The Media in the Press 21.1.10

There's a lot in today's newspapers about the internet….

Second-year journalism student, Aleksandra Jurczak, at Edinburgh Napier University, takes a look at the media stories making it into today’s newspapers….

On its international pages The Guardian (page 17) reports plans by The New York Times to charge readers for its online content, starting next year. The move is said to follow losses from advertising and street corner sales. Ed Atorino, a publishing analyst at Benchmark, a Wall Street stocking firm, is reported saying: “The advertising situation is pretty glum, circulation is glum and they’re looking at a long-term drop in readership numbers. I think it’s inevitable that newspapers are going to have to look for alternative sources its revenue.”

Rupert Murdoch's The Times, the Sun and the News of the World are expected to follow suit, with The Guardian not.

Meanwhile, The Herald (page 6) reports on a Glasgow Caledonian University professor, David Hutchison, yesterday addressing a Scottish Parliament committee looking at the future of local newspapers and warning that removing public notices from newspapers could lead some titles to disappear, “damaging the communities concerned”. He was responding to a Scottish Government proposal that local authorities transfer their public notices from newspapers to the internet, in order to save money. Also speaking to the committee was James Thickett, director of market research at broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, who is reported saying that fewer Scots have access to the internet than the rest of the UK and that a significant proportion of the audience could be lost by transferring all of local authority advertising online.

The Guardian (page 16) reports on the Prime Minister’s launch of a new website,, comprising government information open to the public. The move follows the launch of a website in the US in May last year, allowing the public access to ultra-local information about the likes of crime, health and education. The project is expected to create new opportunities for businesses, according to the minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms, who is quoted saying: “By allowing industry to use data creatively they can develop new services and generate economic value from it.”

In other news:

* The Highlands could be left outside a broadband provision which was announced yesterday by Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The PM is reported to have said that extended broadband coverage would shortly increase to benefit from 90 to 95 per cent of Britain. However, Danny Alexander, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey is quoted, saying: “A significant number of people in the Highlands will be charged to fund a broadband upgrade which will never reach them, even though the service they receive is already lagging far behind.” – The Scotsman (page 11).

* After blocking last July virtually all online access, text messages and international phone calls in the Xinjang region in China – following ethnic riots – the Chinese government apparently intends to ‘gradually’ restore the service. But there is scepticism, since a similar promise last year came to nothing. Dozens of people are reported to travel 13 hours every weekend from the Xinjang to neighbouring Liuyuan in order to gain internet access. Rafal Rohozinski, prinicipal investigator of the Open Net Initiative1, is quoted saying: “The fact that the Chinese authorities had to resort to shutting down and cutting off the entire infrastructure is indicative of the difficulty they are having in controlling the cyberspace.” – The Scotsman (page 26).

* There's a new iPhone application, said to translate a baby’s cries into yells of, specifically, hunger, annoyance, tiredness, stress and boredom. The makers of the Cry Translator claim the app is 96 per cent accurate – Scottish Sun (page 33).