S.Atlantic : South Atlantic Islands Represented at CPU Conference
Submitted by SARTMA.com (Juanita Brock) 20.02.2005 (Article Archived on 06.03.2005)
Islands in the South Atlantic are being represented at the Commonwealth Press Union Editors’ Forum in Manly, Australia and the Biennial Conference in Sydney Australia.
Photos (c) J. Brock (SARTMA)
SOUTH ATLANTIC ISLANDS REPRESENTED AT CPU CONFERENCE
By J. Brock (SARTMA)
Mr. Keith Perch and HelenMcCabe
Islands in the South Atlantic are being represented at the Commonwealth Press Union Editors’ Forum in Manly, Australia and the Biennial Conference in Sydney Australia. Twenty-five individual Commonwealth Countries and British Territories as well as the five British Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic are gathering in order to discuss innovations in publishing, news distribution, ethics in journalism, increasing readership and sharing each other’s successes and how they were achieved. Territories represented are The Falklands, Ascension Island, and Tristan da Cunha, with reports also being sent to South Georgia and St. Helena.
The welcome reception and dinner, sponsored by the CPU, featured remarks by Manley’s Mayor, Mr. Peter MacDonald, who explained some of the Sydney suburb’s history, as well as an intro by Richard Bryce, the editor of The Manley Daily – Manley’s local newspaper.
A serious discussion over lunch
Sessions began in earnest on Sunday morning, when, after a brief introduction by Lindsay Ross, Executive Director of the Commonwealth Press Union, Mr. Tony Gillies, Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Associated Press, presented a multi-media overview of the Australian Newspaper industry. Tsunami coverage featured heavily at the beginning of this presentation. He explained the difficulties encountered in getting reporters, photographers and cameramen to the scene and how the Australian press covered Australians that had been in the disaster, how aid to the affected areas was implemented and the lasting affects of PTSD on the survivors. Besides the Tsunami, he also pointed out the other big stories, such as the war in Iraq, the Olympics and the Federal Election also featured quite heavily in 2004’s press reporting. To end up, Mr. Gillies explained some of the workings of the Australian copyright law and its inclusion in the Free Trade Agreement with the United States and spoke of the work if the Australian Press Council.
Terry Quinn, Gavin Ellis and Tony Yianni
After a Question and Answer session, The Hon. Bob John Carr MP, Premier of New South Wales, spoke at length about discounting for optimism or discounting for pessimism in editorial content. He said that during the Cold War, no one could have guessed that the Soviet Union would be replaced by a democracy, or during the 70s that no one saw the banishment of racial segregation in South Africa. On the flip side, in 1903, no one in Russia foresaw the violent overthrow of the Tsar and the rise of the Soviet Union. He went on to mention the balance and thorough reporting that it took to decide what approach to take with the news of the day. It all seemed like predictive prophesy – does one predict doom, or prosperity in the reporting.
When asked about the Kyoto Agreement, The Hon. Mr. Carr said that he urged Australians and the Government to accept the Agreement. He has pledged his support in having New South Wales reach emission standards as if it had signed up to the Kyoto Agreement.
Newspaper Websites were then discussed with Keith Perch, Editor and Managing Director of Northcliffe Electronic Publishing in the UK. His main point was that newspapers with corresponding websites did not suffer an alarming drop in circulation. He pointed out that younger people tended to read the internet rather than use the newspaper but that when people used the website and the newspaper that they read approximately five stories on the website but tended to read the paper from cover to cover. After the presentation, Helen McCabe, Chief of Staff of The Australian, moderated a question and answer session. SARTMA’s contribution was that when the cost of printing materials including ink, paper and machinery and spare parts prevented the production of a hard-copy newspaper but that the decreasing communications costs in the South Atlantic lent themselves to online newspapers only.
A presentation by Terry Quinn, Editor-in-Chief of APN News & Media in Australia pointed out that newspapers needed to relate to their readers and interact with them. He stressed that it wasn’t innovation but it was renovation that helped in the readership process. He then went on to explain the Readers First concept that had proven itself in the United States. He wasn’t keen to have people’s minds moulded by newspapers but that people should be telling newspapers what they want to read.
“Catching Them Young,” included a very colourful presentation by Tony Yianni, Managing Director of the Fiji Times. He explained the need for a separate newspaper for young people and women and how the newspaper, Kaila was formed. Being able to distribute the paper to remote islands in the Fiji group was most important to the success of the newspaper because it helped to boost its circulation. In the space of 20 issues, the paper has 10,000 readers. Mr. Yianni explained that the readership of the weekly paper would be cut severely if it were just a supplement in a newspaper because even Fiji’s major newspapers don’t get to the remote islands like Kaila does.
Thabo Leshilo, Editor-in Chief of Sunday World in South Africa, then spoke about how to launch a major Sunday newspaper. He pointed out that his readership was black and mainly poor. He had a social conscience and took risks dealing with reporting about deaths due to AIDS but found that his circulation dropped. For the Sunday World, the answer was to print the social and political issues in the paper but not on the front page. The Sunday World’s readership was hooked into reading the paper by using sex, drugs, sport and celebrity. Those sorts of items went on the front page because people who could only afford one paper would buy it. More important subject matter was also read because buyers tended to read the whole paper. SARTMA asked whether Mr. Leshilo and/or his staff were able go amongst the readership and search for another “hook” that might draw them in. Mr. Leshilo didn’t seem to think that was necessary because he and his staff knew the market and didn’t need any more “hooks” to pull in the readers.
The day’s programme was informative and useful for a number of reasons. Firstly, SARTMA has a unique readership but by in large it caters to them. There might be some fine tuning here and there, but it’s up to the people of the South Atlantic to point out what they want changed in their news media.
In the evening, the delegates went to the Le Kiosk Restaurant at Shelly Beach for drinks and dinner sponsored by Rolls-Royce.