links for 2009-04-30

  • Kevin: The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday make their first loss since they were founded in 1817, but that figure masks the fact that this loss was entirely predictable. The titles have lost more than 40% of their circulation in the last decade, and their website has faltered after a redesign. The problems at the titles seem worse than at most papers but not isolated. the Scotsman group editor-in-chief, John McLellan, refused to discuss the groups financial position but dismissed as 'a myth' that parent company Johnston Press insisted on 30% profit.

    Those profit demands, even if they were once true, aren't the issue here. This is about a long-time coming loss, not unreasonable profit demands. Journalists still seem to be in a state of denial about the sorry financial state of newspapers.

  • Kevin: "The rate of decline in print circulation at the nation’s newspapers has accelerated since last fall, as industry figures released Monday show a more than 7 percent drop compared with the previous year, while another recent analysis showed that newspaper Web site audiences had increased 10.5 percent in the first quarter." Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit organization that owns The St. Petersburg Times in Florida, said, "One shouldn’t be in denial that this represents people quitting newspapers to get news from the Web. But there are many other factors."
  • Kevin: Former BBC correspondent Nick Jones looks at how British newspapers are working with video and sees great opportunities for them. He expresses concern about the journalistic standards while noting the commercial success. “Newspapers are making money out of video and audio. They are buying up exclusive material obtained in dubious circumstances – but it is getting good ratings,” he said. But he points to the Ian Tomlison video showing police hitting a man without any clear provocation. Tomlinson later died. A member of a the public, a man working for the financial services industry in New York, provided the video to the Guardian (disclosure: My employer). “The Guardian was prepared to take risks the BBC would not have contemplated,” said Jones, who claimed the BBC would have had to apply a ‘whole host’ of tests to the video evidence.