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January 03 2012

14:37

Important voice or wasteful abuse of money? - Subsidy cuts put Italy’s newspapers at risk

Financial Times :: Sleeping bags and mattresses are stacked up in the news room of Liberazione where journalists are staging a new year occupation to save their communist daily – one of perhaps 100 titles facing closure as Mario Monti’s government of technocrats implements stringent cuts in public subsidies for Italy’s newspaper industry.

For some the subsidies are seen as a wasteful abuse of taxpayers’ money. For others, the papers, many of them local, represent an important tradition giving voice to themes and opinions the mainstream press will not touch.

A status quo - Continue to read Guy Dinmore, www.ft.com

October 06 2011

14:30

Blackout in Italy: “The first time Wikipedia worldwide has done anything of this kind”

For the past two days, Italian Wikipedia replaced its site’s standard content with a message:

Dear reader,
at this time, the Italian language Wikipedia may be no longer able to continue providing the service that over the years was useful to you, and that you expected to have right now. As things stand, the page you want still exists and is only hidden, but the risk is that soon we will be forced by Law to actually delete it.

As the message continued, it became a manifesto: The Italian Wikipedia website had gone (voluntarily) dark as a protest against DDL intercettazioni, an anti-wiretapping bill being proposed in Italy’s Parliament. The law (its title loosely translates to “Wiretapping Bill”) is apparently a reaction to recent wiretapping escapades that have caused trouble for, among other Italian officials, prime minister Silvio Berlusconi — who’s been caught both dismissing Italy as “a shit country” and making some rather crass comments about Angela Merkel.

The bill’s most contentious section is paragraph 29, which stipulates that, should any blogger publish information deemed to be defamatory — deemed to be so not by a process of judicial review, but simply by the subject of the alleged defamation — then the blogger will be forced to print a correction within 48 hours of publishing the offending entry. Or else pay a fine of €12,000 (nearly $16,000).

Arbitrary/reckless/dangerous/ridiculous/a further blow to press freedom in Italy — insert your preferred objection here.

The outrage over the proposed law has been brewing for a while now, but it gained force this week, as the bill’s being debated in the Italian Parliament. And Wikipedia’s blackout of all its entries in Italian — around 800,000 of them — brought the protests to a head. The Wikimedia Foundation itself voiced its support for the protest, couching its argument in the idea that Wikipedia is self-policing, and therefore beyond the auspices of government regulation:

The Wikimedia Foundation stands with our volunteers in Italy who are challenging the recently drafted “DDL intercettazioni” (or Wiretapping Bill) bill in Italy. This bill would hinder the work of projects like Wikipedia: open, volunteer-driven, and collaborative spaces dedicated to sharing high-quality knowledge, not to mention the ability for all users of the internet to engage in democratic, free speech opportunities.

Wikipedians the world over pride themselves on their ability to rapidly remove false information from their project. Wikipedia has established methods to receive complaints or concerns from individuals or organizations and a strong system exists to remove incorrect or false information, and if necessary to remove complete articles in an effort to prevent vandalism. For Wikipedians, there is no value nor need for this proposed legislation.

Jimmy Wales put it more bluntly: “Wikipedia Italy is on strike against an idiotic proposed law.”

As Wales explained to Chris Potter, the Perugia-based director of the International Journalism Festival, “Italy already has perfectly fine laws against defamation, and this proposed law overreaches dramatically. I have never heard of any law like it anywhere else in the world.” The decision for this week’s blackout, he continued, “was taken by the Italian community in part because they felt that there was no genuine avenue for protest in the mainstream media without a bold action.”

And it looks like the protest may have worked — sort of. Yesterday, the Italian government announced that it will be modifying the proposed law to include only large online news sites — meaning that any information outlets that don’t fall into that category, Wikipedia among them, will be excluded from the law’s reach.

So: good news? The hashtag #graziewikipedia, which popped up in response to the development, would suggest so. But while the update, and today’s return to a blackout-free site, may represent a superficial victory for Wikipedia — and a nod to the encyclopedia’s network-effects-rooted power as, yep, a political lobbying force — the bill still holds. And the episode overall is a good reminder of the generally dismal state of press freedom in Italy. Berlusconi owns the influential private media company Mediaset; he exercises direct control over state television. Italy’s 100,000 professional journalists, to get work, must belong to the Ordine dei Giornalisti — a group that is, in effect, a modern-day guild. This year’s Freedom House survey of global press freedom, citing “heavy media concentration and official interference in state-owned outlets,” ranked Italy as only “partly free.”

It’s a worrisome state of affairs — one that Italian journalists are both keenly aware of and, as the DDL intercettazioni episode suggests, largely powerless to fight. As La Repubblica’s Vittorio Zambardino, the paper’s “Scene Digitali” blogger, told me when I met him in Perugia last year, over-regulation of journalism and the online space is a constant threat in Italy. And, for that matter, in Europe (and elsewhere) more broadly. “There’s a wide array of social processes that are produced by the Internet that are also endangering the virtue and the value of the Internet,” Zambardino said. He continued:

Freedom is going to be killed by strict regulation taken by governments. In Italy, we are very worried about this. But it’s not only Italy: the European Union has very strict views about privacy, about anonymity, about what they call “the freedom of the Internet.” In an ironic way — because they don’t believe in the freedom of the Internet.

August 28 2011

17:10

New York Times' DealBook: an investor perspective but for whom else?

New York Times :: When the world economic system shuddered and stock markets dropped, Arthur S. Brisbane, New York Times, was left wondering whether The Times should have spent its money not on expanding DealBook but on enlarging its stable of journalists aimed at the wider subjects of international banks and sovereign debt.

New signs of systemic disease emerged last week, particularly in Europe, where the European Central Bank rushed to shore up Italian sovereign debt. Although DealBook ran a couple of columns calling attention to this threat, the developments made clearer that this subject requires in-depth investigating of a complex ecosystem whose inner workings may be just as opaque as the derivatives-larded American banking network that imploded in 2008.

DealBook might help The Times build a niche audience online, but it isn’t designed to address broader issues like this. 

Continue to read Arthur S. Brisbane, www.nytimes.com

March 21 2011

07:30

Repubblica.it’s experiment with “Investigative reporting on demand”

Repubblica.it's experiment with

Alessandra Bonomolo reports on an Italian experiment to involve readers in investigative journalism.

Whether investigative journalism should be considered “dead” or “alive”, it still proves to be a topical issue able to engage readers by only mentioning its name.

Italian Repubblica.it, the online edition of the daily la Repubblica, has launched an investigative reporting “on demand” initiative. After the first three releases, the idea seems to be succeeding, with thousands of readers responding.

Every month, the online community is asked to choose an issue for reporters to investigate, among an array of options – all related to the environment. “Environment is a strategic editorial issue for us”, says Giuseppe Smorto co-editor of Repubblica.it.

The shortlist of options is drawn up by Repubblica’s correspondents. Most of the issues strongly affect a specific geographical community. Others may include follow-ups on big events in the past, such as the Winter Olympics held in Turin in 2006.

Although they are not all “nationwide and very appealing topics”, Repubblica considers the initiative as part of “an investment in the relation with the readership”. As the investigations are expected to mostly interest local communities, the proximity factor appears to play its part in the initiative’s good response. But, according to Giuseppe Smorto, the editorial focus remains on the environmental aspects.

The readers’ investigations are published both as online articles and videos. Such coverage clearly increases the costs for the news organisation, but it is seen as “an effective way to diversify the product for its final use (computer, smartphone or tablet) in order to reach out to more people”.

Unlike other outlets, Repubblica.it is not engaging its readers in the investigation itself (for instance, by asking them for tips like the Washington Post). Rather, the “investigation on demand” project involves readers in the editorial process, by choosing the topic of the investigation.

This strategy echoes another initiative of the website. Every day, Repubblica Domani broadcasts the morning editorial meeting, opening to the public the doors of their newsroom.

“This is a most advanced form of interaction with the readership”, says the online co-editor. But having readers participating in the editorial process implies that journalists also make their own investigative process open to the public. Should the original hypothesis not be verified by the facts, the reader will see an unexpected conclusion. Potentially, they will even read an investigation with no case at all, which can lead to disappointment.

“This comes with the imperative of transparency and verification”, says environment correspondent Antonio Cianciullo. The newspaper’s investigation into a controversial pollution case concluded, for example, that measures have been eventually put in place and now the situation is under control.

Given the response with the environmental “on demand” investigations, Repubblica says the initiative may be replicated in other sectors.

August 05 2010

10:56

Online news on the rise in Italy

Online news is gaining popularity in Italy, according to a survey cited by the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper blog.

Research by the Mediawatch Journalistic Observatory suggests readers of online daily news outlets has risen to 39 per cent this year. In 2007 only 25 per cent of internet users read online news.

Trust in the information provided by online dailies has also increased from 18 percent to 45 percent in the last three years, the survey revealed. Overall, Italians are spending more time online and 59 percent said they are using social networks, way up from the 12 percent who used them back in 2007, Ansa revealed. Nonetheless, there is still opposition to buy online and only 21 percent trust digital payments.

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August 03 2010

09:14

NMA: Reactions to Italy’s ‘blog-killing’ new bill

Reputation Online’s Vikki Chowney rounds up the reaction to a so-called “blog-killing” clause in Italy’s new Wiretapping Bill.

As Journalism.co.uk reported last week, the revised bill will allow the publication of transcripts “relevant to an investigation”, but campaigners remain concerned by a clause in the new version which, according to European Digital Rights, requires anyone “responsible for information websites” to publish corrections within 48 hours of a complaint of inaccuracy being made, or else face fines of up to 25,000 euros.

There’s a huge amount of convergence within the reputation industry at the moment. the New York Times, FT and Guardian have all run lengthy features in the past two weeks on the issue of “managing your brand” as an individual. Just last week we saw a Facebook user sued for posting defamatory comments on a friend’s profile.

We’re yet to see a UK brand put a law like the one proposed in Italy into action, but as the courts start to impose stricter rules and the idea of managing personal reputation becomes more mainstream, these types of regulations will become more commonplace.

Full post on New Media Age at this link…Similar Posts:



February 26 2010

23:58

4 Minute Roundup: Google's Trouble in Europe; WAC vs. Apple

This episode of 4MR is brought to you by GoDaddy, helping you set up your own website in a snap with domain name registration, web hosting and 24/7 support. Visit GoDaddy to learn more.

Here's the latest 4MR audio report from MediaShift. In this week's edition, I look at the trouble Google is having in Europe, with its executives indicted in an Italian court; the European Commission investigating anti-competitive behavior; and recent privacy complaints against Street View. Plus, an alliance of rival cell phone companies wants to create a unified app store to take on Apple. Plus I ask Just One Question to Spot.us honcho David Cohn, who explains an innovative ad plan for the crowdfunding site.

Check it out:

4mrbareaudio22610.mp3

>>> Subscribe to 4MR <<<

>>> Subscribe to 4MR via iTunes <<<

Background music is "What the World Needs" by the The Ukelele Hipster Kings via PodSafe Music Network.

Here are some links to related sites and stories mentioned in the podcast:

Google's appeal in Italy is a blow for freedom at the Inquirer

Italy's prosecution of Google execs could hurt flow of Internet information at Seattle Times

EU regulators critical of Google Street View, report says at LA Times

Google's Italian problem has a Korean solution... at ZDNet

Google facing challenges to its bold ambitions in Europe at LA Times

Mobile Operators Unite to Take on Apple's App Store at ClickZ

Why the WAC Is Whack at GigaOm

Apple ambushed in Barcelona at the Register

Mobile Operators Unite to Fight Apple App Store - Could it Work? at PC World

Spot.Us Adds Assignments, Widgets, Story Updates in Revamp at Idea Lab

Spot.us

Also, be sure to vote in our poll about what you think about Google's search results:




What do you think about Google search results?poll

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

This episode of 4MR is brought to you by GoDaddy, helping you set up your own website in a snap with domain name registration, web hosting and 24/7 support. Visit GoDaddy to learn more.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

December 02 2009

08:37

#WANIndia2009: Making money – ‘Our world is not only editorial, it feeds business’

Some interesting examples of how publishers are branching out into e-commerce were given at this morning’s opening session of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN)/World Editors Forum (WEF) conference by Iñaki Palacios and Francisco Amaral, directors of design firm Cases I Associats.

The pair advocated ‘monetising the channel not the content’ when it comes to charging online and looking at how e-commerce can be brought in.

Italian sports newspaper La Gazetta dello Sport, for example, has recently launched Gazzatown: an online shop that requires registration, which originally sold football goods but now has expanded to other sports products.

“Our world is not only editorial it feeds business,” said deputy editor, Gianni Valenti in a video clip in the presentation.

“Having a strong brand name gives a guarantee – it is the only way of overcoming fears that people have of buying online.”

Gazetta dello Sport website

Neatly illustrating his point, Valenti said adding a newly-signed football player’s shirt shortly after his transfer has been announced during the transfer window was particularly important, for example.

Elsewhere People.com’s editorial team has produced videos featuring style tips and filled its online shop with related purchases – for example, highstreet clothing matching a celebrity’s outfit.

All coverage of #WANIndia2009 from Journalism.co.uk can be found at this link.

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November 25 2009

11:08

Carlo de Benedetti: press freedom, La Repubblica and Berlusconi

“The question of the truth and of accountability underpinning this issue, which has been round the world, has also become a question of freedom. The Prime Minister in attacking Repubblica is attacking the whole of the press of the western world,” said Carlo de Benedetti, chairman of Italian publishing group Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, this week in the below speech, entitled ‘Newspapers and Democracy in the Internet Era. The Italian Case’, to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

De Benedetti was referring to the legal action brought against La Repubblica, which is published by L’Espresso, by Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Berlusconi had refused to answer 10 questions posed by the paper to the leader regarding a series of alleged scandals. Berlusconi took legal action and claimed for damages against the paper prompting an online petition from the paper.

“On November 5, after six months of attacks and allegations, the Italian Premier finally had to answer the 10 questions posed by Repubblica. This decision shows that the questions were legitimate, that it was journalistically correct to ask them, reiterate them and demand an answer. The delay with which the answer arrived was definitely politically significant. Equally significant was the method chosen for the answers: rejecting a direct confrontation with Repubblica or a dialogue with public opinion, opting instead for a journalist friend and his book, published by the publishing house owned directly by the head of the government. A controlled and protected political operation,” explained de Benedetti in his speech reproduced below via Scribd, in which he also comments on the role of citizen journalists and online news sites.

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July 09 2008

06:57
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A foghi spenti - Piccola Bottega Baltazar

July 06 2008

12:18
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English Promo - Piccola bottega baltazar
11:51
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Promo - Piccola Bottega Baltazar
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