What about the community?

Trinity Mirror announced yesterday they were closing two of their local papers in South Wales – the Neath and Port Talbot Guardian papers.

Cost implications have been cited in a move that will cut a number of journalist’s jobs (although this is part of a company-wide move in Trinity Mirror which has seen another set of redundancies announced in Birmingham).

Alun Edmunds, the publishing director for Media Wales, said the readership will still be served by Trinity who will cover the area with The Western Mail.

That’s good to hear, but it does leave a problem – there’s a huge difference between having your own local paper which devotes all its coverage to what is happening in your community and having the big local covering events from over 40 miles away. Continue reading

Rethinking the academy

Donica Mensing presented an interesting paper at Future of Journalism Conference, in Cardiff, looking at how journalism schools are basically training journalists in their own image – do we create people with the skills to survive in the networked world or are we helping them socialise in the existing newsroom with training/education and internships/work placements.

She made some very interesting points about how that needs to change and highlighted projects like our tahoe, Albany Today (from her own j-school) and News Mixer as projects which require young journalists to “set up shop” and engage in the networked communities and the community on their own doorstep.

We need to rethink our own practices within the academy and make our purposes and obligations more explicit

She added that educators need to

teach students to value innovation, uncertainty and experimentation

There are issues that Mensing outnlined here regarding timetable, collaborating with disperate groups, rewarding innovation and experimentation (something tough in the traditional academic setting) and the difficulty in faculty being able to make community commitments.

Public=good, private=bad?

One interesting thing cropping up from the plenaries at the Future of Journalism conference is the reinforcement of the idea that there is no one size all.

This was something that cropped up when I managed to blag a coffee with the editor of The Hindu a little while ago.

At the conference, Bettina Peters of the Global Forum for Media Development questioned whether it was appropriate to try and export business models from the developed world to the developing world.She went on to discuss the need for collaboration between the North and South hemisphere, getting educators and journalists involved in sharing ideas and knowledge.

She gave an example that journalists in Nigeria might be equipped to support journalists in Romania – even though the constraints they face may be very different.

Mixed models and the sharing of ideas are key ideas cropping from the plenary, should be an interesting couple of days.

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Cardiff’s Future of Journalism Conference

The Future of Journalism Conference is taking place at Cardiff University‘s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies over the next couple of days.

If you’ve not been able to get down here – and places were pretty limited given the number of people  presenting – you can watch the plenary stream online.

There’s also a Flickr group and the conference Twitter account and hashtag #foj09.

I’ll be posting sporadically throughout the conference.

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BBC to release internet documentary free on the web

A screenshot of the Digital Revolution blog

A screenshot of the Digital Revolution blog

Russell Barnes, producer of a new BBC documentary with a working title of Digital Revolution, is set to publish bits of the show’s interviews online before it airs.

He’s explains why

The second phase of our online project will begin in September. We want to share our rushes online, as they are filmed, including our encounters with the web’s head honchos.

We hope to release those under a permissive licence so that web users can re-use them or do their own mash-ups as they please. Whenever we can, we’re trying to rewrite the traditional BBC script and create something truer to the spirit of the web.

What is also quite interesting is that the show’s minisite has its own blog and production briefing section.

Should be an interesting experiment – although for those of us who use the internet a lot the interview list does read like the cast from the web’s own Usual Suspects.

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The link today: 25/08/09

Trinity may take Brum Post weekly to plug £6m loss UK’s Press Gazette on how the Birmingham Mail may become a weekly paper as part of a cost-cutting drive

Johnston Rejects Scotsman Sale Talk, Launches Hyperlocal Sites Off the balk of talks about speculation surrounding the sale of the Scotsman, paidContent:UK focus on Johnston’s hyperlocal setup in Leeds

“Freesheet no longer viable model” and other myths The row surrounding the closure of London’s freesheets gets some myth debunking

Quick thought: Sony goes epub

Sony Reader, PRS-505 model
Image via Wikipedia

Sony Reader recently announced that it was dropping its own proprietary ebook format in favour of the epub format. Which got me thinking a little bit about ereaders and magazines and newspapers.

The Plastic Logic reader can handle PDF and graphics and the epub format as can be seen in this All Things Digital video

Just a little thought – Adobe‘s inDesign publishes to epub format, and the epub format is capable of supporting images. So, does that mean that Sony‘s ereader may be gearing up towards a version which would support images?

That would certainly make it a more interesting platform for media publishers.

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