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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Editor endorses Kerry in Bush's hometown!

Thanks to topix.net to provide such news: "As a cub reporter for the Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Tex., Nathan Diebenow routinely writes stories about small-town matters -- the Crawford Pirates football team, new air-conditioning units in the high school gym. But when your first journalism job is in President George W. Bush's hometown, you sometimes get a shot at bigger stories. Diebenow himself became the news when he and two editors wrote an editorial endorsing presidential candidate John Kerry -- a move that enraged Bush-loving Crawfordians and set off a torrent of hate mail, abusive phone calls, and canceled subscriptions. Iconoclast Editor W. Leon Smith has written that the paper has received more than 3,800 letters."

Source: San Matteo County Times through topix.net

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on October 31, 2004 at 01:27 AM in n. Online strategies, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 30, 2004

A polarized society leads to polarized journalism

Thanks to American friends to tell me that I missed one of the most important article written about the presidential campaign and the media. First, David Shaw, the LAT columnist, says "he cannot recall a presidential election in which the media — broadly defined — have played a greater, more visible or more controversial role than they have in this campaign." And he is right. Second, he agrees on the fact that "the American society becomes an increasingly polarized society. But why? I don't think the issues confronting us are as bitterly divisive as they were in the 1960s" (in comparison with the Vietnam issue) .

According to Shaw, "One reason of the polarization is that "as journalism has become more political, it has also become more personal ? more personalized. In an era when personalities ? celebrities ? dominate the news, it's not surprising that the personalities rather than the policies of our politicians dominate the political news. This has given rise to the politics of hate."
But the most interesting part of the article is to come: "As traditional political parties have become weaker and more circumspect, some bloggers, talk radio, Fox News and the authors of some political books have become "para-media ? auxiliaries to the political parties" (here David Shaw quotes Todd Gitlin, author of the books "Media Unlimited" and "The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage").

And at the end of his article, Shaw quotes another author. "Many political people on both sides believe, or profess to believe, that a lot of what goes under the banner of journalism today is in fact political propaganda," says Nicholas Lemann, dean of the graduate school of journalism at Columbia University... The idea of journalism as a separate space from politics is getting eroded, and there's a real challenge going on to the legitimacy of journalism as an honest broker, an impartial provider of information."

Conclusion of David Shaw: In that sense, the media may be the ultimate loser in this election."

Source: Media Matters in the Los Angeles Times

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on October 30, 2004 at 11:01 PM in a. Citizen journalism, m. Improving editorial quality, n. Online strategies, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Strange media award to IslamOnline

At the beginning, it sounds good: "Journalists from developing countries were awarded prizes last week for their reporting on water, sanitation and hygiene issues.But the second part of the Science and Development Network's article is less convincing. "The WASH Media Award, established by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council in 2002, went to Nadia El-Awady, an Egyptian journalist, and health and science editor of the IslamOnline news website... Her winning entry, entitled 'The Nile and its people', discusses the pollution of the river that has been described as Egypt's 'vein of life'. "This is an outstanding piece of journalistic work — clear, concise and investigative," said Robert Lamb, chair of the panel of judges." I don't know Nadia El-Awady but I'm quite familiar with IslamOnline and especially its training media courses for young girls called "Hijab Campaign". Just have a look on the site and you will understand my estonishment and worry to see IslamOnline awarded!

Source: Science and Development Network through topix.net

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on October 30, 2004 at 06:00 PM in a. Citizen journalism, l. Conferences and awards, n. Online strategies, o. Ethics and Press Freedom, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

UK: for 216 years (and not one more), The Times has been published as a broadsheet

The Times newspaper will be printed in tabloid form only from Monday after more than 200 years as a broadsheet, it has been announced. The decision to scrap its broadsheet edition was made after a successful trial run of the tabloid version. Times editor Robert Thomson said: "The launch of the compact has transformed the fortunes of the newspaper." Since publishing a broadsheet and tabloid version, sales of the paper have gone up by 4.5%.

Source: BBC news

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on October 30, 2004 at 05:18 PM in e. Compact vs. broadsheet | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

US: how newspapers react to circulation scandal

The Los Angeles Times seems to be the first US major daily to react to the circulation scandal which happened to Newsday and Hoy. I'm convinced it will not be the last... According to MediaDailyNews, "The Los Angeles Times announced Thursday that both its daily and Sunday circulation declined during the six-month period ending September 30, 2004, in part due to a deliberate decision to reduce the company's reliance on third-party sponsored subscriptions and bulk sales. The newspaper reported an average daily circulation of 902,164 for Monday through Saturday, down 5.6 percent versus last year. Sunday's decline was even larger, as circulation dropped 6.3 percent to 1,292,274." See also LAobserved: the blog publicizes the letter of the LAT publisher John Puerner to his staff.

According to MediaDailyNews, "These figures were submitted to the Audit Bureau of Circulations and are subject to audit... While the Times did not mention either the recent slew of circulation scandals or any resulting advertiser pressure, many analysts have predicted recently that newspapers will begin dialing down their usage of third-party acquired subscriptions or bulk subscriptions... Analysts believe that in light of the recent scandals, advertisers would begin paying increased scrutiny to these line items on ABC reports."

Source: MediaDailyNews

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on October 30, 2004 at 05:12 PM in n. Online strategies, r. Revenues and business models | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sri Lanka: internet designer sentenced for blaspheming Buddha

Buddha don't have more sense of humor than Jesus or Mahomet! The Sri Lankan Daily News reveals that "Colombo Chief Magistrate Ms. Sarojini Kusala Weerawardena sentenced Gamini Ranawaka of Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo, who was charged with superimposing the Buddha's image on women's clothing through the Internet, to two years rigorous imprisonment, suspended for five years. The Judge also imposed a fine of Rs.1,500 on the accused. The accused earlier pleaded guilty to the charges. Sentencing the accused, the Judge observed that the offence he had committed was very serious... The Judge also directed the CID to destroy the offensive pictures from the Internet." I tried to find these pictures but the search was unsuccessful. If anyone knows the URL address, don't hesitate to post a comment!

Source: Daily News (Sri Lanka) through the SAFMA newsletter

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on October 30, 2004 at 04:46 PM in a. Citizen journalism, n. Online strategies, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Friday, October 29, 2004

Huge fortune spent on US media influence

Important article from Reuters Industry news: "Unions and big communications companies spent more than $863 million in their efforts to elect lawmakers and influence the government over the past 5 years, according to a report released. The Center for Public Integrity investigation found that the communications industry spent $751 million in its efforts to lobby Congress and the Federal Communications Commission from 1998 through June. "These companies are spending not a small fortune but a huge fortune to try to get the government to do what they want the government to do, and it's going up every year," Center for Public Integrity project manager John Dunbar said.

Sources: Reuters Industry news through the EJC newsletter and the Center for Public Integrity investigation

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on October 29, 2004 at 04:46 PM in b. Alliances and partnerships, n. Online strategies, o. Ethics and Press Freedom, r. Revenues and business models | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Online Publishers against Google's version of the news

DotJournalism covers the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) conference in London: "[Andrew] Hart, managing director of Associated New Media, 'told delegates that the internet is a truly global community and the first information democracy [...] But he said that search has now become a tool that can be exploited, with specialist agencies paid big bucks by big business to improve their position in search results.' Speakers also criticised Google's news tool. Andrew Hart referred to a recent report by web publishing consultant Vin Crosbie which found that 48 per cent of results returned by Google's News tool came from just five sources: Although Google spiders more than 7,000 news sources, only about a dozen sources account for the vast majority of stories displayed on Google News day to day, and two of those predominant sources are owned and operated by the U.S. and Chinese governments."

Source: DotJournalism Vin Crosbie at Poynter Online

Posted by Ulrike Trux on October 29, 2004 at 04:39 PM in a. Citizen journalism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bertelsmann more dependent on TV

The German weekly newspaper Die Zeit captured an article on Bertelsmann's announcement to put more emphasis on the TV market. Chief executive Gunter Thielencalculates a 503 million net profit from the German RTL-group for 2003, and describes targeted advertisement on their TV-networks to improved sales in other sections of the company as a long-term goal of the company. RTL-group Chief executive Gerhard Zeiler also announced that Bertelsmann is planning to create a European-wide network family. Already Bertelsmann holds 40% of the French network M6 and is planing to enlarge it's shares of the Spanish Antenna3 and British Channel5 within the next 18 months. This new development could have a negative impact on the print department of Bertelsmann.

Source: Zeit.de

Posted by Ulrike Trux on October 29, 2004 at 03:51 PM in b. Alliances and partnerships, c. Multimedia convergence, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers, r. Revenues and business models | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Australia: Fairfax newspaper forecast bright

Forbes repors that the Australian newspaper publisher John Fairfax Holdings Ltd. "expects profit for the first half of this fiscal year to grow between 12 percent and 15 percent." This bright forecast is due to increased earnings stemming from new newspaper acquisitions in New Zealand; as well as good performance of their Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald and Age newspapers. Forbes informs further that "the company's net profit for the year ended June 30 was 276 million Australian dollars (US$195 million; euro 161 million), up from A$125.5 million a year earlier."

Their success has also been stimulated by the prospect of relaxed media laws as prime Minister John Howard is now controlling both upper and lower house of the federal parliament.
Dow Jones relates: "Fairfax Chairman Dean Wills said the reforms will provide the company an "opportunity to pursue new options for growth." Further Wills told shareholders at the group's annual meeting in Sydney, "as a leading newspaper publisher, with vigorous businesses in Australia and New Zealand, we believe Fairfax is well placed strategically to participate in new opportunities that may be afforded by changes to the media ownership laws."

Sources: Forbes, Dow Jones Newswires

Posted by Ulrike Trux on October 29, 2004 at 02:53 PM in b. Alliances and partnerships, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers, r. Revenues and business models | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack