Hot Topic - WAN Congress
ftm Coverage of WAN Congress/World Editors Forum 2008
Newspapers are being urged to create marketing excitement with new ways of delivering their news and one of the great new ideas -- a newspaper phone that has a special button that takes the user directly to the newspaper’s mobile web site — launched in December in Sweden. After some six months it’s attracting about 50,000 unique users a month.
When it comes to Google and newspaper web sites publishers around the world seem to be of two minds – that the traffic Google sends to their own sites by linking to a headline and a few words of a story is worth gold in added traffic and thus hopefully higher advertising rates, while others cry out about copyright infringements – the Belgians have already launched a second lawsuit against the search engine asking for some €49 million ($77 million).
When a news powerhouse like Reuters talks about giving special Nokia mobile phone fitted with keyboard, microphone and tripod with some 20 hours of video storage to all its reporters then maybe the time of the mojo (mobile journalist) has finally arrived. And judging from presentations made at an international editors convention this week that mobile phone may well become the standard tool that journalists can’t leave home or office without.
Finally the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) has issued a resolution condemning the growing tendency of sports organizations to restrict coverage of their events, both in print and digitally.
It’s pretty well understood that not too many young people pay to read newspapers these days and that most attempts by paid-for newspapers to woo the young to print have failed, so newspaper executives Tuesday discussed whether trying to get the young back to print is really worth all the effort. And the general feeling seemed to be to give up the lost cause.
The print newspaper should be the major anchor – the core -- for expansion into the digital world, global newspaper executives heard at their annual meeting this week, but that is easier said than done.
One place the naysayers of newspaper profitability are not welcome this week is Gothenburg, Sweden, where some 1800 senior media executives from around the world have gathered to glory in their industry. The basic message, as told by Gavin O’Reilly, President of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), is that newspapers are not being reinvented, they are simply going through evolution.
World newspaper circulation rose by 18 million last year, but when you consider there was a gain of 18.4 million copies in China and India alone it gives a clear picture that paid-for circulation is not doing so well, especially in the US and the EU, according to figures from the annual World Press Trends study released by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN).
“Lean Dean” Singleton has switched from his theory a couple of years back that US newspaper financial woes were cyclical and everything would get back to normal once the economy picked up. No longer, his theme these days is “Newspapers are not a dying business; they are a changing business,” and he told media executives Monday at an international media meeting that it is time to move to a print model that matches the times.
In the past six months alone 28 journalists have died around the world, nine of them in Iraq, making that country the most dangerous for working journalists. But that’s not the only place where journalists, and citizen journalists, face death or imprisonment, and the sad fact is that there is little let-up in global pressure on freedom of expression, according to the semi-annual report by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN).
It was intended to be embarrassing – for the second year in a row the winner of the Golden Press Freedom Award is Chinese – signifying the continuing lack of press freedom in that country, and China responded by stopping the winner and his family from traveling to Sweden to receive the prize and furthermore ordered its China Newspaper Association to boycott the event.
It was all civility at a round table discussion at the World Association of Newspaper Round Table Sunday about the rights and wrongs of those Danish cartoons that caused so much aggravation in the Islam world a couple of years back and then again were republished this year, but 24 hours later the world received yet another lesson that terrorists don’t like talking, they prefer to kill, and thus a massive bomb blast Monday outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad.
The State of the Print Media in the World
ftm reports on the World Association of Newspapers Congresses. Includes WAN readership studies, African media and journalism, Russian media and Russian politics, press freedom. 82 pages. PDF file (August 2007)
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