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‘Newspapers’

Mail and Express seeking to push UK over the cliff edge

On the day two British newspapers – the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, who else – celebrate the triggering of Article 50 with front page splashes picturing of Nigel Farage, beer glass in hand, perhaps we should remind ourselves of his image in Europe.

The two papers appear to be set on ensuring Brexit takes the UK over the cliff. And it is a safe bet Theresa May will utter not a word of criticism of the Daily Mail: she never does whatever the paper says.

This video of Farage at work in the European Parliament demonstrates his determination to insult the European Union.

Pro-European national weekly newspaper launches from East Anglia

Archant, the Norwich-based regional publisher, is to launch a pop-up newspaper aimed at the 48%, the remain voters. The first issue will come out on Friday and will be distributed in the areas with the strongest remain votes.

The company with a turnover of £122m a year is the fifth largest regional publisher in the UK. While Norwich voted remain, its East Anglian stronghold, where it publishes both the Eastern Daily Press and the East Anglian Daily times, voted 56,5% leave and 435% remain.

The launch of the New European is clearly to test the market with four weekly editions (Archant is a very commercial company) and will only continue if there are sufficient sales. The launch indicates that there are people in the company who believe our future is in the European Union and are prepared to put in put in the money need for the test marketing.

Here is the press release:

The New European, a weekly newspaper aimed at people who voted Remain, is being launched by Archant on Friday 8th July.

The paper will offer those feeling dismayed and disenfranchised by Brexit a non-political focal point, bringing together the extraordinarily broad spectrum of people who feel a real sense of loss after the Leave vote victory.

Conceived as a “pop-up paper” aiming to capture the zeitgeist and act as a chronicle for the extraordinary events of the summer of 2016, the title will be delivered to market faster than any other British newspaper in history – just nine days from concept to newsagent.

The New European represents both a markedly different approach in terms of content and readership, but also a wholly new business model for print and its place in an increasingly digital world.

The newspaper will initially run for just four issues, with any subsequent print runs being decided by reader interest. Every issue will be a collector’s item. After the fourth issue, every week’s sale will be a referendum on the next.

Available nationwide via the website, the paper’s retail distribution will be focused on London, Liverpool, Manchester, the south of England and other strongly remain voting areas.

The first issue will contain exclusive articles from leading voices in the UK and Europe, including:

  • Tanit Koch, Editor of Bild, Europe’s most-read newspaper
  • Saul Klein, leading European VC and partner with LocalGlobe
  • James Brown, former Loaded and GQ editor
  • Wolfgang Blau, ex editor of Zeit Online and former digital director of The Guardian
  • Simon Calver, partner with BGF Ventures and former CEO of Mothercare and LoveFilm
  • Annabelle Dickson, leader of the Westminster political lobby for regional newspapers
  • Football writers Steve Anglesey and Paddy Davitt
  • Peter Bale, CEO of the of the Centre for Public Integrity who broke the Panama Papers global exclusive
  • Ahmed Osman, renowned European fashion writer

Matt Kelly, Chief Content Officer and launch editor of The New European, said: “We are currently in an extraordinary period of time in the UK, with all of society seemingly in a state of flux and turmoil. I believe the 48% who voted to Remain are not well served by the traditional press and that there is a clear opportunity for a newspaper like The New European that people will want to read and carry like a badge of honour.

“We value expertise and have some of the world’s best brains in their areas writing for us. And it is also a politician-free zone. They are banned.

“It will be an eclectic and energetic mix of content – not just about the Brexit issue, but a celebration of why we loved Europe so much in the first place. There’ll be plenty of humour in there too – god knows we could all use a laugh these days.”

Will Hattam, Chief Marketing Officer, said: “This isn’t just another national newspaper, it’s a new type of publishing product. As a pop-up publishing project this is a truly innovative approach to reaching new audience segments by extending our established expertise in creating high-quality, engaging content into new areas.

“What’s exciting is that the story of this paper isn’t yet written – its sprung into life, driven by the events of the last few weeks, and will continue to serve its audience as long as they want it to. There’s no ongoing commitment, just an opportunity to explore new boundaries in newspaper publishing.”

The New European will be published by Archant and will be priced at £2 per issue.

More details are available here.

I will be asking my newsagent this morning to reserve my copy.

Would you believe it?: ‘Brexit would end free movement of cabbage moths’

The Sun front page today neatly sums up the Brexit campaign.  Perhaps Boris will explain how the free movement of EU moths would be ended.

Ck8UOGvWYAYqE_W

According to the story:

BRITAIN’S cabbages may be annihilated by a ­massive swarm of super-moths from Europe.
Tens of millions of the diamondbacks, said to be resistant to pesticides, have reportedly formed “clouds” two miles wide.

This incredible scare story gets worst by portraying the moths as a greater threat to Britain than the Nazi forces in France after the evacuation of Dunkirk. It does this with an evocation of Dad’s Army, plagiarising the comedy’s opening graphics to suggest they would succeed in overcoming the Home Guard of Warmington on Sea.

Illustration from The Sun, draws on Dad's Army graphics

Illustration from The Sun, draws on Dad’s Army graphics

The question is whether this rubbish is any less credible than the lies the official Brexit campaign has been peddling?

Footnote: It seems even The Sun does not think the story would be acceptable to its Irish and Scottish readers. Media blogger Roy Greenslade points out the paper had different front pages in those parts of the UK.

Westminster journalists failed to grasp what was happening to Labour Party

Media commentator Roy Greenslade’s blog post this morning is as predictable as its headline: “Jeremy Corbyn’s first day and press coverage, predictably, is hostile.”

Writing in the Guardian, it is not surprising that he did not analyse the paper’s coverage beyond the editorial. But it is the handing over of two important comment slots to writers who are not part of the Westminster village that seems to be to be significant.

Gary Younge, freshly back in the UK after 12 years in the USA, is given a front page spot and it is clear why none of his parliamentary new colleagues could have written it. He says:

Party grandees thought his [Corbyn’s] presence would offer a debate about austerity; few assumed he would win it. His candidacy was supposed to be decorative but never viable.

From the moment it was clear that assumption was flawed, the political and media class shifted from disbelief to derision to panic, apparently unaware that his growing support was as much a repudiation of them as an embrace of him. Former Labour leaders and mainstream commentators belittled his supporters as immature, deluded, self-indulgent and unrealistic, only to express surprise when they could not win them over. As such this reckoning was a long time coming. For the past couple of decades the Labour leadership has looked upon the various nascent social movements that have emerged – against war, austerity, tuition fees, racism and inequality – with at best indifference and at times contempt. They saw its participants, many of whom were or had been committed Labour voters, not as potential allies but constant irritants.

Yes, Guardian and Observer writers must be included those who were unaware that they were being “repudiated”.

The main comment space inside the paper is handed over to Zoe Williams who writes under the headline: “By ripping up the rulebook, Corbyn is redefining our politics. Whether or not he can win power Labour’s leader has a chance to give opposition a new meaning.” I mentioned this article in my previous post, suggesting it reflected the views of many who voted for Corbyn.

It looks as if there was a rapid recognition among Guardian editorial chiefs that given their record in the past few weeks, these prominent comment spaces could not credibly be given to the Westminster reporters whose lack of understanding of what was happening has been apparent in recent weeks.

It has long been held by many journalists that their specialist colleagues get too close to their subjects to be reliable reporters. That has certainly happened in this case. On the other hand specialist reporters are needed for their understanding of their subjects and the Westminster reporters will recover quickly.

Is Guardian print edition loosing sight of its readers?

Today’s Guardian illustrates the way in which its drive to make itself the world-leading online news source is impacting on its UK print edition.

Guardian front page June 2, 2015It leads on a great story, the result of very good investigative journalism by Guardian America web journalists about the killing of unarmed black people by police. The problem is that it is essentially a US domestic story which is worthy of a place in the UK print edition but not as the lead.

Not only is it the lead but it takes the whole of the front page which has no reference to any UK news. It then turns inside to take the whole of one of the “National” news pages.

Editorial decision-making appears for have forgotten the old adage that news value diminishes with distance. For some time the Guardian news pages seem to be governed by a an editorial conference somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. Decisions on comment pieces seem to still based in the UK.

I looked but could not find a story which emanated yesterday in the UK which is directly relevant to British readers – US defence secretary warns against UK armed forces cuts, which I heard on BBC Radio 4.

Nor could I find the story that plans to offer parents 30-hours free childcare have unravelled with David Cameron admitting the roll-out could take longer than planned. The link is to the Daily Mirror.

Another important story for UK readers, European Commission president Jean-Claude Junker saying Cameron’s UK referendum was designed to keep the UK in the EU, is in the print edition but buried in a story on human rights. The heading was: PM prepared to break with Europe over human rights.

Readers were much better served on this story by the Daily Telegraph under the heading: Britain will not vote to leave EU, says Junker.

I can understand why the Guardian want to make the most of what must have been a costly five-month investigation which led to today’s lead, but not why they gave it so much prominence.

The web editors seem to be more in tune with their readers. When I checked this morning the shoot to kill story was not mentioned on the UK or Australian home pages. It was prominent on the US home page and had a strong reference on the international site.

It is a confusing and difficult time for newspapers and their websites as Roy Grenslade, the Guardian media blogger, points  out today in a post headed, Global newspaper industry’s business model undergoes ‘seismic shift’.

Sun and Scottish Sun’s opposite views of SNP can serve Murdock’s commercial interests

Today’s revelation that The Sun in London and The Scottish Sun have radically different voting advice for readers presents Murdoch watchers with a difficult analysis to make.

The Sun says: Vote Tory to stop the SNP running the country.

The Scottish Sun says: May the 7th be with you: Why its time to vote SNP.

sun

Presuming that Rupert Murdoch is still taking an interest and talking to his editors regularly it is reasonable to assume that the hid not object to either of today’s front pages.

His Twitter account does not help much as he seems not to have tweeted since April 26 when he said, Tweet responses interesting. Maybe I guessed 10 too many Cons, but either way Scots probably will hold the balance.

Through this we know he is following the election.

Some years ago when Wordblog was dedicated to the media, I argued Murdoch did not influence election results but was very good at predicting what would happen. His business benefitted if leaders believed he had helped them win.

This would be an explanation of today’s divergent views from his papers in England and Scotland. Cameron is likely to have the most seats in England and Sturgeon in Scotland.

But like so many things in this election it does not make complete sense. Could he have bought the analysis that depriving Labour of seats in Scotland is increasing the chances of a Conservative UK government? He would have probably got that view from his people in London.

My guess is that the opposed views of the two papers is calculated to further his commercial interests in the UK.

 

 

Moors murder backs UKIP, the transgender lesbian candidate and more election news at Mail online

The Daily Mail online did not become the most visited English language news website in the world but failing to understand what its readers want. So I took a look this evening at its UK home page to see what it is saying about the election.

I needed to scroll down some way to find the first reference: Ian Brady, the Moors murder supports UKIP.

A lot further down there is a much bigger story (in space allocated) with the heading: At last, some election passion…love triangle of sex-change candidate and lesbian lovers. And who do they represent? The Liberal Democrats, of course.

Just under that there are six small links to election stories.

What more is there to say?

‘An election of closed doors and closed minds’

My headline is part of the introduction to yesterday’s Observer media column by Peter Preston, former editor of the Guardian. The closed doors hide politicians who are refusing to the meet the electorate and the closed minds are found if you, “wade through the digital comment at the bottom of so many election pieces and you stumble into web swamps heaving with hate”.

Preston points out that in 2010 national newspaper day sales were 10.9m: now they are 7.6. In the same period membership of political parties has shrunk from 1.3% of the electorate to 0.8%.

He writes:

And a combative Guardian piece on Tory NHS performance from a former deputy editor of the Indie (and Cameron speechwriter) prompts one reader to howl apocalypse: “I don’t like mendacious tracts in my newspaper of choice requiring me to weave through them like someone avoiding dog shit on the pavement.”

“Ian Birrell should be writing for the SunMailTimes,” snarls another, who actually takes the name “Hatetories”. Apparently today’s version of democratic freedom means avoiding reading something you don’t agree with.

This, he suggests, is a change. Once Conservatives represented 20% of the Guardian readership and when the Sun “won it” for John Major in 1992 fewer than half its readers voted Tory.

I have looked at the comments in the Guardian a few times recently and have been shocked that so many bigots apparently read the paper’s website. It would interesting to know how many of the commenters buy the paper or its digital edition and how many of them are not paying but contributing indirectly by boosting page hits and advertising revenue.

The Guardian, like the Daily Mail with its hugely successful website, had an interest in attracting everyone including bigots.

 

 

Beware Richard Desmond bearing health lottery tickets

If you read the Daily Express or the Daily Star you should have heard about the Health Lottery. You might also have seen the promotions for the first lottery draw show on Channel 5 which is to be presented by Melinda Messenger.

I only became aware of it when a Health Lottery stand appeared beside the check-out queue in my Co-op supermarket in Debenham.

These three media operations promoting it are a part of Richard Desmond’s media empire. He is also behind the Health Lottery through his company Northern and Shell.

As a BBC report says: “The company has not disclosed how much profit it eventually envisages to make from the Health Lottery.”

According to the BBC the Heath Lottery will make donations to good causes of 20.34p for each £1 lottery entry. The comparable figure for the National Lottery is 28p.

The scheme is administered by the People’s Health Trust which runs the lotteries for 51 local local promoters who will decide on the distribution of funds.

These promoters are all registered at the same address in Clerkenwell, London, and go by meaningless names such as HealthIntent, HealthSuccess, HealthStrength and HealthCommit for Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire respectively.

Established heath charities across the country are concerned about the impact of the Health Lottery.

I have emailed the East of England Co-op asking why it is supporting this project. I will post again when I have a reply.

In the meantime, I fear William King, Ipswich’s pioneer of the co-operative movement is already turning in his grave.

Update, Oct 11: East of England Co-op tell me that they do not control what goes into their shops and my request for the reasons for installation of these terminals has been forwarded to Manchester, co-op headquarters.

 

East newspaper journalists face job cuts when most needed

At a time when the “localism” drive by central and local government is making high quality reporting and comment vital, the regional press is in a sorry decline, a shadow of its former self.

Today the BBC reports that journalists at Archant Norfolk which publishes the Eastern Daily Press, the Norwich Evening News and a string of weeklies are to ballot on industrial action over plans to cut up to 20 jobs.

In Norfolk a pork pie maker and blogger invited a former Archant journalist to write on what is happening to her local papers. The guest blogger writes:

A few recent examples of the good work regional newspapers can do include the EDP’s campaigns to save RAF Marham, applying pressure for the A11 to be dualled and fighting for better broadband to bring inward investment to the county.

But it’s not just about the big campaigns, it’s also about the little things. If you’re setting up a new business, the chances are you want to advertise it in the papers and you may well benefit from editorial coverage as well.

If public bodies are making cuts (aren’t they all?) who’s going to tell you about it and who’s going to give you a voice to shout about it?

Who’s going to tell you about crime, both major and minor, on your doorstep? Who’s going to tell you about events in your neighbourhood?

Who’s going to highlight the ordinary people who do extraordinary things to help charities and the community?

Who’s going to tell you the quirky little stories that make you smile over your cornflakes?

This reflects what Roy Greenslade, media commentator, former editor and blogger wrote recently about a dispute at another newspaper group in another party of the country. Greenslade, who loves print and has ink in his blood, wrote:

The net is the future, print is not.

I am often described as a doom-monger, a facile criticism. My analysis of the decline of newspapers is based on figures going back 50 years. It is further informed by the accelerating decline since the rise of the internet.

I know there will be printed papers around for a long time. What concerns me is that journalists won’t be.

I want to see the growth of relationships between a skilled professional journalistic cadre and concerned citizens.

Like Roy, I love print. That is where I started my working life, the smell of hot metal in my nose. Now I see online as the future although newspapers will still be around after I have gone.

That relationship between paid journalists and concerned citizens is developing as was neatly demonstrated by one of Greenslade’s Guardian colleagues today.

Patrick Butler (@patrickjbutler), a writer on social affairs, tweeted:

Struck by quality and consistency of political blogs in Suffolk: @andrewga @IpswichSpy @onlygeek @DeardenPhillips

It is nice to be included and I could add more good Suffolk blogs, some of them overtly party-political and others not.

One reason why Butler is reading the Suffolk blogs is that things of national interest have been happening in the county, most of them related to the county council. He needs information and opinion and he is able to get it from blogs as well as traditional print sources.

A concern that many of us have is that the traditional print media in Suffolk has been cut to the bone and overworked journalists are clearly having difficulty in doing the job they would like to be doing, to meet the demands of the community

To some extent bloggers are starting to fill the gap and answer the thirst for information. One day last week when a big story broke Wordblog (only three months old in its present form) had a thousand visitors.

Whether Archant which also owns most papers in Suffolk, including the East Anglian Daily Times and the Evening Star, will attempt to cut journalists here as well as in Norfolk I don’t know. It is difficult to see how they could as they have already cut to the bone.

In the meantime it is clear that online community journalism is strengthening with extremely local news sites developing and more bloggers coming on the scene.