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Warren Buffett is buying local newspapers – is this good news for media jobs?

So, Warren Buffett has decided the time is right to buy local newspapers. Not content with snapping up 63 daily and weekly newspapers of Media General, it seems he is eyeing more acquisitions. Could this be good for the media jobs market in the US?

Why would anyone want to buy local newspapers? Why, in particular, would the world’s most successful investor want to buy local newspapers? The perceived wisdom is that it is a shot business

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The career dangers of tweeting

This article first appeared in Press Gazette

There was a minor palaver a couple of months ago when Datasift acquired the rights to search the last two years of Twitter feeds to serve its clients’ market research purposes. It was widely reported as a threat to privacy – equated with Google’s autoscanning of your Gmail account to target advertising.

Of course, there is no comparison. Twitter is, by its nature, a public platform. Facebook is – for most of its users – also public. So what has this got to do with a column on careers?

Ask Octavia Nasr. In 2009 she was dismissed from CNN for a tweet which

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Local news success must come through relevance

I recently read an article by James Ashton in the Evening Standard which is one of the most incisive I’ve read in recent times about the plight of regional newspapers and the knock-on effect for media jobs in the regions.

It is ironic that, while we have a culture secretary who is championing “ultra-local” broadcast businesses, print equivalents are rapidly losing the sense of identity that makes them a ‘must buy’. Of course, it is an expensive thing to maintain a news centre

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Codename Orbis: the PS4 rumour-mill can only be good for media jobs

An unnamed Kotaku source caused a flutter of excitement yesterday by claiming that the PS4 is expected to launch around Christmas 2013, and is codenamed Orbis. While doubts persist as to the veracity of these claims, it’s believed that “select developers” have already received development kits for the new console. It can only be good news for developer and media jobs in the long run.

Apparently, the Orbis won’t be backwards compatible with PS3 games, potentially disappointing millions of gamers. But most intriguing is the news that the PS4 will have some kind of functionality built in that will prevent the use of pre-used disc games – locking a particular disc to a single PSN account.

At the very least it will severely limit the functionality of second-hand games. As an anti-piracy measure you can see their thinking, particularly as full retail games will be available in download-only format. But as someone who grew up eagerly borrowing and lending cartridges in the playground, it’s hard not to feel like something’s being lost here. Regardless of the truth or otherwise of yesterday’s rumours, expect something spectacular.

Tax breaks for creatives – more please, it’s good for media jobs

A day before the RTS awards, it’s good to see the government heavily trailing tax breaks for British TV productions in this week’s budget. Obviously, this is not yet policy; we wait to see how this will pan out on Wednesday. Nonetheless, an article in the Guardian today illustrated the huge impact these – relatively inexpensive – tax breaks can have on the industry. They can, for example, be great for media jobs creation.

Downton Abbey was, of course, a huge success. While it did not

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Recruiting into media executive jobs: Kingfisher and Burberry lead the way

At this week’s Retail Week Conference, Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire told delegates that they need to improve innovation in order to remain competitive and that retailers will need to recruit people with a “real point of difference and who understand brands” because it is a different skill to those who trade the business.

As well as recruiting for technologists who can lead innovation recruiting into media executive jobs is vital. Retailers should carefully consider

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Game BAFTAS: the media headhunters’ predictions (with a bit of help…)

Tiny pixellated characters the world over will be spending today rehearsing their acceptance speeches and perfecting their gracious defeat faces, as tonight sees the great and the good of the games industry pitted up against one another at the Game BAFTAs.
So here are the media headhunters’ predictions (with more than a little bit of help from tech journalist and blogger Daniel Nye Griffiths – actually, we asked him for his verdict on the frontrunners, and who he’s tipping to take home the big awards – this is all his work…):
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Zombieville developer pulls out of Android – is this a trend media recruiters should keep an eye on?

 

Not long after I posted yesterday’s entry on the importance of content to mobile OS’s, my attention was drawn to this post from Zombieville developer Mika Mobile. Essentially, the company has decided that it isn’t making enough from Android downloads to merit the time it takes to keep them updated, and is pulling out of Android development altogether:

“We spent about 20% of our total man-hours last year dealing with Android

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Content creators hold the key to mobile OS success

Mozilla’s recent announcement that it is working on its own Linux-based mobile OS, with the first devices expected to ship later this year, will drop yet another system on a smartphone market already heaving under the weight of iOS, Android, Blackberry OS, Windows, not to mention smaller players such as WebOS. It’s a brave move

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A media search consultancy view on privacy, Twitter, and social media

It’s been a funny week for privacy. First, Google launched their long-anticipated unified privacy policy, despite objections from EU lawmakers. Second, the Leveson enquiry heard evidence that Police officers were being paid to pass on “salacious gossip” to certain parts of the UK media. Third, Twitter and Datasift caused a stir by signing a deal which allowed the Reading-based company access to two years of archived Twitter data, and this

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Media jobs: movie marketing lessons – what’s the strategy?

Speaking on Radio 5 Live to Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode today, Andrew Stanton, director of John Carter, complained that people were fixated on “the money”. “It’s the most boring subject in the world”, he protested. “I make films for myself.”

Of course, it is difficult to criticise someone with his track record (Toy Story, Wall-E, Finding Nemo, etc). But, as Kermode later protested, if you spend $250m on making a film, people are bound to focus on the money. Investors want a return

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Media recruitment: taking content marketing lessons from editorial experts

 

I wrote a marketing letter today. Not surprising, I grant you. Except that I mentioned – without irony – that non-media brands require “media skills” to create trust. Given the current crises in the media sector, this may have seemed chutzpah of the highest order.

The Leveson enquiry, and all that it encompasses, shows that (in the UK, at least) trust in traditional media is collapsing. The newspaper watchdog, the PCC, has failed. The industry has been accused

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Media recruiting: managing your career starts at the bottom of the ladder

 

This article first appeared in Press Gazette

At the end of last month’s column, I wrote: “That thing they always said about treating people well on your way up because you might need them on your way back down is really true. I can think of a number of people who struggle to get work because they burned so many bridges in the past.”

I have written little about the importance of maintaining good relationships in your career; cynically, it might be called career management. A great many people in business

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How much will augmented reality change the way we shop in-store and online?

As the number of empty shops on UK High Streets increases, retailers are resorting to more innovative ways to attract time-pushed shoppers, or those looking for more unique shopping experiences. The adoption of new technologies such as augmented reality and virtual changing rooms in-store is on the rise.

At this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, technology company Bodymetrics showcased the latest version of their body mapping technology, which creates a 3D model of a shopper’s body that mirrors their every move, allowing them to virtually ‘try on’ outfits. The camera’s sensors can detect tightly or loosely fitting garments to help find the right size. Spanish company AITech.es have developed a similar technology that also has a system capable of determining the availability of certain items in real time and can promote related clothes according to the historical choices of the user.

At the moment, I think the true value of augmented reality technologies such as Bodymetrics lies in reducing return rates on clothing that doesn’t fit. If you run out of time to join the queue for the changing room to see if that much-coveted LBD that you absolutely need for tonight actually fits, simply try it on virtually and you could skip the queue. However, pair this with the ability to then tweet images of yourself wearing the dress to your friends to get their thoughts (Nadap’s Tweet Mirror for example) and the retailers could really be onto something…

 

enquiries@trippassociates.co.uk

Martin Tripp Associates is a London-based executive search consultancy. While we are best-known for our work in the TMT (technology, media, and telecoms) space, we have also worked with some of the world’s biggest brands on challenging senior positions. Feel free to contact us to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog. 

E-readers and the future of publishing

I’ve just been reminded of this year’s traditional family Christmas row. I mentioned that I was planning to buy a Kindle. My sister, an author of many books, spluttered that I shouldn’t mention Kindle to her. It would kill publishing – and media jobs – just as surely as downloading had killed the music industry. She also felt that authors were entitled to a larger slice of revenues from e-books because the publishing companies had much lower overheads.

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Augmented Reality T-shirts – anything in it for media recruitment?

Clothing company Zappar takes augmented reality clothing to a whole new level. This year, the company created interactive t-shirts that work with a free app – customers download the app and then view the t-shirts through their device screen. The t-shirt then ‘comes alive’ as the customer touches part of the t-shirt on the screen (see video). What’s really clever about the Zappar t-shirt is that it merges shopping and games in a move to generate interest and push sales. The t-shirts went on sale in the autumn in Macy’s and JCPenney stores in the U.S.

U.S. retailer Moosejaw created an X-Ray App last year that uses

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Changing face of media – fifteen years as a headhunter

Today marks fifteen years since I first became a media headhunter.

It is astonishing how much the sector has changed in that time. The job titles themselves are indicative of these changes. While we still recruit MDs, Editors, Sales Directors and so on, we are now as likely to be working on roles like Head of Product Roadmap or Chief Scientist. As business models keep changing, so too do the attributes of the individuals who can add value. 

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Media recruiting tips: graduates beware

This article first appeared in Press Gazette

I have just watched BBC3’s “Up for Hire.“ Four young unemployed people were given an opportunity to show how they would work under different circumstances. I found it quite depressing: not least because it served to underline prejudices about media degrees and media graduates.

Kirsty, one of the four candidates, had graduated in Newspaper and Online Journalism. She was disappointed because she had “paid a lot of money” and couldn’t get the job she wanted in the media. She also mentioned she didn’t like being “told off” or in a team: “I like working on my own really – that’s got something to do with me wanting to be a reporter.” The inability to take direction or collaborate seem pretty large barriers to entry in any career – especially journalism.

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Future media executive jobs for News of the World journalists

I’ve been asked by the Editor for the impossible: to find some good news for those journalists who have suffered redundancy as a result of the closure of the News of the World. Are there media executive jobs – and regular media jobs – out there for them?

Journalists suffer redundancy all the time, of course; but the NoW is special. The reasons for the newspaper’s demise have been well-documented. And because of the mishandling of the investigation by News International, nobody is yet sure to what levels the misbehaviour extended, nor when it stopped (or started).

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