Posts Tagged ‘Newspapers’

It’s Time For Newspaper Industry to Come Clean

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Maggie Thurber

By Maggie Thurber | Special to Ohio Watchdog

The Society of Professional Journalists has a code of ethics which, among other things, says journalists should:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
  • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
  • Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

What in this code makes it acceptable for journalists to lobby members of Congress on behalf of their publication?

The Ohio Newspaper Association has asked U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OHto oppose a Negotiated Services Agreement between the United States Postal Service and Valassis, a coupon and advertisement distributor. The NSA, if approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, would give Valassis discounted mail rates for certain increases in the number of pieces they mail in their existing markets.

Brown willingly complied, writing a letter to the chairman of the PRC that repeats the allegations made by the newspaper industry.

The newspapers in Ohio, and across the nation, oppose the special rates because they believe they may lose advertising customers to this competitor. Postal News reports that “Newspapers have been conducting a coordinated editorial campaign against the NSA, claiming it undercuts one of their prime sources of advertising revenue.”

You cannot set yourself up as the watchdog of government when you’re lobbying that same government for your own benefit.

These are the same newspapers that are supposed to objectively cover the actions of Brown, and other elected officials. These are also the same newspapers that endorse candidates for office.

But now they’re asking for a favor – and getting it, as politicians urge the rejection of the Valassis NSA.

How is this not a conflict of interest?

How does this not compromise their integrity and damage their credibility?

Are we supposed to believe that no quid pro quo is expected, even if not promised or suggested, as a result of a senator’s support of the newspaper position?


Rupert Murdoch says destiny of News Corp newspapers is in paid-for online content

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Telegraph UK

By James Quinn
Published: 11:31PM GMT 02 Feb 2010

Unveiling a $284m (£178m) post-tax profit for the three months to December, Mr Murdoch proclaimed “content is not just king, it is the emperor of all things electronic.”

Promising to announce major developments “in the next two months,” the owner of the Sun and Wall Street Journal said consumers want content on an array of devices, and are willing to pay.

Mr Murdoch disclosed that News Corp is in “advanced discussions” with other media companies about how to monetise newspaper content, as well as holding “very substantive conversations” with device makers to allow readers to access “high quality journalism wherever and whenever they want it.”

“We’re looking at various alternatives, and I don’t think we’re ready to announce anything yet,” he continued.

In the UK, the Sunday Times is set to trial an unknown paid-for content model on a standalone website later this year – although Mr Murdoch declined to say when.

The “content clan has gathered around our ideas,” he said, and “instead of an existential debate about value, we are now merely haggling about valuations.”

News Corp’s newspapers and information services division made an operating profit of $259m in the quarter, up from $59m last year, buoyed by a 17pc growth in online advertising at the Wall Street Journal and a 5pc increase at the print edition.

The company’s UK newspaper business, whose titles include News of the World and the Times, recorded flat advertising revenue and a 5pc fall in circulation revenue.

Old media or new media – who breaks the news today?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Guardian UK

Print and web news outlets have clashed over a survey that aims to establish where stories originate from

How News HappensThe PEW Research Center studied 53 news outlets in Baltimore to find out where local information comes from today – Copyright: PEW Research Center

A study published yesterday – called How News Happens – has caused a bit of a stir.

The study focused on how news stories were broken in Baltimore and examined the outpout of 53 news operations in the city – from radio talk shows to blogs, specialised new outlets and media sites, TV stations, radio news programs and newspapers.

Mainstream media reported on the study as follows:

– “Study finds that papers lead in providing new information” (New York Times)
– “Most original news reporting comes from traditional sources, study finds” (LA Times)
– “Newspapers still generate most news, despite Internet” (AFP)
– “Local newspapers still number one for news” (Editorsweblog).

Unsurprisingly, new media folk began to protest, among them Steve Buttry, an innovation coach at Gazette Communications. Buttry produced a very deep and critical analysis of the research, and Guardian columnist Jeff Jarvis also weighed in.

So is the study – commissioned by the non-profit organisation PEW’s Research Center – biased?

Yes. And no.

In fact, the headlines could have been totally different:

– “83% of stories essentially repetitive today
– “62% of new stories initiated by government officials
– “Web now clearly the first place of publication

To be fair, David Carr wrote an ironic piece on the New York Times Media Decoder blog about “Reporting on a scarcity of reporting without reporting”.

So what has happened? Who does actually break stories these days?

If you read the research thoroughly, you will find that the effort not to be biased might cause the antagonism between mainstream and alternative media instead of diminishing it.

In fact, the survey starts with the statement that “much of the ‘news’ people receive contains no original reporting”, and that “fully eight of 10 stories studied simply repeated or repackaged previously published information”, often even without attribution.

Subsequently, the report comes to the conclusion that out of the two in 10 stories that did contain new information, most of it – 95% – came from traditional media, mostly newspapers.

Wait, from two out of 10 stories to 95%?

It was this weird numbercrunching that got blown up by the newspapers, and having said that, we can point out some interesting findings of the survey:

– Local papers are offering far less than they once did: the Baltimore Sun, for example, publishes 32% fewer stories than in 1999, and again 73% fewer stories than in 1991.
– With 53 different news outlets Baltimore isn’t short of local news at all.
– Writers obviously feel the need to suggest original reporting instead of being proud of correct attribution.
– Government bodies, led by the police, initiate most stories.
– Traditional media make wide use of new platforms.
– The mainstream press and the police department of Baltimore is using Twitter extensively to update information.

This indicates something different. While we will hear more about the competition between mainstream and alternative media, basically today mainstream media and alternative media are collaborating. Newspapers have embraced blogs, along with Facebook and social media – while alternative media are increasingly collaborating with mainstream media. For example, the New York Times handed over the local coverage of Brooklyn to the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, and Los Angeles Times Media partners up with the start-up US Local News Network.

In 2010, the hyperlocal approach will be more cross-media than ever, and in a very new way. Exciting.

Union Corruption Investigation Spreads to Newspapers

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Officers raided the circulation offices for several of New York City’s biggest newspapers as part of an investigation into union corruption.

Police officers working with the Manhattandistrict attorney’s office searched circulation offices of The New York Times in Queens, theNew York Post and the Daily News in Manhattan, and El Diario in Brooklyn

The raid represented a new turn in the city’s investigation of the 1,600 member Newspaper and Mail Deliverers Union. Details about the nature of the investigation are scarce. Officials from the union, newspapers and the District Attorney’s office refused to comment on Tuesday’s events. No arrests have been made as of this time.

Geography, Decreased Ad Revenue Leave New Jersey Struggling for News

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

A report by the New Jersey Policy Perspective details the struggle newsman and their consumers are facing in the state:

The report, “Less News is Bad News: The Media Crisis and New Jersey’s News Deficit,” shows the need for new revenue sources to fund news production or new ideas for disseminating information so media resources can better help check corruption in the state…

Instead of watching local newscasts devoted to New Jersey issues, people in the northern part of the state tend to watch TV news centered on New York City, while people in the south watch stations based in Philadelphia. Many New Jersey residents also listen to out-of-state radio stations and read out-of-state newspapers, the report states. As a result, they know less about their state than people elsewhere in the country know about theirs. Lower levels of knowledge about politics have distorted campaigns and elections in the state and may be a factor in the endemic problem of political corruption.

insufficient television coverage may be one reason New Jerseyans have been especially dependent on newspapers for news about state politics and government, and they may be affected more than residents in other states by declining circulation and cutbacks in newspaper journalism.

The report recommends developing innovative newsgathering models, including non-profit news groups, to resolve this issue. THe authors of the report might also want to take a look at citizen journalism in the non-profit model, as well. In fact, dozens of residents in New Jersey are already doing just that, according to former Forbes editor Scott Reeves:

The New Jersey Press Association’s decision to issue press credentials last week to reporters at a hyper-local website underscores the changing nature of news-gathering in the digital age. — which proclaims that it has “more than 120 paid reporters, all residing in New Jersey” — recently announced the accreditation amid stories on three holes-in-one at the Summit Municipal Golf Course during a single week and Boy Scouts who rafted through the Grand Canyon… covers news the New York Times and even Newark, New Jersey-based Star-Ledger can’t. And it may represent the future of local news by delivering what advertisers crave: a clearly defined audience.

Perhaps help is already on its way.

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Journalists on the Newspaper Bailout

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Reason TV interviews journalists and media scholars about a proposed bailout for struggling newspapers: