Hot Topic - UK Newspapers
Big media deals are always attention-getting. Media watchers wax on about consolidation, digital, jobs and competition. Money by the pile being what it is, most transactions of a certain scale are rather creative. Give thanks to the accountants and hedge fund managers for keeping the last light on.
Elections are media events and have been for decades. Voters are, in democracies, the ultimate arbiter. Each one processes election information uniquely; agreeing, disagreeing, dismissing, engaging or any possible combination. Campaign strategies focus on motivating as well as discouraging and sometimes confusing. Mass media tools are important, new media tools vital.
By most accounts, print circulation seems to have bottomed out. Losses from the digital decades are starting to reverse, albeit slightly. Print advertising, however, may never recover. Digital advertising, which benefits Facebook more than publishers, seems to have stalled except for mobile ads, expected to overtake TV sometime soon, maybe, unless the ad blockers take over. All of this is just opportunity.
Intertwined like the DNA double helix the Royal Charter for press self-regulation was officially adopted by the Queen as the first criminal trial over phone hacking and other tawdry deeds gets underway in the UK. That some UK newspaper publishers seem not to connect the two is remarkable, something on the order of denying the laws of science. That such a “medieval instrument” as the signature of the monarch was deemed necessary testifies to the political – if not popular – misunderstanding of the flow of information as the digital age enters its maturity.
Experienced negotiators know how to read a room. Parties in dispute resort to name-calling – or worse – as deadlines approach. The skilled practitioner knows this is the moment to ferret out a solution. Threats, you see, really do work and once the inevitable is clear hearts and minds will follow.
Every tabloid editor knows what moves eyeballs. It’s a skill passed on generation after generation, unbound by geography. Dirt on celebrities and politicians is fine but nothing beats that grainy photo of a well-known somebody starkers. Brilliance is causing talk on the street, any street, and maybe a lawsuit. Leveraging a better business deal is genius.
For the news media to speak truth to power assumptions are that power – and the powerful – are not coagulated with those speaking, lest confusion reign. Power may be the ultimate social force, bigger than money and often more fun. But confusion is a force unto itself when sown carefully into the fabric.
There is an obsession in many circles with that select set of individuals who principally own big media companies. Some are reclusive and others thrive on attention. Few are at a loss for opinion on the way the world works and, certainly, the way it affects their business. And they do like things to be the way they want them.
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The newspaper market in the UK is among the worlds most competitive. The publishers are colorful, editors daring, journalists talented and readers discerning. ftm follows the leaders, the readers, the freebies and the tabloids. 83 pages PDF (October 2010)
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Media in Spain - Diverse and Challenged – new
Media in Spain is steeped in tradition. yet challenged by diversity. Publishers hold great influence, broadcasters competing. New media has been slow to rise and business models for all are under stress. Rich in language and culture, Spain's media is reaching into the future and finding more than expected. 123 pages, PDF. January 2018
The Campaign Is On - Elections and Media
Elections campaigns are big media events. Candidates and issues are presented, analyzed and criticized in broadcast and print. Media is now more of a participant in elections than ever. This ftm Knowledge file reports on news coverage, advertising, endorsements and their effect on democracy at work. 84 pages. PDF (September 2017)
Fake News, Hate Speech and Propaganda
The institutional threat of fake news, hate speech and propaganda is testing the mettle of those who toil in news media. Those three related evils are not new, by any means, but taken together have put the truth and those reporting it on the back foot. Words matter. This ftm Knowledge file explores that light. 48 pages, PDF (March 2017)
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