Monthly Archives: January 2011
Reuters blogger Felix Salmon writes Monday about journalism sites that want to charge consumers for access, in the wake of being asked to be on the advisory board for Fiwords.com, the site for The Financial Writer’s Stylebook, which is charging for access.
“The site’s content is useful, and the site itself is very well designed, so one would think that the most natural thing in the world would be to make it free. It would rapidly rise to the top of many Google searches, it would become a loved and much-used resource, it would be able to crowdsource help with tricky definitions, and it would be a sought-after advertising venue for many financial-services companies. Instead, Roush and his publisher have put up this paywall, on the grounds, he told me, that ‘we’ve put all of the content from the book, and more, onto the site, so if we gave it away for free, no one would buy the book.’
“That’s silly — and just as solipsistic as those newspaper publishers who fear cannibalizing themselves. If people want to look up financial terms online, they’re going to do so whether or not fiwords.com is free. If it is free, they’ll use it; if it isn’t, they won’t. They’re not going to buy a fiwords.com subscription on the off chance that the definitions there turn out to be substantially better than the definitions elsewhere.
“More to the point, they’ll be more likely to buy the book if they regularly get a lot of value out of its content online. The experience of publishers who have put works up for free online is very consistent: print sales go up, not down.”
Read more here. DISCLOSURE: I am one of the authors of the stylebook. I disagree with Salmon, but I think it’s only fair to post his argument.
Because of a heavy volume of last-minute entries, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers extended the deadline for Best in Business contest submissions until Monday, Feb. 7, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.
The deadline was to have been Monday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. The additional time will give SABEW members the chance to better plan and process their electronic entries for this year’s competition.
A number of changes to the competition categories and rules have slowed down the entry process for many.
Winners in the 16th annual contest will be honored at the SABEW spring conference in Dallas on April 8.
Lionel Barber, the editor of the Financial Times, delivered the annual Hugh Cudlipp Lecture on Monday at the London College of Communication and discussed the changing world of journalism and how the FT’s strategy fits in.
Barber said, “Third, we swung firmly behind the principle of charging for content. At the height of the dotcom bubble, we havered between charging for business news while offering general news for free. In practice, the distinction, at least for FT readers, was meaningless. So we came up with an ingenious compromise.
“From 2007, we started charging for content based on a meter model. Users would be given a limited number of free articles to entice them into first registering and later
signing up for subscription.
“Four years on, the meter model has proved to be an industry pioneer and an unequivocal success. FT.com now has more than 3.2m registered users and more than 200,000 paid subscribers. Other publications, including the New York Times, are now adopting or about to adopt similar meter models.
“Fourth, we abandoned or revised arrangements which allowed other news providers or aggregators to sell our content to third parties in return for a fee. In future, we determined, we would sell direct to our customers. And we would aggressively pursue any party seeking through cookies or sharing of password to gain access to our
content for free. Yes, believe it or not, some people do still think there is free lunch with the FT.”
Read more here.
Nathan Vardi, an associate editor at Forbes, where he has worked since 2000, has been subpoenaed by a New York hedge fund engaged in litigation with the owner of the Cleveland Browns seeking any communication between Vardi and the football team owner’s investment company.
Vardi writes, “FORBES intends to move to quash the subpoena pursuant to the New York state shield law, which protects the newsgathering materials of a reporter from disclosure. The subpoena commands me, a staff journalist at FORBES, to ‘direct all information known or available to you’ regarding ‘any direct or indirect communications between you’ Lerner Master Fund or the Paige hedge funds. You can read the whole subpoena below.
“Michele Paige, who heads up Paige Capital and is a visiting law lecturer at Yale Law School, according to the school’s website, is trying to compel me to produce ‘any document bearing any marks, notes (whether typed or handwritten) or other additional information.’
“The subpoenaing of a journalist’s documents is not the only unorthodox move made by Paige Capital in the last year. ‘[W]e are fully prepared to litigate this matter to the bitter end because we will continue to manage your money, and collect management and incentive fees, until this matter is resolved many years hence,’ Christopher Paige, Michele Paige’s husband and Paige Capital’s general counsel, defiantly wrote in a March 2010 letter to Lerner.”
Read more here.
The Boston Herald has cut pages from its business news coverage, reports Curt Nickisch of WBUR in Boston.
Nickisch writes, “The Boston Herald is cutting pages from its business section to save money. The daily tabloid is renaming the section ‘Biz Smart.’ Among the other sections losing space is ‘Lifestyle.’”
A story on the paper’s site states, “BizSm@rt launches today on Page 16 — a totally redesigned, reimagined business section focused on news and information you need to get ahead and stay ahead in today’s innovation-driven economy.
“BizSm@rt covers the biggest business stories. The District, a new beat, focuses on who’s who in Boston’s Financial District. A new column, Next Big Thing, offers an in-depth look at the Hub’s emerging and expanding companies. And a new Digital beat focuses on the latest technology and how it can help you get ahead at work and in life.”
Read more here.
The deadline to submit entries for the 2011 Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism has been extended one week to Monday, Feb. 7, at 11:59 p.m. PST.
This year, the Loeb Awards have replaced Feature Writing with a new Explanatory category and have added a category for Online Enterprise. Submissions and nominations for the competition categories and career achievement awards are accepted online only at www.loeb.anderson.ucla.edu.
The Loeb Awards are the most prestigious honor in business journalism, recognizing writers, editors and producers who make significant contributions to the understanding of business, finance and the economy for both the private investor and the general public.
Consideration is limited to entries that were published or broadcast in the United States during calendar year 2010.
Read more here.
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report, the conclusion of a federal inquiry by a 10-member commission, was published on Thursday and has been selling thousands of copies, according to a New York Times story by Julie Bosman and Sewell Chan.
Bosman and Chan write, “PublicAffairs — which, as a publisher of the book version of the Starr Report in 1998, has experience with this kind of thing — initially printed a modest 25,000 copies in paperback. A tome laden with charts, diagrams and condensed testimony, it has competition from a free online version, available on the commission’s Web site, fcic.gov/report. The e-book is available for $8.45 on Amazon; the price of the paperback is $14.99.
“Phil Angelides, the commission’s chairman, was so determined to build excitement that he hired the communications firm of Anita Dunn, President Obama’s former communications director, to orchestrate the arrival, irking some Republicans.
“Producing the book required discretion and speed. The May 2009 law that created the commission directed it to complete work by Dec. 15, 2010. But in November, the Democratic majority in the 10-member commission voted to delay the report until January, partly to give PublicAffairs time to rush the book into print.”
Read more here.
Jeff Poor of The Daily Caller writes about how CNBC anchor Erin Burnett and her crew were able to report live from Egypt on Sunday evening.
Poor writes, “On Sunday night’s special coverage of the Egyptian crisis, Burnett explained to viewers how she and her crew made their way from New York City to Cairo via Dubai. The most difficult part of the trip, she said, was the journey from the Cairo airport to the city’s NBC bureau.
“‘Once we did that, we were then met with another hurdle which was the curfew,’ Burnett explained. ‘To actually get somebody that was willing to drive and go around that is a challenging thing. We soon saw why – our journey should have taken 30 to 45 minutes from the airport to where I’m standing right now at our NBC bureau in Cairo. It took more than three hours to get here and we saw some pretty amazing things.’
“She described the scene on the streets of Cairo between the airport and the bureau as a chaotic, with many taking protective measures into their own hands.”
Ryan Ruggiero, an assignment desk manager at CNBC and contributing writer for CNBC.com, posted this photo of the business news network’s staff preparing for its special live show on Sunday assessing the impact of the upheaval in Egypt on the markets.
The show is called “Crisis in Egypt: Markets, Money & The Middle East.”
Kellaway writes, “The problem with Fortune’s rankings – and with all similar ones – is not that the exercise is a daft one. Actually, it is quite worthwhile. It is helpful both to prospective employees and to managers. The problem is that it makes an extremely simple thing seem fantastically complicated.
“We all know what distinguishes a good employer from a bad one. A good one provides four basic things. First, it makes sure that everyone has a proper job to do. Second, it pays them fairly. Third, it makes employees feel that their efforts are recognised. And fourth, it gives them nice people to work with. That’s all: there is nothing else.
“Fortunately, there is an easy way to measure whether a company is succeeding at these things. It doesn’t involve answering tiresome questions on long feedback forms. It does not require any examination of benefits or of corporate social responsibility policies. There is nothing subjective about the test at all.
“It simply measures how long people stay with a company. This is the only consideration that matters. Anyone who is not happy with their job will eventually go somewhere else. If most people stay put for a long time, the company automatically proves itself to be a good place to work.”
Read more here.