THE SHRINKING OF NEWSWEEK

Files under General | Aug 24th

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Forget Newsweek.

It’s irrelevant.

Awful design.

Cheap opinions.

No reporting.

No news.

No quality.

No necessary content.

And… a newsroom of hundreds

For what?

Fat newsroom for a dying magazine.

Reading the recent cover story about The Shrinking of Britain (a really amateur’s and boring piece) you can use they same words about the magazine:

Forget the Great In Britain Newseweek.
Its fall was inevitable, but the economic crisis will shrink the last pretenses of empire faster than anyone expected.


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THE BIZARRE ESPN PAID-CONTENT MODEL, AND THE LESSONS FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

Files under General | Aug 20th

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The fantastic ESPN magazine is offering to its two million current subscribers a chance to get a full year of the magazine and its ESPN.com pay site, Insider, for $1 total.

That’s less than 4 cents an issue and Insider, which on its own costs $40, for free.

So, as I said regarding Al Neuhrart ideas, if print media want to charge for its online content, first things first: start charging (really) for your print edition.

More than two years ago, I was scolded by “print experts” because I applauded the Sunday Times decision to increase its cover price.

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Wrong, you are wrong, you don’t have any idea abour press economics, bla, bla, bla…

Well, ladies and gentleman and dear so called “experts”, I was right.

This week the ABC presented the latest circulation figures and the only national quality UK print paper that continuous  growing is the Sunday Times.

Back to the basics.

Charge if you have something unique and better than anybody else.

The Sunday Times leads the market in the weekend, so good for them.

And good for me, the “ignorant” media blogger!

Roy Greenslade was more sympathetic to my ideas and said:

Here’s another way of looking at the Sunday Times’s cover price increase to £2, seeing virtue in it becoming Britain’s most expensive newspaper. The ever-thoughtful Juan Giner takes issue with those, like me, who feel it was the wrong move because it has cost the paper more than 100,000 sales.

He argues that it was right “because it’s the leader… and it is really good”, offering “a first class news and features package” and £2 “is a great deal for quality readers.” Apart from the extra revenue it generates, the rise is “a clear message to the market” that “this is the leader for the best readers, the ones that advertisers are looking for.”

In Giner’s view, all quality papers should reconsider their cheap cover prices (as the London Evening Standard has also done, of course). But he believes he knows how the Sunday Times could win new readers. If it changes its format and improves its design, he writes, “it will attract more young readers, and more women will buy it.”

So here is his advice to Rupert Murdoch: 1. Keep the price at £2; 2. Change the format; 3. Redesign the paper (better than The Times, that it’s a shame!); 4. Tell the market the new message: the Sunday Times is the best of the best quality papers because has the best of the best readers. 5. And, for that reason, increase ad rates.

He adds: “You will save money with a lower printing run, and get more revenue via circulation and advertising.” And then concludes: “I am sorry, but Rupert Murdoch and News International are not stupid.”

Now, by chance, I was having drinks last night with a senior News Int executive who spelled out his company’s logic in increasing the price in much the way outlined by Giner. But editors like sales. So I wonder if the Sunday Times’s editor John Witherow is as keen on the initiative as his bosses and Senor Giner?



ANNIE LEIBOVITZ: SUPER EGO, A LOT OF MONEY AND NOT TOO MUCH LOVE

Files under General | Aug 20th

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Prima Donna and photographer Annie Leibovitz is in a great financial crisis.

New York magazine tells the story at its best.

Conde Nast “contract for life” with Vanity Fair and a $250,000 day rate are not enough for a fancy photographer and that lived above her means for quite some time.

War photographers don’t have first class seats, champagne, cocaine and the best suites available.

Or butlers, nanies and Frech cooks.

So, her debts now total a staggering $24 million.

From the start, as NY magazine says, Leibovitz paid little or no attention to budget restrictions, and she spent money recklessly, losing cameras, accruing parking tickets, and even abandoning rental cars.

Yes, she is a unique photographer but her ambition and greed destroyed her artistic talent.

Covering celebrities, super rich and mega stars made here a poor journalist.

And a terrible boss.

The New York cover story must be read by any journalist.

When so many colleagues have no jobs or they are paid not well, this kind of excess explains why some magazines are in big trouble.

Shame to them!

In the NY magazine’s comments to this story, one reader makes a perfect summary of this tragedy:

It’s very clear that Ms. Leibovitz spends wildly out of her means because she is emotionally unfulfilled. It’s the classic story of buying things to compensate for lack of love. She’s been trying to fill that void for years with homes, outrageous, grandiose generosity, chefs, gardeners, and any other whim she feels can make up for her lack of emotional stability. She’s not hungry for stuff, she’s hungry for love. This really is the East Coast version of Michael Jackson, as one commenter stated earlier. A very unhappy, extremely talented individual who thinks that buying the best baubles will provide them with the true happiness they crave. I wish her all the best and instead of putting her energy into investigating the best things money can buy, she should re-direct her efforts into finding the best therapy money can buy. For her, that would be priceless.


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A DEADLY WORDLY ANIMATED GRAPHIC

Files under General | Aug 19th

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This is one of the worst (if not the worst) animated graphic ever published by a serious paper.

Enough to fire these amateurs.

It looks like a bad and dry powerpoint.

The FT has to send his graphics staff to the Malofiej workshops, and get the Malofiej annuals.

They are really behind the loop.

Oh, boy, they need some training.

Just compare with this one from Jonathan Jarvis.

And this was just from a student!


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WHAT’S NEXT: THE NEW LIBERATION

Files under General | Aug 15th

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INNOVATION’s Javier Errea and Antonio Martin will be next week in Paris in the fine-tuning of the new Libé.

The Libération editorial and graphic team has done a superb job implementing the INNOVATION project.

The first prototypes are really stunning.

In a few weeks you will see the results.

19 days to go.

LIBE 19 days to go

Monday September 7 will be the day.

LE FIGARO is also working in a new formula.

So, expect very good news from Paris.


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FROM TIANANMEN TO CARACAS

Files under General | Aug 15th

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Cecilia Rodiguez took this dramatic picture, published today in the front page of  EL NUEVO PAIS.

Last Thursday, a brave Chavez oppositor confronted just wih his arms “La Ballena”, a  police water tank..

The Tiananmen heroism is alive in Caracas!

Please spread the picture.


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AL NEUHART: “NEWS THAT’S FIT TO BUY”

Files under General | Aug 15th

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Al Neuhart, the smart founder of USA Today says in his Friday column that online newspapers must ask readers to pay for this service.

Well, if you want to charge for your online edition, start charging for your print one too.

Today many print “paid” media (newspapers and magazines) are “free” or “almost free.”


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VENEZUELA: JOURNALISTS AGAINST JOURNALISTS

Files under General | Aug 14th

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I am in Caracas working with Cadena Capriles.

And yesterday our work was interrupted by breaking news related with this company.

As you know, Journalism is a very risky business in Venezuela.

But journalism and journalists are playing a terrific watchdog role in this country.

Yesterday violent Chaves thugs, some of then journalists!, attacked a group of journalists of Cadena Capriles (publisher of ULTIMAS NOTICIAS, LIDER and EL MUNDO) that were in the streets of Caracas protesting against press freedom restrictions included in a new law.

More pictures here.

The 12 brutally injured journalists are today the heroes of this necessary profession.

And they deserve our gratitude.

Chapeau!


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MURDOCH DIXIT, BUT WHY

Files under General | Aug 13th

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Why News Corp. chairman and managing director Rupert Murdoch announced that he was going to start charging for online news content by July 2010 and not right now?

It’s amazing how just a declaration became like a biblical message.

Murdoch dixit!

Well, I an happy to read this TIME’s Belinds Luscombe analysis and agree 100 per cent.

Yes, Murdoch was trying to confront the bad results, and save the face in front of investors and shareholders and as Belinda says:

“Murdoch cares little for Wall Street, but he knows his investors need to have confidence that he’s on his game. The switch to a pay model smacks of virility and aggression, the Murdoch of yore. “If we’re successful,” he said, “we’ll be followed fast by other media.”

So, don’t expect miracles or magic solutions for the online payments fiasco.

Only a few and very unique news websitres will be able to charge.

Period.


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THE ECONOMIST DIRECT

Files under General | Aug 12th

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Get the facts here.

Brilliant.

Brilliant.

Brilliant.

Management Caviar!

I always said that the management quality of a news organization can be measured by how much it takes them to deliver the first issue of a new subscription.

You know the standard line: Allow us 9 weeks to deliver the first issue…

This Economist fast (and smart sampling) service is another example of how we need to excel in the details in order to deliver quality news products.

Yes, the future is digital delivery.

But if you cannot speed your analog delivery, you will not make the digital future either.

So,first things first.

Another example:

U.S. papers, less bla, bla, bla about charging for content and more full color quality print.

Right now.


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