Tag Archives: competition

Government 'doesn't understand economics' over relaxing ownership rules – media economist

On Wednesday I spoke at the thoroughly enjoyable Journalism’s Next Top Model conference at Westminster University. Highlight of the day was keynote speaker Robert Picard, a media economist able to separate publishers’ sense of entitlement from the hard realities of economics and business (mis)management.

Journalism will survive, he said, because there will always be a demand for it. But most print publishers will die because over the past few decades they quite simply haven’t managed their accounts responsibly. While a typical business should have a debt-to-equity ratio of around 1:1, some publishers have racked up ratios ranging from 6:1 to 66:1.

“If you haven’t managed your balance sheet you get in trouble in a recession. Do I feel bad for them? No. They made stupid mistakes.”

One particular mistake highlighted by Picard was the switch in the 1990s from making acquisitions with stock to making acquisitions with debt.

“All the newspapers were making profits when they went bankrupt,” he pointed out. It was their handling of debt that killed them.

I asked Robert about the government’s plans to relax (and consider removing) local media ownership rules – and whether that would indeed create the environment for entrepreneurialism they want to encourage. His response was simple: “You don’t encourage competition by relaxing ownership rules.

“They don’t understand economics,” if they thought that would happen, he continued. “We need people to start more media organisations, not merge into fewer organisations.”

Picard seemed to feel that the Dutch government’s moves to provide funds to help news organisations restructure, or to re-skill journalists, were more intelligent responses.

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Digital media learning competition – $2m up for grabs, international scope

Innovative online journalism educators (particularly those under 25) may be interested in MacArthur’s $2 million of awards in its second Digital Media & Learning Competition. Awards “to innovators shaping the field of digital media and learning” will be given in two categories: Continue reading

TalkTalk competition: £2000 up for grabs for ‘technology related projects’

Here’s another one:

“If you are a UK based not-for-profit organisation or community group looking to extend your work through the use of the Internet you could be eligible for one of 30 cash grants available. Five overall winners will also win technology equipment of their choice and a one-to-one workshop with celebrity Dotcom entrepreneur and co-founder of lastminute.com Martha Lane Fox.” Continue reading

Could this be the tipping point for UK data mashups?

The best thing that I took from this week’s 2gether08 event was yesterday’s announcement by blogging MP Tom Watson and Ofcom’s blogging Tom Loosemore of Show Us a Better Way.

The site (also a blog – notice a pattern here?) is releasing a range of public data and inviting people to mash them up, or come up with ideas to do so. In their words:

The UK Government wants to hear your ideas for new products that could improve the way public information is communicated. The Power of Information Taskforce is running a competition on the Government’s behalf, and we have a £20,000 prize fund to develop the best ideas to the next level. You can see the type of thing we are are looking for hereContinue reading

Sky launches Young Journalist Awards for 14-19-year-olds

I’ve had an email about The Sky Young Journalist Awards which “aims to find and celebrate the very best journalist talent across online, television, radio and print.” Its aimed at encouraging 14-19-year-olds to report on local, national or international news stories that matter to them.

It sounds pretty worthy, so here’s the rest of the fluff: Continue reading

The Knight News Challenge – a penny (or several billion) for your thoughts

Valerie Kirshner has asked me to spread the word about the Knight News Challenge – here’s the info:

“It is open to community-minded digital news innovators worldwide — journalists, software designers, bloggers, and students of any age.

“This competition is sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, who fund excellence in journalism and freedom of expression worldwide. They are offering up to $5 million this year alone to winning participants. It’s something that can really change a person’s life.

“Applications will be closing Oct. 15.”

Here is a link with all the information you need. Also see http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/070604colombo/ and http://journalism.wikia.com/wiki/Knight_News_Challenge

And even if you don’t enter, help improve the entries by visiting the Read & Comment page of the site.