Wednesday, May 31, 2006


QUOTE: Brian Tierney on the market position of newspapers -- from AdAge

Assessing the Potential of Newspapers

Be Part of the News

> BACKGROUND: Philadelphia public-relations and advertising mogul Brian P.
> Tierney, who organized the investment group that is paying more than
> $562 million to acquire the "Philadelphia Inquirer" and "Philadelphia
> Daily News," marked his victory last week by publicly celebrating the
> potential of the newspapers. "I learned you can't buy around the
> newspapers," he said. "I always thought that they were leaving a lot of
> money on the table." Mr. Tierney noted that with daily newspapers "you
> can have a great business with [readers] over 25 or 30." Overall, the
> executive, who previously built Philadelphia's most prominent ad agency
> -- Tierney Communications -- and then sold it to Interpublic Group of
> Cos., painted a rosy picture for the future of newspapers and predicted
> that he can turn these two around. Do you think he can?

> THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Brian Tierney thinks newspapers have a bright
> future. Is he right?

> VOTE & COMMENT for publication in "Advertising Age" at

Sunday, May 28, 2006


California court extends First Amendment protection to blogger in Apple case


General news story from the San Jose Mercury News:

A site which links to PDF source documents from the court case:


An earlier story (from April 27) by USA Today columns Andrew Kantor
which considers the issue: What is journalism in the Apple case context:


Bloggers can shield sources, court rules
In setback for Apple, Internet journalists are protected by law

Ellen Lee
San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, May 27, 2006

In a decision that could set the tone for journalism in the digital age, a California appeals court ruled Friday that bloggers, like traditional reporters, have the right to keep their sources confidential.

A panel of three judges said in a 69-page decision that a group of bloggers did not have to divulge their sources to Cupertino's Apple Computer Inc., contending that the same laws that protect traditional journalists, the First Amendment and California's Shield Law, also apply to bloggers.

Siding with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a high-tech legal group that had filed the appeal, the judges said that Apple could not force the bloggers to reveal the identity of the person -- presumably an Apple employee -- who had leaked details about a digital-music-related project code-named "Asteroid" to a number of bloggers. The details of the product release were published on several Web logs, Internet sites commonly referred to as blogs, including Jason O'Grady's PowerPage, which reports on Apple news.

"This was a huge win for the First Amendment and for journalists who publish online," said Lauren Gelman, associate director for Stanford's Center for Internet and Society, who filed a brief supporting the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "The court recognized that in the modern era, one way journalists publish information is through the Internet."

The decision by the state Court of Appeal in San Jose, which reverses a ruling by the Santa Clara County Superior Court, speaks to changes in the way news is gathered and published. Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can now be a reporter. It also means that information, not limited by region or resources, can reach far and wide via the Web.In their ruling, the judges said the online news sites should be treated as newspapers, television and radio broadcasts are. O'Grady and the other bloggers, they contended, were acting as traditional reporters and editors do: developing sources, collecting information and publishing it, albeit on the Web.

"The shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news, and that is what the petitioners did here," the judges said in the ruling.

Apple had initially argued that the bloggers shouldn't be considered journalists. The maker of the popular iPod digital music player, along with other Bay Area high-tech companies such as Intel Corp. and Genentech, also were concerned that the Internet had made it easy for the bloggers to make their trade secrets public, potentially giving their competitors an edge and harming their business.

But Kurt Opsahl, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the companies can still protect their businesses but cannot use reporters as their first resort to expose a leak."The court upheld strong protections for the free flow of information to the press and from the press to the public," Opsahl said.

In addition, the judges ruled that, in the digital age, bloggers' e-mails should also be protected, just like a telephone call or written document. Apple had not sued the bloggers directly but had tried to subpoena their Internet service provider, which had access to the e-mails sent between the confidential source and the bloggers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, representing the bloggers, intervened.

In the end, the judges made little distinction between online journalists and traditional journalists."Does Walter Cronkite stop being a journalist if he blogs for the Huffington Post (an online news site)?" Opsahl said. "What makes a journalist a journalist is not the format. If you're engaged in journalism, you're a journalist. You have to look beyond the medium selected."

George Riley, an outside attorney representing Apple, declined to comment. Apple did not return calls for comment. It was not clear whether the company would appeal.

E-mail Ellen Lee at


Published: May 27, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO, May 26 -- A California appeals court ruled Friday that online reporters are protected by the same confidentiality laws that protect traditional journalists, striking a blow to efforts by Apple Computer to identify people who leaked confidential company data.

The three-judge panel in San Jose overturned a trial court's ruling last year that to protect its trade secrets, Apple was entitled to know the source of leaked data published online. The appeals court also ruled that a subpoena issued by Apple to obtain electronic communications and materials from an Internet service provider was unenforceable.

In its ruling, the appeals court said online and offline journalists are equally protected under the First Amendment. "Wecan think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish 'legitimate' from 'illegitimate' news," the opinion states. "Any attempt by courts to draw such a distinction would imperil a fundamental purpose of the First Amendment." The ruling states that Web sites are covered by California's shield law protecting the confidentiality of journalists' sources.

Apple had argued that Web sites publishing reports about Apple were not engaged in legitimate news gathering but rather were misappropriating trade secrets and violating copyrights. But in its ruling on Friday, the panel disagreed. "Beyond casting aspersions on the legitimacy of petitioners' enterprise, Apple offers no cogent reason to conclude that they fall outside the shield law's protection," the ruling states.

If upheld, the ruling could have far-reaching impact in California courts on other writers who publish electronically, including bloggers who regularly publish news and opinion online without the backing of a mainstream news operation. "This ruling will probably prove instructive to other online writers," said Kurt Opsahl, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties organization, who argued the case in front of the appeals court last month. "It says that what makes a journalist is not the format but the function."

Apple declined to comment Friday on the ruling or on a possible appeal.

Apple's close guarding of company secrets, particularly unannounced products, is legendary. Friday's ruling arose from a suit filed in December 2004 against the unknown individuals who Apple said had leaked information about unannounced Apple products to two sites devoted to news of the company, AppleInsider and Both sites published reports in November 2004 describing secret Apple projects, including one known at Apple by the code name Asteroid. Apple did not sue the sites directly but sought to subpoena their e-mail records. As part of the investigation, Apple subpoenaed the e-mail records of Nfox, the company that provided Internet service to Jason D. O'Grady, the publisher of PowerPage. About the same time, Apple filed a trade-secret suit against Think Secret, another online news site that the company accused of publishing confidential data about its future products. That case is pending.

Friday's ruling is also significant because it addresses whether private e-mail is protected from subpoenas. "The court correctly found that under federal law, civil litigants can't subpoena your stored e-mail from your service," said Kevin Bankston, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


This article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Jan. 13, 2005 -- MAIN launches non-profit nationwide Internet service

CONTACT: Wally Bowen, 828-255-0182

Internet Service Launched By Progressive Nonprofit

A nonprofit nationwide Internet service has been launched to serve dial-up
Internet users who support media reform and the creation of a vigorous
independent media.

Marketed under the name IndyLink, the service is aimed at value-conscious
Internet users who also want to avoid the commercial clutter and privacy
risks of corporate services such as AOL and Earthlink. IndyLink is a
service of the North Carolina-based nonprofit Mountain Area Information
Network (MAIN), which has been providing dial-up Internet access since
1996. MAIN currently has more than 4,000 subscribers in western North

"IndyLink gives dial-up Internet users the option of putting their dollars
where their values are, rather than having those dollars go to support a
corporate media system that is not serving the needs of a democratic
society," said Wally Bowen, a veteran media activist and founder of MAIN
and its low-power FM radio arm, WPVM, the Progressive Voice of the

"The Internet-access industry has undergone mergers and consolidation like
other media industries, and the emerging business model is to harvest and
sell personal information while pushing more and more targeted ads at
subscribers," Bowen said.

"Because IndyLink is provided by a nonprofit organization, we don't rely
on advertising revenue to survive. This allows us to provide a
non-commercial 'oasis' where subscribers can enjoy greater privacy
protection and lower cost," Bowen said.

"Creating a truly democratic media includes support for more
non-commercial, not-for-profit media," said Robert W. McChesney, a leading
media scholar and founder of the Free Press media reform coalition.
"IndyLink is an excellent example of how citizens can support nonprofit
media with their Internet dollars," he said. <>

Launching a national dial-up service when the whole world seems to be
moving to high-speed cable and DSL may seem counterintuitive, said Bowen.
"But our marketing research shows that dial-up will be a viable option for
cost and privacy-conscious subscribers for years to come," he said.

Priced at $14.95 a month, IndyLink service is about 30 percent less than
AOL and Earthlink, while offering comparable spam and virus filtering and
a dial-up "accelerator" which can produce download speeds up to five times
faster than conventional dial-up service.

"IndyLink operates on the same telecommunications infrastructure used by
corporate ISPs, so our service is just as reliable. In addition, we have
one of the most experienced tech-support staffs in the Internet industry
because we provide living-wage jobs and turnover is low. We don't
outsource our tech support in order to take advantage of low-wage workers
in developing countries," Bowen said.

"For citizens wanting to support non-commercial Internet alternatives to
monopolistic telecom providers, IndyLink offers not only excellent and
affordable Web services, but represents a new and exciting direction for
21st-century public-interest telecom policy," said Rob Williams, president
of the media reform group, Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME).

Via its homepage, IndyLink also offers a daily digest of progressive news
and information gleaned by IndyLink staff and volunteers from across the
World Wide Web.

"We believe the IndyLink homepage will quickly become a 'must see' stop
for progressive activists and citizens who are looking for news content
under-reported by mainstream media," Bowen said.

Information about IndyLink and its services can be found at To contact IndyLink, email or
call toll-free 1-866-962-6246.


Thursday, May 25, 2006


CME says FCC opens investigation in response to its "fake news" expose

The Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wis., took credit on Thursday for sparking a federal investigation of so-called "fake news" -- broadcasts by U.S. television licensees of video segment produced by the government or product manufacturers and presented as news.

John Staubner, CMD director, released the following statement:

FCC Investigates TV Stations for Airing Fake News

Investigation into Video News Releases and Activist Pressure May Lead to Fines, Better Disclosure

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications Commission has launched an investigation of dozens of television stations, for airing corporate-sponsored and -scripted segments on news programs, without disclosing their sources.

The investigation comes in response to an investigative report by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and an online activist campaign spearheaded by Free Press. The official probe by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was reported today by Bloomberg News. The report, titled "Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed," identified 77 television stations across the country that aired corporate PR as news over a 10-month period. Not one station disclosed the clients behind these segments to its viewers.

"We commend the FCC for taking the issue of fake news seriously," said Diane Farsetta, the Center for Media and Democracy's senior researcher and the co-author of the report. "With the FCC's enforcement bureau getting involved, hopefully TV stations will finally practice full disclosure."

Although CMD tracked just 36 of the thousands of video news releases, or VNRs, distributed each year, it identified 69 TV stations that aired at least one VNR. Eight other stations aired satellite media tours, which are live but highly scripted interviews often scheduled and aired in conjunction with VNRs. The list of TV stations, along with footage of the VNRs and the newscasts that showed them, can be found at

In conjunction with the release of the report on April 6, 2006, Free Press launched a "No Fake News" online activist campaign. Since then, more than 25,000 concerned citizens have contacted the FCC to urge the agency to enforce and strengthen its disclosure requirements.

"The FCC should be applauded for listening to its real constituents -- the American public," said Craig Aaron, communications director of Free Press. "The official FCC probe puts the nation's biggest media companies on notice that their viewers won't stand for fake news on the public airwaves. We hope the FCC will back up its strong statements on covert propaganda with decisive action."

In its April 2005 Public Notice, the FCC stated, "Whenever broadcast stations and cable operators air VNRs, licensees and operators generally must disclose to members of their audiences the nature,source and sponsorship of the material." The FCC declined to commenton today's report about the investigation. CMD and Free Press also filed a formal complaint with the FCC lastmonth, urging that all VNRs be accompanied by a continuous,frame-by-frame visual notification and verbal disclosure of heirsource. The complaint is available at htp://


The Center for Media and Democracy ( ) is a nonprofit, public interest organization that strengthens participatory democracy by investigating and exposing public relations spin and propaganda, and by promoting media literacy and citizen journalism.

Free Press ( ) is a national, nonpartisan organization working to involve the public in media policymaking and to craft policies for a more democratic media system.
Diane Farsetta, Center for Media and Democracy, 608-260-9713
Craig Aaron, Free Press, 202-265-1490
John Stauber, Executive Director, Center for Media and Democracy
520 University Avenue #227, Madison, WI 53703
Phone (608)260-9713 Fax-260-9714

Monday, May 15, 2006


NYTimes' David Carr profiles Huffington Post and terms it a success -- perhaps at Bush expense


By David Carr
The New York Times
Published: May 15, 2006

WHEN it began a year ago, The Huffington Post seemed like a remarkably bad idea. The brainchild of Arianna Huffington, the blog was intended to be a liberal counterpoint to The Drudge Report, featuring an elite list of Hollywood bloggers Gwyneth Paltrow, Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton, among others who would share their innermost leanings. A year later, The Huffington Post has succeeded by failing. The promised missives from stars never much materialized, but the site is booming, fueled by rapid-fire news postings and more than 700 bloggers, most of whom you have never heard of.

The Huffington Post had more than 1.3 million unique visitors last month, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, and more than 2 million in February. The site now has deals with Yahoo and AOL, is close to a deal with a video company, and has been approached by Barry Diller to help build a separate satiric news and entertainment site.

After investing about $2 million, a fraction of the $50 million it would take to create a magazine, The Huffington Post has become a well-known, oft-cited news media brand in the blink of an eye. It seems that Ms. Huffington, who has taken to social climbing with the finesse of a ballerina and the ferocity of a fullback, has found finally found her métier. Nick Denton, founder and publisher of Gawker Media, calls her "the only establishment figure to make the transition to the Web."

After a zigzag career that included tours as an author, socialite, political wife, conservative maven, gubernatorial candidate and television commentator, the glamorous Greek ex-pat known for inspired political fan-dancing has found traction in a media space better known for rants from people who rarely leave their basements. "I am an obsessive, and the Internet rewards obsession," she said, adding in passing that there is still no Greek word for blog. "We should come up with a better name for it, but I guess that ship has sailed." And so it has, taking Ms. Huffington right along with it. Last Monday night, she was honored by Time magazine along with Matt Drudge, still the unchallenged king of the blogosphere as one of America's 100 most influential people.

AT the party at the Time Warner Center, Ms. Huffington, who has railed against the war in Iraq, finally had the chance to face off against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. When she finally had her moment, she asked the secretary of state, "Who designed your dress?" Rena Lange, was the secretary's reply. "And who designed yours?"

"Kira Craft. She's a young designer in Los Angeles."

Ms. Huffington's readers, who have grown accustomed to a steady diet of red-meat attacks on the administration, were
livid. "I tend to agree with your positions, but this is important. You give up your power as a journalist when you're 'afraid' to ask questions just because you're at a social function," wrote one poster on the site. "Why, as a journalist, would you want to socialize with those in power?" Her readers fail to understand that her air-kissed mastery of social conventions is how she arrived in the first place. Ms. Huffington, whom I have watched work the room effortlessly at both political conventions and Oscar parties, is a celebrity who occasionally functions as a journalist, someone who throws rocks from deep inside the glass house. "I don't think she is giving voice to people who didn't have one," said Mr. Drudge, her foil on the right. "She is crashing the gates of her own home in Brentwood as far as I can tell. It's not like she is disenfranchised."

But a Brentwood address alone does not push a Web site above the clutter. Ms. Huffington smartly partnered with Ken Lerer, a former AOL executive who was convinced that the site could blend straight news and blogging. The duo hired Jonah Peretti, a viral marketing hotdog who has helped the site's visibility. Beyond the bag of Web tricks, Ms. Huffington has introduced the sparkle of celebrity to the frat-house world of blogging. In at least one case, she overdelivered, manufacturing a post by George Clooney (which he quickly disavowed) out of public comments he'd previously made. "I tried too hard to speed up his journey to blogging," she blithely explained.

She may have stumbled with Mr. Clooney, but she has sped a lot of other journeys. The Huffington Post came along at a time when the liberal penchant for polite discourse was being buried by the unalloyed opinions of conservatives, who used talk radio and the Web to tilt the playing field in their favor. Ms. Huffington put the same kind of megaphone on the left at a time when the old hallmarks of civility and fairness were no longer prized, and in this new world, a bit passé.

After just a year, The Huffington Post has worked one end of the political spectrum to put itself right in the middle of things. JWT, the advertising agency, has placed ads for several clients on the site and has invited Ms. Huffington to speak at a huge ad summit in Cannes, France. "Clients have begun to realize that you can't just play it safe," said Bob Jeffrey, the chief executive and chairman of JWT Worldwide. "They have to be willing to look at things that have a point of view." And part of the reason that her site is doing so well may be simply that the current administration is not.

"There are a lot of things that are doing well because of the failing of the Bush administration, and while our country might not be one of them, The Huffington Post certainly is," said Al Franken, the Air America radio host and occasional Huffington Post contributor. "Arianna has always tried a lot of stuff and some of it didn't stick to the wall. This just happened to come along at a very good time."


This article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Maine professor Socolow says "net neutrality" threatened by telcom legislation

ORIGINAL URL:,0,4559120.story

Posted: Tuesday 09 May 2006

Proposed Rule Changes Would Tangle the Web

By Michael Socolow
The Baltimore Sun

Michael Socolow is an assistant professor of communication and journalism at the University of Maine. His e-mail is

Congress wants to change the Internet.

This is news to most people because the major news media have not actively pursued the story. Yet both the House
and Senate commerce committees are promoting new rules governing the manner by which most Americans receive the Web.
Congressional passage of new rules is widely anticipated, as is President Bush's signature. Once this happens, the
Internet will change before your eyes.

The proposed House legislation, the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE), offers no
protections for "network neutrality."

Currently, your Internet provider does not voluntarily censor the Web as it enters your home. This levels the
playing field between the tiniest blog and the most popular Web site.

Yet the big telecom companies want to alter this dynamic. AT&T and Verizon have publicly discussed their plans to
divide the information superhighway into separate fast and slow lanes. Web sites and services willing to pay a toll
will be channeled through the fast lane, while all others will be bottled up in the slower lanes. COPE, and similar
telecom legislation offered in the Senate, does nothing to protect the consumer from this transformation of the

The telecoms are frustrated that commercial Web sites reap unlimited profits while those providing entry to your
home for these companies are prevented from fully cashing in. If the new telecom regulations pass without safeguarding
net neutrality, the big telecom companies will be able to prioritize the Web for you. They will be free to decide which
Web sites get to your computer faster and which ones may take longer - or may not even show up at all.

By giving the telecoms the ability to harness your Web surfing, the government will empower them to shake down the
most profitable Web companies. These companies will sell access to you, to, and even, etc. What if these companies elect not to pay? Then, when you type in "," you might be
redirected to, or your lightning-quick DSL Internet service might suddenly move at horse-and-buggy

It might appear that the direct ramifications of this bill are somewhat obscure. Why should you care, if your
Internet fee isn't altered? Or if your Web surfing will (possibly) be only minimally disrupted? (The telecoms
understand that completely barring access to certain sites - especially the most popular ones - would be

You should care because any corporate restriction on information gathering directly counters the original purpose
of the World Wide Web.

"Universality is essential to the Web," says its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee. "It loses its power if there are
certain types of things to which you can't link."

If calling up the Web site of your favorite political commentator takes far longer than surfing to a commercial
site, the new laws will have a direct impact on the Web's democratic utility. The proposed laws also facilitate future
steps toward corporate censorship. Do you think that the telecoms, under the proposed regulations, would make it easy
to visit the Web sites of their disgruntled - or possibly striking - employees?

The proposed new rules have received surprisingly sparse media coverage. The new laws have economic, political and
social ramifications. There are several explanations for the silence.

The most probable is simply that because the laws have strong bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, they
do not appear particularly newsworthy. COPE has been promoted vigorously in the House by both Texas Republican Joe L.
Barton and Illinois Democrat Bobby L. Rush. While a few legislators are attempting to preserve net neutrality - most
notably Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Republican Sen. Olympia J. Snowe of Maine - they are
clearly outnumbered.

The history of American telecommunications regulation does not offer a promising model for the future of net
neutrality. In the late 1800s, Congress approved of Western Union, America's telegraph monopoly, censoring the
Associated Press. The 1934 Communications Act resulted in political discussion over the national airwaves being tightly
moderated by CBS and NBC.

Most telecom laws are sold to the public as the "natural evolution" of communications technology. Yet there is no
truly natural evolution to our telecommunications laws. Only very rarely is regulation completely ordained by physics
or technological limits. More commonly, it emerges from the political process. This is news to many Americans unaware
of their own media history.

Many people believe the Internet's decentralized structure guarantees that no company or oligopoly could control
it. Internet censorship - whether by corporate or state interests - simply sounds impossible. Yet not only is it
theoretically possible, but the history of telecommunications regulation tells us it is probable. By the time the
telecoms start changing what you see on your screen, it will be too late to complain.


Michael Socolow is an assistant professor of communication and journalism at the University of Maine. His e-mail is

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Blogs are largely derivative of newspapers, Times of London director says


Newspapers will supply top blogs, says Times boss

By Martin Stabe
The Press Gazette Online of London

Newspapers are best placed to provide the best bloggers and supply trusted information on the web, the managing director of Times [of London] Newspaper has argued.

Speaking at at the Internet World conference in London on Tuesday, Paul Hayes said power had shifted between consumers and media owners in the past year, but not as some people had expected. Hayes said: "Millions of blogs have sprung up over the last year, but a cursory search shows that the majority of their information sources lead back to mainstream media. The bloggers are seeking or delivering insight, but what they need is accurate information on whatever subject they're interested in. Time and again, bloggers draw their readers' attention to what they have read in papers, such as the Times."

"Blogs will be a continuing part of content output, but only a relative few will be read beyond the narrowest of audiences. Most of them will disappear unnoticed, and frankly unmissed by the world. "Some blogs are conversations among people you'd frankly prefer not to meet, others ar cries for help and their writers are clearly in need of therapy. Others are just people expressing themselves, which is an entirely honourable pursuit, but would you like to meet this geek on a dark night?"

Hayes predicted that just four types of bloggers would retain "resonance beyond":

* "Branded bloggers", such well-known writers or celebrities;
* "Intelligent aggregators" who make little comment but drive readers to other useful sites;
* "Well-connected bloggers" such as journalists, ex-politicians or specialists who have the ability to uncover information; and
* "Brilliant bloggers" who attract readers largely by the quality of their prose and the originality of their wit.

As an example of the latter category, Hayes cited Baghdad Burning, the blog by the young Iraqi woman who was recently nominated for the prestigious Samuel Johnson prize. But he also argued that established content creators like newspapers are best placed to provide bloggers of this sort. Hayes said because they had already made the necessary investments in quality journalism, newpapers are best-placed to quench "the thirst for purposeful content on the web."

Newspapers' established brands will also provide a long-term advantage, Hayes argued: "As information overload really kicks in, the consumer will want to go straight to the brand that they trust. So with all due respect to the hundreds of thousands of information sources out there, you can't beat a big brand name to re-assure you that what you're reading is high-quality content worth spending time with, and frankly, true. People don't have time to trawl through dross." Hayes said Times Online, the web site of both the Times and Sunday Times, now attracts more than 8 million unique visitors per month, a figure which represents an annual growth rate of 115 per cent.

Copyright © 2005-2006 Press Gazette Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


This article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


OWNERSHIP: NPR profiles Anniston, Ala., Star's ownership conversion to j-school

"It is the duty of a newspaper to become the attorney for the most
defenseless among its subscribers."

'Anniston Star' philosophy, Col Harry M. Ayers


Media -- Small Paper Uses Profits to Train New Reporters

By David Folkenflik
National Public Radio
All Things Considered, May 2, 2006

Under the leadership of publisher H. Brandt Ayers, The Anniston Star was judged to be one of the country's best by Time magazine and the Columbia Journalism Review.

At many newspapers, the top priority is how best to prop up revenues. But the family that owns The Anniston Star in Alabama is quietly planning to devote the paper's profits to training new generations of reporters.

The Star is a small daily that packs an outsized punch, situated in a town west of Atlanta. The paper has a circulation of just 27,000. But under the leadership of publisher Harry Brandt Ayers, it fights above its weight class. It campaigned for racial desegregation at a time when much of Alabama was brawling to keep it out, and it has uncovered pollution and government corruption. The newspaper has maintained a staff that is twice as large as what industry consultants recommend.

The Star has long served as a training ground for aspiring journalists. Rick Bragg and Jim Yardley went on to win Pulitzers at The New York Times. Others graduated to the Chicago Tribune and The Wall Street Journal. Ayers told longtime Star editor Chris Waddle that he wanted to build on that record. Waddle suggested the University of Alabama could create a graduate program in journalism that would be based at the Star itself.

The Ayers family created a not-for-profit foundation. Over time, the holdings of the Ayers family in the publishing company will be turned over to that trust. The company's earnings will be used to run the paper, and its dividends will help pay the cost of teaching the students. The Knight Foundation has contributed $1.5 million to the project.

Waddle who has held pretty much every senior editorial post at the Star, became president of the trust and is also a professor at the university. Ultimately, it will be a dozen students reporting -- and learning -- in the newsroom. They won't have to pay tuition, and they'll receive modest monthly stipends, plus a bonus to subsidize a job hunt.

Very few American papers are owned by not-for-profit groups. One paper in Tupelo, Miss., uses its money to encourage regional development. The St. Petersburg Times in Florida is controlled by the Poynter Institute, a professional training center. But there's nothing quite like this.

Ayers says he's driven by his own paper's tradition, and by watching budgets and aspirations being squeezed at newspapers owned by the Knight Ridder, Gannett and Tribune companies. "We want a great newspaper and we want a school to really add something to our craft. And we want to make enough money to make that happen," Ayers says. "That's what drives us. That's what we want."

A lot of people in Anniston say the paper is a central part of their lives. Ayers has gone to a lot of trouble -- and passed up a lot of money -- to make sure it stays that way.


The article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Hughes: Newspapers not endangered: They have rich well of content to tap

John Huges, a retired editor of the Christian Science Monitor, argues in
this essay that newspaper companies (as distinct from the papers?) are not
an endangered species because they have a rich well of content to tap and
excellent cash positions.


Commentary > John Hughes
from the May 03, 2006 edition

In the age of the Internet, newspapers are still big business
Newspapers are the Internet's primary suppliers of information.

By John Hughes
The Christian Science Monitor

SEATTLE -- The sun-dappled waters of Puget Sound were calm and sparkling
last week, but a few blocks inland, where editors of America's daily
newspapers were gathered in annual conclave, it sounded like a perfect
storm was besetting their profession.

It's been a tough year for the newspaper business. For many newspapers,
readership is down and advertising is off. Some major newspapers have laid
off staff. American reporters abroad have been killed or held hostage in
Iraq, while at home, some have been threatened with jail for refusing to
disclose their sources. A few journalists have demeaned the principles of
their profession by plagiarizing the work of others or totally
manufacturing interviews and events. When caught, they have been fired.

On top of all this is the fear that a multiplicity of new electronic toys
and gadgets is encouraging a new generation to forsake the printed
newspaper and gather its information via a keyboard and computer screen,
or even a hand-held device prodded with a metal pointer.

Seattle is a center for the development of new technology, and so it was
inevitable that much of this year's convention of the American Society of
Newspaper Editors should be dominated by discussion of whether the
newspaper is mortally threatened by the Web and other pending electronic

Microsoft's Bill Gates was an invited speaker and cheerfully predicted
that within five years there would be no textbooks in schools - they would
all be replaced by computers. He also told of how he taunted his friend
Warren Buffett, the stock-picking guru, for his ownership of an
encyclopedia company. The only reason to have printed encyclopedias these
days, said Mr. Gates, was because they looked nice on bookshelves and
smelled good.

With the help of Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of The New York Times,
Gates did unveil a new and improved hand-held "e-paper" on which the
content of the Times would be carried and which is undergoing tests.
Earlier versions of such a portable pallet have been tried, but
suggestions that they could eliminate a newspaper's printing and delivery
costs have obviously so far proved invalid. The new device is small and
portable, but Gates was a little vague about what its selling price would
be. Also unclear is what an owner of the device would pay to call up the
pages of the Times on it.

It would be folly for newspaper owners and publishers to ignore such new
technology. But newspaper companies are still much in demand - witness the
billions of dollars paid in recent days for the purchase of the Knight
Ridder newspapers by the McClatchy and Media-News organizations.

While technology may change methods of delivery, as for example online,
there is no content to deliver without a news organization to gather and
edit it. In its annual report on the news media, the Project for
Excellence in Journalism says the "evidence does not support the notion
that newspapers have begun a sudden death spiral."

Internet-only sites like Slate and Salon that have tried to produce
original content have struggled financially, says the report, while those
thriving financially rely almost entirely on the work of others.
Newspapers are the country's biggest news-gathering organizations in most
towns and the Internet's primary suppliers.

The central economic question in journalism, the report concludes,
continues to be how long it will take online journalism to become a major
economic engine, and if it will ever be as big as print or television. "If
the on-line revenues at newspapers continue to grow at the current rate -
an improbable 33 percent a year - they won't reach levels equivalent with
print until 2017 (assuming print grows just 3 percent a year).
Realistically, even with the lower delivery costs, it will be years before
the Internet rivals old media economics."

Two of the most forward-looking experts on the newspaper industry, Scott
Anthony and Clark Gilbert, say that despite the sense of doom and gloom
that pervades, there are signs of hope. Writing in Nieman Reports, the
journal of the prestigious Nieman Foundation for journalists at Harvard,
they say that while newspaper readership is declining, information
consumption is increasing. "Almost every newspaper company has made the
transition to the Web, with their properties attracting new audiences and
new advertisers.

"The newspaper industry has the potential to do some very exciting things
in the coming years. Most companies have good brand reputations, strong
cash positions, and a deep well of content."

All this suggests that the newspaper is far from an endangered species.

. John Hughes, a former editor of the Monitor, is a past president of the
American Society of Newspaper Editors.

The article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not havespecifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is madeavailable in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic,democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justiceissues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided bySection 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profitto those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the includedinformation for research and educational purposes. If you wish to usecopyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you mustobtain permission from the copyright owner.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


BBC-Media Center-Reuters "trust" poll finds 18-24 news users volatile and moving to web

From the BBC-Media Center-Reuters Global Forum May 3-4, 2006 London
SOURCE: Gloria Pan, Communications Director, The Media Center
email: /

Lack of Trust Driving Consumers to Switch News Providers

LINKS: BBC story on poll / PDF download of poll report

A 10-nation poll conducted for Reuters, the BBC and The Media Center across four continents, finds that in a world of committed news junkies, trust in the news provider is a key issue. While some 72 percent of respondents characterized themselves as keen news followers, almost three in ten people have abandoned a media source over the past year due to a lack of trust in its content.

Conducted by polling company GlobeScan as part of this week's Reuters / BBC / Media Center 'We Media' Forum, a major 10-nation public opinion poll exploring trust in the media has found that even though the media is more trusted than the national government in half the countries surveyed, significant numbers of people are switching news sources because they do not trust the information they receive. Release and discussion of the poll results opened the We Media Global Forum, presented by The Media Center at the BBC and Reuters in London, May 3-4, 2006. See the video and join the online discussion here:

Get the full poll results here:

Media is trusted by an average of 61 percent compared to 52 percent for governments across the countries polled. But the US bucked the trend - with government ahead of media on trust (67% - 59%) along with Britain (51% - 47%).

Trust in media was highest in Nigeria (88% v 34% gov't.) followed by Indonesia (86% v 71%), India (82% v 66%), Egypt (74%, gov't. not asked), and Russia (58% v 54%).

National TV was the most trusted news source overall (trusted by 82%, with 16% not trusting it) - followed by national/regional newspapers (75% vs 19%), local newspapers (69% vs 23%), public radio (67% vs 18%), and international satellite TV (56% vs 19%). Internet blogs were the least trusted source (25% vs 23%) - with one in two unable to say whether they trusted them. TV was also seen as the most 'important' news source (56%) followed by newspapers (21%), the Internet (9%) and radio (9%).

One in four (28%) reported abandoning a news source over the last year after losing trust in its content. A total of 10,230 adults were questioned by GlobeScan in the UK, USA, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, and South Korea in March and April.

Other key findings included:

* Strong demand across all countries and ages for news: seven in ten (72%) follow news closely every day - including two in three (67%) in the 18-24 age range.

* Two in three people believe news is reported accurately (65%), but more than half (57%) believe governments interfere too much with the media and only 42 percent think journalists can report freely. People are divided on whether the media covers all sides of a story, with 41 percent disagreeing.

* Nigerians believed most strongly that government interferes too much in the media (75%) followed by South Korea (71%), Brazil (64%), Indonesia (59%), Britain (58%), India (56%), and the US (52%).

* Three of four people (77%) prefer to check several news sources instead of relying on just one, especially Internet users.

* More men (76%) than women (69%) said they followed the news closely every day.

* Trust in media has increased overall over the last four years - in Britain up from 29 percent to 47 percent and in the US from 52 percent to 59 percent.

* Younger people use online sources most - being the first choice among 19 percent aged between 18 and 24 compared to just 3 percent in the 55-64 age range. But 56 percent overall valued the opportunity to obtain news online - South Koreans being the most enthusiastic at 85 percent. Britain was on 57 percent and the US on 60 percent.

SOURCE: The Media Center 11690 Sunrise Valley Drive Reston VA 20191


The article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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