When Cameron Wins Will The Last Person To Buy A Paper In Britain Please Buy This One

Courtesy of Hack.


You can see more of Matt Buck’s Hack cartoons here.

The Sun Shines On DC. So Wot?
Why Moleskine Is The Model For Newspaper Survival
The Sun, Katie Price And Political Delusions
The Future Of Newspapers, It’s In The Bag

The Sun Shines On DC. So Wot?

the-sun-30-sep-2009Does The Sun make winners or merely back them? Does it shape public mood or simply reflect it?

David Cameron will care little so long as his Conservative Party win the next general election.

But the debate continues about the political clout of the UK’s leading national newspaper after today it ditched Labour following 12 years of support.

I argued earlier this month that the influence of The Sun is more myth than reality, but it’s a difficult, almost impossible thing to quantify.

What we do know is where the parties currently sit in the opinion polls. And despite a conference bounce, Labour still trails Cameron’s Tories by 11 points.

So while the Sun’s endorsement may add a little credibility – lustre, even – to DC and co, it can’t be described as a game-changing event.

Unless, perhaps, Labour wins a fourth term.

The Sun, Katie Price And Political Delusions

Why Moleskine Is The Model For Newspaper Survival

moleskine-notebook“Get big, get niche or get out” is a hoary old business mantra. For a news media in an increasingly fragmented landscape the middle option seems the obvious one.

Niche publications will be able to survive offline and charge on it. Or so conventional wisdom has it.

When we talk of niche we tend to talk in terms of subjects (business, pharmaceuticals, model railways etc) and not objects.

But what if the desired niche was physical? What if there’s an audience out there who crave the aesthetic of the printed newspaper as much as Moleskine owners crave their little black and bound notebooks?

The Moleskine is a useful analogy for two reasons. Firstly, it is very tribal – the owner, likely urban, liberal and creative*, is saying something about themselves. If you feel alienated as a non-owner, a non-member, well you’re supposed to.

Second, the Moleskine should have been made redundant by the PDA and the smartphone – its portability and functionality both superceded by a digital alternative.

It didn’t because people crave the physicality. There are now 10 million Moleskine notebooks in production each year.

Newspapers, too, are both tribal and threatened by a digital alternative. Could a few carve out a niche as highly desirable, daily objects of desire?

(*No surprise then that many in the tribe were horrified when Fox News anchor Glenn Beck, poster-boy of the American right, was spotted with one.)

The Future Of Newspapers, It’s In The Bag

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‘I Have No More Proof Than Anyone Else,’ Says PM-On-Pills Blogger

Ever since Andrew Marr put the medication question to Gordon Brown yesterday, the media has turned the spotlight on the political blogosphere.

Was Marr guilty of indulging in some web-based tittle-tattle, on the BBC no less? Had he fallen for another right-wing conspiracy in cyberspace? Or was the question of the PM’s state of mind a legitimate area for discussion?

Opinions are naturally divided – Charlie Beckett at Polis and Benedict Brogan writing on his Telegraph blog provide some of the more insightful analysis.

Meanwhile, the hunt was on for the blogger that had originally put the idea of the PM-on-pills into the public domain.

Some mistakenly thought it all started with Guido Fawkes, but the UK’s most renowned political blogger soon put them right.

The author of the original was in fact John Ward who blogs at Not Born Yesterday.

Earlier today, Ward told Channel 4 News:

The fact of the matter is I still have no more proof, and I stress proof, than anyone else that Gordon Brown is actually taking anti-depressants.

All I can say is that I was given a verbal list of foods he allegedly cannot have by a very senior civil servant at a social gathering. And as an occasional depressive myself in the past I recognised the contraindications immediately from many years ago to be those of an anti-depressant of the MAOI type that I have taken.

So no proof and a Downing Street denial, but an educated guess backed up by a verbal tip off from a “very senior civil servant”. It’s probably enough to legitimise it as a story out in the blogosphere.

But at the post-Gilligan BBC? I’m not so sure.

 – Sorry Guido, the BBC did for Duncan

‘Tory sleaze MP dies of cancer’: Daily Mail Finds New Ways To Offend

I wrote last week about how the Sunday Times’s AA Gill had broken the unwritten obit code when dealing with the recently departed Keith Floyd.

Well, judging by this headline from the Daily Mail, it would appear that it is open season on the dead:

piers-merchant-daily-mail(Hat tip: @badjournalism)

Is This The Ultimate Daily Mail Headline?
Gill Breaks Obit Code, Flambés Floyd

The Week’s Most Read Posts (21 – 27 Sep 2009)

  1. It’s such a perfect example of its form that it is causing waves on the other side of the Atlantic. [jonbernstein.wordpress.com]
  2. Perhaps this is the future of print: the tangible value of print for the marginal cost of internet publishing.
  3. 74 per cent said they would find another free site. [jonbernstein.wordpress.com]
  4. paidContent has provided a useful graph which seems to indicate that the big traffic growth of the last few years may be tailing off. [jonbernstein.wordpress.com]
  5. Like our constitution, the media code for dealing with the recently departed is unwritten but it can be simply put – if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. [jonbernstein.wordpress.com]
  6. Online newspapers, ABCe and the summertime dip. [jonbernstein.wordpress.com]
  7. Five innovations that would not have been possible without the internet. [jonbernstein.wordpress.com]

Polanski, AP and An Epic Fail

ap-polanski“Ok, can you do some more probing? New York will want to know,” is an odd way to start a story about Roman Polanski’s arrest in Switzerland. The inverted pyramid it is not.

Turns out that the Associated Press – syndicater to the stars – inadvertently pushed out an internal memo rather than the news story.

You can read it here – in all its glory.

It features such gems as:

they particularly want to know why now. (has he never set foot in switzerland before?) sheila, theorizes that’s because they’re under intense pressure over ubs and want to throw the U.S. a bone, but can yo ucheck with justice department sources there?

I think Sheila might be on to something.

It’s a “there for the grace of god go I” moment for most journalists. And in some cases a “there went I” moment.

Back in the mid-1990s I worked on a weekly tech paper where we had place holders for various pieces of page furniture.

The place holder for the top-of-the-page strap read “Strappy Something”. The pulled quote holder read: “Pull quote to go here to liven up an otherwise deadly dull page”.

Sure enough, both went out unchanged one particularly fraught press night.

One Of The Best Photo Captions Ever
Google Ads. FAIL