Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Newspapers most trusted news source: poll

Newspapers are the most trusted source of news for most American adults, according to polling firm Lincoln Park Strategies of Washington, D.C., which interviewed more than 1,000 people.

The poll was commissioned by Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, who's become very involved with fact-checking, working with PolitiFact and calling for a conference.

Twenty-two percent overall called newspapers “very credible” for reporting on politics and elections, and 33 percent of respondents 18-35 years old preferred newspaper coverage to other media, such as network news (27 percent), cable news (23 percent), and Internet news sites (18 percent).

Overall, the ranking of more trusted news sources were Newspapers (22 percent), network news (21 percent), cable news (20.5 percent), talk radio (12.5 percent), Internet news sites (12.5 percent), and social media (5.5 percent).

Andrew Beaujon from Poynter commented, "Some newspaper managers may involuntarily cough up a little blood at an admonition to invest in fact-checking from a guy whose service has contributed to plunging bottom lines industry-wide."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Who pays for news? Slovakia

As news organizations worldwide wonder if they can charge for content that readers are accustomed to getting free of charge, two Eastern European countries have pioneered a new model: erecting national pay walls and charging a monthly fee for access to most of their newspapers.

"Our next priority would be to prove it's not only for small countries or Eastern Europe. We need to do two to three medium-sized countries," said Tomas Bella, chief executive of Piano Media, which launched the first national pay wall in Slovakia last May.

Slovak users pay just under $4 a month to access nine news websites, including mainstream newspapers SME, Hospodárske Noviny, and Pravda, plus business, sports, and technology publications. In wealthier Slovenia, users pay $6.50 for a similar mix. The model does not require all newspapers to participate in order to succeed, Bella told Christian Science Monitor reporter Jason Walsh.

To successfully use the model, newspapers need to get back to providing hard news that is relevant to people's lives, according to Andrew Calcutt, journalism professor at the University of East London.

"The Piano Media model could possibly work elsewhere if people got used to the idea that news was something special," Calcutt said. "But the papers have spent too much time disguising what they are and what they do well.... People have become so habituated to mush that they may not know what to do with hard news."

Trib erecting pay wall

The Chicago Tribune will begin charging online readers for access to content and is considering a "creative way" to do that, said Gerould Kern, the paper's editor.

"I think we will begin to charge in a selective way," Kern told a group gathered to hear him speak at the Niagara Foundation in Chicago this month. "That's coming.

"The consumer has to pay more of the cost of news," he said, pointing to European papers as examples of companies that charge more and deliver a high-quality product.

Sun-Times monetizes new app

In one of the few remaining U.S. cities with two daily newspapers, the Chicago Sun-Times can’t afford not to assert itself in the mobile space, says NetNewsCheck's Michael Depp. The Sun-Times is making its app play with Inergize Digital’s News Synergy product, which has separate interfaces for smartphones and the iPad.

The content-heavy app is updated throughout the day according to Fred Lebolt, senior VP of digital at the Sun-Times.

“It’s designed to be engaging, informative, indigenous to the device and something that fills the niche of people who want to know the top stories in the Chicago region,” he says.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Western Courier staff earns ICPA Honors

Congratulations to the Western Courier staff for their recent Illinois College Press Association awards. The following staff members earned honors:

• Alyse Thompson, First Place, Best Feature Story (daily)

• Mick Vaught, Second Place, Best Sports Column (daily)

• Garrick Hodge, Third Place, Best Sports Feature (daily)

• Bill Welt, Third Place, Headline Writing (daily)

• Patrick Haynes, Honorable Mention, Best Critical Review (other than film) (daily)