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Panpa Bulletin : July 2010
The PANPA Bulletin is the official publication of the Newspaper Publishers' Association. The views expressed in The Bulletin are not necessarily those of the Association. Send all feedback to email@example.com ISSN 1443-7481 ©PANPA - 2010 Issue 279 of The PANPA Bulletin NPA Board NPA Staff Mark Hollands Chief Executive Officer Nick Evershed Editorial Coordinator Rebecca Leaver Editorial Coordinator Samantha Gibbens Cager Business Development Manager Lucy Tan Accounts/Administration NPA, Level 4, 69-71 Edward Street, Pyrmont, NSW, 2009, Australia Phone: +61 2 8338 6300 Fax: +61 2 8338 6311 www.panpa.org.au Andrew Leighton Norske Skog President Joe Talcott News Ltd Martin Simons APN Publishing, New Zealand Campbell Reid News Ltd Ross McPherson Shepparton Newspapers Chris Pash Dow Jones, Asia Pacific Vice-President Liam Roche West Australian Newspapers Ken Nichols Fairfax Media Anne Fussell Fiji Times Matthew Sharkady Goss International Robert Whitehead Fairfax Media www.panpa.org.au CEO's Column Mark Hollands CEO of the Newspaper Publishers' Association Wisdom and the art of the craft THE mantra of newspaper's superior "quality journalism" has been getting a bit of a workover in the last couple of months. The phrase is trotted out so often that our industry risks making it a meaningless cliché and an uncon- vincing argument for why print has the edge over other media, especially those blogger blow-ins and their as- sociated digital devils. Good journalism is, in one part, the pure art of the craft -- be it executed by a reporter or photographer -- and one equal part the judgment and wis- dom of an editor. Get it wrong, and an editor chews on a lemon for weeks. Get it right, and the praise is so loud you can hear the crickets in the media desert of ap- preciation. Praise rarely comes to an editor for making a good decision, but when a judgment is seen to be wrong or even questionable the chattering classes inhale the smell of blood and attempt to feast on it. A good half-dozen instances of note have emerged in the regional media in the past few weeks that should give cause to empathise with an editor's role. One particular controversy really caught media attention in Australia -- a TV story that revealed a state gov- ernment minister had been caught on camera leaving a gay club. His crime, apparently, was that he led a secret life while being a political champion of family values. Oh, the uproar -- not towards the poor minister but the evil of the media. Commentators climbed all over the TV station, saying that it would never have aired the yarn if he were coming out of a nightclub for hetero- sexuals; and they asked, somewhat piously and rhetorically, what his sexual preferences had to do with his ministerial role. The belligerent defence by the station's news editor probably did the media no credit. A little inclusive- ness, humility and acceptance of oth- ers' points of view -- even if you stick to your guns ultimately -- goes a long way these days. (If you think that is a sign of weakness, then therein lies your own weakness.) Newspaper writers jumped on, too. Yet, we all know editors and journal- ists who'd have run the story. So it would be unfair to characterise the debate as one about TV journalism. It was more significant than that. So-called "community standards" was the bedrock in the argument for why no one should vilify a man for his sexual preferences. Journalists and editors are not the defining force in the evolution of "community standards", and should not fool themselves that they are. No one is. And while the newsroom might feel it is the protector of such standards, I think you'd find few supporters for this contention in the wider commu- nity -- even if you believe, as I do, that if the press does not hold leaders to account, then who is left to do that? This is why being a good editor is so difficult. It is why their wisdom makes or breaks a news organisation. As an editor, you are essentially guided by your own gut instinct about the values of your publisher and organisation, those of your read- ers and advertisers, and perhaps most significantly, the beliefs by which you live your life professionally and personally. Beyond that, you have to hope for the best, really. You only get a loose understanding of what someone else's community standards mean when a pack of media wolves and do-good- ers come hunting your professional credibility. Community standards are im- portant to the execution of quality journalism -- yet both concepts are impossible to measure even though they are somewhat reliant on each other. Perhaps the industry might work harder to better understand the ebbs and flows of public opinion, and offer readers some transparency around that process and the editorial deci- sions that are influenced by it. At one level, any self-respecting newspaper manager would argue such knowledge and, hopefully, wis- dom is a key part of an editor's com- petitive advantage. Yet, when a news outlet trips up, this reflects badly on all of us and undermines our claim for journalism's high ground. Yet, there are triumphs -- great triumphs. So let me interrupt those crickets. The work of Paul McGeough and Kate Geraghty of the Sydney Morning Herald -- the correspondent and photographer captured by the Israelis on a Turkish flotilla -- was heroic and remarkable. Their jour- nalism, wonderful. Investigations by Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker, of The Age, into the business dealings of the Reserve Bank of Australia were extraordinary in their quality, diligence and deter- mination. The Australian seems to break stories at a greater rate than any newspaper in the region currently. Further afield, the video sting by the News of the World to catch Sarah Ferguson red-handed, trying to extort money for a meeting with Prince Andrew, was another example of how newspapers must continue to hold community leaders (or celebs in Ferguson's case) to account. Every editor requires wisdom and judgment that embraces public inter- est and community standards. This is the key to quality journalism. And it is never easy. Never. Production: APN Print Yandina on a manroland Uniset 75 press Paper: 60gsm Norstar 80, supplied by Norske Skog Art Direction & Design: Jason Howard, Leader Community Newspapers Colour Management: Richard Maguire, Leader Community Newspapers Glen St Leon, Fairfax Media Proudly printed by APN Print your partner PRINT PANPA thanks the following organisa- tions and people for their contribution in producing The Bulletin: Editorial Journalists and editors are not the defining force in the creation of "community standards", and should not fool themselves that they are. No one is" " Newspaper Publishers' Association Newspaper Publishers' Association Underbelly: City life through a lens 16 We're seeing things . . .in3D 20 2 | The PANPA Bulletin | JULY 2010 IF you like newspaper memorabilia, then hang on to your latest insert in The Bulletin. Capital Post is a one-off newspaper cre- ated by the major Australian publishers for a special function held at Australia's Parlia- ment earlier this month. The Post was designed to champion the best of print and showcase government ads in the medium. The function, organised by our friends at Newspaper Works and aimed at encourag- ing print advertising, attracted to the na- tion's top politicians. We don't know exactly when -- if ever -- all the publishers last got together to pro- duce a newspaper. But it was fun doing it. And it was fun closing it down! Closed on the day it launches Greer joins team THE Bulletin has a New Zealand correspondent. She is Greer McDonald (pictured left), the social media editor at the Dominion Post. For all New Zealand story ideas and tips, please send them to PANPA or con- tact Greer directly. We're all looking forward to more NZ news and views. Greer McDonald can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org Jump start... Jarryd Hayne beats Israel Folau to abig bomb during the 2009 series opener in Melbourne. Photo Pat Scala PUT ON YOUR FREE 3D GLASSES AND ENJOY A 3D EXPERIENCE. Glassesare only fo rviewing printed 3Dimages . Rising star . .. Folau soars to gather and score for Queensland ingame III of the 2008 Origin series. Photo GettyImages "Our involvement with the internet is far greater than it's ever been," Ms Courtney said. "Digital will continue to play a greater role in developing the Dominion Post brand. That's the message I'm selling to staff. They've got to think about the brand." Her priority was getting news to the reader in the medium they wanted. "The paper's going to have to change," she said. Mr Armstrong would have a "heli- copter view" of all sections: "It's not a print role, it's print and online", said Ms Courtney. This was "quite a mind-shift" for some colleagues but "by the end of the year the shape of the newsroom and the way we think about news will have changed completely". "We're reinventing (our) journal- ism," she said. "We can't operate as we did 30 years ago. The basics of good journalism are still going to be there." Her view is supported by the Edi- torial Services Director at News Ltd, Campbell Reid, who said his com- pany had "a lot of work under way to examine how a newsroom evolves to deliver the kind of content that audi- ences will require". "We are investigating content op- tions and deadlines that are right for various platforms, and the mood the audience is going to be in when they receive our information," said Mr Reid, a PANPA director. "A newspaper, which currently publishes at a certain time of day, is going to have to refocus on the changing moods of audiences during the day -- striking the right chord at the right time with the right content. "We need to see how that can enrich or stand beside a newspaper- reading experience." News Ltd has recently asked former publisher of news.com.au, Sigrid Kirk, to take an overview of all digital products across the company's print and digital properties. The evolving structure inside News Ltd is beginning to resemble product management disciplines associated with other FMCG (fast-moving con- sumer goods) companies. Mr Reid said each publisher would have to choose its "machine partners" because the "iPad is not going to be the only tablet computer". "One of the exciting things about this transition is, we have had 20 to 30 generations of journalists who have never had to think about what business they are in. "Now, for the first time, we are launching products based on journal- ism that people will pay for. That's deeply challenging for editors who have left the murky dealings of busi- ness for others." - Additional reporting: PANPA staff All change: Publishers revamp to capture new audiences CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Interview with Brian McCarthy > Page 8