Wednesday, 4 June 2008

News from Goteborg

It's the World Association of Newspapers annual shindig at the moment, held in Goteborg Sweden. It began on Monday and finishes today, and is made up of a three-day meeting of 1,800 senior news media leaders.

Here are some edited highlights:

Kasparov: Putin killed Russia free press
Kasparov said Putin and his colleagues must be faced with complaints about press freedoms.
"Make sure they have to respond and make sure your governments raise the issue," he told about 200 senior news industry executives at an invitation-only luncheon during the World Newspaper Congress in Sweden.


Newsroom leaders condemn UN rights council
A world congress of newspapers condemned the U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday, saying it has repeatedly sought to undermine freedom of the press to protect religious sensibilities.
The council's "proper role is to defend freedom of expression and not to support the censorship of opinion at the request of autocracies," said a resolution adopted by the World Association of Newspapers and World Editors Forum.

The three-day meeting of 1,800 senior news media leaders, which opened Monday, also adopted six other resolutions Tuesday.
It expressed deep concern over the growing tendency of sports organizations to restrict media coverage of events; called on China to release imprisoned journalists and honor the press freedom commitments it made before the Beijing Games; and condemned widespread press freedom violations during the recent presidential election in Zimbabwe.
It also appealed to African leaders to abolish libel and criminal defamation laws and to promote press freedoms; urged new Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to "decisively support and promote freedom of the press in Russia"; and condemned the continued imprisonment of 14 journalists in Eritrea.

Study shows digital news media growing fast; expert warns papers against rush into Internet
As readership and revenues shift onto the Internet, experts said on Tuesday that top news media executives must seek new digital opportunities without neglecting their traditional print publications by rushing headlong into cyberspace.
The second annual World Digital Media Trends report, released at a meeting of the World Association of Newspapers, said the digital platforms of newspapers are growing at a double-digit rate worldwide, as the world increasingly goes on line. The report, compiled with the help of 71 research groups, said digital and mobile advertising revenues are expected to increase 12-fold from 2002 to 2011, to about $150 billion worldwide.
The report said the number of wireless device subscriptions is expected to increase threefold to 3.4 billion from 2002 to 2011, the number of homes with broadband is likely to rise 10-fold in the same period, and the mobile telephone customer base has increased from 945 million in 2001 to 2.6 billion in 2006.
The report said one study says that in some countries "the Internet will become the primary news and information source within five years, while newspapers will lose the dominating position they have held for more than a century." Newspapers cannot count on their print editions alone to keep them solvent, the report said.
However, association President Gavin O'Reilly warned that newspapers should not rush unprepared into new mobile and Internet markets and said about 60 percent of the new revenues goes to two companies, the search engine giants Google and Yahoo.
"The Net is a wonderful place if you know what you are looking for," he said at a panel debate about digital media's impact on newspaper revenues. "But we run the risk that running headlong into digital will turn our dollars into pennies."
Newspaper companies must also continue to invest in the medium they know best — printed editions — since there are few accurate overviews of the impact of Internet revenues on newspapers, he said.
But O'Reilly dismissed the notion that newspapers would soon be a relic of the past because they "are not up for the challenge — or indeed, the many opportunities — that the digital world offers."
"All of us in the industry know the big strategic issues and challenges at play in the fast evolving digital world; and, the really successful publishers are those who recognize and capitalize on the newspapers' relative position in the busy media matrix. Happily, that is the majority of publishers today," he said.

At a separate panel debate for newspaper editors, Jim Roberts, editor for digital news at the New York Times, said "I expect our print edition to be around for a long time."
Even after newspapers generate enthusiasm among their traditional print staff for new media, they still have to find and provide the resources and qualified personnel for doing both, he said.

Newspaper circulation rising globally, but down in US, Europe, study shows
Global newspaper circulation is rising, buoyed by demand in Asia and South America — belying predictions of the demise of print journalism, officials said at the start of an international newspaper conference.
Circulation of paid newspapers rose 2.6 percent worldwide in 2007, with the biggest jump in India and China — which is now the largest market for newspapers with 107 million copies sold daily, according to a report by the World Associated of Newspapers.
However, readership continued to slip in the U.S. and Europe, where traditional dailies face stiff competition from free newspapers and digital media, the study showed.
Officials said the findings were cause for a degree of optimism about the industry.
"They say newspapers and print are dead. Well, I just don't see it," the association's president, Timothy Balding, told more than 1,800 publishers, editors and other senior newspapers executives Monday at the three-day conference.
The strong sales in Asia, which is home to 74 of the world's 100 best-selling dailies, contrasted starkly with declining newspaper readership in the West.
Last year, circulation fell 3 percent in the U.S. and 1.9 percent in Europe, the report showed; over the past five years, circulation has been down 8 percent in the U.S.
Advertising followed a similar trend. Newspaper advertising revenue rose in all regions except the United States, where it fell 3 percent in 2007, the report said.
Meanwhile, Internet advertising revenue worldwide was up 32 percent, showing the rapid growth of online media.

Research presented at the conference also indicated an accelerating shift from print to online media, and that editors are increasingly aware of the need to develop multimedia platforms in order to reach new audiences.
At a panel discussion, AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explained AP's new model for news delivery.
Called "1-2-3 filing," it starts with a news alert headline for breaking news, followed by a short present-tense story predominantly for the Web and broadcasters. The third step is to add details and format stories in ways most appropriate for different news platforms.
"I can't emphasize to you the importance of present tense both in the newsroom and for the end user. It's very much about news that is happening. It gives the news a sense of immediacy" Carroll said. "The 3 then can become any number of things: a longer story, a multimedia presentation or nothing at all."
A study commissioned by The Associated Press showed young adults have profoundly different news consumption patterns from previous generations.
"People don't walk out to the driveway to collect their newspaper. They open their e-mail," Jim Kennedy, AP's director of strategic planning, said in presenting the study.
The research project, carried out by the Context-Based Research Group, also showed young adults experience news fatigue from being inundated by facts and updates and have trouble accessing in-depth stories.
A worldwide survey of 704 newspaper editors by Zogby International and Reuters showed 44 percent believed most people would be reading their news online in 10 years. That was up from 41 percent in a similar study last year.
Balding said a survey of Nordic newspaper editors suggested they see free newspapers as their main competitors, followed by the Internet. Free dailies account for nearly 7 percent of global newspaper circulation and 23 percent of circulation in Europe, the report said.

Earlier Monday, the newspaper association gave its annual Golden Pen of Freedom award to Chinese journalist Li Changqing, who was released in February after two years in prison for reporting on an outbreak of dengue fever.
Li could not travel to Sweden to accept the award because he was unable to obtain a passport, WAN said. Li Jianhong, an exiled Chinese writer, accepted the award on the winner's behalf.
"In China, being a journalist is full of risks," Li Changqing said in an acceptance speech read by Li Jianhong.
It was the second consecutive year that the prize went to a Chinese journalist, underscoring China's continuing harsh press restrictions despite the flourishing economy and rapid social change.
The 2007 award went to Shi Tao, who was serving a 10-year-sentence after e-mailing the contents of a government propaganda circular to a human rights forum in the United States.
"Despite the promises it made in its successful Olympic bid to improve conditions for journalists, China has continued its repressive policies," World Editors Forum President George Brock said in presenting this year's award.
He said 30 journalists and 50 cyber-dissidents are now in Chinese jails and reiterated calls for their release.
Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf opened the congress saying a free press was "crucial to the development of democracy" but cautioned that it also must be exercised with responsibility.

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