UK regional paper publisher to charge for web access

Local news publishers in the UK have had a fairly hard time of it recently, hit by falling readership and reduced advertising revenue, but now one of Britain’s largest regional newspaper publishers is to begin charging users to read full stories on six of its titles’ websites.

Johnston Press will charge £5 (about $8) for three months full access to content on the Worksop Guardian, Ripley & Heanor News, Whitby Gazette, Northumberland Gazette, Carrick Gazette and Southern Reporter.

Readers who don’t wish to subscribe will be given access to excerpts and then encouraged to buy the paper copy to read the full stories. [Read more…]

Would you pay for a “blog newspaper”?

I fully understand the appeal of reading blogs on the morning commute: it often beats what’s printed in newspapers. What I can’t quite get my head around is The Printed Blog recently started by Joshua Karp.

In a world of iPhones, BlackBerrys, Kindles and 3G-enabled notebook PCs, why would I want to pick up and pay to read only moderately recent blog entries over which I have no control and no immediate way of communicating back with them or seeing the ongoing conversation?

“I thought maybe this would translate into a new, venture-funded model for newspapers, but no one believes print news will survive. If I had a penny left, I would bet newspapers will survive in printed form,” Karp said. [Read more…]

UK’s Sunday Times newspaper publishes “the 100 best blogs”

As far as I’m concerned, putting together a “100 best blogs” post is potentially very easy (there are hundreds of millions of them) and yet extremely difficult — how do you narrow that list down to just 100 even in one genre?

The Sunday Times is the latest one of the established media to have a go at creating a list of jumping off points. The article is definitely aimed at those for whom reading blogs is not a current pastime — feed readers and blog directories are explained in a side panel.

Here we have a handful of blogs in each category — world affairs, celebrities, style, words, original thinkers, cult, comic relief, domestic politics (UK focused) and visual aids. That’s just 50 blogs, with film, science, art, the home, theatre, pop and classical coming next week. [Read more…]

Traditional journalists burning out on blogging

Reporters working for traditional news organisations are becoming burned out because of the demands placed upon them to engage in new media and communications tools, according to journalists at the National Press Club forum at the University of Missouri.

It’s quite common to find online versions of newspapers and news broadcasters kitting out their web sites with blogs, Twitter feeds, and social networking links, but it seems that in many cases this is a loss-making exercise, done only because it’s “cool” or institutions feel that they have to “keep up”.

A correspondent for the St Louis Post-Dispatch, Tony Messenger, said that he had been blogging for years but had never had a discussion with the newsroom as to why they were blogging and how that should tie in to their business model. [Read more…]

UK’s Daily Mirror offers readers opportunity to blog about Premier League football

Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper is offering a select group of its readers the chance to blog about their favourite Premiership football team for the entire 2008/09 season, which starts in a little under two weeks time.

Successful applicants will need to write at least one 300-word blog post each week about their team, which will then be published online to “millions of readers around the world”.

It’s not clear exactly how many people read the Mirror’s sports blogs already, but you certainly would have a decent chance of being read and your words appreciated than if you simply had your own site. However, while “fame and glory awaits” (according to the newspaper), there’s no other incentive for the writer, while the newspaper gets additional copy without having to pay. [Read more…]

British newspaper’s hosting of anti-immigrant blog raises questions over censorship

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Evelyn Beatrice Hall

Most people value everyone’s right to free speech, and the Internet is arguably a medium where it’s much easier to exercise that right, but every so often questions are raised over how much should be allowed to stand, particularly when an organisation hosts user-generated content.

Recently, The Telegraph — a British broadsheet newspaper — has been spotlighted for hosting a blog written by Richard Bambrook, a prominent member of the the British National Party (BNP) known for their outspoken views on immigrants.

Recently, he posted a blog entry under the heading “Blame the immigrants” in which he proceeded to blame the majority of knife and gun crime on immigrants. “I have had enough of people being afraid to actually say what they really want to say. Yes … it is the immigrants,” he wrote.

A Telegraph spokeswoman defended the newspaper’s decision to host the blog, suggesting they’d had no complaints, adding, “we believe our readers are intelligent and discerning enough to avoid the content they dislike and report that which offends. That doesn’t mean the Telegraph necessarily endorses their opinions nor promotes them.”

The Telegraph launched its My Telegraph community blogging platform last year, and now boasts a 20,000-strong membership. Moderators check for offensive/illegal content.

The fact is that Bambrook hasn’t written anything illegal, and if The Telegraph refuses to publish his comments, he’ll simply publish them somewhere else.

(Via The Guardian)

U.S. Newspaper Circulation Drops Another 3.6%

Reuters is reporting that U.S. newspaper circulation has dropped by 3.6% over the past six months, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The majority of the top 25 American papers suffered a reduction. And according to some sources, sales are at their lowest level since 1949.

Sunday papers, which have generally weathered the storm better, (maybe it’s all those comics and coupons), experienced the steepest drop, declining 4.5%.

More and more people are turning online for their news.

It’s not a new question, but one that I always find interesting.

Would you, dear blogger, miss newspapers if they went extinct?

I believe there will always be a place for paper, albeit a more limited role. I wouldn’t get the tombstone ready just yet…

Here lies the newspaper; 1605 – 2008