Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Google News Creator at the World Editors Forum

Google News Creator at the World Editors Forum
Paris, 6 April 2005


Is Google News a threat to newspapers? It is a question that editors from around the world can ask the creator of Google News, Krishna Bharat, when he takes the podium at the World Editors Forum in Seoul, Korea, in June.

Mr Bharat, a Principal Scientist at Google Inc. and head of Google's Research & Development Centre in Bangalore, India, will be a keynote speakerin a session on "New frontiers for journalism" at the Forum, the global meeting of senior news executives to be held from 29 May to 1 Juneconcurrently with the World Newspaper Congress.

Mr Bharat describes Google News as "a computer-generated newspaper that unifies news from online newspapers worldwide with an emphasis on diversity and balance." It is a continuously updated news site that allows users to search and browse 4,500 news sources ( ).

Mr Bharat says people use Google News in addition to their usual news sources."Google News' focus is on diversity, and that's where the real added valueis," he said in a recent interview. "It's a bit like a bookstore that takes content on a single subject and puts it all on the same shelf. People useGoogle News to complement their favourite source, like CNN. You come toGoogle News when you want a wide range of articles -- in both opinions and style -- on that subject."

Mr Bharat will share the stage with Dan Gillmor, author of "We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People", who is developing a citizen-generated, grassroots journalism project.

Mr Gillmor, a noted technology columnist and "blogger", has frequently commented on the rise of Google News, and takes exception to the contention that the automated nature of Google News makes it free of bias. "Since humans programmed the computers, human biases -- or at least mistakes --inevitably creep into the results," he says.

The debate begins.

The 12th World Editors Forum, 58th World Newspaper Congress and Info Services Expo 2005 are the global meetings of the world's press, drawing more than 1,000 newspaper executives to a unique annual gathering organisedby the World Association of Newspapers.

For the evolving conference programme, a participants list and other information, consult the WAN web site at

Other highlights of the WEF conference include:-

- An examination of "Tabloid Fever: Is the temperature going down?" withJan-Eric Peters, Editor of Germany's Die Welt, Welt Kompakt and BerlinerMorgenpost, newspaper designer Mario Garcia, Didier Pillet, the Editor ofOuest France, Robb Montgomery, Visual Editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, and George Brock, Saturday Editor of The Times of London.

- A session entitled "What makes Asian newspapers different?", featuring Asian success stories from Vir Sanghvi, Editorial Director of The HindustanTimes in India; Keiko Chino, Senior Editorial Writer for the Sankei Shimbunin Japan; and Sang-Seok Lee, Executive Director of The Korea Times. The session will be chaired by Andrew Lynch, Editorial Director of the Shapingthe Future of the Newspaper project for the World Association of Newspapers and founder of the pan-Asian newspaper trade magazine, Asian NewspaperFocus.

- A session on infographics and visual journalism featuring Alberto Cairo,the Infographics editor at El Mundo in Spain, Jeff Goertzen, theInfographics Editor at the St. Petersburg Times in the United States, PeterEspina, the Infographics Editor of the China Daily, and Katie Ratcliffe, theAsia Pacific Manager for Graphics for Agence France-Presse.

- A session on using editorial networks to expand news coverage efficiently,with Miguel Angel Basteiner, International Affairs Director of El Pais,Spain, and Director of the Le Monde/El Pais/La Repubblica network, RistoUimonen, Editor of Kaleva in Finland, and Imtiaz Alam, General Secretary ofthe South Asian Free Media Association.

- A discussion of the "citizen journalist" movement, with panelists Barry Sussman, Director of the Nieman Watchdog Project, Joichi Ito, CEO of Japan's Neoteny, and Andrew Nachison, Director of the US-based Media Center.

- A look at "new legal dangers: privacy issues and sports rights" with KaiDiekmann, Editor of Bild in Germany, Ko Yamaguchi, Advisor for International Affairs for Japan's Kyodo News Service, Monique Villa, Senior Vice Presidentfor Reuters, and Ari Valjakka, Editor of Finland's Turun Sanomat.

- And many others.

For the full conference programme, consult

The Paris-based WEF is the organisation of the World Association ofNewspapers that represents senior news executives. WAN, the globalorganisation for the newspaper industry, represents 18,000 newspapers; itsmembership includes 72 national newspaper associations, individual newspaperexecutives in 102 countries, 11 news agencies and nine regional andworld-wide press groups.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue GeoffroySt Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 4948. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail:

Larry KilmanDirector of Communications
World Association of Newspapers
7 Rue Geoffroy St. Hilaire
75005 Paris France
Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00
Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48
Visit our web site at

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Monday, April 04, 2005

Pope: The Person and the Institution

A very symbolic picture of the Pope (Poland 1979).
Source: Click Here

A media superstar with sense of drama

A media superstar with sense of drama


Combining moral authority, communications skill and theatrical talent, Pope John Paul II was the first pontiff to become a media superstar.

In the four decades before his 1978 election, the papacy had gradually become more visible. Pope Pius XII appeared in newsreels. Pope John XXIII, "Good Pope John," and Pope Paul VI, the first modern pope to travel outside Italy, including the United States, arrived in the early decades of the television era.

"But then, what you get with John Paul II is this tremendous escalation, partly because of all these trips," said the Rev. John O'Malley of the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass. "All at once, you've got this figure who's making these spectacular visits which bring cities to a halt."

Beyond attracting huge crowds on those frequent trips, John Paul knew how to get across his moral message with consummate skill, and in many languages. "One would maybe not call him one of the great orators of the 20th century, but compared with most political leaders, he's a wonderfully effective rhetorician," said O'Malley, who was asked before the pope's death to evaluate him as a media figure. "He has a sense of drama."

That sense of drama came from his love of theater as a young man in Nazi-occupied Poland. From his time under the Nazis, and later under communist rule, he also learned the importance of mass media.

"He came from a world where the media was against him and used against him and the church," said Msgr. Francis Maniscalco, director of communications for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. That helped him understand the media's crucial role.

In his 1990 encyclical, "Redemptoris Missio" (The Mission of Christ the Redeemer), John Paul compared the media to the Areopagus, the Council of Athens, where St. Paul preached.

"The first Areopagus of the modern age is the world of communications, which is unifying humanity and turning it into what is known as a 'global village,' " John Paul wrote. "In particular, the younger generation is growing up in a world conditioned by the mass media. To some degree perhaps this Areopagus has been neglected."

John Paul did not neglect it.

Long before he became pope, he wrote plays (one of which became a 1988 movie, "The Jeweler's Shop," starring Burt Lancaster), as well as poetry and books, such as "Love and Responsibility," on sex and marriage.

After his election, he continued to embrace the media, producing works of his own, including a 1994 bestseller, "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," his responses to questions on faith and life, and a 1996 memoir of his priesthood, "Gift and Mystery." He also allowed his voice, in prayers and homilies, to be used on a 1999 CD, "Abba Pater," meaning "father" in Aramaic and Latin. And, during his papacy, the Vatican launched its own Web site,

But his primary media mastery was not as an entrepreneur. It was as a spiritual leader, endowed with a compelling personal biography and the ability to transcend the dense tangles of his philosophical thought to convey his message clearly. Adding weight to his message, Maniscalco said, John Paul had more seniority in his role than many world leaders had in theirs.
"He's kind of rewritten the script," O'Malley said. "Popes have spoken out on moral issues and to some extent on world issues, but nobody like this man."

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