Posts Tagged ‘Newspapers’

Ease of access more important than accuracy

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

More people rely on the Internet for news, as opposed to print newspapers, but they don’t trust what they read there, a new survey by the the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism’s Digital Future Project.

For the first time, fewer survey respondent – 56 percent – ranked newspapers as  important or very important sources of information for them than those who said the Internet (78 percent) and television (68 percent) were important or very important sources of information. The number for newspapers was down from 60 percent in the school’s 2008 survey.

But, 61 percent of Internet users said less than half of online information is reliable, and 14 percent said that little or none of it is reliable. The latter figure is up from previous years, according to Media Daily News.

Looks like ease of use – the computer, TV or mobile device people are connected to anyway vs. a different copy of the newspaper arriving in the driveway each day – is more important that the information itself.

More than 20 percent of respondents said they would not miss the printed newspaper.

The downward spiral in print newspaper circulation no doubt will be accelerated by  advances in online delivery of news content through e-readers or other handheld electronic devices,” Jeffrey I. Cole, director of  the school’s Center for the Digital Future, said in a statement quoted by Editor & Publisher. “After years of aborted attempts, these advances finally appear to be practical and  affordable methods of providing electronic news content to readers.  If so, what will that mean for  the future of the traditional print newspaper?”

Meanwhile, 70 percent of Internet users said online advertising is “annoying,” and half said they never click on Web ads. But 55 percent said they would rather put up with Web advertising than pay for content.


Gary Pruitt lies to stockholders

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Gary Pruitt, at McClatchy’s shareholders meeting Wednesday, boasted of “McClatchy’s unwavering commitment to public service journalism” and vowed that the publishing company would continue to “provide relevant, high quality journalism.”

Anyone who reads a McClatchy newspaper knows the quality of the journalism has declined precipitously as the company has cut positions, and anyone who works for, or has worked for, McClatchy knows that its management is committed only to the bottom line — money.

Pruitt bases his claim of ongoing quality on national recognition of the work of three McClatchy papers: The Kansas City Star winning the Robert F. Kennedy Award, the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat winning the George Polk Award and the McClatchy Washington Bureau being named as a Pulitzer Prize finalist for national reporting. But this work, and other solid reporting at McClatchy newspapers, is the work of local journalists who remain dedicated to their profession, not McClatchy. Pruitt gloms onto their efforts while he has eliminated the jobs of about a third of their colleagues and makes plans to eliminate more.

Perhaps the job cuts were inevitable given the economy and the changes in the newspaper industry. But to maintain that they have not adversely affected the quality of the newspapers is simply a lie and an insult to those whose lives have been disrupted by these layoffs.

Pruitt is every bit as despicable as the CEOs of BP, Wall Street banks, Big Tobacco and other industries who care solely about profits and don’t give a thought about who they use or hurt along the way.

Newspaper circulation fall is slowing

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Newspaper circulation fell again in the last six months recorded but not as precipitously as it had the six months before, figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations show.

“[A]verage weekday circulation fell 8.7 percent in the six months that ended March 31, compared with the same period a year earlier,” the Associated Press reported. “Sunday circulation fell 6.5 percent.That’s a slight improvement from April through September of last year, when average weekday circulation dropped 10.6 percent from a year earlier and Sunday circulation fell 7.5 percent.”

“In a way,” the AP report continues,  “the new circulation figures mirror the industry’s advertising trends. While most major newspapers continue to see ad revenue decline compared with year-ago figures, the drop is becoming less extreme. Newspapers are getting some help from easy comparisons — they are holding their latest ad numbers up to results from the depths of the recession — but economic improvement is also starting to restore advertising budgets.”

Some of the loss comes from a shift in focus, according to Advertising Age. “Newspapers have, on the other hand, gotten smarter about managing their paid circulations — sometimes abandoning areas outside their core markets, for example, where advertisers were less interested in appearing and distribution costs were greater. Some have increased newsstand and subscription prices, too, in an effort to improve circulation economics. Those factors combine to depress paid circulations.”

The Ad Age report, at the link above, includes a chart with figures from the nation’s top 25 papers based on circulation.

L.A. journalists doubt newspaper will survive

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

More than half of the former L.A. Times journalists surveyed by, well, themselves, say they expect their former employer to fold “and nearly as many think newspapers in general have been mortally wounded.”

The survey was conducted by The Journalism Shop, a Web site run entirely by former Los Angeles Times staff members. It calls itself “an easy-to-navigate site for finding highly skilled newspaper veterans interested in taking on freelance assignments.”

“Even if newspapers survive, several expected a much lower quality product,” the survey report says. “’Most papers will evolve into local rags with a heavy emphasis on entertainment and other “news you can use” and time-wasting blogs to keep people entertained,’ wrote a former male staffer, whose job was cut.”

“The poll was conducted among former Los Angeles Times staffers who are members of a support message group,” the site says. “Seventy-five out of 124 members responded.” Nearly two thirds said they’d like to remain in the news business.

Firm defends outsourced copy editing

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

News & Tech, in its December  issue, looks at outsourcing of newspapers’ editorial functions, such as copy editing and design. Last month, the Toronto Star proposed to contract out about 80 copy editors’ jobs.

Toronto’s plan, which N&T says could be abandoned if unions make concessions, would send the work to Pagemasters, which “already produce[s] more than 10,000 editorial pages a month for papers that include the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age in Melbourne and the New Zealand Herald.”

Stewart Muir, managing director of Pagemasters North America, explained the Pagemasters concept to the magazine. Its “‘near-sourcing’ alternative offers publishers benefits, especially as newspapers wrestle to cut costs,” he said.

“‘It has a proven track record,’ he said of the firm’s services, citing in part the New Zealand Herald, which has used Pagemasters for layout and copy editing for two years.

“‘Lots of North American newspapers want that service mentality. And it’s not just the newsroom. The reason they have outsourced ad production and printing and other operations is because they can get the results they need.’

“Muir acknowledges that editorial outsourcing remains a contentious topic, but said Pagemasters does not farm out work to overseas workers who may only earn a third of what a Canadian or U.S. copy editor might make.

“Instead, Muir said Pagemasters opens up production centers in areas close to its clients, and hires trained journalists who are paid equivalent wages and benefits. Cost savings come from Pagemasters policies and procedures designed to optimize how copy flows throughout the day.

“‘Journalist wages in a Pagemasters shop are totally comparable’ to the newspaper, Muir said. ‘It’s about delivering efficiency.

“‘We’re talking about the most precious part of a newspaper endeavor, the creation and editing of editorial material. Nobody is talking about just farming this out.'”

Online or in print, newspapers still valued

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

A new study from Scarborough Research finds that 74 percent of adults — nearly 171 million — in the United States read a newspaper in print or online during the past week,” Editor & Publisher reports.

This number counters the notion that newspapers no longer impact consumers. ‘Given the fragmentation of media choices, printed newspapers are holding onto their audiences relatively well,’ Gary Meo, Scarborough’s senior vice president of print and digital media services, said in a statement.”

Readers are not what newspapers lack

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

The Newspaper Association of America says that, on average, newspaper Web sites attracted more than 74 million monthly unique visitors in the third quarter of 2009, more than one-third (38 percent) of all Internet users. This translates into more than 3.5 billion page views during the quarter, and 2.7 billion minutes spent browsing the sites during more than 596 million total sessions.

The figures come from a custom analysis provided by Nielsen Online.

The NAA also says newspaper companies have been able to command higher newsstand and home-delivery prices for print editions, while subscriber “churn” – the rate of subscribers canceling – has fallen dramatically to 31.8 percent in 2008, compared with 54.5 percent in 2000.

Though it applauds subscription and newsstand sales, Thursday’s NAA report does not explain how to make the online readership pay. Unless we missed it:

“Newspaper publishers continue to aggressively reinvent their business models, leveraging trusted brands to attract a growing and sophisticated audience in the digital space,” said NAA President and CEO John F. Sturm.  “At the same time, industry executives have adopted smarter circulation strategies that are growing circulation revenues even though paid circulation numbers are lower.  This places the focus where it belongs:  retaining core readers who deliver maximum value to advertisers while harnessing digital platforms to broaden our medium’s audience and position us strongly for the future.”

Maybe in the future.

Print freebie eases sting of online payments

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

As newspaper companies consider how and whether to charge for content online – with hundreds apparently signing up for Steve Brill’s consortium while other publishers dither – a survey in England says nearly half of readers would pay for online news if a free print subscription was thrown into the deal.

“While only 5 percent of people who read a news site at least once a month told us they would pay for online access, when you throw in a free or discounted subscription to the printed paper, that rises to a combined 48 percent,” says The Guardian based on its exclusive paidContent:UK/Harris Interactive poll.

It’s not a majority, but it’s enough for leverage, the newspaper says. “The message is loud and clear – people continue to believe that touchable products command tangible economic value but, divorced from physicality and its associated costs, digital content should manifest itself cheaper.”

Media General employees lose third week of pay

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Media General, owner of the Winston-Salem Journal, The Tampa Tribune and 19 other daily newspapers, told employees Friday they must take off five more unpaid days by the end of the year, according to Editor & Publisher.

The five are in addition to 10 furlough days already assessed, for a total of three weeks of pay that the publisher has withheld from employees this year.

Employees must take one day by the end of September (the end of third quarter), and four during fourth quarter, the report says.

The publisher blames “last-minute advertiser cancellations and deferrals of planned spending” by other advertisers.

In addition to instituting layoffs, pay cuts and wage freezes, McClatchy Co., Gannett and other newspaper publishers have furloughed employees this year to save money.

‘Traditional media’ still top source of news

Friday, September 18th, 2009

They’re pulling up the rear, but newspapers are hanging in there among the traditional news sources that Americans turn to for major news, according to a First Amendment Center survey.

Television was the first source for major news stories for about half of all responding (49 percent), followed by the Internet at 15 percent, radio at 13 percent and newspapers at 10 percent – which places traditional news media (TV, radio and newspapers) as the first source for 72 percent of Americans,” the First Amendment Center says. “Twitter, e-mails and social-networking sites each were named by 1 percent of those responding.”

Seventy-one percent of survey respondents agreed with the necessity of a free press, but fewer knew the scope of the First Amendment. Just 4 percent of those questioned could name “petition” as one of the five freedoms in the First Amendment; 55 percent could only name freedom of speech, and fewer than 20 percent named the freedoms of religion, press and assembly.

Nearly one in five Americans (19 percent) saw the First Amendment as “going too far” in the rights it guarantees.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.