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Newspapers

  • South Africa’s Mail & Guardian goes digital first, warns of possible retrenchments

    The Mail & Guardian, one of South Africa's largest independent news organisations, is set to adopt a digital first approach. And while the news will probably be welcomed by people in the tech space, it is likely to come with retrenchments. In an official statement released today, the organisation announced the restructuring. The move, it says, is part of move its towards a wholly converged operation. M&G Media chief executive Hoosain Karjieker said that the company's "digital first" philosophy would inform the restructuring efforts and that recent appointments had been made in line with that philosophy. He added however that it...

  • 5 reasons why Amazon’s Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post

    The news that Amazon's founder and CEO bought The Washington Post for US$250-million sent shockwaves simultaneously through the media and tech industries today. Old media isn't exactly going gangbusters. Just a few days ago The Boston Globe sold to Red Sox owner John W Henry for US$70-million, a fraction of the US$1.1-billion the New York Times paid for it in 1993. No, actually if you take into account the Globe's pension obligations, which apparently sits around US$110-million, it sold for negative US$40-million. So then, is Bezos out of his mind? Maybe. It's not like Amazon.com Inc paid for the Post. Bezos...

  • Bezos’ biggest coup? He now owns the newspaper of a superpower’s capital

    In his letter to employees from their new boss, Jeff Bezos, the founder of ecommerce giant Amazon, promises to keep the paper focused on what the reader wants and to follow important stories no matter the cost. The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners….Journalism plays a critical role in a free society, and The Washington Post -- as the hometown paper of the capital city of the United States -- is especially important. Owning the Washington Post will most certainly help Amazon's lobbying of the government, which has increased substantially over...

  • Read Jeff Bezos’ letter to his new Washington Post employees

    It's understandable that news of Amazon's Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post has been dominating the tech press today. After all, he's a digital native taking on an old, and apparently struggling, media property. There's been loads of speculation about what Bezos might do with the newspaper. There's also been talk that staff are seriously unhappy about the buyout. That's understandable given that it's been in the hands of the same family since 1933 and its proud history of tearing down big corporate and political players. Perhaps anticipating their angst, Bezos sent out a letter to the Post's staff....

  • Hacktivists ‘Anonymous Africa’ attack South African news site IOL

    Independent Newspapers has confirmed that its subsidiary IOL suffered a denial-of-service (DDos) attack yesterday, rendering the popular news website unavailable for hours. Behind the attack is a group that calls itself "Anonymous Africa," who claims that the Independent Newspapers group supports Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe for an opinion piece IOL published on Sunday. Minutes before the attack the Twitter account for Anonymous Africa with the handle @zim4thewin sent out these tweets: Please note everyone. Today #IOL will be attacked for ignoring the genocide against the Ndebele people and for supporting a dictator #Africa— Anonymous Africa (@zim4thewin) June 12, 2013 @iol Tick...

  • Digital disruption at Financial Times: who’s funding serious journalism?

    The Financial Times said it would try to eliminate 35 editorial jobs through voluntary means and add 10 jobs as part of its focus on "digital" and a move away from news to "a networked business." Financial Times editor Lionel Barber announced the changes in an email to staff. He wrote that a trip to Silicon Valley in September had "confirmed the speed of change." The FT plans to shift resources from the production of the print editions to its online news and services. This will be done by eliminating late editions and greater standardization between newspaper editions for the UK,...

  • Why taxing Google News is a terrible idea for newspapers

    In 2009, Rupert Murdoch famously called Google News and other news search engines, "content kleptomaniacs", before denying them access to his publications the next year. In September this year, he changed his position and decided that news snippets from his publications should reappear. Of course, traffic was going down, meaning a loss of income. Now new ideas are emerging at the headquarters of cash strapped newspapers. "Couldn't we start taxing Google and the others for publishing our content by creating an extension of the copyright?" is the musing of media CEOs. By creating a collecting society for Google tax,...

  • Newsweeklies: the product is right, the medium is wrong

    It's not been a pretty picture for print for a while now. The latest blow came on Wednesday when Newsweek announced it was to go digital only after citing annual loses of around US$40-million. Other newsweeklies may suffer a similar fate -- the latest data shows double-digit ad falls for Time and The Week. Yet only four percent for The Economist, whose digital revenues are much higher than the others. None, it seems, are really gearing up to crack the beast that is regular subscription and week-old news. It's just a different world I guess. Or is...

  • Business Day goes ‘digital first’, erects paywall

    Business Day, a leading South African newspaper, is set to make the leap from "paper first" to "digital first" before eventually erecting a paywall around its content. According to the paper's editor Peter Bruce: Business Day will, very soon now, become a "digital first" news brand. We will begin to publish what we know when we know it on our newly designed website first, and make the newspaper after that. Then, a...

  • Why every business should become a digital media producer

    The Guardian newspaper’s plans to offer courses in digital media production is an important development and one that should be followed by newspapers around the world. It would provide much-needed revenues to many struggling media businesses. I've written many times that the future of journalism is in helping communities, which includes businesses, to tell their stories. Media literacy is important but that’s just one side of the coin: knowing how to produce and publish digital media is just as important, maybe more. Freedom of speech is pointless if you don’t know how to make it heard. Newspapers know how and they...

  • Could a free Kindle be the final death knell for print newspapers?

    It's easy to imagine that some day, in the not too distant future, paper distribution of news will become obsolete. It seems that in most concept videos about consumer electronics in the future, a person is featured sitting at a kitchen table, coffee in hand, swiping through the morning's news on a transparent, flexible display. Prompted by the iPad revolution, I’m sure many people have already traded paper and ink, for glass and pixels to consume the news. About a year ago there was a piece by John Lanchester on the future of the newspaper industry. In it, mention was...

  • The continuing rise of activist media and the demise of the Fourth Estate

    In a recent article, I pointed out that activist media, such as the posts, tweets, photos, and videos produced by the Occupy Wall Street activists, will become increasingly influential, while the establishment media, such as CNN or New York Times, will decline in influence. The reason is that the business model for establishment media is under siege and that means cutbacks in resources. There are simply fewer journalists, editors, photographers, camera operators, and there will be even fewer in the future as cutbacks continue to decimate the ranks of media professionals. But activist media needs no business model, it is staffed...

  • ‘The blog is dead, long live the blog’ — Chris Anderson on the future of media

    We may need new words for journalists, editors and the "news", because their definitions are constraining and changing. Maybe the editors of the future will be known as "community managers"? Everyone's publishing, everyone's writing these days -- and perhaps these community managers will be the new curators? In this interview, Wired editor and international technology commentator Chris Anderson (Read Part 1: "The Closing Web" here) suspects that "the ranks of people creating news is going to grow hugely, including many people who are doing it for non-commercial reasons". Non-journalists are broadcasting relevant news on the web like never before via...

  • Rupert Murdoch, News of The World, and the SoDOMM effect of social media

    The sudden demise of The News of the World newspaper was both shocking and exhilarating: That a 168-year old Sunday paper with more than 200 staff, selling almost three million copies a week, can be closed so suddenly is without precedence. The News of the World was the first newspaper I bought. I was about seven or eight years old and decided I needed to get serious about life and that I needed...

  • Online advertising spend to shoot past newspapers in US

    Online advertising spending in the United States will overtake spending on newspaper ads this year for the first time, digital research firm eMarketer said on Monday. EMarketer estimated that online ad spending will grow 13.9 percent in 2010 to 25.8 billion dollars while spending on print newspaper ads will drop 8.2 percent to 22.78 billion dollars. Including Internet ads, print and online newspaper advertising revenue will hit 25.7 billion dollars, eMarketer said, still below...