Sunday, April 19, 2009

Social Journalism: Past, Present, and Future

Via Mashable:

Social media has changed journalism. The Web is now the sole distribution channel for newspapers that can no longer afford to publish hardcopy, and those that don’t follow the best practices of social media may see their brands marginalized in cyberspace as well. Social journalism, an extension of those practices, is now an essential component of any news organization’s strategy.

Citizen journalists post photos of fast-breaking events, and cover stories from a different angle than legacy news organizations, but it’s the premeditated watchdog or advocacy role that defines a social journalist. Another factor is the network effect: people using social media to communicate and collaboratively produce content. Editors are still important, but the pieces are shaped by crowd dynamics and the velocity of information.

Here’s a look at the past, present, and future of social journalism.

Read the full article.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sid Adilman Mentorship Programme


The Toronto International Film Festival Group, a charitable, not-for-profit arts organization, is accepting applications for the Sid Adilman Mentorship Programme.

The Sid Adilman Mentorship Programme was established in memory of Toronto Star’s veteran entertainment journalist Sid Adilman. The programme will develop the journalistic skills of one emerging reporter who demonstrates a strong interest in film and the arts. The Sid Adilman Mentorship Programme is made possible through philanthropic donations to the Sid Adilman Mentorship Programme endowment fund.

The recipient will be given the opportunity to cover the 34th Toronto International Film Festival (September 10 – 19, 2008), one of the most prestigious international film festivals in the world, with support from the Festival’s Press Office. The recipient will receive full access to Press and Industry screenings, press conferences and red carpets; blog on the Festival website; network with accredited local, national and international journalists; and attend Festival events as assigned.

Get the full details here (eligibility, deadlines, etc).

I heard about this programme from Antonia Zerbisias. And here is his obituary in Variety (he was the Canadian editor):

Sid Adilman, one of Canada’s most influential arts and entertainment journalists, died of heart failure Oct. 14 in Toronto. He was 68.

Adilman was an enthusiastic champion of Canadian movies, books, music and television. He spent most of his professional life as writer, critic, columnist and, from 1986 to 1991, entertainment editor for the Toronto Star. He also served as a correspondent and Canadian editor for Variety from 1965 to the late 1980s.

Adilman “was in that incredible tradition of giants in newspapering and entertainment,” said John Honderich, former publisher and editor of the Star. “He had the tenacity of a cub reporter. He never lost his drive to get at it, find out what happened and get it out. His knowledge of Canadian entertainment was encyclopedic.”

Born in Saskatoon and raised in London, Ontario, Adilman graduated from the U. of Western Ontario. Shortly after graduation, he landed a job at the Toronto Star covering general news. Three years later, he moved on to the now- defunct Toronto Telegram. When the paper folded in 1971, he returned to the Star to begin his long-running “Eye on Entertainment” column.

“His network of sources was legendary,” said Toronto Star colleague Isabel Teotonio, adding that Adilman’s Rolodex “not only contained the numbers of his sources, but also their mistresses.”

Even after his retirement in 2002, Adilman continued to write for the Star, frequently reviewing films and interviewing filmmakers during the Toronto Film Festival. He counted many international film journalists among his close friends, and often invited fellow scribes to stay as guests in his spacious home during the festival.

His contributions to Canadian culture were honored in 2002 at a gala dinner at the Canadian Film Center, an event sponsored by the film center and the Toronto Film Festival. Among the guests were many entertainment figures whose profile Adilman helped boost, including filmmaker Atom Egoyan, actress Arsinee Khanjian, folksingers Bram Morrison and Sharon Hampson and broadcasting exec Peter Herrndorf.

Adilman is survived by his wife of 41 years, Toshiko, and sons Mio and Nobu, both actors and filmmakers.

photo credit: Joe Clark

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Freelancers win right to file suit against Gazette, Canwest


The Electronic Rights Defence Committee (ERDC) has announced that a group of freelance writers won authorization from the Quebec Superior Court to pursue a class action law suit against the Montreal Gazette, Canwest and other related companies for republishing freelance articles in the Infomart database without compensation to the writers.

The ERDC press release stated:

At issue is electronic use without permission or compensation for work by freelance writers in The Montreal Gazette. The defendants are the Montreal Gazette Group, CanWest Global Communications, Hollinger Canadian Publishing Holdings, CanWest Interactive, Southam and Southam Business Communications, Infomart Dialog and Cedrom-SNI.

In February 2008, the Honourable Eva Petras, J.S.C., heard three days of arguments from Mireille Goulet - the ERDC lawyer, and a team of lawyers representing the defendants. The Justice’s decision was rendered March 31, 2009. It authorizes the ERDC to institute class action proceedings with writer and translator David Homel as its official designated member. The class action group includes all freelance writers whose articles, originally published in The Gazette, have been allegedly illegally reproduced on the Infomart data base since 1984.

The next steps will lead toward a trial on the merits of the case, a process which may take several years to reach a conclusion.

The ERDC case is one of several in North America seeking compensation for unauthorized electronic use of freelance writers’ work. In October 2007, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled five to four in the Heather Robertson vs. Thomson case that freelancers do indeed hold copyright on their work reproduced in electronic data bases. The US$ 18-million class action settlement in the United States which followed from the Tasini vs. New York Times case is currently before the US Supreme Court, which has agreed to decide whether a lower court has jurisdiction to approve settlement agreements. The Association des journalistes indépendants du Québec (AJIQ) is also currently in the process of undertaking a class action against several Quebec media providers.

Link to judgment (in English) (Search for Superior Court decisions in March 2009, cour superieure, keyword: ERDC)

Journalism Online: Time to Start Paying for Online News

Via ars technica:

Is the end of ad-supported “free” online news upon us? A new venture called [url-]Journalism Online[/url] believes that online news needs to start charging subscription fees, and it wants to be the one-stop subscription site that makes it all possible. Backed by some heavy hitters, the company could reshape the online news ecosystem.

The Internet is quickly destroying the need for newspapers to run printing presses, distribute papers around the city, and employ newspaper carriers, but the cost savings have come with revenue losses, too: most newspapers offer their online content without subscription fees, supported only by ads. A group of media executives has just announced Journalism Online, a new way for newspapers to start charging for online subscription fees. Will it save journalism?

“We have formed Journalism Online, because we think this is a special moment in time when there is an urgent need for a business model that allows quality journalism to be the beneficiary of the Internet’s efficient delivery mechanism rather than its victim,” said cofounder Steven Brill. “We believe we have developed a strategy and a set of services that will establish that model by restoring a stream of circulation revenue to supplement advertising revenue, while taking advantage of the savings to be gained from producing and delivering content electronically.”

Read the full article. Note: some of the comments are really quite amusing. From the Journalism Online site:

Media Leaders Form Journalism Online, LLC

Company Will Be Global Platform for Easy Payment Option Enabling New Revenue Models For News In Time of Crisis

April 14, 2009 – Citing “the urgent need” for a comprehensive, immediate plan to address the downward spiral in the business of publishing original, quality journalism, experienced journalism and media industry executives Steven Brill, Gordon Crovitz, and Leo Hindery today announced the formation of Journalism Online, a company that will quickly facilitate the ability of newspaper, magazine and online publishers to realize revenue from the digital distribution of the original journalism they produce.

“We have formed Journalism Online because we think this is a special moment in time when there is an urgent need for a business model that allows quality journalism to be the beneficiary of the Internet’s efficient delivery mechanism rather than its victim,” said co-founder Steven Brill. “We believe we have developed a strategy and a set of services that will establish that model by restoring a stream of circulation revenue to supplement advertising revenue, while taking advantage of the savings to be gained from producing and delivering content electronically.”

Click here to read the full press release and bios of the founders.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Databases and polls: When numbers are the news

Many news organizations have for years culled news stories from analog databases such as police records or census information and most online news media have set up quick polls that are attached to their news stories. Because of the internet and the multimedia tools available to us, we can do more with the facts and figures we might otherwise overlook. The following sites and news sections have taken ordinary numbers and have turned them into extraordinary resources.

Read the full article.


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