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Panpa Bulletin : September 2010
www.panpa.org.au Visit websend.com.au to download the new and improved FREE iQChaser application or call 1300 798 949 for a demonstration. amline your ad workflow process with one simple application aser is simple, multi-user platform software that streamlines and complements the day-to-day ad production environment. FREE TO ALL PUBLISHERS GREEN D AY A CARBON-neutral weekend pro- duction run has been produced by a leading regional newspaper to pro- mote the industry's green credentials. The special edition of the Gold Coast Bulletin was launched at the Green Day Out event, a festival promoting sustainable practices and products. Editor Dean Gould said the edition was an important part of communi- cating to readers the newspaper's environmental goals, which include becoming a carbon neutral company by 2010 as part of News Corpora- tion's One Degree program. "Reaction at the festival and from the readers was very good," he said. "Our readers know we're certainly educated and informed, which is important. "One of the things that worries me is that there is a lot of misinfor- mation being peddled, talking about newspapers cutting down forests when we're actually using recycled newspaper, and forest thinnings. "It's really important we take charge of our own reputation in this area." On top of the green initiative, The Bulletin dramatically improved its design earlier this year and is build- ing a reputation as a progressive and vibrant title in one of the fastest growing regions in Australia. The Gold Coast Bulletin action comes as the Sydney Morning Her- ald, part of the rival Fairfax Media group, has started to publish a green statement on its front pages on most, though not all, publishing days. Inexplicably its sister paper, the Sun-Herald, does not. Nor does its Melbourne metropolitan paper, The Age. The Herald statement tells readers the paper comes from forest thin- ning and recycled paper -- not old growth tress. The Bulletin's Mr Gould said all emissions involved in producing the weekend edition were offset by buy- ing carbon credits, reducing energy usage and travel. "Our operations manager Alan Bro- die bought some 37 tonnes of carbon credits, which was the equivalent of a three-day production cycle," he said. "Our credits came from a wind- farm in Turkey which is certified to the highest standard. "We couldn't be guaranteed of the veracity of the carbon credits in Australia." Mr Gould said the edition was part of his paper's contribution in co-sponsoring the festival but was concerned it would be seen as a stunt. "We ran a story about it that day but we were careful not to over- state it." Mr Brodie said the initiative had financial benefits, and cited the example of replacing roller doors to minimise cool-air loss from their print centre. "Previously we had manually operated roller doors which took a minute to open and a minute to close," he said. "The doors would be left open for up to 100 hours a week, mean- ing the air conditioner was working extremely hard to maintain the temperature - essentially we were cooling the Gold Coast." He said the new doors cost A$21,000 and would return A$9,000 in annual energy savings. He also replaced two large air- compressors to operate pneumatic lifters with a smaller model. "That cost A$15,000 with a saving of A$6,000 a year in energy consump- tion," he said. Mr Brodie heads the paper's staff- run One Degree Carbon Council, which is trying to educate colleagues to change their habits around energy use. "Journalists are the worst for leaving their computers on," he laughed. "The tech guys will sometimes leave a little business card in their keyboard saying, 'Oops, you forgot to turn it off'. We try to do friendly education -- you can't approach it too aggressively." 6 | SEPTEMBER 2010 | The PANPA Bulletin Daily not neutral about reducing carbon footprint Publisher declares independence AN AMERICAN newspaper publisher has complet- ed an audacious project in which it produced 18 dailies on free software. The Journal Register Company finished its Benjamin Franklin project on US Independence Day, by using software available on the internet for production and to encourage reader input to dictate coverage on issues important to the community. Jon Cooper, vice-president of content at the Journal Register Company, says the project was in response to the company's "aging, outdated" editorial systems. "We run six different editorial platforms, we have more versions of pieces of software than I'd care to take a guess at," he says. "We asked the question: Why should we have to pay the prices set by proprietary vendors? "Everyone who's in our industry knows that you buy an editorial system and by the time it's installed, it's restricting -- you then have to pay for upgrades, maintenance, and it's that bill that keeps on coming." Management discussions around these issues, and the growing availability of free software on- line, lead to a "cultural shift", Mr Cooper says. Much of the focus in the project was around a program called Scribus, which designers can use to lay-out a newspaper. "It was exciting and terrifying," says Tricia Am- brose, editor of the News-Herald in Ohio, one of the first dailies to participate in the project. She says there was a fair bit of hesitation from staff, but Mr Cooper says that regular training sessions helped staff adjust. "A lot of conversations, webinars, site visits, also a lot of collaboration -- we would have folks who had used Scribus teaching others how to use it." After a while, Mr Cooper says that not only were they laying-out newspapers but they were improving the software -- a benefit of 'open- source' software is the underlying code for the program can be edited by anyone, and communi- ties of software developers constantly exchange upgrades. "A while ago, one of the proprietary pieces of software we used offered a developer's kit, and it cost a few thousand dollars to customise your software," he said. With Scribus, one programmer was able to write customised upgrades to the software. Another aspect to the project was seeking reader feedback on what issues the newspapers should cover. Ms Ambrose says they used social media such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as local radio, email, and their letters page, to ask their readers what stories they wanted covered, and for feed- back on story ideas from the editorial team. Their most successful campaign was focused on dangerous intersections. "We were able to put our energies into the sto- ries that were generating buzz," she says. What surprised the editorial team was that one of their favourite ideas was dismissed by the community. "One (idea) which has been our dream story for a while was a 24-hour snapshot of our county -- looking at the moments that really define us at 1 am and 2 am, and all that kind of thing. "We just thought it would be fabulous, but people did not agree," she laughs. "When we asked people to tell us 'are there blight- ed properties in your neighbourhood?' they couldn't wait to tell us about their neighbour's house!" Part of the process was teaching "more vet- eran"journalists how to use new social media. Ms Ambrose continues: "It was a nice oppor- tunity for the younger folks on staff to show the more veteran folks on staff something, instead of the reverse, which is usually the case." The Journal Register Company plans to continue exploring free software and 'crowd sourcing' stories. "We've developed what we've called'Ben Fran- klin in a box ', so other news organisations can take part in what we've done," Mr Cooper says. Ms Ambrose adds that it's not without its down sides: "You've got to remember that with propri- etary software you get backup - if it's free, and open source, and it crashes before it went to press, then what do you do?" Nick Evershed NPA Editor Dean Gould . . . 'It's really important we take charge of our own reputation' Left: Performers at the 'Green Day Out' Right: Alan Brodie and Elizabeth Campbell, from the Gold Coast Bulletin's One Degree Carbon Council Nick Evershed - NPA Guide to free software for newspapers A complete list, with links, to each tool the Ben Franklin project investigated is available online here: http://jrcbenfranklinproject.wordpress.com/tools/ Google Docs, Open Office -- Used for admin, ad sales, and writing copy. Aviary, GIMP -- Image and vector editors, used for photo and colour correction, ad production YouTube, Vimeo, Blip.TV -- Video hosts Audacity -- Audio editing Scribus -- Pagination, lay-outs BannerSnack, InkScape -- Ad production CutePDF, GhostScript -- PDF production DimDim, Skype -- Online video conferencing, training ShareThis, Dropbox, Mediafire -- File transfer, con- tent sharing Wordpress, Drupal -- Content management software ResourceSpace -- Asset management software (ie. photo, video, database) • • • • • • • • • • •