Archive for the ‘newspaper’ Category

Today is the first day that we follow our daily production routine, which includes two news conferences a day, story and multimedia production, the taking of pictures, allocation of copy and the production of pages. Basically, everything but printing the paper. Once we enter this daily cycle, our focus will shift permanently from thinking to acting. The challenge is a stark one: We must beat the the months of expectation about what The Times will be. We will have just over two weeks to iron out all the last wrinkles. We have been joined for this phase by the phenomenal Peter Atkinson who consults for the Daily Mirror*. He will be with us right through the launch and it is very reassuring to have the presence of one of Fleet Street’s greatest on our floor. Today we will meet not as the band of bright-eyed idealists that started out on this journey months ago, but as a group of mission-focused journalists doing what we do best – writing stories, taking pictures and making movies.

As Marcello Rios of Zero Hora put it: “The first duty of a story is to be read”. There you have it.

*No, that does not mean that The Times is going to be a red-top like the Mirror or the Sun.


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1.       WOMEN

We have a 52% women readership. Do we provide the kind of content that they would want to consume. Enough of it? Presented in the right way? Do they need special content?

2.       CHILDREN

A major content demand was for educational material for the kids – ranked 3 after Breaking News and Business as a priority. Do we have any? What can we do?


Do we know how/when we will be getting external content eg the jobs supplement and Stuff supplement into the paper? How will it be sent? To us or directly to print site? When will it be sent so as not to delay printing?


Have we developed the kinds of picture spaces so that we can take advantage of our photographic team’s talents? Are we visual enough?

5.       SKILLS

Do we have a sufficient base of skills to execute. How are we going to use the last few weeks to plug the gaps and bring those who have fallen behind up to speed?


Are we geared up to do justice to our front page puffery, to the graphics, cut outs, results snapshots and web crossrefs? Are they exciting enough?


Are managers geared up to deal with their responsibilities for regular features? Is everyone familiar with baskets and naming conventions?

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Britain’s Telegraph newspaper has started offering blogging. On the first day, 500 bloggers took up the offer … Take a look at the registration gateway page and the terms and conditions, which include:

5.1.5. you warrant that the material you submit is not: obscene, threatening, menacing, offensive, defamatory, abusive, likely to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety, in breach of confidence, in breach of any intellectual property right (including, without limitation, copyright) or otherwise in breach of or violates any applicable law or regulation or code; and

5.1.6. you acknowledge that any breach of the warranties set out in sections 5.1.4 or 5.1.5 above may cause us damage or loss and you agree to indemnify us in full and permanently on demand against any third party liabilities, claims, costs, loss or damage we incur as a result of publishing material you submit to us, including consequential losses.

5.1.7. you waive any moral rights in all material you submit

5.2. Whilst you acknowledge that we do not necessarily pre-screen any material that you have submitted to the Site, we reserve the right to remove, at any time and without reason or prior notice or any liability to you, any material that you have submitted.   (My bold)

Why the waiver of moral rights, I wonder …

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I can finally introduce to you our editorial team:

Me = Editor

Moses Mudzwiti = Deputy Editor

Marvin Meintjies = News Editor

Carly Ritz = Multimedia Editor

Robin Comley = Pictures Editor

Archie Henderson = Sports Editor

Aspasia Karras = Features Editor

Xolani Xundu = Politics Editor

Colin Daniels = Internet Strategy Manager

Tidi Benbenisti = Diary Manager

Jackie May = Foreign/Syndication Editor

John Tsatsi = Design Editor

Bridget Pringle = AM Chief Sub

Guy Jepson = Acting Chief Sub

Gregor Rohrig = Dep Multimedia Editor

Shelley Christians = Dep Pics Editor

Liesl Venter = Dep News Editor

Robert Laing = Group Business Editor will help out with the Business Pages

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IMG_1727, originally uploaded by hartleyr.

The vibe in the advertising sales department is incredible. Sales people are wearing The Times T-shirts and there are red and white balloons everywhere. More importantly, the first advertising clients are being signed up. We are going to start looking at some dummy pages tommorrow and working out how our great plans will fit into an actual newspaper.

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The old/new media thing has taken a new twist in Boston where a newspaper has started publishing blog posts, reports the New York Times. Quote:

Last week, editors began culling posts and running excerpts next to articles from reporters and newswires. The blog items, which appear in gray boxes, are still relatively few, but Mr. Wilpers said he thought the feature would grow.

Now is Boston Now’s publishing move old media or new media or more evidence that the two mediums will find a way to leverage off each other? 

Check out the blogger interface here.

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Something remarkable happened yesterday. The power of the synergy between print and web publishing was revealed as bloggers climbed into (or defended with varying degrees of conviction) David Bullard’s somewhat over-the-top column on blogging in the Sunday Times. (See the Amatomu stats here)

What yesterday showed was that the two mediums are greater than the sum of their parts, the philosophy which underpins (SHAMELESS PUNT WARNING) the launch of The Times in June as a fully digitally integrated national newspaper. Even though the Bullard column carried no “push” signals, it did push bloggers to write in their droves. The bloggers then pushed traffic through to the online version of the column by linking and (perhaps against their better judgement) adding to the hype. That the topic of discussion which drove this blogging frenzy was blogging and not crime, Zimbabwe or sex is in itself remarkable, showing that there is high degree of self-awareness/self-criticism in the blogging community. Bloggers are thinking about their medium which bodes well. Self-criticism is the key that unlocks the growth and development of a relatively new medium.

The “old” media still has the punching power (and the readership, in the case of the Sunday Times) to drive an agenda in a way in which web plays can’t. Will this all change as broadband rolls out? Maybe, maybe not. What is clear is that a strategic partnership between print and online can deliver a very powerful punch.

At the end of the day, Matthew Buckland got it just about right with this remark:

Obviously bloggers have to respond. But what some fail to see (or grasp) is that there is a strong baiting element to Bullard’s excellent columns. In fact every week there is a strong sarcastic and satirical edge to his writing. Just about the silliest thing a blogger can do is reply with righteous indignation and call for his head. And Bullard does rightfully point out some weaknesses in blogging, albeit in a sarcastic tone. (And who’s saying ‘blogging’ is ‘journalism’? Some blogs are journalism, some aren’t, some don’t care.)     [My bold]

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