"Readers are more critical to online journalism
today than three years ago. The only ones who are even more critical to online
journalism are the journalists themselves," media researcher Arne Krumsvik
talking about a survey he'll be presenting at a journalism conference this Saturday.
The survey is based
on interviews with readers, journalists and editors of 20 online newspapers in
Western Norway, conducted in 2005, 2007 and 2008. This summer, 2,536 of the papers' readers, and the journalists who produce them, were interviewed.
Here's your chance to hear Eirik Solheim, one of the
new media gurus at The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), talk about
NRKs blogging efforts, media transparency and how to engage readers in the new
I might be promising a bit too much here as this is a very
informal session I'm organising for tomorrow, but I know I have many editors,
journalists, bloggers and people who are more than averagely interested in the
future of media reading this blog, so I thought those of you who are based in
Oslo or nearby might find this interesting (which admittedly is a small
portion of you, but still...).
I'm in the process of setting up a forum for
Journalisten on online journalism: a place to discuss, be inspired, argue
and exchange experiences about this ever shifting, fast evolving frontier of
journalism, and, incidentally, our first meeting this autumn will be tomorrow
at 5pm. It will feature a short introduction by Eirik, before we open the floor
for questions and debate. It's short notice, I know, but if you'd like to come
along tomorrow and/or want to be informed about our future events, drop me an
Blogger and editor Raja Petra “RPK” Kamarudin is to be held in detention for two years under the country's draconian Internal security act (ISA). Petra, 58, has been held in Kuala Lumpur since 12 September under article 73 of the same law. He is charged with sewing confusion within the people, attacking Islam’s sacred status and is considered a threat to public order...
The first point of stop for those of you who whished they were there; or were there but wished their notes were more thorough or they could have attended more of the parallel sessions at the six-track conference, is the organisers' handout library: here you'll find the lecturers' notes for a great number of the talks.
David Kaplan, the director for International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on harmonica during the Global Investigative Journalism Conference (GIJC) 2008 at Lillehammer, Norway, last week. I've uploaded all my more informal pictures from the event to Journalisten.no's Flick'r account (which means all the titles and descriptions are in Norwegian). Full slideshow here.
Sweden is by far the worst: I've yet to encounter a hotel there with tea- and coffee making facilities and ironing gear in the hotel room - and I've stayed in quite a few hotels there. Norway is pretty bad on this too, and while it's been too long since I've stayed in a Danish hotel to make any half-valid conclusions, I've had similar problems there in the nineties.
So what do you do when you, as me, get up in the wee hours to get out a few stories before the day starts and there's no way to feed your caffeine addiction, how do you wake yourself up enough to be productive - without having to run around town at 5am to find a place with coffee, electricity and wi-fi?
Even the conference hotel I stayed at this weekend: no coffee, no ironing board, only a trouser presser (not very useful). Luckily a waitress in the hotel's restaurant saved me by providing me with this (see picture), but I can't for the life of me figure out why hotels in Scandinavia want to make it so hard for the business traveller. Incidentally, I believe Norwegians are one of the most coffee-drinking nationalities in the world, but I can't quite remember where I saw that survey... (as it happened, I wrote this post after only one cup of coffee, hence survey became sturvey etc - corrected 18:30)
The article said the circulation figures for Norways's
biggest newspapers were continuing to fall, led by the country's two biggest
tabloids - causing some of these paper's execs to say they'd stopped
hoping for the trend to turn - while local newspapers recorded slightly
improved circulation figures (a trend we've seen for many years now) and niche
publications like DN were bucking the downwards trend spectacularly.
catch here is that I forgot my edition of DN in Oslo yesterday, and the article
is not available online other than as a Pdf behind a pay wall. I could perhaps
access it there if I had patience to wait for it to load with my slow
connection here on the road, but I find it kind of useless to link to something
that's so difficult to access in the first place.
half expecting one of the country's media sites to have published something on
this article today, as they often do - just to give their readers the full
overview of what's happening in the media world - but no such luck.
Normally, they dutifully copy-paste and/or rewrite a paragraph or two, a grateful
task often rewarded with the online traffic DN has renounced by filling its
online media section with wire stories. This complete separation between print
and online, however, is often referred to by DN's management as a reason why
the print paper is bucking the downwards trend both qua circulation and
as a blogger, it means they've cut themselves off from the world. I like the
paper, it's one of my favourite weekend reads - but I never blog about the DN
stories I like (or dislike) because of the Pdf/paywall thing.
Equally, on the
occasions I've been commissioned to write for them, I've found the gap between the space and time in which they move, where an op-ed can be published weeks after it's submitted and still be considered newsworthy, and the online world in which I move, where the same analysis can be ancient news in the space of a day, exasperating. I do, as I said, like this remarkably well-staffed paper, though I must admit I'm sometimes baffled by the news judgements this protected print environment throws up - but I guess print just has a different sell-by-date.
media journalist, I even subscribe to the RSS-feed of DN's media section, but
the wire stories there, when they are media stories and not just mistagged stories from other sections of the news site, won't help me much with the story on circulation
figures, which is excusive to print and Pdf. And since I've got my head buried
in deadlines, and only a slow and fragile internet connection to assist me,
I'll be so lazy as to leave the story there. It's a success story for DN of
course, as I can imagine the Scandinavians among you will get on the phone for
one of those Pdf subscriptions and the full circulation
story first thing tomorrow...
I came across two posts today that brilliantly spell
out how web 2.0 is a blessing for journalists
Of course, those of you who've spent a lot of time
using social media might be familiar with a lot of this, but the posts summarise
the headlines of just how useful these tools are expertly. And I do wish these
things were more widespread knowledge: it would make our industry more
Scott is a former education reporter with the Dayton
Daily News who's just taken on a new role as columnist for the same paper.He started a blog about his beat, Get on the
Bus, three years ago:
"Here's what I quickly learned - readers are
interested in knowing more about education, particularly the behind the scenes
information or data that is not widely reported. My blog quickly and consistently
became the newspaper's best read blog, even as bunches of new ones launched,
often doubling the page views of the next best read blog..." (full post
"I had no idea when I started doing this how thin
the 'old' opportunities for investigative stories would look compared to the
tools at our disposal now; it's quite stark really. It drives home just how
important mastering these tools is for journalists as our industry continues to
develop and change."
NB: due to formatting problems on my blog when I first
posted this, I had to delete my original post and retype the text in a new post (changed the text a wee bit in that process).
Last night, employees at Denmark's most read newspaper,
Nyhedsavisen, received an email notifying them that the fresheet was to cease
publication as of today.
The news came as a complete shock to the employees at
the free newspaper. According to Berlingske.dk, the current majority owner, Morten Lund,
approached Metro International with a proposal to buy its Danish operation -
comprised of the recently "merged"
freesheets MetroXpress and 24timer - only last week and was rumoured to be preparing an
official bid for today. The bid, tough described as "fanciful at the
best" by Metro's CEO Per Mikael Jensen, was believed to be financed by
American venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, recently
announced as a major new investor in the freesheet.
Nyhedsavisen was modelled
on the "quality freesheet" Frettabladid that Baugur/Dagsbrun had been
so successful with on Iceland. It was Dagsbrun's plans to launch a similar paper
in Denmark, backed by Baugur, that forced the "great"
Danish freshet war in 2006, which saw a range of new freesheets launched within an unbelievably short span in time (mostly in August).
It did not prove so great for the finances of Danish
newspaper companies of course, with as many as five major freesheets competing only in Copenhagen, the Danish capital, for the
advertisers gold, the two-year long war turned into a
very costly one. Hence the news of Nyhedsavisen closure has been greeted warmly by
competing newspaper groups, such as Mecom's Danish arm, Berlingske Media, today.
Update 21:05: Nyhedsavisen's closure leaves Denmark with three major freesheets: both Metro's MetroXpress and Berlingske's Urban predates the freesheet war, while 24timer, the second new major freesheet to be launched in August 2006 (after the now defunct Dato), effectively was acquired by Metro International a while back, and is said to be dragging down the latter's financial results in Denmark.