Media News

A handpicked selection of today’s media-related news. With 24.000 entries, our archives chronicle 15 years of press industry developments. A goldmine for scholars and researchers.

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  • 21 September 2012 |

    Google News introduces hidden keyword metatag

    Google has announced a new metatag called "news_keywords" to allow digital journalists to add up to 10 keywords or phrases, the words a reader may put in to the Google search engine to find an article on that subject. The Google News blog states that this is an additional way that Google crawlers catagorise an article for the Google search engine and Google News. The keywords will be hidden and are all given equal value so sub-editors, SEO editors and journalists do not need to think about the order in which they place the keywords and phrases, which are separated by a comma. The Google News blog states this development gives news outlets more freedom to write creative and pithy headlines, without the need for keywords. Digital journalists have been able to write different HTML title headlines (displayed in the URL), which Google reads, and on page headlines, written for the reader, for some time. The Google blog explains the development: "Similar in spirit to the plain keywords metatag, the news_keywords metatag lets publishers specify a collection of terms that apply to a news article. These words don't need to appear anywhere within the headline or body text."
  • 21 September 2012 | The Guardian

    Google warned it could face more antitrust trouble in Europe

    Europe's antitrust chief has publicly warned Google that it could face charges of breaching EU rules, and be fined, unless it does more to ease concerns that it used its search clout to block rivals. EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that so far concessions from Google – which is in talks with the European Commission to resolve complaints from competitors, including Microsoft, which claim it is abusing its dominant position in the search business – had not gone far enough. His warning, made in a speech to Fordham University in New York, ratchets up the pressure on Google by making public the EC's willingness to move to a more confrontational approach to the negotiations, which have been going on since July. If the case moved to the courts and the EC showed that Google had broken EU antitrust laws through the abuse of a dominant position, Google could be fined 10 percent of its worldwide revenues – which for 2011 amounts to EUR 2.9bn. More importantly, Google would be put into a legal straitjacket that would control how it could in future use its search results – rather as Microsoft, which previously fell foul of the EC over the dominant position of its Internet Explorer browser, now finds itself. In Europe, Microsoft is obliged to offer a browser choice screen that lets users choose which of a number of browsers they wish to be the default on their PC.
  • 21 September 2012 | Web Pro News

    Twitter puts together “best practices” for journalists

    Twitter has put together a set of “best practices” for journalists and newsrooms. Essentially, it boils down to the following four items: 1. Tweet your beat 2. Use hashtags for context - 3. @cite your sources 4. Share what you’re reading. Twitter says it analyzed thousands of tweets from over 150 news brands and individual reporters around the world to come up with the first four. “One of the best ways to increase Twitter engagement is to Tweet regularly about the subjects you cover,” says Twitter’s Creative Content Manager for Journalism & News, Mark Luckie of the first point. “Our research shows that for people who post a concentrated number of Tweets in a short time span, follower growth is 50 percent more than average (1.5x). Live-tweeting or posting updates about a news event related to your beat is one way to grow followers and increase interaction.”
  • 21 September 2012 | AFP

    Citizen journalist killed in Syria ‘Bermuda Triangle’

    A citizen journalist who used the name Abu Hassan to report from the central Syrian city of Hama was burnt to death after regime forces targeted his home in an assault, an activist told AFP on Thursday. International media freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), meanwhile, warned of the perils facing media workers in the "Bermuda Triangle" of the Syrian conflict, pointing a finger of blame at both the regime and rebels. Abu Hassan's death was the latest in a string of killings and kidnappings of citizen and professional journalists in Syria since the outbreak of the revolt in March 2011. RSF has previously condemned the killing of 10 professional media workers and 31 citizen journalists. On Thursday, it denounced the continued disappearance of two journalists working for US-funded Al-Hurra TV, who went missing in the northern city of Aleppo a month ago. With tight official curbs on journalists working in Syria, many media outlets have relied to a great degree on accounts of citizen journalists and activists to report on violence in the war-torn country. In one of his videos, Abu Hassan is seen explaining why he left his job as a construction worker to take up filming. "I want to expose the crimes that the regime is carrying out ... I will film until my last breath," he says.
  • 21 September 2012 | Reuters

    Ukraine opposition says libel law ‘death of journalism’

    Ukrainian opposition parties sounded the alarm on Wednesday over a move by President Viktor Yanukovich's allies in parliament to reinstate defamation as a crime, saying it was aimed at further curbing the free press ahead of an election next month. The draft law, which would provide for prison terms of up to five years for offenders, was rushed through its first reading on Tuesday by deputies of Yanukovich's Party of the Regions and their allies who hold the majority in parliament. It would apply to anyone, including the media, who spread "deliberately untrustworthy information" which denigrated a person, hurt their honour and dignity or undermined their business reputation. The proposal to return the old Soviet law to the statute books 11 years after it was removed came as opposition parties marshalled their forces for an Oct. 28 parliamentary election which - with key opposition figures such as former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko in jail - promises to be an acrimonious contest. The United States and other Western governments say moves to curb media criticism inside the country form part of a gradual back-sliding on democracy and a trend towards greater authoritarianism in the country since Yanukovich came to power in February 2010.
  • 21 September 2012 | AP

    Pakistan: US screens anti-film ads

    U.S. Embassy advertisements condemning an anti-Islam video appeared on Pakistani television on Thursday in an attempt to undercut anger against the United States, where the film was produced. The ads reflected efforts by the U.S. government to distance itself from the video in a country where anti-American sentiment already runs high. Violence linked to the movie has left at least 30 people in seven countries dead, including the American ambassador to Libya. Two people have died in protests in Pakistan. In recent days, the decision by a French satirical magazine to release cartoons crudely depicting the prophet has added to the tension, as may the upcoming issue of the German satirical magazine Titanic. The magazine's co-editor Martin Sonneborn said it was up to readers to decide whether the cover of an Arab wielding a sword actually depicts the Prophet Muhammad. Most outrage appears linked to the amateurish movie, which portrays the prophet as a fraud, womanizer and child molester. The television ads in Pakistan feature clips of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during press appearances in Washington in which they condemned the video. Their words were subtitled in Urdu. The advertisements end with the seal of the American Embassy in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the ad was produced by the embassy, which spent USD 70,000 to air the 30-second spot on seven Pakistani television stations. Pakistan is the only country where the ads are running. The embassy wanted to run the ads because it determined that the messages of Obama and Clinton were not reaching enough of the Pakistani public through regular news reporting, Nuland said.