News Limited chief optimistic of print media future

THE printed newspaper will be here for a good while yet, predicts News Limited’s optimistic chief executive officer Kim Williams.

Speaking to members of the Melbourne Press Club at the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex on Wednesday, Mr Williams outlined several major points of the new business model for the media and journalism.

News Limited CEO Kim Williams, centre, with The Fiji Times business editor Geraldine Panapasa, left, and The Post Courier business journalist Ancilla Wrakuale. Picture: GERALDINE PANAPASA

“My first point is a prediction which shouldn’t really surprise us but it still sometimes does – the printed newspaper will be here for a good while yet. It may not comprise the whole ‘newspaper’ market as it once did but it will remain vitally important because consumers love it,” he said.

“News Limited alone sells more than 11 million newspapers every week and we distribute an additional five million community papers a week. Together, our Sunday newspapers are read by at least five million people every Sunday.

“The fact is, when it invented the iPad, Apple did not un-invent paper. Many people continue to love printed newspapers.

“Despite being an early adopter of the iPad and an absolute devotee of online publications, I still regard a crisply printed newspaper as a thing of great utility, even beauty and certainly a total pleasure to read.

“Our 11 million weekly buyers suggest I’m not alone. It is after all a very user-friendly technology and a great way to read fine journalism and for advertisers to have a very real impact.”

Mr Williams said when it was revealed recently that business strategists at The Guardian in the United Kingdom had discussed the possibility of axing the paper’s print edition, Mayor of London Boris Johnson was quick to defend the importance of the print media.

“Don’t do it. It would be a national tragedy if we lost the paper version – the wood pulp and ink version – of this historic publication. It’s no use telling us that the content would all be there online. Everything is online,” Johnson was quoted as saying.

“When we see that doomed institution, the cinema, thriving two generations after the invention of the VHS cassette, we know that human beings’ decisions do not necessarily move in a linear direction along with technology,” Mr Williams said.

“To the discouraged young, not only shouldn’t you give up hope of seeing yourself or your words on a screen, you shouldn’t give up seeing your words and your photo by-line on a printed page.

“The end of the newspaper may indeed be coming but it’s not possible to say with certainty that the iPad will bring down the printed mastheads the way a giant meteorite brought down the last of the dinosaurs. The extinction of the printed page is not a given.”

Mr Williams said young people are inventing their own journalistic future. But a journalist’s job will undoubtedly be different to the job of print journalist 20 years ago.


Save a penny for the future

FINANCIAL literature should be included in the education system for every economy says aspiring business entrepreneur Yousif Hussien who believes teaching children the importance of managing their finances responsibly would increase development and growth.

Aspiring business entrepreneur, Yousif Hussien at work. Picture: GERALDINE PANAPASA

Originally from the Middle East, the 19-year old is a business management student at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) and works as a cleaner at the Uni Lodge near the Novotel-Canberra hotel along Northborne Avenue.

“I’m not embarrassed at all cleaning the dorms at the Uni Lodge. I earn $1200 if I work five days cleaning windows, the rooms and the pool,” he said.

“My friend and I were given a contract to clean the dorms on certain days a month ago and I’ve saved quite a lot from what I’ve earned.

“I try to save every penny that I earn and only use it if I really need to buy something. My parents are also working so I help out when I can otherwise I prefer to save my money to open up a business one day.”

He has a few units to complete at CIT before cross-crediting his progress to complete a diploma in business management at the University of Canberra next year.

Though he hasn’t figured out yet what type of business he wants to specialise in, learning the ropes of how to manage one is the first step.

“Working as a store manager at City Convenience has also broadened my knowledge of how to manage a small business and I guess that’s what I want to work on – starting a small business and working my way up,” he said.

“There are a lot of things young people can do with their savings like enjoying an outing with friends or buying a new gadget.

“I think saving for a good future is a good and worthwhile investment. There’s a lot you can do with whatever savings you have – you can save enough to buy a house or in my case, start a new business.”

Roles and responsibilities of a journalist

Bula all,

We had an interesting day highlighting various issues and challenges journalists face in reporting business and economic news ‘the way we see it’. Here’s what I shared with the class today – and I hope it sheds some light on our role and responsibilities as journalists 🙂


By GERALDINE PANAPASA – November 7, 2012

Business and economic reporting play a very important role in our media organisation, particularly when it covers a wide range of issues from all sectors of the community. News, features and opinions related to business are reported daily.

The Fiji Times strives to report fair, accurate and balanced business reports for members of the public, allowing them to make just and informed decisions about everyday life issues.

We cover a variety of issues in the economy from different industries – tourism, transport, public and private sector developments, cost and standard of living, investment, trade (imports and exports), agriculture, financial institutions, housing and construction, as well as manufacturing issues.

All these are covered and given equal prominence in our newspaper and we try as best as possible to paint a true and accurate picture of what’s happening with each industry and the multiple effect or implication on the average Jane and Joe.

Our writing style and understanding of each issue or industry is an integral part of being a business or economic reporter/journalist, especially when our target audience is not just the everyday reader, but those in the business industry, learned members of the public and investors (since we also have an online medium for potential investors and interested readers abroad).


The Fiji Times strives to provide our readers with accurate, fair and balanced stories on issues that affect personal, social, political and economic development. Picture: GERALDINE PANAPASA

Business or economic reporting is not an isolated section of the paper and it does have a link with social and other development issues in the community – for instance, if a business report covers an increase in the cost of living, or an increase in the price of certain foods, it would affect the way people live their lives. Those who can afford it would have to fork out more towards daily expenses, and those who would not be able to afford it would probably struggle or turn to social troubles like crime to keep up with the changes in lifestyle.

If business reports are based on the development of a new hotel, it would leave a trickle effect – it could increase investor confidence, boost economic growth, provide employment for nearby villagers, increase standard of living (where people would earn a living and be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle) and decrease social issues like unemployment and poverty.

How these issues are reported or presented is a major challenge for business journalists, particularly at our newspaper. Proper training or upskilling of journalists on how to relay these issues to the public is one area that needs attention. Other key issues affecting journalism (for business or economic reporting) includes:

  • Managerial influence on some business reports – for instance when there is conflict of interest between media owners and businesses under the spotlight or scrutiny.
  • Lack of understanding of development issues or the operations of certain industries – for instance trying to interpret press releases from stock brokers, investors, taxation or annual reports from public and private companies.
  • Hindrance getting information that could be in the interest of the public, particularly with private companies – for instance, if a private business is providing consumers with bad goods that’s life-threatening and refuse to reveal details of their operations, or answer queries relating to the issue, it would require journalists to think outside the box, and find other ‘ethical’ means and ways to obtain the information without breaking any laws or crossing ethical boundaries.
  • Media laws that could hinder what stories to cover – for eg, Media Decree that could stipulate reporting on stories of interest to the public as long as it doesn’t incite instability or civil unrest.
  • Advertising influence – for eg, when advertisers push for business coverage of events by clients that do not necessarily have that ‘news’ aspect.
  • Change in technology and demand for information through new media.

In recent times, international business dealings have impacted the way our country has progressed over the years – for instance, the Global Financial Crisis, investor confidence and interests fluctuated, affecting other industries like tourism and financial institutions. Issues like stock exchange developments or fluctuating prices of fuel also have a direct impact on livelihoods in Fiji.

It’s not just international factors that affect business reports but political and social problems or challenges often dictate business angles journalists work on. For instance Fiji’s political history has seen the introduction of certain policies and laws that restrict the process of collecting accurate, fair and balanced information.

Looking ahead, I think with the latest innovations and changes in technology, online media would play a very critical role in obtaining information on what’s happening with the rest of the world. Though at our newspaper, access to new media like social networks often makes adapting to these changes in technology challenging.

Meanwhile, the digital age is sometimes not accessible by everyone in the country so keeping that link or relationship with the wider world through technological advances is very important in disseminating information about economic or business issues that relate to the livelihoods of people in the Pacific.

In terms of its impact on contemporary journalism, I think the way news, features or opinions are reported are based in a way on the challenges faced in this day and age. Personally, I think the onus is on journalists to be aware of their role, responsibilities and expectations in society.


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