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September 15 2010


September 02 2010


Broadcast journalist Michael Goldfarb on life after redundancy

PoynterOnline.org has an interesting but unfortunately all-too-familiar story of a journalist – Michael Goldfarb – who lost his job during company cut backs five years ago. In an interview he shares his experiences of finding his feet as a freelancer and at times the realisisation of how little his years of experience would help him in his job search.

It was 5 July 2005, the day of the London bombings which Goldfarb had spent hours in the studio covering. When he got a call from his boss, he expected it would be to congratulate him on his work, but instead it was to break the news that his job was being cut.

Goldfarb soon returned to his post-WBUR life as a freelance journalist following failed attempts to find teaching work  – his 20 years of experience seemingly not enough to replace a lacking MA – but while financially he remains at a loss, Goldfarb’s talents as a journalist don’t seem to have gone unnoticed, with current projects including a monthly BBC TV news discussion, work with Globalpost.com and a new book in the pipeline.

But he remains concerned about an industry which he feels has given up on serving its audience.

I feel like a cavalry officer who has had two horses shot out from under him in the same battle. Serious reporting, serious writing: where is the audience for it in America anymore? I know It’s there, but the people who manage the news and book business have given up trying to serve it.

See the full interview here…Similar Posts:

July 08 2010


Twitter claims another job as CNN senior editor fired over Hezbollah tweet

The Twitter career graveyard has begun slowly filling up. News today that CNN’s senior editor for middle east affairs has been sacked after 20 years with the company for voicing what was deemed to be an inappropriate sentiment via Twitter. Octavia Nasr publicly mourned the death of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.

Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.

Parisa Khosravi, CNN’s vice-president international newsgathering, said in a statement that Nasr’s credibility had been compromised.

Full story at this link…

Back in May, comedian and columnist for Australian newspaper the Age Catherine Deveny lost her slot on the paper following tweets she sent during the Logies awards ceremony.

Deveny defended herself, claiming that Twitter was like “passing notes in class, but suddenly these notes are being projected into the sky and taken out of context. Twitter is online graffiti, not a news source.”

“Wrong,” said the Age technology editor, “posts to Twitter are not private messages”.Similar Posts:

June 09 2010


April 09 2010


March 26 2010


Crikey.com.au: Layoffs at BBC Worldwide’s Lonely Planet

Crikey.com.au reports that eight roles are to be cut at BBC Worldwide’s Lonely Planet website, based in Melbourne, Australia.

The axe has fallen on guide book behemoth Lonely Planet’s tight-knit team of website writers, with eight content production roles made redundant at the whim of the company’s BBC management.

Shocked staff were informed yesterday of the decision to dissolve the positions, which included two core veterans that had been with the company for years. Lonely Planet management is yet to make a formal announcement, but the firm’s Footscray office is in meltdown, with angry staffers taking to Facebook to criticise their employer and the company’s digital strategy.

Full post at this link…

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February 25 2010


Victory for FT Chinese journalists

Good news for the Financial Times journalists who faced redundancy if they did not return to China, on half their salaries.

The management has changed its mind, following the FT chapel’s threat that its members would ballot on industrial action if the FT Chinese journalists were not allowed to stay.

We reported on the National Union of Journalists’ outrage over the affair on 12 February. The latest update comes from NUJ Active (we expect a fuller NUJ statement soon):

The immediate defence by journalists at the Financial Times of Chinese colleagues threatened with redundancy by management has brought complete victory. The FT chapel demanded unanimously that the redundancy threat be lifted from their four colleagues on the FTChinese website, and warned that otherwise FT journalists might ballot on industrial action. So management did as it was told.

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Bill Lucey: Ways for laid-off journalists to reinvent their careers

Bill Lucey shares some ideas from the US on reinventing redundant journalists’ careers, over on the Huffington Post. Even if you’re older, forget about age and stay young at heart, he says.

[B]efore raising the white flag and crying uncle, there are plenty of resources available online, offering video tutorials, webinars, and career tips to those out of work newspaper employees; trying to acquire new skills and become more marketable.

Full post at this link….

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February 05 2010


Dhiren Katwa: ‘Current BBC Asian Network model promotes segregation’

Dhiren Katwa, senior news editor at Asian Voice, spoke at the Coventry Conversations series on Thursday about the possibility of the BBC’s Asian Network being scrapped in the face of strategic cuts. He said Vijay Sharma, head of the Asian Network, has been “in hiding” over the current situation.

The Asian Network’s audience fell by 15 per cent to 357,000 in the third quarter of last year, and is expected to struggle for survival after director-general Mark Thompson’s forthcoming strategic review of BBC programming.

Katwa, a member of the Equality Council of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), said he thought it would be a shame for the Asian Network to go, but added that he didn’t believe the BBC should be specifically broadcasting to minority groups. He told the audience that “with the Asian Network working within a silo, it’s promoting or contributing to segregation rather than integration”. He said that the solution is to embed minority targeted elements of the BBC more firmly within the corporation.

When asked about the network’s fall in ratings, Katwa said commercial competitors such as Sunrise Radio had contributed to the network’s struggle to reach it’s young target audience, but put its current problems largely down to “a lot of internal issues”.

Caroline Thomson, the BBC’s chief operating officer, told the House of Lords Communications Committee on Wednesday that the idea of one network serving the UK’s entire Asian community wasn’t the right way to represent such a large and diverse audience.

Katwa echoed her assessment in his talk, and suggested that “the BBC Asian Network needs to be embedded within the BBC as a corporation with more faces from black and Asian backgrounds.”

Sharing Katwa’s view, broadcast journalism lecturer and founder of Coventry Conversations John Mair added: “There is no role for something separate or segregated, it should just be part of the mainstream. Not ‘now Radio Four’s Asian hour’, every hour should be Asian hour”.

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February 01 2010


Rosie Taylor: ‘Impossible to get a foot in the door without several thousand pounds’

Rosie Taylor, who describes herself “an undergraduate student who wants to beat the odds and become a journalist”, comments on the Unleashing Aspirations report that finds journalism “one of the most exclusive middle-class professions of the 21st century”.

“[I]t seems to me to be an irrefutable fact that it is practically impossible to get a foot in the door without several thousand of pounds in your pocket,” she says.

Exclusive? Yes. Middle-class? Definitely. A profession of the 21st century? Maybe not for much longer.

A good one to consider alongside a piece in yesterday’s Observer Magazine by freelance (and recently made redundant) journalist Andrew Hankinson. Hankinson, who stubbornly refuses to give up the print trade he loves, looks at the ‘Lost Generation’ concept across the board, but his own experiences might strike a chord or two with 20-something (and maybe 30-something) struggling journalists. The comments underneath the piece are worth a peruse too – he provoked a mixed reaction.

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January 05 2010


Gannett Blogger turns attention to New York Times Company and News Corp

Remember the provocative Gannett Blogger? Well, the persistent thorn in the side of the US’s largest newspaper group is back. After attacking his blog’s trolls and launching Ibiza Confidential (now shelved), Jim Hopkins is re-igniting the Gannett Blog. He has also launched – both are still in early stages – the New York Co. Blog and the News Corp. Blog. Here’s an extract from a Q&A with Hopkins for the site Jilted Journalists:

Q. How is your strategy different now vs. before July?

A. I’m working harder on keeping Gannett Blog’s tone more civil. I’ll still pursue company news aggressively, but I hope in a less provocative manner. Also, I’m moderating comments more carefully. Much of this is in response to feedback from readers. Finally, I’m experimenting with two new media-related blogs, but they’re still very much in their infancy.

Full post at this link…

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Editor&Publisher in exile

Editor&Publisher, the 125 year old US journalism industry publication, suspended operations on New Years’ Eve, but some of its staff are carrying on with a blog, E&P in Exile.

In a final post on December 31, editor Greg Mitchell said there was a “fairly good chance that Editor & Publisher will resume but we cannot say when or in precisely what form”.

Several possible buyers have stepped forward but any firm agreement, we’re told, is at least two weeks away.

Full post at this link…

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December 24 2009


The Jobless Journalist: Post eight – Some lessons learned in 2009

It’s been a rocky year for journalists. I, like thousands of others, was made redundant from my staff post and it seems the cull is far from over. But, at risk of sounding too negative at this time of festive bonhomie, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the future of the industry and some anecdotes from 2009:

The future is online
After being made redundant I managed to get regular shifts on a national newspaper’s website. For a while I saw it as a stepping stone onto the paper, where I’d be rolling with the big boys.

Having worked on the website for six months, I now realise that the future really is online. Yesterday I saw a social affairs story appear in the paper that I’d written a whole two days earlier for the website. Print can no longer compete with the internet for news. The website is still looked down upon as the paper’s poorer cousin, but in five years’ time it will be king.

Write a blog
Sounds obvious coming from a blogger, but it’s a great way to practice writing for the web. If you learn about dealing with an interactive audience, SEO, linking, etc now, you’ll be streets ahead when everything goes digital.

Learn a language
An editor recently told me to learn a language. If you have a GCSE or A-level, it’s worth topping it up with a business language class. The French Institute offers reasonably priced classes and you can chose the evening you go in.

Keep in touch and be patient
It’s worth reminding your contacts every few months that you’re still there and still looking for work. Don’t be put off by radio silence from an editor - if they don’t immediately respond to an email or phone call, it’s not personal. I recently got a reply from an editor I’d emailed months ago. He’s asked me to call him in the new year regarding writing opportunities. Patience with a strong dose of persistence does pay off.

Wishing everyone out there a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

This is the eigth post in a series from an anonymous UK-based journalist recently made redundant. To follow the series, you can subscribe to this feed.

You can also read posts by our previous ‘Redundant Journalist’ blogger at this link.

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December 22 2009


Reflections of a Newsosaur: Presses stopped at 142 US papers in 2009

Alan Mutter looks at some of the reasons behind the closure of presses for 142 daily and weekly US newspapers this year and suggests the deathtoll was smaller than some commentators had predicted.

He also gives three reasons why the newspaper industry is still going:

  1. The residual monopoly power of the industry
  2. The magic of the bankruptcy system
  3. The irrepressible optimism of publishers

Full post at this link…

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December 16 2009


Teletext closure brought forward again – gone from ITV, C4 and Five

Teletext owner Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) has brought forward the closure of the news service once again, ending services on ITV, Channel 4, Five and Freeview this week.

In July DMGT announced it would be shutting the service earlier than anticipated and brought forward its end date from 2014 to January next year.

The group cited the rise of the internet and financial conditions as reasons in a release.

“As anticipated, the continued fragmentation of television audiences and the growth in the use of the internet has resulted in a significant reduction in the audience and volume of commercial activity generated by the television services,” it said.

But the editorial serviceon ITV, C4 and Five was shut yesterday, while its holidays service on the same channels and on satellite was ceased on Monday. All news and sport services on analogue, Freeview and online will eventually cease.

The group will continue to run Teletext’s commercial channels, in particular its network of travel websites which will now come under Associated Northcliffe Digital’s remit.

In September the Press Association (PA) announced it would cut 50 jobs as a result of the service’s closure. The PA handled some outsourced editorial and production work for Teletext.

According to a statement from Neil Johnson, Teletext managing director, it’s not the end of Teletext: “Teletext is not closing, it is changing to continue to deliver the types of products and services our customers want most. We see a great opportunity to provide greater value to our loyal user base and to extend our reach online and via new channels.  Teletext has great expertise in innovating quickly to meet the needs of millions of people. We are investing in online marketing and social media and anticipate continued growth going forwards.”

Related reading on Journalism.co.uk: Teletext remembered: ‘The fascination of Teletext’

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November 27 2009


Staff strike at Le Parisien and Aujourd’hui as cuts announced

Thanks to some crowdsourced translating (hat tip @malkinbister, @jwatson1 and others) French media reports suggest that Paris daily newspaper Le Parisien and its national sister title Aujourd’hui en France did not make it to the newsstands this morning as staff went on strike last night.

In one report from NouvelObs.com the group’s director Marie-Odile Amaury says 35 voluntary departures are being sought from the two papers, out of 350 staff.

Twenty-five of these are being looked for in editorial, which employs a total 200 journalists, according to NouvelObs – though the numbers of redundancies vary from report to report.

The company lost nearly €10 million last year with a reported 10 per cent drop in ad revenue in the first half of 2009.

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November 26 2009


November 25 2009


Reuters: Washington Post closes US bureaux

The Washington Post has announced the closure of three of its US bureaux, in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, to focus its resources and ‘journalistic firepower’ on reporting from Washington.

Full story at this link…

According to the BBC’s report on the closure, six correspondents from the bureaux will keep their positions, but three news aides have lost jobs.

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November 12 2009


Mediaweek: Current TV cuts 80 staff across global offices

Current TV, the cable channel backed by former US vice president Al Gore, is to cut 80 full-time positions as part of a restructuring.

Jobs will be lost in Current’s Los Angeles, San Francisco and London offices. But Current says the cuts are not down to cost-cutting, but part of a ‘reallocation of resources’ and change to its programming, including more long-form programmes and bought-in content.

Full story at this link…

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UPDATE: Guardian to cut 100 jobs; GNM running at £100,000-a-day loss

Following news that the Observer is to cut sections and drop monthly supplements, there were reports yesterday of more than 100 job cuts at owners Guardian News & Media.

The cuts will be made to offset losses as GNM is currently running at a loss of £100,000 a day, according to Brand Republic, and were announced following a strategic review of the group’s papers.

A voluntary redundancy scheme has been introduced and cuts will affect staff across commerical and editorial departments.

The Guardian’s print technology supplement, published on a Thursday, will also be cut and moved online-only, as part of the changes.

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