City Hall reporter and photographer from covering the city's same-sex marriage controversy after the lesbian partners married. They were among the 3,955 couples that married in San Francisco between Feb. 12 and March 11...

... Steven Petrow, president of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association, said journalists also have wrestled with language. He cited as an example his organization's objection to the phrase "gay marriage." Marriage is marriage, whether it's for straight couples or same-sex couples, he said.

Other panelists said they had wondered if it was appropriate to refer to same-sex spouses as husbands or wives."

Source: Associated Press.

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on March 31, 2004 at 06:50 PM in m. Improving editorial quality, n. Online strategies, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Google.com versus Topix.net, the new news search engine

Thanks to Rafat Ali to report about Topix.net, a new and useful - but almost 100% American - news search engine. There are different categories like Journalism, Media or Blogs and the engine is now crawling 6,000 sources. And the same day, Rafat reports on Google's new services providing search results based on personal interests like "Personalized Web Search" and "Personal Web Alerts". Try both new services and compare them! I'll do it for sure.

About topix.net:

"Topix.net is now crawling 6,000 sources. An interesting breakdown of news sources by category:
24% Daily newspapers
19% AM & FM news radio stations
15% Weekly newspapers
15% B2B and consumer magazines
12% TV stations
9% College newspapers
5% Government websites
1% Weblogs

About the Google's new services:

The new services, currently in beta test, were unveiled by Google's Labs testing ground division. The first, Personalized Web Search, has users fill out a personal preference profile and then provides search results based on interests.

For instance, users signifying an interest in music and searching for the word "bass" will receive listings on the instrument as opposed to receiving an outdoor enthusiasts' results on the fish, Google said. The degree of personalization can also be adjusted on a sliding scale, allowing users to receive results that stick close to their preferences or are more general in nature.

The company also introduced Web Alerts, which work much like Google News Alerts. Users can indicate which topics interest them and receive regular e-mail updates with links to new Web pages and news stories related to the query.

The offerings come just days after Microsoft Corp. announced two of its upcoming search-related services while announcing its intention to be a major player in the market. The software giant said that it would be offering news and blog search services later this year.

But Google's new products are more focused on search personalization, which analysts and industry players have touted as the next battleground in the war to win users. In a review of Google's Personalized Search, SearchEngineWatch.com Editor Danny Sullivan noted that Google is the first provider to give users the ability to play around with personalized services.

More from the New York Times: Google is likely to launch its electronic mail service, Gmail.

It is presented as a long-running test. E-mail has become a crucial weapon in the competition to win the allegiance of Internet users, who often turn to one or two web sites as the foundation of their online activities, the NYT  said.

Google will offer consumers better access to search their e-mail and could well upset the industry balance by offering free access to services that previously were only available by paying a monthly subscription fee, the newspaper said.

The company is planning a service to be supported by advertising that will permit its users to store very large amounts of mail at no cost. Google's entry into the e-mail business will sharpen the lines between major portals like Yahoo and MSN, the newspaper added.

More information about both GOOGLE services can be found at https://labs.google.com.

Source: John Battelle blog for Topix.net and InfoWorld about Google. See also rediff.com about the Google email service.

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on March 31, 2004 at 06:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What kind of news do we need for democracy?

A friend of mine just gave me this info about a book published in 2003. "Journalism can do little to reduce the political imbalance between citizens and the economic, political and other organizations that dominate America" said Herbert J. Gans in a very well informed book dedicated to the American journalism in the twentieth century. The sociologist is not 100% pessimistic... if journalists succeed in changing their current news practices. Few weeks ago the "2004 State of the Media" report said more or less the same thing.

The book: Democracy and the News, by Herbert J. Gans, Oxford University Press.

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on March 31, 2004 at 05:46 PM in d. Design and infographics , m. Improving editorial quality, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink | TrackBack

(American) quotation of the day

"I have not read the Blair book and hope I can avoid it" said Ken Auletta to Mark Lewis, the Forbes.com books editor in a recent chat. Ken Auletta is the author of Backstory: Inside the Business of News (Penguin Press, $24.95), a collection of pieces on the subject of American journalism. Most of the articles originally appeared in The New Yorker. 50% of the chat is dedicated to the New York Times editors' strategy.

Source: Forbes via Mediapost. See also jaysonblair.com, set up last year by the UK freelance journalist Kieren McCarthy and don't miss this very good paper on the Ken Auletta's book in the Globe and Mail website.

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on March 31, 2004 at 04:38 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Bush, the Saudi billionaire and the Islamists: the story a British firm is afraid to publish

A very interesting paper from The Guardian and David Leigh explaining why a book investigating links between rich Saudis and US politicians has been suppressed by the giant publishing firm Random House because of growing "libel tourism" by wealthy foreigners, and exorbitant legal "success fees". Fortunately, laws are different for press' articles!

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on March 31, 2004 at 02:43 PM in n. Online strategies, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Seminar focused on Balkan medias and newspapers

Received from the Balkan Studies Seminars 2004, which will be held in Olympia, Greece. This year's program will include a seminar on international journalism arranged in collaboration with Duke University's DeWitt Wallace Center for International Journalism and Communication. If interested in, please download file.

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on March 31, 2004 at 02:24 PM in l. Conferences and awards | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Photojournalism and terror in Spanish newspapers

If you want to understand how many European newspapers react to terrorist attacks, please read the Juan Varela's article in Poynter Online. He explains why Europe (and Spain in particular) has a long history of seeing terror and why European newspapers show more photos of killed or injured people than US newspapers.

Source: Poynter Online and Juan Varela's blog, Periodistas21 (in Spanish).

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on March 31, 2004 at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Photojournalism and terror in Spanish newspapers

If you want to understand how many European newspapers react to terrorist attacks, please read the Juan Varela's article in Poynter Online. He explains why Europe (and Spain in particular) has a long history of seeing terror and why European newspapers show more photos of killed or injured people than US newspapers.

Source: Poyner Institute and Juan Varela's blog, Periodistas21 (in Spanish).

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on March 31, 2004 at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Indonesia: bright future for Jawa Pos, the most important media group

"There is not much room for new mastheads but we can boost circulation of our existing product range... We are now riding on the growth of regionalisation" said Dahlan Iskan, president director and CEO, Indonesian Jawa Pos group, to the Business Times - Southeast Asia. The 53-year-old president concentrates on building his fast-growing business empire. From a company with only one newspaper with a circulation of 6,000 copies in 1982, when he took over Jawa Pos, the group's total circulation today stands at 1.4 million in East Java.

Mr Dahlan is in fast forward mode when it comes to growing the Jawa Pos group. Already the largest media conglomerate in Indonesia in terms of number of newspapers and TV stations and geographical reach, he is now working to take his company public in the near future.

'We are halfway to becoming a public company,' he told BT in an interview. 'Last year we issued 200 billion rupiah (S$39.2 million) worth of bonds and through that exercise we learnt about the money market.' The issue was well received and is trading at a premium.

Mr Dahlan said that his strategy is to grow the company's existing products, which include 87 newspapers and magazines and three TV stations. 'We operate regional publications in all primary and secondary cities in the country. So there is not much room for new mastheads but we can boost circulation of our existing product range.'


Unlike other media groups in the country, Mr Dahlan has concentrated on regional publications and TV stations instead of trying to compete on the national stage. His flagship newspaper, the Jawa Pos, has the largest circulation in East Java, but is only now being promoted as a national newspaper.


His strategy seems to have worked as the company's turnover has grown by between 25 and 30 per cent per annum over the past few years. 'We are now riding on the growth of regionalisation,' noted Mr Dahlan. The Jawa Pos group, he said, intends to be the largest and most profitable fully integrated media company by leveraging on the trend towards decentralisation and the emergence of strong regional economies.

Source: Business Times - Southeast Asia and Shoeb Kagda in Surabaya.

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on March 31, 2004 at 01:28 PM in b. Alliances and partnerships, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

53 million digital camera new owners and how many new bloggers?

Reported by the Center for Media Research: a study from InfoTrends Research Group projects that worldwide unit sales of consumer digital cameras will reach nearly 53 million in 2004, and, at a compound annual growth rate of 15% over the next four years, will reach 82 million units in 2008. Michelle Slaughter, Director of Digital Photography Trends, says "Digital cameras are becoming an essential communications device for consumers. As a result, digital cameras have a higher intrinsic value to consumers than film cameras." One thing is sure: it modifies step by step the behaviour of our readers and some already say: we too are content providers!

In 2004, worldwide unit sales of consumer digital cameras are expected to surpass unit sales of worldwide film cameras. The Asia Pacific region, China, and the Rest of the World combined account for 10% of worldwide digital camera unit sales, growing to 27% by 2008. The three leading regions for digital camera penetration, now, are North America, Japan, and Europe.

Source: MediaPost - The Center for Media Research (free subscription).

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on March 31, 2004 at 12:17 PM in a. Citizen journalism, g. Photojournalism, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack