Global round-up: Swiss daily goes with digital print

Global round-up: Swiss daily goes with digital printA Swiss daily newspaper has become the first of its kind to fully embrace digital printing.

A daily newspaper in Switzerland with a circulation of 22,000 copies has become the first such paper in Europe to switch to digital inkjet printing.

The Wallister Bote is the oldest newspaper in the region, and was looking to replace its 30-year-old offset presses to invest in the future of the publication.

A 22,000-copy run is substantially higher than most industry observers believed would be realistically economical.

Martin Seematter, the manager of the newspaper’s publisher, said the newspaper had calculated the cost of all potential uses of the new press, rather than just looking at the cost of producing the newspaper.

“For us, it was important to acquire a future-oriented means of production,” Mr Seematter told WAN-IFRA.

The newspaper will transition to a thicker newsprint to handle the inkjet technique.  The new press is a HP T400 model.

Mr Seematter said only minimal changes to editorial deadlines had to be made to accommodate the new printing technique.

The New York Times retires system of front page pitching

The New York Times has stepped towards a greater focus on digital with a decision to drop its system of pitching stories for the paper’s front page.

The Times’ editor Dean Baquet emailed staff last week to explain the decision. He said he wanted to “preserve the rigour of this process, but update it for the digital age”.

Previously, each desk editor would make his or her pitch for front-page space at morning ‘Page One meetings’.  From now on, editors will pitch stories to be considered for ‘Dean’s List,’ which are stories that will get “the very best play on all our digital platforms,” Mr Baquet said to staff.

There will be two Dean’s Lists, with one complied in the afternoon, and one compiled in the morning and replacing the traditional Page One meeting.

Pitches for the front page will now be heard at the afternoon meeting, and won’t play as prominent a role as before.

In May last year, BuzzFeed wrote that “culturally, the Times’ institutional identity is so tied to Page One that its daily meetings and even a documentary about the paper go by that name.”

“For reporters, being on Page One has long been not just a point of pride, but also a potential career-defining stake in the ground.”

Contenders for Dean’s List will be enterprise and investigative pieces, rather than news, but the revised meetings will also serve to plan the paper’s coverage of the day’s events.

Separately, the newspaper will also relaunch The New York Times Magazine, which is 119 years old this year.

The new magazine will feature overhauled typography and graphic design, as well as new sections and online-only content, something that the weekly publication has never done before.

“We admit it: We’re late to this party. But we plan on making up for lost time”, the magazine said on its website.

Egypt postpones trial of Al-Jazeera staff

The retrial of two Al-Jazeera staff who were detained in Egypt for more than a year on charges widely regarded as false has been postponed again.

Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who were freed this month but still have to report to police each day, will now face court on March 8 on terrorism-related charges.

The men were arrested in December 2013 after being accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, following the military’s removal of Brotherhood-backed president Mohamed Morsi from office.

Al-Jazeera has maintained throughout the process that the men were just reporting the news.

Mr Fahmy has criticised the broadcaster, saying it waged “a media war against Egypt” which prejudiced the court against its staff.

Another colleague, Australian reporter Peter Greste, was freed this month and deported to Australia.

The Independent opens American office

UK newspaper The Independent has made a foray into the United States, opening a “web office” in New York.

The paper’s former Washington correspondent, Andrew Buncombe, has joined the paper’s current US editor David Usborne in the office.

The digital editor of The Independent, Christian Broughton, said that the office would serve to extend coverage of the US for the paper’s global and UK domestic audiences, and to serve its American readers, who make up a third of the readership base.

A number of new positions will be added at the New York office in coming months.

Reuters bureau chief dies in Pakistan

Newswire service Reuters has paid tribute to its Afghanistan and Pakistan bureau chief Maria Golovina, who died in Islamabad on Monday.

Ms Golovina, 34, was found unconscious in the office and was taken to hospital.

She had spent more than 10 years at Reuters, reporting from dangerous locations “with a calm authority that other, more experienced journalists could only admire,” according to the agency.

“She was driven by a hunger to understand what made human beings tick, be it during the throes of revolution in Libya or in the pre-dawn calm of southern Pakistan,” it said.

She had held the Islamabad posting since 2013. No cause of death was specified, but an autopsy was to be undertaken.

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