Archive for March, 2011

The sand shifts beneath their feet

March 30, 2011


So once more, things appear to be moving quickly in Libya. The coalition of countries, including the U.S, UK and France, all agreed to enforce a no fly zone that was sancti0ned by the United Nations. The goal, we were told, was to protect the citizens of Libya from Colonel Gaddafi’s tyranny. The no fly zone shifted to a sustained bombing campaign. Now, there is talk of the Americans and the British arming the Libyan rebels in their fight against Gaddafi’s troops.

Yet it was just a week ago, the message was there was no chance of arming the rebels and that the removal of Gaddafi was not the primary goal. The whole thing seems to be a bit of a mess. From the ineptitude of British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, through to the haggling of Nato and EU member states, as to who should take command of the air strikes. President Obama is also providing more updates on a daily basis as to what he wants to see happen. Now he is saying that he is not willing to back the rebels just yet, as he is unsure as to who they actually are and what their motives may be.

The latest news is that the Libyan foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, has fled Libyan and arrived in London. The word is that he has quit the government and defected. What this means for Gaddafi in the long term remains to be seen. The chief of intelligence and speaker of the Libyan house has also fled the country to Tunisia according to unconfirmed reports. Earlier on Wednesday, the British Government expelled 5 Libyan diplomats because as William Hague says they may pose a threat to UK security.


Should he stay or should he go?

March 21, 2011

There appears to be major disagreements amongst the coalition of countries enforcing the no fly zone in Libya. Some leaders appear to be quite keen to see Col Ghaddafi be targeted for removal from office. Others it would seem, feel that he is not a target.

David Cameron says that the UN resolution “explicitly does not provide legal authority for action to bring about Gaddafi’s removal from power by military means”. On Sunday, Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, said that targeting Gaddafi might”potentially be a possibility”. Military leaders are quite keen to make it clear that Gaddafi is not a target. Sir David Richards saying “Absolutely not!” to the question of regime change. Shades of Iraq playing a big part in all of this.

Over in the U.S, Vice Admiral William E. Gortney,  said on Sunday that the Libyan leader is not a target. “At this particular point I can guarantee that he’s not on a targeting list,” The fact is that despite these denials, the western allies would love nothing more than to be rid of Gaddafi once and for all. However, they realise that to openly call for him to be targeted would lead to accusations of trying to grab Libyan oil and ride roughshod over another Muslim country.

We shall see what the future holds.

NY Times to introduce paywall

March 17, 2011

As expected, the New York Times is to start charging online readers at the end of this month.

Beginning March 28, readers who access more than 20 articles during a one month period will be asked to become a digital subscriber. This will give them full access to the site. Should you choose not to, then you will not be able to access further content until the following month. However, if you come to a story on the NYT website via a search engine, then you will be able to read that story even if you’ve reached your monthly limit.

Smartphone and tablet users will be have limited access to via the apps. The top news is to remain free of charge, but all other sections will require a digital subscription. It will be very interesting to see how many people opt to become a subscriber as opposed to not doing so. This is going to be a real test of weather online readers are willing to stump up the cash. The Times newspaper in the UK went behind a paywall last year. However, that newspaper does not have the reach and pull of the NY Times.

Pricing info. It will cost $15 a month for those who wish to access and the smart phone app. It will cost $20 a month for access to the main website and the tablet application. To access the NYT site using all devices, the cost will be $35 a month.

*Masthead from the NY Times website

Christopher Hitchins interview

March 7, 2011

Great interview conducted by Steve Croft of 60 Minutes with Christopher Hitchens.


New York Times Chairman plans paywall

March 3, 2011

Arthur Sulzberger, speaking at the Financial Times Digital Media conference on Wednesday, said the plans to charge readers accessing the NY Times website, are still on track. He said that full details will be revealed in the near future. Sulzberger spoke confidently about keeping hold of online readers and increasing their advertising income.

“We’re not looking at a massive drop in traffic. By having a metered model you’re still allowing people to engage with your journalism when they’re not deep loyalists. We’re allowing people to share and we’re still going to make advertising dollars out of that.”

He also announced plans to charge for their i-Pad app. “The iPad app is a spectacular, great experience. But we can no longer have that being free”. The spectre of Apple looms large over applications and their 30% cut of subscriptions revenue  through the i-Pad. Steve Jobs released a statement last month trumpeting their subscription charges for magazines and newspapers.

“Our philosophy is simple – when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30% share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple earns nothing.”

Sulzberger countered this by saying: “We have our relationship with Apple – which I’m not going to get into the specifics of – but welcome to the world of news stands. We’ve had news stands for hundreds of years, they’ve always taken a cut of sales – this is not new.”

Steve Jobs swoops in for i-Pad 2 launch

March 2, 2011

Picture from The Guardian

Newspaper publisher rejoice! The i-pad 2 is here. Sleeker, lighter and faster than it’s older brother, this upgrade model also now comes in white. Steve Jobs, was the surprise host as many expected him to stay away after taking indefinite medical leave last month.

As rumoured, i-Pad 2 comes armed with two cameras. The one in front allows for video recording, whilst the back facing camera is for taking photos. It will be available to buy in the UK on March 25 and two weeks earlier in America. It will be interesting to see how strong sales are for this new model. The more people that buy it is good news not just for Apple, but also for newspapers and magazines. The idea being that many will use tablets to access their news.  And with other tablets challenging the mighty i-pad, it may very well prove to be a rebirth for print jounralism.