World Media Summit – the future of news is in safe hands…not

October 13, 2009

OK, so can you tell me what’s wrong with this picture?

Chinese President Hu Jintao (7th L) poses for a group photo with co-chairpersons of the World Media Summit prior to the summit's opening ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, on Oct. 9, 2009. The two-day summit, hosted by Xinhua News Agency, opened here Friday morning. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

Chinese President Hu Jintao (7th L) poses for a group photo with co-chairpersons of the World Media Summit prior to the summit's opening ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, on Oct. 9, 2009. The two-day summit, hosted by Xinhua News Agency, opened here Friday morning. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

Talk about a nightmare featuring Men In Black. This comes pretty close.

The World Media Summit was held in Beijing from 9-11 October 2009 and brought together the leaders of 170 global news media companies to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the news industry in the age of News 2.0.

A number of important speeches were given by eminent people and a long-winded weasel-word statement was issued at the close of the summit.

It’s remarkable for the lack of irony, but the statement called for the news media to be a conduit for “world peace”. Yes, if this sounds like some lame beauty pageant, that’s exactly what it was, viz:

We hope that media organizations around the world will provide accurate, objective, impartial and fair coverage of the world’s news events, and promote transparency and accountability of governments and public institutions, and thus facilitate the mutual understanding as well as exchange of views and ideas among peoples from different countries and regions.

A fine sentiment, particularly given the summit was hosted by the Chinese regime and the keynote address was given by that well-known democrat and champion of media freedom Hu Jintao.

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Journalists, politics and the union movement

September 1, 2008

[Note: updated 7 September]

An interesting piece on Jafa Pete’s blog about the rights of journalists when it comes to trade unions. Particularly if their union, like the EPMU in New Zealand, campaigns on behalf of a particular political party during elections. [The freedom to belong]

The question is about union membership affecting the ability of reporters to be fair and balanced. Alternatively you could pose this as: Are journalists compromised by their membership of a union that aligns itself to a political party?

As you can imagine [dribblejaws alert] I don’t think it really matters. In fact, I’d go a step further and say that journalists natural class alignment is with the workers. Even more, journalism would be better if reporters recognised this basic class instinct and acted on it at all times.

My argument’s a simple one, journalists are proletarians. They have a typically proletarian relationship to capital and to capitalism. The ideology of professionalism masks this and creates all sorts of confusion.

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APN begins editorial outsourcing

August 13, 2007

Media began outsourcing editorial production work in New Zealand yesterday, in a strategy being watched by media outlets in other countries.

A contractor, Pagemasters New Zealand, is now doing the editing and layout work for The New Zealand Herald and several regional and weekly papers.

APN says 20 full-time sub-editors at Pagemasters started work on Sunday in Auckland on an extension of the group’s computer editorial production system.

APN deputy chief executive Rick Neville said that by the end of 2007, Pagemasters will have about 45 editing staff to edit the seven newspapers. That is nearly 30 fewer than the newspapers employed for the job.

Pagemasters is a subsidiary of the Australian Associated Press news agency.

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has said the move will erode the quality of news coverage because stories will be handled by editors unfamiliar with local issues.


May 21, 2007

This YouTube clip is of a union protest at the Qantas New Zealand Media Awards held in Wellington on Friday 18 May.
Several journos from the APN group wanted to raise the issue of APN’s outsourcing of sub-editing. They got the banner up, but were shutdown and shoved off the stage pretty quickly.


This YouTube clip is of a union protest at the Qan…

May 21, 2007

This YouTube clip is of a union protest at the Qantas New Zealand Media Awards held in Wellington on Friday 18 May.
Several journos from the APN group wanted to raise the issue of APN’s outsourcing of sub-editing. They got the banner up, but were shutdown and shoved off the stage pretty quickly.


We think we’ve got problems with outsourcing

May 12, 2007

Local newsgathering outsourced to India

I’ve written before on APN’s outsourcing of sub-editing, but what about out-sourcing an entire newsroom?
Radical hey?

The California-based Pasedena Now website is advertising for a freelance journalist based in Bangalore to report on local council issues and other daily event coverage in Pasedena.
The website editor thinks he can justify this because the council meetings are broadcast over the web anyway. Here’s a taste of AP copy on the story:

James Macpherson, editor and publisher of the two-year-old Web site pasadenanow.com, acknowledged it sounds strange to have journalists in India cover news in this wealthy city just outside Los Angeles.

But he said it can be done from afar now that weekly Pasadena City Council meetings can be watched over the Internet. And he said the idea makes business sense because of India’s lower labor costs.

“I think it could be a significant way to increase the quality of journalism on the local level without the expense that is a major problem for local publications,” said the 51-year-old Pasadena native. “Whether you’re at a desk in Pasadena or a desk in Mumbai, you’re still just a phone call or e-mail away from the interview.”