Fee for content coming back to newspapers

A survey of American and Canadian newspaper publishers indicates that most of them are thinking of revisiting charging subscribers/users for their internet version. This was abandoned on both sides of the border a few years ago, particularly by subscribers wondering why they had to pay an extra fee to get less than the material they received in their print copy. Now the thinking is that fees will be charged for online versions, which will contain more than the print versions (presumably a lot of blogs by key columnists, now being offered free online.) This will be rolled out slowly between now and the end of the year, as publishers hope someone else starts first so they can learn from their mistakes.

Washington Examiner, Sept. 21 2009

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Public perception of US media at all-time low

The Pew Centre has been monitoring US attitudes to MSM for a couple of decades, and finds that public trust of media is at a 20 year low, fuelled by Democratic/Republic feuding. Thus Fox gets high ratings from Republicans/conservatives, low from Democrats/liberals, and vice versa for the New York Times. One of George Bush’s unhappy legacies is that his red meat, Democrats are liars approach to public debate has poisoned the well of public opinion, as coverage of the US “debate” over health care demonstrates.

Pew  Institute, September 13 2009

CP discovers media monitoring

Story today from CP about the news summaries from embedded reporters¬† the Army prepares and circulates to key officials. Army public affairs does a good job of explaining this is normal, and doesn’t, unlike the US, result in rewards or punishments for stories deemed positive or negative.

CP, September 14 2009

CHEK lives!

Yes, chalk one up for the good guys. Canwest threatened to close four smaller TV stations, but at the end of the day found buyers for three of them (Red Deer didn’t make it, but it was always a tough slog jammed between Edmonton and Calgary stations. CHEK Victoria was bought out by its employees and the Aspers came to terms on Friday, with formal CRTC approval to come quickly. Meanwhile, the real big test ahead: will Victoria residents tune into a local station with a local focus, or tune into those giants across the bay hyping the latest Hollywood gunk? Do your bit Victoria, or you could lose it after all.

Vancouver Sun, September 5 2009

CHEK still clinging to life; latest deadline midnight tonight

To their credit, the Aspers and Canwest are still keeping CHEK TV Victoria on the air while they try to put together a deal with the staff and unions they can take to the CRTC to keep CHEK going. Stay tuned; it might be a very long weekend for some people in Victoria.

Canada.com, September 4 2009

La Presse threatens to close Dec. 1

La Presse, North America’s largest French language broadsheet, has advised its unions and management they have three months to come up with $26 million in savings, half from unions, or it will close Dec. 1. Obviously, a ploy to get concessions from the union, but given Quebec’s tough unions, it promises to be quite a fight. Meanwhile, you have to wonder if the Quebec or federal government is going to get involved to preserve the biggest French daily. On the other hand, Quebec City has never been partial to its Montreal rival. Stay tuned.

CTV/CP, September 3 2009

Canwest sending jobs to India

The Regina Leader Post admitted axing nine positions in ad production and outsourcing them to India and the Phillipines in response to “the economic crisis”. Wonder if reporters’ jobs are the next to go. Given that the LP has a monopoly position in Regina and should be bulletproof, I wonder if the chain is suffering that badly, or whether it’s just another move to cut costs at the nearly bankrupt publisher (it keeps pushing its deadline back to come up with a payment plan for its creditors.)

CJME, September 3 2009