These are some of the things that have caught my attention lately. It’s a more eclectic mix than just the news business, but then so’s life:
- The day the newspaper died | The New Yorker — Newspapers aren’t always on the side of liberty. Not everyone agrees on what liberty means. Some struggles never end. And it’s not the newspaper that’s forever at risk of dying and needing to be raised from the grave. It’s the freedom of the press.
- How to: Track a conversation in Twitter | Journalism.co.uk Editors’ Blog — Twitter is increasingly being used by journalists to make contacts and track news events, but the Twitter user-interface (UI) itself is pretty limited making it difficult to track conversations. Fortunately its open API structure and the ability to subscribe to various types of RSS feeds from Twitter means there are a number of ways to track a ‘buzz’ around an event or specific conversations.
- Question: Jacques, what really happened? Answer: Naff all. — Public service broadcasting: “There is a term in the newspaper business for what Jacques does: cuts jobs. Knit together old material, add archive photos to make it look fancy, bung it all under a new headline and hope no one notices. In an hour long TV doc, there is no hiding place and the holes are too glaring to miss. How can a cuts job be worth an hour on Channel 4? And on such well visited subjects as Dodi Fayed, Paul Burrell, Michael Barrymore? Every person Jacques “investigates” can be easily filed under another journalistic term for subjects no longer of interest: “Those we used to love.”
- Pressing for respect | Doc Searls — When has “the press” ever been the “voice of the people,” and by what institutional arrogance does it CONTINUE to give this role to itself? Perhaps the press would be better off it started seeing itself as a particular category of content producers (a noble, unique and important one to be sure) and drop all this voice of the people foolishness.
- PR on Websites: Press Area Usability — Journalists are not gullible, and they don’t take a company’s own word as truth. Indeed, almost all journalists said that press releases were useful only to find out how a company is trying to position itself. We strongly recommend that PR areas have links to external sources, including press coverage; journalists often consider articles from independent newspapers and magazines to be much more credible than a company’s own press releases. We’ve seen similar findings in studies of prospective customers evaluating products on consumer– and business-oriented sites, so links to external press coverage can also help promote sales.
- Roy Greenslade: Did Murdoch engineer Lebedev’s Standard takeover? | Media Guardian — The bitterness at Murdoch’s successful undermining of his greatest British newspaper rival surfaced in a single paragraph Wednesday’s Standard in the story announcing Lebedev’s takeover:
“Two years ago, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp launched a free paper called The London Paper in a calculated bid to damage the circulations of the Standard and its own free sister paper, the Lite. To date, The London Paper is thought to have lost News Corp about £40m.”
Though DMGT executives and editors have long said that in private — and much more besides — the unwritten rule that exists between proprietors ensured that no such claims were made in public, and certainly not in print.
It should be seen as something of a turning point in newspaper history. The gloves are off. All the owners now know they are engaged in a battle to be the last one standing when the music stops. Papers will go to the wall. They will change hands.
- Lobbying: Access and influence in Whitehall | House of Commons Public Administration Committee — A REGISTER OF LOBBYING ACTIVITY: FIRST PRINCIPLES
168. We can identify five key principles for a register of lobbying activity:
a) it should be mandatory, in order to ensure as complete as possible an overview of activity.
b) it should cover all those outside the public sector involved in accessing and influencing public-sector decision makers, with exceptions in only a very limited set of circumstances.
c) it should be managed and enforced by a body independent of both Government and lobbyists.
d) it should include only information of genuine potential value to the general public, to others who might wish to lobby government, and to decision makers themselves.
e) it should include so far as possible information which is relatively straightforward to provide—ideally, information which would be collected for other purposes in any case.
- Why Murdoch is the story behind the Standard | Shakeup Media — Page eleven of the Murdoch-owned London Paper today gives us a clue to how he — and therefore his senior staff — are thinking.
In a full page victory memo from the London Paper’s editor it says, in so many words, that:
The London Paper has killed the Standard as a serious paper
Murdoch’s strategy forced Rothermere to sell
The Standard lost the plot
The Standard will henceforth be a minor, eccentric player on the London stage
The London Paper is projecting fat profits in the future
London Lite has lost its raison d’etre (to defend the Standard)
Murdoch is thrilled by the turn of events. With his son-in-law watching over the development of The Standard in the next few years it is unlikely to become too troublesome. I would not be surprised if it is sharing office space and printing facilities at Wapping in three years and three days from now (once contractual guarantees with Associated have expired).