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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Facing government crackdown, Algerian press needs international support

From Le Monde: Following the sentencing of its director, Mohamed Benichou, last June to a two year prison term, the Alergerian daily Le Matin now faces extinction after its headquarters were sold by the government Saturday. This move by the administration of President Abdelaziz Boutefika comes amid an overall crackdown on journalists. Benichou was convicted of money laundering after the February publication of his book Boutefika, An Algerian Imposter. This past Monday, Islamist journalist Ahmed Benaoum, director of the regional press group Al-Rai Al-Aam, was arrested after a long battle in which the government first suspended the publication of his newspaper and then hit him with a flurry of law suits. Another regional journalist, Hafnaoui Ghoul, has been imprisoned after exposing the corruption of local officials in the southern city of Djelfa...

The political system in Algeria has become so authoritarian and the affronts against the press so dire that "the mobilization of international public opinion is considered by journalists to be the sole means of resistance," Le Monde reports. "Although it is true that the Algerian regime has been, in the past, almost obsessively concerned about its international image, many observers are doubtful" the Boutefika administration will ameliorate the nation's press freedom situation.

Source: Le Monde

Posted by Dana Goldstein on June 30, 2004 at 04:47 PM in i. Future of print, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New distribution channels are crucial for media growth, says PriceWaterhouseCoopers industry report

From Editor and Publisher and PR Newswire: In the new report Global Media Outloook: 2004-2008, PriceWaterhouseCoopers predicts that the Asia/Pacific region will drive growth in the media industry over the coming years as nations like China and India open their markets and invest in communication infrastructure. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, however, only "a few" media segments, notably entertainment and high-tech, will experience rapid growth. How can newspapers get a piece of the pie? Robert Boyle, European Leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers' Entertainment & Media Practice, says future success is all about finding "new distribution channels and technologies -- such as broadband, mobile communications and digital products."

Looking specifically at newspapers, the report predicted increases in international advertising sales. In the United States, for example, still the world's biggest media market, national advertising revenues for newspapers will rise about 7.7%, local advertising will increase at a rate of about 3% annually and classified sales will remain "sluggish." Circulation will be stable, the report said, noting that efforts to attract a new generation of readers would succeed for weekday editions, but not on Sundays. And why the increase in national advertising revenue? "The favorable climate for national advertising includes movie companies increasingly favoring newspapers (both for theatrical and DVD releases), with wireless offers also abounding," Editor and Publisher reports.

Source: Editor and Publisher and PR Newswire

Posted by Dana Goldstein on June 30, 2004 at 03:55 PM in h. Young readers / New readers, i. Future of print, k. Circulation and newspaper launches, n. Online strategies, r. Revenues and business models | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BBC unveils reform report

From Media Guardian: Some of the big news coming out the BBC this week is specific to television, but a lot of the new initiatives mentioned in the network's new manifesto, Building Public Value, have implications for every type of news organization. The report promises to "eliminate derivative and cynical programmes" (copying the formats of other networks' hits, for example) and to "find the best new talent and defy standard programme categories." The report also announces the goal of creating an online TV library that would allow customers to download shows within 7 days of their original broadcast. And because the BBC is state-funded, the report calls for the Board of Governors to run a new "public value test" on all the network's programming in order to determine if it is complying "with the BBC's five main public purposes of supporting informed citizenship, enriching UK culture and creativity, extending learning opportunities, connecting communities and supporting the UK's role in the world." The expanding Board of Governors seems to be taking on ombudsman-like tasks. The BBC report also details plans for how the network can completely embrace digital (as opposed to analog) technology.

Sources: Media Guardian

and BBC of the future website.

Posted by Dana Goldstein on June 30, 2004 at 11:49 AM in i. Future of print, m. Improving editorial quality, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Australia's first Chinese-language daily launched

From ChinaView.com: The Australian New Express Daily, the first Chinese-language daily paper to be published in the country, was launched Wednesday in Sydney, where Chinese is the number two most-spoken language. The paper is owned by the Guangdong based Kingold Group Companies Limited and the Yangcheng Evening News.

Source: ChinaView.com

Posted by Dana Goldstein on June 30, 2004 at 11:25 AM in k. Circulation and newspaper launches, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bill Gates as a drole political blogger?

From PressThink: Following the news, reported by the Seattle Times, that Bill Gates is considering starting a blog, Jay Rosen, NYU professor and author of the weblog Pressthink, has written this letter of advice to Gates on how to launch a successful blog. It's a long posting, but to boil it down: steer clear of details of your private life; use the blog as a platform to share your views on politics, technology and world affairs; and above all, do it all with a personal voice. Rosen also suggests that in order to be faithful to blogging's democratizing influence, Gates should create a "Bill of Rights" for the approximately 600 Microsoft employees who blog, allowing them freedom to express themselves on corporate matters. Also interesting is the way Rosen imagines the blog as a possible "fourth way" for celebrities to communicate with the public...

Unlike muzzling the press, hiding from the press, or hiring a PR consultant, blogging would allow Gate to insert "himself into public conversation as a citizen of the planet, a reader of the news, (a sharp, funny person) editing the Web like all good weblogs do, and finding a honest voice in which to speak. Cure your blog of public relations, every hint and drop, or don't do it at all."

Of course all this assumes that Gates has some sort of higher motivation beyond Microsoft and Gates Foundation PR for (possibly) starting a blog, and that the world at large, or at least a significant group of people, care about his political opinions. Is that so?

Sources: PressThink and former posting.

Posted by Dana Goldstein on June 30, 2004 at 11:18 AM in a. Citizen journalism, i. Future of print, m. Improving editorial quality, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

U.K: Guardian reports discontent at the Telegraph

This Media Guardian article on discontent at the Daily Telegraph following its purchase by the Barclay brothers is interesting for two reasons. First, despite the Barclays promise not to mess with the Telegraph's editorial policies, Telegraph columnist Craig Brown has threatened to quit if the brothers install their right-hand man, Andrew Neil, as editor. Second, the article contains some telltale signs of how The Guardian came upon this story: apparently, both Brown, who is a former Guardian columnist, and an anonymous "insider" emailed The Guardian with their misgivings about the Barclay takeover. That serves as evidence of the dominance of The Guardian in the role of watchdog of the British press. Their reporters are the people other journalists are turning to in order to get a story out.

Source: Media Guardian

Posted by Dana Goldstein on June 30, 2004 at 10:47 AM in i. Future of print, j. Staff changes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Chicago Sun-Times circulation chief quits

From Reuters via Media Guardian: Following the disclosure of inflated circulation figures, the Chicago Sun-Times has announced the resignation of its vice-president for circulation, Stephen Hastings. Mark Honung, the previous V.P. of circulation and currently president and publisher of another Hollinger International title, the suburban Daily Southtown, has been placed on administrative leave from that post following the investigation into the paper's circulation figures.

Source: Reuters via Media Guardian

Posted by Dana Goldstein on June 30, 2004 at 10:25 AM in h. Young readers / New readers, i. Future of print, j. Staff changes, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Good news for Apple and RSS users

Dan Gillmor reveals that "There will be a lot to like about Apple's next operating system, OS X 10.4, aka "Tiger", when it comes out sometime next year. In his keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Steve Jobs said Apple will be moving the bar further ahead of Microsoft... Jobs spent a fair amount of time talking about the native inclusion of RSS into an upcoming version of the Safari browers, and a "personal clipping" service. There's a special search function just for RSS; I'm not clear on whether it's searching via one of the main RSS search engines, whether Apple will write its own or whether it's only searching your designated feeds." I just remind our readers that the present weblog would be impossible to update without using a RSS (Real Simple Syndication). In our case, it's NetNewsWire.

Sources: Dan Gillmor / Siliconvalley.com and Apple website

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on June 29, 2004 at 05:32 PM in a. Citizen journalism, c. Multimedia convergence, n. Online strategies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AP to improve content management for clients

According to Editor and Publisher, "The Associated Press will use software from Convera Corp. to categorise, search and distribute its multimedia news content as part of a major technology initiative at AP, the companies announced Monday. Under their agreement, AP and Convera also will work to tailor the software, called RetrievalWare, to address broader needs of the publishing industry. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. AP, the world's oldest and largest news agency, said its initiative, called "electronic AP" or "eAP," is expected to produce a new generation of content management and distribution systems for newspaper publishers and other subscribers.

Source: Editor and Publisher through EJC newsletter

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on June 29, 2004 at 05:16 PM in c. Multimedia convergence, d. Design and infographics , m. Improving editorial quality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

And today, Sudan or Paris Hilton?

it's just a quote in a Matt Thomson paper, Poynteronline: "The New York Times has given more than 10,000 words to stories that mention Darfur since May 23, says Lexis-Nexus. In the same period, the paper has devoted at least 17,000 words to stories mentioning Paris Hilton." The paper is called: "Sudan: The Untold Story."

Source: Poynteronline

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on June 29, 2004 at 01:26 PM in m. Improving editorial quality, n. Online strategies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack