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The going gets tough, and the price goes up

Consider what ordinary, hard-working people do in recession - or, at least, what the media tell us they do. They cut back on waste. They eat all the food they buy (and get it from Lidl rather than Marks). They save heat by the pennyworth pen·ny·worth  
1. As much as a penny will buy.

2. A small amount; a modicum.

3. A bargain: got my pennyworth at that price.
, turn out the lights, say farewell Verb 1. say farewell - say good-bye or bid farewell
greet, recognise, recognize - express greetings upon meeting someone

usher out, dismiss - end one's encounter with somebody by causing or permitting the person to leave; "I was dismissed after I gave my
 to fripperies. Pain, pain, pain. But look now and see what those same media prophets of doom are doing.

Up in a rush goes the price of newspapers: the Times to 80p, the Telegraph to 90p - and, from tomorrow, the Independent to £1. You may remember, from a couple of years ago, how Simon Kelner Simon Kelner (1957 - ) is a British journalist and newspaper editor. Kelner is editor-in-chief of The Independent and Independent on Sunday newspapers. He was appointed in May 1998 to succeed Andrew Marr and Rosie Boycott. , then editor but now chief executive at the Independent, said that he thought daily papers ought to cost a pound - and Sundays £2. Well, the Sunday Times took his advice, and famously came a cropper CROPPER, contracts. One who, having no interest in the land, works it in consideration of receiving a portion of the crop for his labor. 2 Rawle, R. 12. ; but now his own baby is taking the Kelner test.

Inside mediaworld, of course, such decisions run on familiar grooves. If advertising is falling off a cliff, then the only other source of revenue - cover price - has to be tapped. And if there is no cover price - because you're a free newspaper - then that may be very hard cheese. Trinity Mirror Trinity Mirror plc is a large United Kingdom newspaper and magazine publisher. It is Britain's biggest newspaper group, publishing 240 regional papers as well as the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, People, Sunday Mail and Daily Record.  closed seven frees last week. But, at least, where there's a price, there's a way out.

Except that it's not a particularly appetising way. Much of the gloom this autumn has wafted over from America like some remnant of Hurricane Hanna. The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Times has put up its price twice in a year and sampled the bitter consequences. This week it's cutting out some of its sections and producing something thinner and smaller from Monday to Saturday. The size and range of what's offered to the reader is shrinking as well - and crudely geared to staff cuts.

Some of those cuts can be very crude indeed. Richard Desmond Richard Clive Desmond (born 8 December, 1951) is a British publisher, current owner of Express Newspapers and founder of Northern and Shell plc. Express Newspapers publishes the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star Sunday and Daily Star.  of the Daily Express, a proprietor who might have played centre-back for Croatia in another life, has begun dumping another 80 journalists, many of them sub-editors. Yet the one thing you might expect from our founts of superior wisdom - a pause for thought, a careful selection of strategic aims - doesn't appear to be happening.

It's difficult and confusing, to be sure. The same companies pushing up prices on news shelves or trying to raise more cash from more TV commercials are also deeply involved with providing their basic product without charge: free news on a free internet, or seemingly free news every time you turn on a radio set or 24-hour TV news channel. What's supposedly precious is also ubiquitous - which in turn gives the stock markets the shakes, and saw ITV (1) See interactive TV.

(2) (iTV) The code name for Apple's video media hub (see Apple TV).
 drop out of the FTSE FTSE

A company that specializes in index calculation. Although not part of a stock exchange, co-owners include the London Stock Exchange and the Financial Times.

The FTSE is similar to Standard & Poor's in the United States.

Take that vital step back for a moment, though. Sir Martin Sorrell Sir Martin Sorrell (born 14 February, 1945 in London) is an British businessman, currently the chief executive officer of WPP Group and has served in that role since he started the company in 1986. , the supreme ad guru, told 100 assembled ITV managers last week that his clients 'are looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 mass audiences, high market shares and interesting content ... You've got to remember that you're not going to cut your way to growth.' Quality counts. But so does producing something that people can and will buy.

One problem with newspaper sales was apparent long before anyone mentioned the internet. Because home delivery systems were so frail, circulation depended on news stands, which didn't suit regular buying habits in a hard-working, constantly rushing life. So, day by day, customers switched between titles - or simply gave the lot of them a miss. Where once a family might have bought five papers a week, now they bought four, three, two, one ... Price mattered - and so did sheer size.

Editors piled in extra coverage and extra sections. Marketing teams piled in more free gifts, wall charts, DVDs. Publishers piled on bulk giveaway copies and foreign 'sales' to keep their figures looking respectable (witness the Telegraph giving away 99,000 copies a day or the Indie sending 55,000 abroad). But now the music has stopped.

Perhaps the New York Times might find that a terser, but cheaper, paper will sell better through the week. Perhaps bulk in whatever form doesn't hit the spot any longer. Perhaps real sales figures sales figures nplcifras fpl de ventas  without giveaway illusions would release money to invest in quality. Perhaps ploughing investment into internet sites to persuade readers to shift, then giving them free Hitchcock movies to tempt them to stay, is confusion compounded. Perhaps the moment for a decisive shift in expectations - defining anew what media analysts expect from company earnings - has finally arrived.

The aim in recession, we were told 16 years ago when the last one happened, was to come out stronger as it ended. And many newspapers and broadcasters did. That's where profit expectations were set. The aim this time ought to be just the same in a new, tough landscape where Lidl things mean a lot.

Now you can read about it on screen

Here's a personal question. How do you read your newspaper; and how do you read your news on the net?

Probable answer: you flip through the paper, turning the pages, absorbing pictures and headlines, stopping when something catches your interest - but you go to the net with specific intent, Googling, digging deeper.

In sum, a newspaper tells you many unexpected things which you didn't know in the process of telling you what you wanted to know, while a website deals in expected things that you already know you need to know. So format matters.

The current chorus of industry pundits prophesying newspaper doom thinks it knows that the net will one day be king. Look at sales and hope sliding away! But it never pauses, amid such gloom, to inquire what the conventional desk-bound net itself will amount to at that future point.

Not as rich as it might be, perhaps. The monarch of Google himself was recently caught saying that ads on mobile phones would rule the global revenue roost one day, a triumph of individual targeting.

Plastic Logic (from Cambridge University Cambridge University, at Cambridge, England, one of the oldest English-language universities in the world. Originating in the early 12th cent. (legend places its origin even earlier than that of Oxford Univ.  via San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. ) launched its new electronic reader last week: thinner than a pad of notepaper, lighter than a magazine, with a big, big screen (8.5in by 11) and the look, if not feel, of reading paper. Just right for a briefcase - and just right, too, for reading digitalised newspapers via broadband on the morning train to Euston.

You can turn from page to page, as though you were holding a newsprint bundle. You can pause, perfectly normally, over tales that surprise you, news that you didn't know.

This new net tool, in sum, seems on the cusp of fulfilling a newspaper's basic function. But when that comes to pass, it isn't life or death: just doing the basics without the need for presses, lorries, defunct forests and 60 per cent of your existing costs.

Don't sign up for the temple of doom too soon, then. All of its pillars are moving parts Moving parts are the components of a device that undergo continuous or frequent motion, most commonly rotation. "Parts" only include the mechanical components which does not include fuel, or any other gas or liquid. .

James and the giant speech

Hear him in front of an audience, and James Murdoch, pictured, the rising son, is both technocratic and charismatic: he can talk the talk. Watch him in managerial action, too, at News International or BSkyB, and you know he can walk the walk.

But somehow, corporate pen in hand, the impact isn't quite the same: somewhere between sub-Shakespearean and oleaginous oleaginous /ole·ag·i·nous/ (o?le-aj´i-nus) oily; greasy.

Oily; greasy.


oily; greasy.

A few days ago, for instance, he bade farewell to Camilla Rhodes, formerly MD of the Times and the Sun. 'She epitomises the can-do spirit of this company,' declared young James. 'Her skill and dedication have been an inspiration and she has made an enormous contribution to our success for almost three decades. She will be sorely missed.' So why is she going, then? Don't ask.

And as for the final decision, after many years of looking in estate agents' windows, not to move the whole London caboodle ca·boo·dle  
n. Informal
1. The lot, group, or bunch: donated the whole caboodle.

2. A crowd or collection of people.
 after all: 'Wapping is important not only as a physical site but also as a symbol of how bold individuals, working together, can advance the world of media and thereby contribute to life in Britain.'. Cry God for Harry, England and my dad ...

Would you Adam and Eve Adam and Eve

In the Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions, the parents of the human race. Genesis gives two versions of their creation. In the first, God creates “male and female in his own image” on the sixth day.

Consider proportionality and its responses. Channel Four is screening The Sex Education Show at 8pm on Tuesdays. It necessarily features certain basic genitalia genitalia /gen·i·ta·lia/ (jen?i-tal´e-ah) [L.] the reproductive organs.

ambiguous genitalia
; 2.6 million viewers watch it; 39 of them complain to Ofcom. Is that, as the omniscient om·nis·cient  
Having total knowledge; knowing everything: an omniscient deity; the omniscient narrator.

1. One having total knowledge.

2. Omniscient God.
 regulator trundles into action, a cause for shock and horror? Must television do sex education early, without sex - or after the 9pm watershed when most sensible people have gone to bed anyway?

Dodgy dodgy - Synonym with flaky. Preferred outside the US  journalism

Leading on a poll is often dodgy journalism. Leading on a US presidential poll is simply flimsy. As this column is written, the nine major American polls are split four to Obama, three to McCain and two all square. Widest variant on one side: Obama with 48 per cent, McCain with 39 per cent; and on the other, McCain 54 per cent, Obama 44 per cent. Big country plus small samples equals prudently small headlines.
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Date:Sep 14, 2008
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