An English intro follows behind the German summary.
In diesen Bericht in der Taz schildere ich die Ambitionen des Guardian Verlags, der online die drittgrößte Zeitung der Welt ist (via guardian.co.uk). Der Guardian verbuchte trotz massiver Investitionen, manche sagen,wegen ihnen, über Millionen hohe Verluste. Nun sollen auch noch 100 redaktionelle Mitarbeiter aus der Guardian News & Media Group (GNM) gehen, der freie Zugang zu Guardian online soll trotzdem nicht abgeschafft werden, im Gegensatz zur ehemalig freien New York Times , die seit 2011eine Paywall hat. Entweder gewinnt die ganze Welt einen linkszentrierten Nachrichtenverlag, oder alle und vorallen Grossbrittanien verlieren seine seriöseste Pressestimme mit sozial und ökologischen Interessen. In der zwischenzeit, das steht nicht in meinen Bericht, hat sich Chefredakteur Alan Rusbridge, damit beschäftigt professionell Klavier zu spielen. Wer über 400.000 Euro verdient und mit um ihre Zukunft zitternden Journalisten zu tun hat braucht solche Ablenkung. Rusbridger wurde mir von ehemaligen Guardianjornalisten sowohl als Genie als auch als etwas verdächtig beschrieben. Mehr im Bericht.
It was the famous German author Michael Ende who defined first the word Scheinriese for the German vocabulary in his book Jim Knopf and the Wild 13. A Scheinriese is a pretend-to-be-giant. In Ende’s story it is a man who looks like a giant from far way, but as one gets closer to him, he turns out to be of normal stature. In my report about the Guardian Media Group I look at the tension between it being the third largest online newspaper, and its huge deficit in the last financial year. The Guardian desires to grow further with expansions in New York and Australia, whilst it aims to rid itself of about 100 editorial staff. But its free access policy is to remain in place regardless, even though the New York Times has introduced a paywall in 2011. Either the whole world gets a global left-central news corporation, or all and especially Great Britain lose their most serious voice with an interest in social and ecological affairs. I asked a former editor, the chief-editor of the UK’s main media publication, the Press Gazette (which itself saw its print edition vanish) and we learn from Andrew Miller, chief executive of GMG that all is quite well, well enough for Alan Rusbridger, chief editor of The Guardian, to tell BBC World Service about his achievement of finding enough leisure time to learn to play the piano very well in the last few years and from scratch at that (see also below article from Guardian )
The article is part of the debates on how news and media move forward in the digital age.
For my English language readers who do not speak or read German
My article in the Taz about the BBC Newsnight Lord McAlpine debacle of the BBC in the last weeks gives some background on the amount of change its employees were so far subjected to. Not that it was already enough, Helen Boaden‘s QF speech to staff meant that the BBC had more axings planned: about 800 jobs are to go until 2016, along with the merger of the world service and BBC News. Staff, who wanted to keep anonymous, told me about discrepancies in pay, with managers highly paid, those making programs usually low paid. Another editor complaint that her language service was no longer being measured by quality, but by quantity of hits. She said that only if she reports the “heartbreaking story of the donkey with his prosthesis” will she survive. It is not to be forgotten that this is a member of staff who already witnessed cuts, the loss of funding from the foreign office, and the final departure from Bush House. My article then shifts to a brilliant documentary made by the BBC, one of those we ill see probably less of in the future and produced by James Cook and presented by Mike Thompson (online version is here www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20267659). It puts the current affair headed by the mistake of falsely accusing one politician into perspective. According to BBCs research about 20.000 Jewish people less could have died in 1944, had the BBC not withheld the truth.
Nevertheless things look difficult at the BBC. I have heartfelt feelings for some of my colleagues and friends who work there, and have told those I conversed with personally that there is no better alternative than take to Doris Day‘s ce sera.
However on a serious note, I do believe the course leader of the highly regarded MA Radio at Goldsmiths, Tim Crook, who works closely with the BBC, was right when he told me that he sees the integrity of journalism under threat. It is important that everyone understands that every time we take a free newspaper in our hand, or read news only online, that is without paying for it, we are contributing to the decline of journalism. This is not to say free stuff and blogs are not sometimes brilliant. They do an excellent service at times. But we need a reliable and in deed trustworthy network of newspapers and media outlets to counter the barrage of spin, political intrigues and corporate chauvinism. At the taz.de they have a nice system of providing the articles free of charge but enabling readers to pay even as little as 5 Pence for any one article voluntarily. It is easily done online and rewards the paper and the journalist.
When it concerns big corporates like the BBC, which receive the main part of their funding from the tax payer, I think it is right to ask why the management gets more than those who physically produce the news. A management which has been accused now of partially not really being in charge, nor having a clue. It is impossible to say to what extend this is right, but what is certain is that far less news will be produced in the future by BBC, for example party conferences will no longer have dedicated teams. Some of the midday news slots will also disappear and there will be more repetition. The merger of the WS bilingual section and BBC news in foreign affairs will also change the way the BBC has traditionally reported, namely through well skilled journalists who are sent to different regions for some time. It is questionable given already huge cuts and redundancies since Hutton, if the same tools of cuts ought to be applied to the BBC as anywhere else because of the government’s austerity brief.