Hanif on Media

News Media, New Media, Politics, Culture & Spiritual Perspectives from South Florida to Infinity.

Hanif on Media header image 1

Hear, hear…Guardian’s Rusbridger on pay walls: ‘New media’ disappeared. They’re just media now

January 26th · No Comments · ONO, Organization of News Ombudsmen, Palm Beach Post, The Guardian, The New York Times

“In print, the Guardian is, even now, the ninth or 10th biggest paper in Britain. On the web it is, by most measurements, the second best-read English-language newspaper in the world. If the New York Times really does start charging for access, the Guardian may become the newspaper with the largest web English-speaking readership in the world.” — Alan Rusbridger, Guardian editor-in-chief
Other than Edward Sears, the retired former Editor & Publisher Editor of the Year, who appointed me and established my independence as news ombudsman for The Palm Beach Post (he once said: “There are times when I’d rather eat ground glass than read his column”), I’ve had no higher regard for a newspaper editor than The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger.
I got to know Rusbridger when several of us sat for lunch during a Organization of News Ombudsmen meeting in Istanbul. During our wide-ranging discusssion he inquired at length about my experiences serving Post readers and in ONO. I was as impressed with his amiable disposition as with his depth and utter brilliance.

Under Rusbridger’s leadership The Guardian already was becoming a leader in ombudsmanship. The paper’s newly established ombud, Ian Mayes, soon was elected ONO’s president. The newspaper went on to host a subsequent London meeting of ONO.

Just as significant is that The Guardian has been a consistent trailblazer in the online possibilities that U.S. newspapers in particular still are trying to get right. The latest exhibit is Rusbridger’s report that:

“In December the journalism we’re producing (was) read by 37 million people around the world – very roughly a third in the UK, a third in North America and a third in the rest of the world,”

Which gets me to The New York Times’ announcement that readers soon will have to pay to play — er, read — some of that publication’s content online.

Already anticipating BuzzMachine.com blogger Jeff Jervis’ take on this, I was not surprised to find him sharing a link to Rusbridger’s observations, such as:

“It may be right for the Times of London and New York, but not for everyone. It may be right at some point for everybody in the future, but not yet.”

Rusbridger’s detailed insight is worth a thorough read.

For additional ONO perspective, here’s my earlier post regarding our  Harvard meeting, during which both Rusbridger and Jarvis spoke.

Last, a nod to my outstanding ombudsman colleagues Jamie Gold, who after 10 years is leaving the Los Angeles Times, and Siobhain Butterworth, who after 13 years is leaving The Guardian.

I’m hoping to see both again at our upcoming meeting in Oxford. Some good news in the meantime: Both report their newspapers are appointing successors; the Times already, The Guardian by the end of February.

In contrast, I recall from our president’s update during our last meeting that, with news ombudsmen already rare, readers of U.S. newspapers lost 12 in the previous year.

To my knowledge there no longer are any news ombudsmen in Florida.

Tags: ···

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment