Pakistan editor wins Golden Pen

December 1, 2009

THE latest from the World Newspaper Association Congress in India:

HYDERBAD: A TRUE hero of the newspaper industry has just been honoured with the Golden Pen for championing of press freedoms.

Najeem Sethi, jailed three times in three decade and now guarded by eight commandos because of death threats from the Taliban, received the Golden Pen this morning.

Until recently, Mr Sethi was the editor-in-chief of the Friday Times and Daily Times in Pakistan.

He’s had to stop that role to protect himself and his family.

He said this morning that he regularly gets letters with the severed heads of so-called Western agents, threatening that this would happen to him if he did not stop his campaign for a secular, liberal society in Pakistan.

He is one of four editors on a Taliban death list. The other three have fled the country. Mr Sethi won’t be bowed.

He said he hoped the award would encourage peace in south Asia, and that the media of India and Pakistan would stop their nationalistic stances and encourage governments of both countries to work together.

Hello from world newspaper congress

December 1, 2009

THIS week, Mark Hollands will be filing stories from the World Association of Newspapers Congress, being held in Hyderabad. Right now, he is sitting in the main hall, awaiting the arrival of the Indian President.

There are a lot of interesting speakers through the week; and coverage will come from Mark as well as Larry Kilman, of WAN-Ifra.

If all goes to plan, the regular weekly ezine will focus on the congress, too.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them to the site or email Mark directly at

Whoa, the lights are going down… the show’s about to start!


Fairfax launches e-mail newsletters

November 27, 2009
FAIRFAX Business Media will launch four new e-mail newsletters next Monday in Asia as part of its MIS

magazine brand that specialises in information for technology leaders in the corporate world.

The new products will be targeted at market verticals and specific geographies.

They are:

  • MIS Asia Financial Services
  • MIS Asia Logistics & Retail
  • MIS tech Security
  • MIS tech Thailand

Fairfax currently publishes magazines called MIS Asia and CIO Asia, plus separate ComputerWorld titles for Singapore and Malaysia.

The flagship publication of Fairfax Business Media is the Australian Financial Review.

Now bloggers want a newspaper

November 27, 2009

BLOGGERS have launched their own newspaper, using only blog entries as its copy.

The publication has no editor and story selection is done by a vote of participants who gather online to
discuss content.

Theblogpaper is a free-sheet that hit London’s streets last Friday. It is only a small concern right now. It was distributed at four underground stations in central London.

It is the brainchild of a community of blogging enthusiasts who contribute to theblogpaper website.

Founding publishers Anton Waldburg and Karl Jo Seilern say they are not paid for their work and they intend for the newspaper to be funded by advertising. “We aim to combine two different yet equally important types of media,” they say on their site.

“The concept is that many people are in control . . . instead of a few people controlling the majority of what is being published and therefore read.”
The move comes after a group in America started a news site that edits Twitter missives into news stories.

Free newspapers have been a hot issue in London in the last three months. Two have shut – thelondonpaper and London Lite – and the Evening Standard has dropped its copy price to go free.

DS Chemport boss retires

November 27, 2009

DS Chemport chief executive Graham McKenzie has retired after almost 10 years, handing the reigns to Peter Drozdowicz, the former chief financial officer.

Peter Drozdowicz is one of the three original founding members of the company, which began in 1987.

The other two were Peter Bitto and Michael Hanlon.

Under Mr McKenzie, DS Chemport has achieved growth in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia through its Malaysian operation.

He said the company was well positioned for the “challenges ahead, possessing an excellent team of people, first class facilities and the technical and financial support of our Japanese mother company”.

“A closer and more intensive partnership with Fujifilm will be necessary and I am confident Peter Drozdowicz will guide DS Chemport on this path of co-operation,” he said.

Mr McKenzie has spent almost a lifetime within the printing industry,working in Canada and Asia Pacific. He is currently on the Board of Detmold Flexible Packaging as well as undertaking various projects for Fujifilm Australia. DS Chemport is the formulator and manufacturer of chemicals, printing blankets and post-press products.

Australian Associated Press CEO to step down in New Year

November 13, 2009

Clive Marshall, CEO of Australian Associated Press, has been appointed CEO of the Press Association Group in London.

Mr Marshall said he’d been privileged to head AAP for nine years, saying:

““It is testimony to the skill, commitment and dedication of our employees that Australian Associated Press is now recognised by its peers as one of the world’s leading newsn agencies.”

He joined AAP in 2001, having previously spent 8 years at the Press Association group. He will leave AAP at the end of January 2010

Michael Gill, Chairman of AAP, said Mr Marshall had transformed the business during his time there.

“Clive fostered the essential news focus of our agency and managed the business smoothly into some well-suited diversification,” Mr Gill said.

In particular, Mr Marshall said he was proud of the success of Pagemasters, AAP’s page production business.

“In the past seven years Pagemasters has grown from a company employing 30 people providing TV listings to Australian newspapers, to one which today employs over 140 people and produces 4500 editorial and data pages each week for newspapers in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom,” he said.

“Pagemasters is receiving enquiries for its services from newspaper publishers around the world.”

US results stun rest of world

October 29, 2009

AMERICAN newspaper circulations have registered a shocking result.

Sales fell 10 per cent from April to September, compared with the corresponding period last year.

The previous six-month survey showed a drop of 7.4 percent.

Falls have come largely from the closure of newspapers, a dramatic drop in free copies to hotels and airlines distributed by USA Today, and a general malaise amid the US recession.

Now, 44 million newspapers are sold in the US each day – the lowest figure since the 40s. In the past four years, sales have edged down between 2 and 4 per cent.

An ad revenue collapse, with falls year-on-year of up to 30 percent, has been a large contributor, forcing titles to close or reduce in size.

The biggest tumble among the major titles came at the San Francisco Chronicle –a victim of substantial cutbacks in all areas and under constant threat of closure from its owner, Hearst. It shed 25.8 percent of its daily sale.

Metro moves into $A110m offices

October 29, 2009

A NEW era is about to begin for staff of Melbourne’s iconic broadsheet, The Age.
Their new $110 million building was opened yesterday by Victorian Premier John Brumby, and staff will begin moving in at the end of next month.

The offices are magnificant – a far cry from the current building, which had to be among the most outdated newspaper offices anywhere in the region.

Media House, which took two years to build, has been leased back to Fairfax for 25 years by builder Grocon.

It will accommodate all Fairfax’s assets in the city – its newspapers, including Fairfax Community Network publications and the Melbourne bureau of the Australian Financial Review – plus magazines, Fairfax Digital and radio stations 3AW 693 and Magic1278.

The journalists should all be in the new building by December 14, while the commercial areas move at the end of November.

Chairman Ron Walker, who hands over his post to Roger Corbett in two days, said he was proud to have been involved in the project “brick by brick”.

It is an architectural landmark for more reasons than dominating the
Collins St entrance to Melbourne’s thriving Docklands commercial and entertainment precinct.

The building stands on four steel pillars, each weighing 75 tonnes.
They were put in place between live electric cables used for the city’s train system.

The building itself was constructed over the top of the rail lines and did not once disrupt services.

Mr Walker said this element of the construction made Media House a unique achievement.

During the project, not 30 minutes was lost to a workplace injury or industrial action, he said.

Media House has seven stories – with the radio stations taking the top floor.
Designers have allowed for 1239 workstations. It has only 109 bike racks but maybe that is because the building is next door to a the Spencer St train
station – a major transportation hub.

In terms of green credentials, Media House has a 5-star rating.

Fairfax will reduce its carbon emissions from its offices by 36 percent, cutting the electricity bill by a third.

SPH dominates magazine results

October 29, 2009

SPH Magazines has retained its lead position in Singapore, according to the Nielsen Media Index.

Her World stayed on top in the women’s magazine category with a readership of 196,000. The readership for Men’s Health has jumped from 70,000 in 2008 to 105,000 following a redesign. Young Parents topped the parenting magazine category.

SPH Magazines is a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings, publisher of the Straits Times.

Murdoch makes first ‘premium content’ move

October 22, 2009

THE Wall St Journal is to launch a premium edition for its readers – the first tangible signal for News Corporation’s new online strategy to charge for content.

The newspaper is promising news feeds, data and analysis straight to the desktop and mobile devices as part of its “Professional Edition”.

The content will come from a mix of the Wall Street Journal, sister organisation Dow Jones Newswires and another allied business, Factiva – the global content database with more than 22,000 news sources.

It might be worth speculating that with the not-inconsiderable IT challenges overcome, other News Corp newspapers, such as The Australian and The Times, of London, could provide very similar services in their markets.

In Sydney for example, Dow Jones Newswires employees around 20 journalists who file copy to subscribers in the finance sector. They also have excellent coverage in the major Asian cities. Newswires has journalists in 84 bureaus around the world.

The power of Factiva should not be under-estimated. For those who have not used it before, don’t think Google. Google’s search is rubbish compared with Factiva’s utilities.

“This really is a new model for the delivery of high-quality business news for a sophisticated audience,”said Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones & Company and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.

“We are not imprisoned by a terminal and are thus able to produce a more contemporary Web-based news feed tailored to a sector, a company or an asset class. Readers will be able to create a virtual newswire and alert system that suits their specific business needs.

“It gives users a digital news library along with the world’s premier newspaper and newswire. No other business news organization in the world has the same range of products or depth of reader-ready knowledge.”