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The Sambodian J-School Diploma | What Is It Worth?


According to WAN, from 2007 to 2011, global newspaper advertising dropped 41% to $76 billion.

Traditionally trained professionalls are being replaced by the moral equivalent of Mumbai call centers, with a modicum of accent training, earning $7-$10 per article. Welcome to the digital sweatshop of the world without frontiers:

… [Journatic LLC hired as part of] a plan to use freelancers, offshore workers and computer algorithms to produce suburban content, but the arrangement came under fire after the use of fake bylines and an incident of plagiarism were revealed. The aim is to use automated processes to repackage data for use in news reports.

In the face of such innovations in human resources, Brazilian journalists feel especially journalism — all the more so given the weakness of their unions. A prominent media owner and lobbyist explains, below. 

Source: Associação Nacional de Jornais. | Portal IMPRENSA

In its July edition, IMPRENSA ran an article on the delicate moment of restructuring and layoffs the Brazilian journalism market is experiencing.  Editors, consultants and representatives of industry associations explained the origins of the current scenario and the paths that have proven themselves most reliable in seeking a way forward.

The Grupo Abril has been cancelling venerable magazine titles and laying off journalists in recent months, for example

In the interview reproduced below, the president of the Brazilian National Association of Newspaper  (ANJ) and chief executive of the Gazeta network in Espirito Santo, Carlos Fernando Lindenberg Neto, spoke to IMPRENSA.

Lindenberg is the son of Carlos Fernando Monteiro Lindenberg Filho, twice governor of the state,

In Lindenberg’s view, the current crisis is not a crisis of jouralism per se. “The combined audience of newspapers and news-related Web sites has never been so great,” he said.

IMPRENSA – Is this a crisis in the journalism market that the profession is experiencing today? What are the main roots of  downsizing and layoffs by news organizations?

CARLOS FERNANDO LINDENBERG NETO – This is not properly speaking a crisis of journalism: never has so much content been produced and consumed in all of history.

Data that WAN-IFRA — World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers — recently published in Bangkok demonstrate this: the combined audience of print media and journalistic Web sites has never been so great.

The problem is that the engagement of the audience with the digital platforms is still not as great as with the print media. Analyst Jim Chisholm says that on average, newspapers interact 50 times more readers than sites accessed by digital means. T

he positive aspect of this is that newspapers remain strong. The problem is that the advertising market — for reasons I won’t go into here —  seems not to understand this and have been reducing their investment in print and increasing the role of the digital platforms, but only in a very diffuse way, without much proof of effectivness and paying a very low CPM — cost per thousand page views. The result is that growth in revenue from the digital side does not make up for the decline of the print side, whose market share has been falling.

Is monetising the Internet the map for a new business model?

This was one of the most debated points at the WAN conference. Worldwide, the tendency is, yes, the adoption of some form of payment for access to content, and especially for “premium” content. Various ways of doing this are being tried, but in general they follow the model of the porous paywall developed by The New York Times and which, in  Brazil, has already been adopted by the  Folha de S. Paulo and other dailçies. It is not a panacea, but judging from the results obtained thus far,  it has generated significant revenue, especially in this context  of profound, accelerated change.

Can one still make a living as a journalist? What should the enormous quantity of recent J-school graduates do to get a job?

Your question has something of an apocalyptic tone. To the degree that journalism will remain indispensable, there will be jobs, and professionals will continue to make their living. But there are major transformations underway, both in the manner of financing the production of content  (the so-called [negotiated?] model) and in the structure  of the newsroom and the profile of the journalist.

Are there any precedents for the level of gravity in the state of this market?

From the technological point of view, the present situation has been compared to the invention of moveable type 500 years ago. From the point of view of journalistic production, the organization of the news organization and the concept of news, the model we work with today is more recent, and the transformation in process seems more subtle and complex.

From  the audience’s point of view, we have entered an age of abundance, but because of this, and at the same time, there is a need for credibility. From this point of view, that of quality journalism, the brands that succeed in defining themselves as trustworthy hold a powerful trump card.

Brazilian participants at the World Newspaper Congress in June of this year:

  1. Moraes Marcello |Infoglobo Comunicação e Participações S.A.
  2. Seleme Ascanio | Infoglobo Comunicação e Participações S.A.
  3. Gandour Ricardo | O Estado de Sao Paulo
  4. Nygaard Christiano | O Estado de Sao Paulo
  5. Rech Marcelo Antonio | RBS-Brazil Zero Hora Editora Jornalistica SA
  6. Sirotsky Jayme | RBS-Brazil Zero Hora Editora Jornalistica SA
  7. Sirotsky Melzer Eduardo | RBS Group
  8. Lindenberg Neto Carlos Fernando| Rede Gazeta

Notable for its absence is the Folha de S. Paulo — implementing a porous paywall of its own, possibly with the advice and counsel of Innovation-Media Consulting — and O Globo, though Infoglobo and RBS have close ties to the Silver Venus.

According to a — somewhat perfunctory — report by the IVC | Institute for Verification of Circulation,

The scenario of the last decade on the magazines market presented two distinct periods with different characteristics.

In the first period, from 2000 to 2005, one can see a recovery of margins of products, transforming the publishing houses in healthier companies and prepared to grow. Some have not survived to this period. Circulation in this period declined.

In a second period, from 2006 until today [2010], the publishers have invested in two major markets  with growth both on ´[sic] circulation and revenues.

The first market invested on [sic] by publishers, similar to what occurred with the newspapers, was the popular magazines, with average prices between R$3 and R$4. The characteristics of this market are prices corrected below inflation and sales concentrated on newsstand, with little or no subscriber base. This market was developed in the weekly magazines category from 2007 and, in the monthly, from 2008.

The second market with significant growth and investment is the monthly “segmented
magazines” with cover price above R$10. Price was adjusted above or along with inflation, with sales on newsstand and subscriptions. This market was developed from 2005 onwards.

Digital editions did not show any important trend in the period. The most relevant events in  this area, especially the tablets emergence [sic], have not yet impacted circulation.