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.


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.


Traditional media vs social media

Can you imagine leaving your house without your mobile phone, laptop, ipad, etc, and not go into a panic? Do you feel you would not be able to survive the whole day without all?

You feel as if you would be operating in a vacuum, not knowing what’s happening in your cyberspace.

Well, people born in the 80s would not really know about this feeling but those born in the 90s feel as if their lives depends on these pllications. True??

For some of you, those days of not worrying about such applications are now a distant memory, as yoou buckle under the pressure of keeping up with the times.

Snail mail and meeting up face to face has been replaced by computers, mobile phones, emails, and most recently, the different types of social networking available.

Well, these days in PNG, people would rather Facebook, Twitter, What’s App?, and browse blogspots than buy a newspaper, pick up a telephone to converse or just plain meet up with someone face to face for a nice long conversation.

Newspapers. Photo by NS Newsflash

One complaint about my newspaper, The National, is that people want to read our online paper in the mornings around 8am.

But we update our website at 9am or 10am to allow the newspapers on the streets to get sold first or else I won’t get paid! 🙂

So traditional media will have to find a way to keep up with the times and still keep its traditional ways. But that would require a lot to thought.

The onset of improved telecommunciation has enabled people to have access to the internet, though we can all agree that it is too expensive, right?!

So these days, some people would rather believe what’s on Sharp Talk on Facebook than to do what they used to do before – calling up various newsrooms to confirm or deny recent or breaking news. The group, Tokaut Tokstret, can be viewed here, GDW.

There are a couple of blog spots which utilise all aspects of social media that think they are doing a better job than traditional journalism. Oh well, each to their own.

Two blogs that are quite popular are Malum Nalu and Masalai Blogspot. 

Cover of social media book. Photo by Some Communication

So with the growing number of blogs available talking about everything and anything under the sun, it is hard and getting harder everyday to find credible sources or experts to quote in news stories.

This phenomenon is slowly gaining momentum and all traditional media organisors better start thinking about making plans to switch to online or utilise the various social media available to stay afloat.

So which mode or modes of communication would you not live without? Email us or leave a comment telling us your preference and why.


The deal with new media

LIKE it or not, social media has become part and parcel of everyday life for most journalists.

Networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace are common forms of social media that allows people to interact with each other and openly discuss issues affecting their livelihood.

A couple of journalists at The Fiji Times have found this form of communication very effective in generating comments, feedback and news ideas from local, regional and international readers either through print or online.

Some comments from the public are published in our daily and weekly newspapers and can also be found on  The Fiji Times online website. Readers are basically given the opportunity to express their opinion on certain issues.

Features on social networks like instant messaging or chat boxes have made work a lot more easier for journalists in terms of conducting interviews online or getting reactions from a wider and more diverse audience around the world. This has helped a great deal with collecting information before deadline.

Blogs can be an effective way to establish communication and feedback on certain issues. Picture: FLICKR/LISA CLARKE

Another effective way of establishing communication with the public using new media is blogging.

Though this application is rarely used by journalists in Fiji (for print particularly), it has become a source of information and proving daily to be ‘the way to go’ in disseminating fair, accurate and balanced opinions now and in the future.

However, some blog sites focus on specific topics like politics and freedom of speech while others engage reactions from the general public on certain issues like publishing views that would otherwise be censored by media laws openly on social media network, Facebook.

There are pros and cons about blogging or reliance on social media but the onus for the journalism fraternity is its approach to the concept of new media and the impact of changing technology.

Media Sosial

Pengguna internet pada akhir 2011 di Indonesia kini mencapai 55 juta orang. Ini meningkat 13 juta dari tahun sebelumnya.

Hal ini membuktikan bahwa Indonesia adalah negara yang cukup aktif untuk menggunakan untuk menggunakan jaringan internet. Seiring berjalannya waktu maka masyrakat akan mulai membaca informasi yang didapat dari media online. Lahirnya media-media online kini, maka akan memudahkan pembaca untuk membaca keadaan masa kini di negara mereka sendiri. Pembaca juga dapat membaca informasi dari belahan dunia Internasional.

Beberapa peserta pelatihan sedang menggunakan media sosial. Photografer adalah Novita Sari Simamora

Kita juga dapat melihat beberapa media yang menerbitkan media cetak dan juga media online, seperti Tempo menerbitkan, Majalah Selangkah juga menerbitkan Mengapa mereka menerbitkan cetak dan juga membuat online?

Saat saya mendapatkan pelatihan dari APJC (Asia Pacific Journalism Center) di Melbourne, seorang trainer yang melatih peserta yang juga mengajar di Universitas RMIT, Renee Barnes mengatakan hal media harus mengikuti perkembangan zaman karena pembaca kini sudah menggunakan media online.

” Bila media tidak menyediakan apa yang diinginkan pembaca, maka pembaca akan lari. Pembaca butuh media online, maka itu harus ada. Dan untuk mendapatkan keseimbangan, maka media tersebut dapat menulis di cetak lalu menulis di online. Lalu tulis link tersebut di cetak, maka kamu tidak akan kehilangan pembaca,” ucap Renee.

Bila ingin media online menarik banyak orang maka media harus menulis dengan cara yang berbeda. Renee memberikan pelatihan kepada delapan peserta pada sesi Blogging for Journalist. Dijelaskannya, pada online berita/cerita tidak akan pernah berhenti, berita dapat diubah dengan sangat cepat.

“Tulis dengan cara yang berbeda. Menulis apa yang dialami wartawan untuk memperoleh berita.”

Delapan peserta tersebut adalah Eddie Trevor dari  Solomon Star di  Solomon Island, Embelina dari  Jornal Nacional Diario Semanario di  Timor Laste, Yanuarius Viodeogo Seno dari  Borneo Tribune Daily News di Pontianak, Yermias Degei dari di West Papua, Bosorina Robby dari The National Pacific Star di PNG (Papua New Guinea), Ancilla Wrakuale dari Soulth Pacific Post Ltd-Post Courier di PNG too, Geraldine Panapasa dari Fiji Times in Fiji, dan Novita Sari Simamora dari Tempias di Sumatera Utara.