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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Chinese press meets WAN

Mr. Jiang Shaogao, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of People's Daily in China emphasized newspaper's role in lighting the way for peace and understanding.

The Chinese media industry has seen a growth from 16,000 journalists 20 years ago to the current 750,000. The explosion of journalists calls for greater relations between media and the government.

Mr. Jiang says that there should be some management of the media by the government. However, he does not mean "control" and suggests that to ensure fairness for Chinese media organizations is economic independence.

Mr. Arthur Sulzberger, Jr, Chairman of The New York Times, emphasized the promotion of press freedom to maintain journalistic integrity in the face of prosecution by governmental bodies.

"When any government tells us what must appear on the pages of our newspapers, television and radio broadcasts and websites, we lose our identity as journalists and become something else - a spokesman for the authorities."

Citing the examples of Judy Miller of the New York Times and Matt Cooper of Time Magazine, who were given the choice to either to violate confidential sources or face prosecution, Mr. Sulzberger urged the need for the journalistic community to support the "federal shield law."

Posted by Su Ji Bang on May 31, 2005 at 05:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rich Skrenta: RSS is a great way to attract permanent subscribers

Rich Skrenta CEO and founder of Topix.net lauded the numerous options that RSS provides for newspapers at the 58th annual World Newspaper Conference and the 12th World Editors Forum. Noting the local advantage that newspapers have, not just for local news, but because they are normally printed and delivered locally, Skrenta began his speech by highlighting the delivery costs saved by papers’ online versions. The benefits of this saved revenue are extended to the fact that, one, an online presence can extend a papers’ reach beyond its community and two, provide numerous options such as classified searches for the community. RSS is the necessary tool to aggregate all of a paper’s content into a searchable and topic specific engine that creates a bond with the reader, helping to make trail subscribers permanent, encouraging them to continue coming back to the same paper’s site. RSS changes the dynamic of online news because instead of the reader going to a newspaper’s site or an online aggregator like Google, the newspaper goes to the reader. Skrenta eased some financial concerns that editors have about using RSS feeds by showing that RSS feeds drive traffic back to a website, thus satisfying advertisers. Although the technology is still evolving, ads can also be inserted into RSS feeds. Skrenta reassured his listeners by pointing out that internet advertising has the same problem in 1995, but that it eventually succeeded and is now the fastest growing type of advertising in the world, predicting that RSS will follow a similar pattern.

Rich Skrenta, Topix.net

Rich Skrenta is CEO and co-founder of Topix.net, an online news aggregator that classifies news by subject and location. Skrenta has held senior roles at Netscape/America Online, including Director of Engineering for Netscape Search, AOL Music, and AOL Shopping. Skrenta joined Netscape/AOL upon its purchase of NewHoo/The Open Directory Project, where he was Co-founder & CEO. The Open Directory is the largest human-edited directory of the web, currently used by Google, AOL and other major web portals. Previously, Skrenta led an engineering group at Sun Microsystems and also successfully operated a small online gaming company from 1994-2001. He holds a BA degree from Northwestern University.

More on Topix

Posted by john burke on May 31, 2005 at 01:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Infographics for the video game generation

"Visual information is fundamental to the survival of journalism," says Alberto Cairo

This important comment arises in the Q&A following the session. It is fortified by the following dialogue about why infographics may hold the key to attracting younger readers, and thus sustaining journalism's relevance for the next generation...

Basically, graphics attract young people because kids play video games so much. Thus, the quality of infographics are especially important because younger readers are used to that kind of quality in the video games they play so often. If the media provides them with that kind of high quality inforgraphics, it will then also get them interested in reading the newspaper as well...

Tarek Atia

Posted by john burke on May 31, 2005 at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Infographics: Not just to cover the grey

Peter EspinaThe infographics editor at China Daily takes Jeff's talk further by illustrating how infographics can be used by newspapers and the rationale for using graphics in newspapers.

The speaker explained the idea of the usability of infographics through an example of 3 (english language) newspapers he picked up recently, all three featuring the new Airbus as the main story on their front pages. The idea, according to Espina is not to use "just another picture of a plane", the idea is to give information, which would have been possible had a pictographic been used.

Either there were no graphics available on the subject or the newspaper just did not care enough, which brings up the question of whether infographics have to be done by art departments in newspapers or special agencies.
The right idea is to have a mix of both.

What do mid-sized newspapers expect of specialised agencies supplying graphics?
1. Sensitivity to time zones and deadline pressures
2. More reader engaging graphics.
3. Easily editable graphics.
4. The price factor: one price does not suit all newspapers.
5. Easily downloadable.

The push for infographics needs to come from the top, meaning that editors need to realise the potential of using graphics in news stories. Senior editors need to understand that an infographic is not a supplement to a photograph. At times, a good infographic can even be used as the main story, with the text as a supplement. Graphics should NOT be used to cover the 'grey' in the story either.

Setting up a good graphics department means the following considerations:

People: There are lots of graphic designers and a small complementary team of graphic designers should do the job.
Work: Not every story needs a graphic. It is a judgment call and graphics can, at times, form the main story as well.
Pay: (for Editors: Pay well if you find someone good!)

Posted by: Zebunnisa Burki

Posted by john burke on May 31, 2005 at 10:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Alberto Cairo's Infographics revolution

Spanish newspaper El Mundo's Infographics Editor Alberto Cairo's talk is titled "Two infographics departments in the same newsroom" ... Now what does that mean? It seems to mean that a newspaper should have a separate online and print infographics department... Why? Because the parameters governing each medium's graphics are different.

When it comes to online content, Cairo is convinced that "citizen journalists" will not be able to compete with traditional media.

Example: the March 11 attacks in Madrid -- they occurred at 7: 37 am, and the paper had its first infographic -- a map -- online by 8:40 am (a little later than usual because this was such a big story.) The key point here is that the paper didn't only send reporters and photographers to the scene; they also sent two infographics artists as well. The map was expanded and improved throughout the day as more information was gathered.

Alberto Cairo, El Mundo

Alberto Cairo is the head of elmundo.es/El Mundo Online Infographics Department and professor of Graphic Communication in Carlos III University in Madrid. After two years in Diario16 and as a freelance designer for DPI Comunicación, he entered the Interactive Graphics Department at elmundo.es in 2000. His Department has won more NetMedia Malofiej and SND.ies awards than any other worldwide in online categories. Cairo began his career as an infographics and design editor in La Voz de Galicia in 1997. He has a Degree in Journalism from Santiago de Compostela University and a M.A. in Design.

More on El Mundo

Posted by john burke on May 31, 2005 at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Applying elements instead of rules produces papers with impact

Talking at the 12th World Editors Forum, CEO of VisualEditors and News Design Editor for the Chicago Sun-Times, Robb Montgomery emphasized the flexibility of compact formats. The various types of tabloids, commuter, youth, general interest, or niche, have the ability to connect to a reader's individual style. Montgomery contrasted these with formal rigidity of the majority of American broadsheets fronts, showing slides of their similarities which follow a similar formula, and flashed pictures of alternatives which included Sau Pauolo's Diaro Do Comercio paper as well as the San Francisco Washington D.C. Examiners, Chicago's Red Streak which Montgomery designed in 23 days in late 2002 to compete with his competitor's youth tabloid launch.
The youth tab is a laboratory for editors to test concepts - ideas that are now also included in the Sun-Times' main edition.
The Sun-Times' Page one philosophy is built on a concept of 'scalable elements' which drives powerful, sophisticated and varied page designs on deadline by organizing a simple set of decisions.
Check out Robb's speech at RobbMontgomery.com

Posted by john burke on May 31, 2005 at 08:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Impact of the Compact

MARIO GARCIA of Garcia Media, a newspaper designer and a strong advocate of format change for newspapers.

Tabloid fever -- is the temperature going down?
Mr. Garcia, during his presentation focussed on general tips for conversion of newspapers (broadsheet) into compacts (tabloids).

"Its the best of times to rethink what they (the editors) do and how they do it".

Some early influences on change of format:
Free newspapers, which have tremendous impact. According to Garcia, free press is coming to a second stage, becoming more sophisticated. This gives the newspapers more incentive to try harder and become better. Take the example of Metro, which for Garcia, is highly
sophisticated and appealing to readers who normally never read papers.

The other idea is of the almost free press: papers which are inexpensive, try to attract readers and do the job (examples are Chicago Sun Times, Germany: 20 Cents)

Why compacts? The world is moving into everything smaller, cameras, mobile phones. "Since 1984, I have not attended a single focus group where the readers did not prefer the tabloid version of newspapers".

The ideal compact has larger photographs and less text. The reason for the success of the compact is: lower story counts and shorter texts, there is s certain finality to tabloids, the timer factor is also very important. It is important to note that the profile of the readers is of a tech savvy individual.

"Technology has turned us into multimedia users". According to a report by Poynter Institute (Tampa, Florida), most readers use two media at a time.

There is a growing culture of 'always on': a typical day in the life of a media and tech savvy reader involves picking up the paper in the morning, then reading it again at about 9.30 in the morning, then again at about 7.30 in the evening. There is also the idea of a person sitting at the beach using a cell phone and laptop at the same time. Papers are not read at one sitting and people are managing two-3 media at the same time.

The good news is: people are reading, they may not be reading newspapers but they are still reading (Harry Potter books are a good example, the average reader for approximately 766 pages of the book is 14 years old).

Another example is the New Yorker, which has recently had one million subscriptions.
How does one change from Broadsheet to compact:

1. Decide the size, a consideration would be what size should the compact be (longer european style or micro tabloids like some US papers are using). Garcia favours the longer version due to its ability to host larger photographs and text.
2. Say goodbye to the broadsheet canvas. Say hello to larger photographs; the compact has more photographic than text driven. However, "you can have a classic look and still be a tabloid".
3. Increase the size of headlines. Headlines are very important in compact papers: the way they are placed, where they are placed.
4. Photographs are King in compacts. Larger photographs are preferred to smaller ones, the medium sized photographs are not used at all. Its either a larger photo or a pretty small one. The reason is that most readers are familiar with small photos through mobile phones and MMS.
In a compact, there can also be TWO LEADS: a visual lead (photograph) and a word lead (text).
5. Advertisements and compacts: Ads benefit greatly from compact newspapers. With broadsheet, people (readers) FOLD the paper, so they treat page 2 as page 2. In compacts, both pages are kept open. This makes it more important for advertisers to use compacts.
6. Make the transition one section at a time. The transition from broadsheet to compact does NOT have to be done all at once. Starting with one section is a good idea (sports section is a good start). ANother way of changing is to make format changes within the newspaper itself. Even if the paper is not going to change into compact, it is better to rethink certain format changes. A good idea started by a few papers is having two front pages (one in the front and another at the back). "Readers hate the flip...it is better to have a front door and a back door".
7. Tabloid perception holds you (editors) back. Thankfully, readers do not have this perception. Most readers prefer smaller text, compact papers. "You have to deal with the tabloid perception, like therapy". Nobody else thinks tabloids are less than serious.

Conclusion: make the transition successfully. Having the US publishers asking about compacts is a major step. The Wall Street Journal going compact is a great sign that things are changing.

The readers win!

Posted by: Zebunnisa Burki

Posted by john burke on May 31, 2005 at 04:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

German tabloids: compact but competent

Jan-Eric Peters, Publisher and editor-in-chief of German newspapers Die Welt, Welt Kompakt and Berliner Morgenpost, claims that the tabloid fever has not yet reached its peak. "The launch of Welt Kompakt increased our circulation by 10 percent over the last year and we got access to a different group of readers", Peters said at the 12th Editors Forum in Seoul on Tuesday. Peters emphasized that the tabloid format Welt Kompakt is a not only a change of format but also a change of concept. "While Die Welt focuses on background and analysis, Welt Kompakt puts emphasis on news and a very late deadline after midnight." Together with a copy price of 50 cent, this has made the paper very attractive for young readers with good educational background and relatively high income.

Posted by john burke on May 31, 2005 at 03:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, May 30, 2005

Asian newspapers driving worldwide circulation

The annual report of the 58th World Newspaper Congress showed that newspaper sales were up 2% in 2004 while advertising also made some significant gains. "It has been an extraordinarily positive 12 months for the global newspaper industry," said Timothy Balding, director general of the Paris-based WAN. "Newspapers are clearly undergoing a renaissance through new products,
new formats, new titles, new editorial approaches, better distribution and better marketing." Three-quarters of the world's 100 best selling daily newspapers are found in Asia whose sales were up 4.1 percent for the year. China, India and Japan were the world's biggest newspaper markets in 2004 and China overtook Japan as the country with the highest number of publications in the world's top 100. Revenue grew 29 percent in China last year, more than double the growth in 2003, and 116 percent over five years. It was up 3.93 percent in the world's biggest advertising market, the United States, more than double last year's increase which reversed two years of decline. Other Asian countries, especially Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Mongolia witnessed substantial growth. The top three largest newspaper markets were in Asia, with China in the
lead with 93.5 million copies sold daily, followed by India, with 78.8 million, and Japan, with 70.4. The United States came next with 48.3 million followed by Germany with 22.1 million. Sales in the three Asian market leaders were
rising while sales were declining in the United States and Germany.

Source. AFP, WAN

Posted by john burke on May 30, 2005 at 07:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

World Press Trends: Newspaper Circulation and Advertising Up Worldwide

Timothy Balding, Director General, World Association of Newspapers

The circulation of newspapers in the world increased strongly last year,
and, at the same time, newspaper advertising revenues made significant
gains, said Mr Balding, presenting WAN's annual survey of world press

The survey said that global newspaper sales were up 2.1 percent over the
year. Unlike previous years, growth was not only driven by gains in
developing markets, but increases in sales in many mature markets.

"It has been an extraordinarily positive 12 months for the global newspaper
industry," said Mr Balding. "We have come to expect big circulation gains in
developing countries, but it has been a very long time since we saw such a
revival in so many mature markets. Newspapers are clearly undergoing a
renaissance through new products, new formats, new titles, new editorial
approaches, better distribution and better marketing."

"Despite the incredible competitive challenges in the advertising market,
newspapers have more than held their own and their revenues are strongly on
the increase again," he said.

The main figures showed:

- Circulation grew 2.1 percent worldwide in 2004, taking global sales to a
new high of 395 million daily.

- The total number of daily titles was up 2 percent in the world in 2004 and
up 4.6 percent since 2000.

- 2004 saw the best advertising performance in four years, with a revenue
increase of 5.3 percent.

- The audience for newspaper web sites grew 32 percent last year and 350
percent over five years.

The survey, which WAN has published annually since 1986, this year includes
information on all countries and territories where newspapers are published
-- 215 in all.

More details at WAN

Posted by john burke on May 30, 2005 at 07:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack