Media News

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  • 30 March 2012 | Folio Mag

    The Economist reaches 1 million Facebook fans

    The Economist announced Wednesday that its Facebook page has surpassed the 1 million fan milestone. Nick Blunden, global publisher of digital editions for The Economist, says the print brand's status has translated well to the social Web. The Economist has a global circulation of 1.5 million, which includes print and digital figures, according to an Audit Bureau of Circulations July-December 2011 report. While the number of online fans could surpass that of actual circulation, The Economist is still coming out ahead of its competition: TIME has just over 489,000 fans; The Wall Street Journal has just over 471,000 fans; The Atlantic with just over 91,000, and Bloomberg Businessweek with just over 47,500. “We have focused, primarily, on the best ways and the most engaging ways to put content into social media and primarily Facebook,” says Blunden. "Now, in the social media world, if you want to associate yourself with The Economist and show you’re interested in the world, you share our content on Facebook and Twitter. What Facebook has allowed us to do is unlock the inherent social value of our content.” Blunden says the best way for his brand to post content on Facebook is through timing and targeted editorial choices instead of taking content and posting it online as and when it becomes available. Blunden adds that The Economist looks to its Facebook audience to provide a value exchange.
  • 30 March 2012 | Euractiv

    Hungarian president loses doctorate in plagiarism case

    Semmelweis University has stripped Hungarian President Pal Schmitt of his doctoral degree after determining that he copied much of his thesis from other sources, prompting opposition politicians to call for his resignation, the Hungarian media reported. The university's rector announced the decision on 29 March after a review panel determined that 180 pages of the 215-page dissertation on the Olympic Games were similar to other work, and that 17 pages were identical. The Hungarian magazine HGV first reported in January that a large part of Schmitt's dissertation, written in 1992, appeared to copy from a work by the late Bulgarian researcher Nikolay Georgiev's Analyse du programme olympique (des Jeux d'Olympiade). The issue raised considerable media interest in Bulgaria. Schmitt's entourage at first tried to explain that he had written his thesis together with the Bulgarian author, now deceased. But it soon became clear that Georgiev wrote his research several years earlier. Hungary's four parliamentary opposition parties have urged Schmitt to resign amidst growing media pressure.
  • 30 March 2012 | AP

    Reuters says Iran’s government suspends media accreditation of its staffers in Tehran

    Reuters says the Iranian government has suspended media accreditation for its staff in Tehran after the news agency published a video on women’s martial-arts training that contained an error. Reuters says it had corrected a headline that accompanied the video from “Thousands of female ninjas train as Iran’s assassins” to “Three thousand women ninjas train in Iran” after the martial arts club where the video was filmed made a complaint. The news agency said Thursday that Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance had contacted its Tehran bureau chief about the video and that Reuters’ 11 staffers were later told to return their media cards. Reuters said its editor-in-chief is in discussions with Iranian authorities to try and restore accreditation.
  • 30 March 2012 | New York Times

    Philadelphia newspapers set to be sold to local leaders

    A consortium of local business and political leaders is poised to purchase the Philadelphia Media Network, publisher of The Inquirer, The Daily News and, according to several people familiar with the negotiations. The sale could come as early as Friday to a consortium that includes George E. Norcross III, a Democratic power broker in South Jersey; the parking lot magnate Lewis Katz; and Edward M. Snider, chairman of the Comcast subsidiary that owns the Philadelphia Flyers, those who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the nature of the continuing negotiations said. The imminent sale was first reported on the media blog, citing newsroom reports. News of the imminent sale of the Philadelphia newspapers, for an estimated USD 60m, emerged in early February with newsroom reports of editorial interference in favor of the group, which was then being led by Mr. Rendell. After those reports came to light, 300 editorial employees signed a public statement insisting that the new owners agree not to alter the news coverage to reflect their “private or political interests.” The imminent sale comes as Philadelphia Media Network confronts newsroom layoffs in a continuing effort to cut costs amid a decline in print advertising revenue. The company eliminated 45 jobs in March, and on Tuesday said it would cut an additional 35 positions over the next six months.
  • 30 March 2012 | Asia Pacific Broadcasting Corporation

    EBU to apply for Top Level Domain names .radio and .eurovision

    The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on Thursday revealed plans to submit a robust application to acquire the .radio Top Level Domain name (TLD) for the global broadcast radio community. This application, which has the full backing of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) and other relevant bodies, will stress that the .radio TLD would allow the EBU to create an internet-based platform where the world's radio broadcasters could assemble. Closer networking 'under one roof' would also bolster their position as an indispensible media sector, whose development would be accelerated by new radio services. Currently there are 21 TLDs, including .com, .org and .net, as well as national TLDs, such as .ch, .fr and .de. But the world authority that maintains and regulates web addresses, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN), has invited applications for new, more creative TLDs to be submitted by April 12, 2012. Following the meeting, President Jean-Paul Philippot said the EBU's application for .radio was in the best interests of the radio community and the medium itself. EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre said the EBU's aspirations for the .radio TLD would bring a one-time opportunity to "communitize" the world's oldest broadcasting medium as never before.
  • 30 March 2012 | Newspaper Innovation

    Netherlands: Last issue of free newspaper De Pers

    After little more than five years, Dutch free daily DePers has closed down. The last issue – March 30 – shows an empty glass on the cover. Covers of the paper were always special, as was the content that always differed substantially from its competitors. The pdf-version can be downloaded from the website. Notwithstanding the ambitions, De Pers never made any money. Also the deal with Mecom-daughter Wegener did not save the paper. Remaining editiors want to relaunch the paper as a online-only paid model. Almost 11,000 people have said they want to be a subscriber of the new paper.
  • 29 March 2012 | Euractiv

    EU prepares to launch first cybercrime centre

    The European Union is set to establish a dedicated cybercrime centre at the beginning of 2013 aimed at tackling online operations of organised crime groups, ranging from e-banking fraud to online child sexual exploitation. As a part of a bigger strategy to encourage e-commerce, Brussels announced on 28 March the establishment of a cybercrime centre to counter the online activities of organised crime. The centre will be set up next in the offices of Europol, the European law enforcement agency based in The Hague. Europol already deals with computer crimes, but the centre is expected to increase this activity with new staff, up to 55 full-time employees, and an annual budget of EUR 3.6bn. Yet the centre faces considerable obstacles: Gathering tips and information from a diverse region with multiple police jurisdictions and a private sector that may be hesitant to cooperate. Telecoms companies that mostly own the networks have in the past staunchly opposed any move to transform them into what they call "cops of the net". Cost and responsibility linked to such an activity are considered too burdensome. Taking these reluctant actors on board will be another key test to measure the cybercrime centre effectiveness. The centre will also concentrate on making the Web more secure for the millions of young Europeans who use it extensively and set up online profiles in social networks and other platforms.
  • 29 March 2012 | Reuters

    EU reaches deal to lower mobile roaming fees

    The European Commission, European lawmakers and governments agreed to reform mobile roaming fees, allowing consumers to pay less for calls, texts and mobile Web services when travelling abroad, in a measure that could hit telecom industry profits. The deal announced on Wednesday is expected to be approved by the European Parliament in May and would take effect in July. The reform, which had been hotly opposed by many of Europe's biggest telecom groups such as Telecom Italia and Telefonica, includes caps on the prices charged to consumers that will decline annually until 2014. But perhaps more significantly, it also aims to increase competition by allowing consumers to choose their mobile operator when they cross borders. In effect, European policy makers are trying to create a new market for roaming services instead of requiring people to use their home-country operator. To do so, they have slashed by 50-90 percent the wholesale rates that operators charge each other to rent network access in the hope that this spurs some to create mobile voice and data offers aimed at customers travelling across borders. Under the new deal, starting in mid-2012, charges on calls made while travelling in other EU countries cannot exceed 29 cents per minute, and calls received while abroad should cost no more than 8 cents per minute. Sending a text message while away will be capped at 9 cents. These price caps will be ratcheted down by almost another third by 2014. European officials will also limit for the first time the prices operators can charge consumers surfing the Internet on smartphones and tablet computers to 70 cents per megabyte in 2012 and 20 cents in 2014.
  • 29 March 2012 | New York Times

    New U.S. research will aim at flood of digital data

    The federal government is beginning a major research initiative in big data computing. The effort, which will be announced on Thursday, involves several government agencies and departments, and commitments for the programs total USD 200m. Administration officials compare the initiative to past government research support for high-speed networking and supercomputing centers, which have had an impact in areas like climate science and Web browsing software. Big data refers to the rising flood of digital data from many sources, including the Web, biological and industrial sensors, video, e-mail and social network communications. The emerging opportunity arises from combining these diverse data sources with improving computing tools to pinpoint profit-making opportunities, make scientific discoveries and predict crime waves, for example. On Thursday, the National Science Foundation will announce a joint program with the National Institutes of Health seeking new techniques and technologies for data management, data analysis and machine learning, which is a branch of artificial intelligence. Other departments and agencies that will be announcing big data programs at a gathering on Thursday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington include the United States Geological Survey, the Defense Department, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Energy Department. These initiatives will mostly be seeking the best ideas from university and corporate researchers for collaborative projects.
  • 29 March 2012 | IPI via The Guardian

    Two Brazilian journalists murdered

    Two Brazilian journalists working near the Paraguayan border were killed over the weekend. The deaths of newspaper owner Onei de Moura and radio reporter Divino Aparecido Carvalho, both in Parana state, add to an increasingly grim toll in the country. Onei de Moura, owner of the weekly newspaper Costa Oeste, was shot and killed in Santa Helena. He was standing near a vending machine when a man with whom he had apparently quarrelled earlier that evening in a bar shot him. A police official said the cause of the shooting was "a personal issue." However, several media sources reported that Costa Oeste was well known for its criticism of local politicians, a characteristic that has previously been identified as a major factor in journalist killings in Brazil. The suspected gunman later turned himself him in, but was later released despite confessing to the crime. Calvalho was ambushed in Foz do Iguacu as he stepped from his car at Radio Cultura AM. Despite his wounds from three shots, he managed to drive off towards an emergency station but, unable to brake, he crashed into a parked ambulance. He died later in hospital. International Press Institute press freedom manager Anthony Mills said: "We are seeing a deadly pattern of media-directed violence emerging in Brazil."
  • 29 March 2012 | The Guardian

    Two British journalists killed in Syria

    Syrian security forces have shot and killed two freelance British journalists of Algerian descent and wounded a third, according to a Spanish newspaper report and a witness interviewed by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The Spanish daily El Mundo, citing local activists, said Naseem Intriri and Walid Bledi were killed during an attack on the town of Darkoush near the Turkish border. The Guardian reported Tuesday that journalists filming a documentary about Syrians escaping across the Turkish border had been killed, but could not confirm the fact, nor did it identify them. But a witness told the CPJ that Syrian soldiers, accompanied by militiamen known as "Shabiha," shot at the house where the journalists were staying. He told the CPJ that when the firing began Intriri and Bledi initially fled but returned to retrieve equipment when the shooting seemed to have stopped. Then the Syrian forces opened fire again. He said the army later took the journalists' bodies away. A third journalist, who was wounded by a shot in his left shoulder as he fled from the house, was said to have been driven to a hospital in Antakya by Syrians who crossed into Turkey. Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and north Africa programme coordinator said the deaths were "yet another illustration of the grave dangers that journalists face in reporting a conflict that the Syrian government has sought to hide from the world."
  • 29 March 2012 | Radio Netherlands

    Case against Dutch journalist dropped for wrong reasons

    The charges against De Telegraaf journalist Jolande van der Graaf for the possession of state secrets were dismissed for the wrong reasons. National Ombudsman Alex Brenninkmeijer says the Public Prosecutors’ Office must officially change its motivation for dropping the case. The charges were dropped because the evidence in the case had been obtained illegally, but Ms Van der Graaf wants her name cleared and official documents to reflect that she was wrongly branded a suspect. The De Telegraaf journalist was accused in 2009 of illegally obtaining classified documents on Iraq and the Dalai Lama from an employee of the national security service (AIVD) and subsequently publishing some of that information. In 2010 the Public Prosecutors Office decided to drop all charges against Ms Van der Graaf and her partner after the court in Haarlem had acquitted them on charges of leaking state secrets. Earlier, a judge had ruled that the AIVD had illegally tapped Van der Graaf’s telephone conversations. Because she is a journalist, the measure was deemed too invasive and implemented too soon. The national ombudsman agreed that the Public Prosecutors Office failed to take Ms Van der Graaf’s position as journalist into account. The parliamentary intelligence services commission decided that the phone tap in itself was legitimate, but said the AIVD used it too quickly. The ombudsman says Ms Van der Graaf position as a journalist played an important role at a number of crucial moments in the course of events. He argues that the Public Prosecutors Office should have carefully considered the situation before branding the journalist as a suspect, and whether there was actually any likelihood of her having committed a crime.
  • 28 March 2012 |

    EU Parliament votes against delaying ACTA decison

    The EU Parliament has voted not to refer the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to the European Court of Justice (ECoJ), meaning the bill's final fate will be decided this summer. In a 21 to five vote, the European Parliament's international trade committee ruled not to stall the final decision on the controversial anti-counterfeiting proposal. The decision has since been welcomed by activist groups. ACTA was intended to harmonise copyright rules across all participating countries, but it has resulted in a series of high profile demonstrations, including ones in Poland. The vote follows widespread allegations that the agreement could potentially breach EU human rights legislation, granting companies the ability to censor the internet. "The concerns with ACTA centre mostly around how the bill enforces liability on websites for any links that point to disputed content," Trend Micro security analyst Rik Ferguson said. "In the world of user-generated content, the potential for any site to be forced to close down, in a Stalinesque way to become a ‘non-site' as it is obliterated from search results or even have its domain name seized, all as a result of the actions of its users, is seen as too great a threat to business online." Had the committee vote gone the other way, MEPs would not have been able to vote on ACTA until the ECoJ had reached its decision, potentially delaying the vote by at least 18 months.
  • 28 March 2012 | New York Times

    Al Jazeera decides against showing video made by gunman in Toulouse

    Recorded by a gunman in southwestern France as he killed seven people at close range, and later sent to the satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera by mail, the video captured a ruthlessness that shocked even hardened journalists accustomed to such disturbing images. “Not like this — this is different,” said Salah Negm, a chief news director at Al Jazeera and among the ultimate arbiters for the news operation on broadcasting such footage. As the police surrounded him during a nearly 31-hour standoff, the killer, Mohammed Merah, boasted to the authorities that his grisly recordings would soon be seen by the public. But on Tuesday the Qatar-based network decided that it would not be showing the videotaped murders, a ruling that some saw as a big shift for a station that had once been viewed in the West as a conduit for propaganda from Al Qaeda. The decision, made at the very top of the sprawling international network, provided an opportunity for Al Jazeera to display its journalistic restraint at a time of management upheaval and accusations of a double standard in its coverage of uprisings in the Middle East. The network stressed that it had been guided by journalistic principles common to all news organizations, saying that the video did not provide any news value. The decision, Mr. Negm said, was not a result of intense pressure from the French government, including an urgent plea from President Nicolas Sarkozy and an impending court hearing to stop the broadcast. It is unclear whether the video was delivered elsewhere, but officials expressed fear that it could appear on jihadist Web sites.
  • 28 March 2012 | Knight Center

    No tweets, no cameras: U.S. Supreme Court’s rules outdated for digital era, journalists say

    With the U.S. Supreme Court considering arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law, journalists, politicians, and even ordinary Americans are questioning how such a historic case can be covered without iPads, cell phones, or even cameras, especially in a media ecosystem of 24-7 news. The Supreme Court, which "stubbornly sticks to traditions that predate the communications revolution," banned all electronic devices from the courtroom, specifying that only old-fashioned note-taking with a pen and paper would be allowed, according to The New York Times. The out-dated rules have journalists, now accustomed to tweeting the latest breaking news, scrambling to figure out how best to cover the three days of arguments, which got underway Monday, March 26. The one concession the court granted was to agree to release audio recordings and transcripts of the proceedings each day, NPR said. Newspapers throughout the country published editorials calling on the Supreme Court to lift its ban on cameras. The Washington Post noted that a USA Today/Gallup poll from December showed that more than seven in 10 Americans - whether Democrats, Republicans, or independents, believe the Supreme Court should allow cameras to televise the arguments over the health care law.
  • 28 March 2012 | The Guardian

    The king and i: Swaziland plans social media lese-majesty law

    Swaziland is planning a censorship law that will ban Facebook and Twitter users from criticising its autocratic ruler, King Mswati III. Africa's last absolute monarch is facing growing protests over his undemocratic regime, which has pushed the tiny mountain kingdom to the brink of bankruptcy. But Mswati's justice minister, Mgwagwa Gamedze, told the Swazi senate: "We will be tough on those who write bad things about the king on Twitter and Facebook. We want to set an example." The government was finalising a law that will make it illegal to insult the king on social networks, Gamedze said. The move follows comments last week by the Swazi senator Thuli Msane over how online activism was spiralling out of control and threatening the king's reputation. Although internet penetration is low among Swaziland's 1.2 million people, networks such as Facebook and Twitter have been used to organise public protests, including a student demonstration on Monday against cutbacks in higher education. Pius Vilakati, spokesman for the Swaziland Solidarity Network, condemned the planned crackdown. He said even so-called independent newspapers in Swaziland were heavily censored by the government. Last month, the sacked editor of the Swazi Observer newspaper reportedly fled the country in fear for his life. Mswati has endured unprecedented protests because of a deepening financial crisis. Last year, thousands of students and activists took to the streets, prompting a forceful response from police. More protests are planned in coming weeks.
  • 28 March 2012 | Mashable

    Email is more popular than social media: study

    Social media may be getting all the buzz, but email is still a more popular mode of Internet communication, according to a new survey. Private research firm Ipsos polled 19,216 adults in 24 countries last month and found 85 percent of them used the Internet for email while 62 percent used it for social networking. Keren Gottfried, research manager at Ipsos, says she expected email use to trump that of social media. How people use the Internet varies from country to country. In Hungary, 94 percent go online to use email while only 46 percent do so in Saudi Arabia. In Indonesia, 83 percent of people use the Internet for social networking (defined in the study as visiting social networking sites, forums or blogs.) Social media use is also high in Argentina (76 percent), Russia (75 percent) and South Africa (73 percent). It’s low in Japan (35 percent) and Saudi Arabia (42 percent). The U.S. figure for social media use was right around the average: 61 percent. Aside from email and social networking, another primary use of the Internet is for Voice-Over-IP. Overall, VOIP is used by 14 percent of people across the globe and trends high in Russia (36 percent), Turkey (32 percent) and India (25 percent). VOIP use is lowest in Brazil (4 percent), France (5 percent) and the U.S. (6 percent).
  • 28 March 2012 |

    Liberia journalist in hiding after genital mutilation expose

    A Liberian journalist says she has been forced into hiding after lifting the lid on initiation rituals, including genital mutilation, by a secretive women’s society. Mae Azango, a reporter with Liberian daily Front Page Africa, published a story on March 8 in which a woman recounted how when she was a child she was held down and had her clitoris sliced off by members of the Sande Society. The society is an initiation school where women and girls are sent to be circumcised and groomed to be prepared for marriage, as culture and tradition demand in the west African state, Azango wrote. Azango’s story was illustrated with pictures of initiated teenage girls emerging from the bush. “A few days after I published the story, I received calls, anonymous calls, and women telling me that I have exposed their secret and I am going to pay the price,” Azango told AFP in an interview from a secret location. International media organisations and NGOs have called on government to step in, a difficult task for the regime as courts have no say in the matter. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is facing pressure on taboo issues such as female genital mutilation and homosexuality — especially after winning the Nobel Peace Prize last year. “We find it troubling that Liberia, boasting Africa’s first female head, remains muted on the issue engulfed in controversy,” Azango’s newspaper Front Page Africa said in an editorial.
  • 27 March 2012 | Deutsche Welle

    EU bans export of Internet surveillance gear to Iran

    The Council of the European Union on Friday approved new measures against Iran, including bans all exports of equipment and software "intended for use in the monitoring or interception of internet and telephone communications by the Iranian authorities." Since the contested Iranian presidential election of June 2009, various European companies have been implicated in selling hardware and software than can be used to conduct surveillance and other intelligence-gathering capabilities. The new law designates local entities in member states, usually a cabinet-level ministry, such as the Foreign Ministry or Ministry of Economy, to be responsible for evaluating possible export cases. In the case of a sale of material that could fall under this ban, it is incumbent upon the firm to submit an application to the relevant government agency for review before the sale is complete. The Council of the European Union noted that the new language concerning a ban on Internet surveillance equipment was copied from existing export bans concerning nuclear-related material.
  • 27 March 2012 | AFP

    French police have videos shooter made of Toulouse killings

    French police said on Monday they had copies of videos shot by an extremist killer during a series of shootings in and near the southern city of Toulouse that shocked the country. Mohammad Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent, had previously boasted of filming his killings, and witnesses had told police that he appeared to be wearing a video camera in a chest harness. A police source told AFP the footage had been seized after it was sent to the Paris office of the pan-Arabic satellite network Al Jazeera. The source said investigators had been passed a USB memory stick that had been sent to the Paris office of Al Jazeera, a news network financed by the Qatari royal family and watched throughout the Arab world. Detectives visited the station on Monday to pick up the evidence. The source said Al Jazeera had not broadcast the footage but had probably retained copies. Merah was killed on Thursday after a 32-hour siege by police from the elite RAID special intervention squad on his apartment in Toulouse. Before the fatal shootout but during the siege, Merah declared that he had uploaded footage of the attacks to the internet, although no trace of the video had been found. Witnesses and the anti-terrorist prosecutor assigned to the case have said that the shooter appeared to be wearing a video camera of the Go-Pro type of sports cameras harnessed to his chest during the shootings.
  • 27 March 2012 | The Next Web

    YouTube and France’s Audiovisual Institute partner up

    YouTube will showcase 57,000 videos from France’s National Audiovisual Institute (INA), the two partners announced Monday. Following the agreement, YouTube viewers will be able to access thousands of hours of archived TV content, coming directly from France’s official repository. In one sense, this partnership isn’t a surprise; not only does the Institute makes a large number of videos available for free on its own platform, but it also has a similar deal in place with YouTube’s French competitor Dailymotion. The Institute’s archives are very rich and diverse, ranging from old reports from Cannes Film Festival and the Tour de France to interviews with Salvador Dali, spanning over the last 60 years of French TV. The content included in this new partnership will progressively go live over the next weeks, the French media reports.
  • 27 March 2012 | Reuters

    U.S. regulators push for online “do not track” system

    U.S. regulators are pressuring Internet companies to put in place by the end of the year a "Do Not Track" system that would give consumers more control over their personal data online, in a report released on Monday that privacy advocates dismissed as too soft. The Federal Trade Commission's long-awaited 57-page final report on privacy recommendations relies heavily on industry voluntarily adopting best practices. It also called on Congress to pass broad privacy legislation that would allow consumers to see how their online data is collected, used and sold, and give consumers the ability to stop such practices. The report is in response to growing consumer concern about how Internet giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter collect and trade in vast amounts of detailed information about their users' online activities and real-life identities. The lack of force in the FTC's report is due in part to limits on the agency's powers. The FTC has a very limited ability to write rules, and is instead leaning on Internet companies to adopt tougher internal privacy policies. The FTC does have the power to punish companies that violate their own policies or otherwise engage in deceptive practices. The FTC is also raising the specter of legislation, but that is a largely hollow threat, at least in the short-term, due to the gridlock gripping a divided U.S. Congress.
  • 27 March 2012 | EJC

    Poynter News University and EJC launch innovative new e-learning course

    The Poynter Institute's News University (NewsU) and the European Journalism Centre (EJC) jointly announced the launch of "Reporting & Writing About Development in the World," an innovative three-month e-learning course for 40 journalism students from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The course introduces students to the fundamentals of covering international development and is funded by the European Commission's V4Aid project, which promotes awareness of development issues in the European Union's new member states. "Reporting & Writing About Development in the World" helps prepare students for the challenges of covering the political and economic issues inherent in international development stories. The course features live video lectures and lessons drawn from five self-directed modules on NewsU, Poynter's e-learning platform. Students attend live online lectures and chats, and complete weekly readings and assignments. The course is led by veteran journalism instructor and Poynter Institute adjunct faculty member, Bill Mitchell, a former Vienna bureau chief for the Detroit Free Press. Jim Breiner, a digital journalism consultant and trainer with a specialty in the business of online journalism, helped create the structure and training. Other Poynter faculty and adjuncts also will participate throughout the 12 weeks.
  • 27 March 2012 | Radio Broadcast Newsroom

    Pakistan to have its first journalism awards

    Pakistan's first-ever journalism awards are being organized by Mishal Pakistan in collaboration with the leading Press Clubs across the country, local and international media development bodies, regulatory authorities, private sector and other stakeholders. The AGAHI Awards have been termed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan as an important initiative towards improving the state of journalism in Pakistan. Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer for Mishal Pakistan and a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum, shared his views on the Awards as the AGAHI initiative is about increasing the capacity of Investigative Journalism and Responsible Reporting which aims to use institutionalized sustainable media structures in Pakistan to raise the bar of journalistic standards. According to a survey conducted by Mishal Pakistan, the Pakistani media was perceived by the viewers to be indulging in sensationalism and unwittingly supporting the violent extremist ideologies of non-state actors operating in the region. The AGAHI Awards 2012 has been able to engage organizations such as the Center for International Media Ethics (CIME) based out of Brussels and USA, BBC College of Journalism in UK, Media Helping Media from the United Kingdom and Devex in addition to the Press Clubs across Pakistan.
  • 26 March 2012 | Mainichi Japan

    Japan court orders Google to suspend autocomplete search function

    The Tokyo District Court has approved a petition by a Japanese man demanding Internet giant Google Inc. suspend its autocomplete search function, which he says violated his privacy, the man's lawyer said Sunday. Google is refusing to suspend the function, saying its headquarters in the United States will not be regulated by Japanese law and the case does not warrant deleting the autocomplete suggestions related to the men's petition under its in-house rule concerning privacy protection, according to lawyer Hiroyuki Tomita. The court's March 19 decision is believed to be the first in a case where a court has ordered the suspension of the function that suggests words before a user completes typing a word or a phrase, Tomita said. The man, whose name was withheld, decided to seek a court injunction after learning the search function was likely a factor behind his sudden loss of job several years ago and of rejections by companies in his subsequent job-hunting activities, Tomita said. The man found out that when a user types in the man's name on Google's search engine, words suggesting criminal acts, which he is unfamiliar with, appear. And when the user goes on to select the suggested words, over 10,000 items defaming or disparaging him show up in a list, according to Tomita. Before turning to the court last October, the man asked Google to delete certain words. But Google rejected the request on the grounds that the suggested words were selected mechanically, not intentionally, and thus do not violate privacy, the lawyer said.
  • 26 March 2012 | The Guardian

    UK: New publisher to launch three hyperlocal titles

    A group of people with an enduring faith in newsprint are about to launch a series of hyperlocal titles in Northamptonshire. Early next month paid-for papers, each called Extra, will be available in three towns - Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough. Though they have a single editor, the editorial content will be entirely distinct to serve their separate communities. The print version will cost GBP 0,50. Online access will be free. In a sign of confidence, and a gesture towards small businesses, recruitment ads and job listings will be free. The publisher, Extra Newspapers, is run by former Mirror group executive Wally Cowley, Stuart Parker and Rebecca Smart. "The idea of launching papers might seem old-fashioned to some," says Cowley, the executive director. "But, in spite of the turmoil in the regional newspaper market, local news is still what it's all about." Parker, the managing director, points out that Corby, a town of 55,000 people, "has no newspaper to call its own." So, he says, the Corby Extra will provide what the town requires - a voice across the community. "A little Extra will make all the difference," he says. The launches follow 14 months of research and development and the Northants Extra trio are expected to be precursors to similar publications in the south east and Lancashire. It is expected that companies, communities and individuals will contribute editorial copy. Johnston Press does cover the three towns with its daily title, the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph. It also publishes a series of weeklies in the county.
  • 26 March 2012 |

    First European-wide Youth Media Trend Report

    Young people are attached to their mobile phones… But do they still use landlines? Is online television as popular as ‘regular’ television? What is the most popular games console among today’s young people across Europe? And what are the biggest differences between European countries in terms of how they use media today? The answers to these questions – and more – can be found in the first European-wide Youth Media TrendReport (2010-2011), which was commissioned by ECF's Youth & Media Programme. The extensive research was carried out by the Belgian research centre Trendwolves, which looked at media use among young people aged between 15 and 25 in five European countries: Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and Croatia. Researchers mapped how young people use media in each of these five countries, focusing specifically on social networks, internet, telephone, television, radio, newspapers, magazines and games. The research is designed to fill a gap for the cultural sector, which is often deprived from mere facts and figures, unlike the business sector, in which such research data are used for designing successful marketing strategies and forecasting trends.
  • 26 March 2012 | Reuters

    US: Facebook, lawmakers warn employers not to demand passwords

    Facebook and lawmakers have warned employers against requesting Facebook passwords while screening job applicants, a controversial practice that underscores the blurring distinction between personal and professional lives the era of social media. The practice has reportedly grown more commonplace as companies increasingly regard profiles - or embarrassing photos from wild nights out - as windows into a prospective employee's character. On Friday, Facebook Inc's Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan, posted a note warning that the social networking company could "initiate legal action" against employers that demand Facebook passwords. Also, lawmakers in several states and in Washington said they would introduce bills to prohibit companies from vetting employees by demanding access to private accounts. Leland Yee, a California state senator, told Reuters on Friday he introduced legislation that would prohibit companies in the state from soliciting Facebook passwords from job applicants. The Associated Press reported that lawmakers in Illinois and Maryland were also considering similar moves. The issue bubbled up last week after the Associated Press reported that employers are increasingly asking to look at content job applicants have uploaded to their digital accounts, regardless of whether that content is shared or not.
  • 26 March 2012 | AFP

    Apps could fence in free-range Internet: US study

    The free-ranging Internet is under assault by mobile applications that connect people exclusively to content kept in “walled gardens” online, according to a US study released last Thursday. While 59 per cent of the experts surveyed for the study by Pew Internet/Elon University felt that the Web would continue to thrive, they also thought “apps” for gadgets such as smartphones and tablets would power an “anti-Internet” used only to connect to services such as films or Facebook feeds instead of for open exploration. “Instead of couch potatoes you’ll have app potatoes,” European Broadcasting Union head of institutional relations Giacomo Mazzone said in survey response. “There will be again a digital divide. This one will be between those who will prefer to use ready-made applications and those who are building ways or searching on their own to find the needed solutions.”The Internet could give way to a hybrid model that combines open-ended quests for information or content with the use of “apps” tailored to plug efficiently into offerings hosted on online servers, survey respondents said.
  • 26 March 2012 | Mediabistro

    Bloomberg TV cuts 30 staffers, adds digital jobs

    TVNewser has learned Bloomberg TV has laid off up to 30 reporters, producers, associate producers, editors and other staffers as the company shifts to a digital-centric newsroom. As TV employees are cut, Bloomberg plans to add 13 new positions and create a Digital Video Desk focused on moving video productions to web platforms, including tablets, smartphones and desktops. The shift has been in the works since Andrew Morse joined as head of Bloomberg TV last summer. Morse spent 15 years at ABC News, most recently at ABC News digital. In an email to staff, obtained by TVNewser, Morse writes that while “new positions” will be added, “we have also had to remove some positions that are no longer aligned with digital newsgathering and production.” Of the new jobs, to be posted soon, there are six new positions for digital producers and digital strategists, leaving a net loss of about 15 positions.
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