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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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London no longer looks for northern lights like Harry Whewell

Category : Business

Once upon a time, news editors in Manchester and Glasgow were the equal of those in Fleet Street. Now a regional political breakthrough like Ukip’s takes the capital by surprise

There was a sudden remembrance of times past the other day when Harry Whewell died. Harry, in his pomp, was the great northern news editor of the (ex-Manchester) Guardian while the Guardian’s greatness still dwelt in the north. He cherished and developed many young Oxbridge hopefuls: Michael Frayn, Jonathan Steele, Benedict Nightingale, Simon Hoggart. He loved his Manchester, knew every nook and cranny of it, strove tirelessly to bring it to life. And the question he left behind remains hauntingly difficult for journalism to answer in a week where local elections stole the headlines. Whatever, in day-to-day newspaper terms, became of the Britain beyond Watford Gap?

Helen Pidd, Harry’s many-stages-on young successor as northern editor of the paper, was brooding in precisely these terms recently. Forty years ago, she wrote, there were 95 journalists working in the Manchester office. Now “I will be the only staff reporter in the north … Whenever the Guardian runs a trend piece about how ‘we’ are all watching The Wire/eating baba ghanoush/wearing harem pants, I always think to myself: in north London maybe. No wonder the media, particularly the so-called ‘quality’ press, misses important shifts among the majority of people in the UK who do not live inside the M25.”

It’s a theme that can’t be brushed aside too easily. Once upon a time – Harry Whewell’s time – Fleet Street and its northern outposts of Glasgow and Manchester marched in step, well-resourced regional editions of the nationals digging and noting. Birmingham and Liverpool had their own substantial morning papers. The Yorkshire Post often seemed a quasi-national itself. Darlington’s Northern Echo basked in the glory of Harry Evans’s editorship.

Not all of that has evaporated. The Post and the Echo soldier on. But there is no critical mass, nor any balancing act. Northern newsrooms – like Midlands correspondents and the rest – have all but vanished. Local news agencies feeding the nationals are similarly diminished. London, reaching for its newspaper or clicking online each morning, gets no consistent sense of what non-metropolitan life is like.

Pidd remembers the plaudits she won for correctly predicting that George Galloway might win the Bradford West byelection. “‘How did you know?’ I was asked at the Guardian’s morning conference after the Respect MP won a 10,000 majority. It wasn’t rocket science, I said. ‘I was there’. Or, perhaps more accurately, I had bothered to go.”

Perhaps you can replay that selfsame record today in the wake of Ukip advance from South Shields to deepest Surrey. Some shifts can’t be spotted sitting at terminals in Canary Wharf or WC1. Some mood swings begin on the ground far from Westminster. But devolution actually seems to mean less news from Scotland, and vice versa. And the web-based march of British journalism across the world can leave home bases scantily covered, as though

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Alexander Lebedev seeks Independent, Evening Standard partner

Category : Business

Billionaire’s move is due to forecasts of continuing losses amid unprecedented pressure from Russia’s security services

Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev is seeking a minority partner for his UK media holdings, the Independent and the Evening Standard, due to forecasts of continuing losses.

The move comes a month after the tycoon announced he was drawing up “contingency plans” for the papers, as he faces charges of hooliganism and battery that he says are designed to stifle his criticism of corruption in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The 52-year-old former KGB agent, who is worth $1.1bn according to Forbes, has said his chief businesses will make losses this year – an expected $5m at his small airline Red Wings and 1.5bn roubles (£29.9m) at his National Reserve Bank, amid unprecedented pressure from Russia’s security services. He is also considering floating his stake in Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s chief opposition and investigative newspaper.

This month his son, newspaper publisher Evgeny Lebedev, wound up a high-profile investigative journalism initiative his family launched to expose corruption. The London offices of the Journalism Foundation were closed less than a year after the project was launched.

Alexander faces up to five years in prison if found guilty of punching Sergei Polonsky, a property developer, in the face live on television in September 2011. He faces the same hooliganism charge as that levelled against the punk protest band Pussy Riot, who were jailed after performing anti-Putin songs in a Moscow cathedral.

Charts that tell the tale of stagnation Britain

Category : Business

A new report shows how Britain’s economy has stagnated. These are the key charts. Click the image below to enlarge
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Press barons may be for good or ill, but it’s the accountants you have to watch

Category : Business

The death of Arthur Sulzberger and departure of Marjorie Scardino have sparked palpitations at the New York Times and FT – because the number-crunchers might now take over

Two-and-a-half pretty significant things happened last week, all of them illuminating one of the great media conundrums of this or any other time. Who should be allowed to own newspapers? What’s the sanctified way of becoming that otherwise most loathed of all species: the press baron?

Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger, the old (86 years) lord of the New York Times manor was a very good baron indeed. But would he have relished the send-off his beloved Gray Lady gave him, the endless pages of eulogy, the miles of roseate remembrance?

I rather doubt it. Sulzberger was a quiet, self-effacing chap who (as his executive editor Max Frankel recalled) would occasionally submit a little piece for publication – and never complain when it didn’t appear. He pottered the back roads of New York society, making connections, soothing irate advertisers, but otherwise he left his journalists to get on with it. He just watched their backs.

And he also built in a doughty “A” and “B” share stock structure that allowed the ruling family to survive as guardians of their treasure. “As many other well-known newspaper families have abandoned the business – most recently the Bancrofts of Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal – so the Sulzbergers have remained steadfast in their belief that they were put on this earth to preserve and protect the New York Times“, wrote the Times business guru, Joe Nocera.

Shall we see Punch’s like again, many other NYT writers seemed to ask between the lines. Probably not: his son, Arthur Jr, is hands-on, occasionally maladroit and indubitably less revered. Now dad’s gone, no one can be utterly sure that the curse of the Bancrofts won’t eventually point its moving finger at the Times. Change in the highest reaches is always unsettling – which is absolutely the point about Marjorie Scardino’s retirement as chief executive of the Pearson Group, sparking palpitations at the FT.

The Financial Times accounts for only 4% or so of Pearson revenue. It makes useful money today, but it has lost pots of cash through some of the years Scardino was in overall charge. Come rain or shine, though, she stuck by it resolutely. The FT, she said, would only be sold “over my dead body”. She was a manager with a special gift for, and understanding of, journalism. She and her husband had a Pulitzer prize to prove it. But her successor is a finance man from Pearson’s dominant education division. He says how highly he values the Financial Times. Others think that could mean a £750m sale when the time is right. Come in Thomson Reuters? Bloomberg versus Dow Jones versus Reuters is all the pluralism the markets may think they need. We’ll see; but the bulwarks of passionate commitment may have weakened.

Meanwhile, over at the Independent Alexander Lebedev is under intense pressure. Prosecutors gather to charge him with hooliganism and assault after a John Prescott moment on a TV chat show. He says he’s making “contingency plans” for the papers he owns. He doesn’t deny that his businesses in Russia are losing cash, or difficult to sell. It’s only half a significant switch as yet. Since nobody can be quite sure why Lebedev bought the Evening Standard and Indy in the first place, nobody can tell how staunchly he’ll stick by them. But more uncertainty, more anxiety, more contingent fretting inevitably follow.

So there stand our three benign barons: a family stalwart, a corporate wizard, an unexpected oligarch. Some of the praise heaped upon them – by Nocera over Sulzberger’s share structure, for instance – is a touch astigmatic. Think of all the Wall Street wrath about Rupert Murdoch’s A/B shareholding that makes News Corp a family fiefdom. Think, too, of the Daily Mail and General Trust voting arrangement that sees Rothermere dominance go on and on. Was Punch Sulzberger a hero for never telling his editors what to do? So why can Jonathan Rothermere be criticised for not calling Paul Dacre to account over his paper’s McCann coverage?

The plain fact from this week of change is that there is no template for media ownership, constructed and imposed. Pluralism arrives from all points of the human compass. And if there’s one true enemy of journalism’s variety and independence, it enters wearing a white collar and dark suit, accompanied by accountants.

Just turn to the Economist of a few days ago and see what the phone-hacking furore and subsequent putative separation of News Corp into entertainment and newspaper divisions has meant out there on the stock exchanges: the “A” shares up 53% in a year and changing hands at $25 a time – the best since before credit crunching began.

Investors love what the hacking furore has forced Murdoch to do. It’s a split they’ve pushed for all along. Who wants to be wasting good money on words and pictures when cable TV and the rest are so much more profitable? Who wants to pay for Times of London or New York Post losses at a moment when (as Lebedev mordantly observes) “nobody’s buying newspapers”? Only, you fear, the best of the barons: the ones who put journalism first.

■ Diversification is the name of the survival game. But even so, you have to roll an eye over the Washington Post’s latest commercial buy whose profits will help to keep the paper going (or not). Yes, it’s a hospice.

How to Cover the 11th Anniversary of 9/11? – New York Times (blog)

Category : Stocks

How to Cover the 11th Anniversary of 9/11?
New York Times (blog)
By MARGARET SULLIVAN The pain, the outrage, the loss – these never fade. The amount of journalism, however, must. This is the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 – that infamous date in the history of New York, the nation and the world.

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What is a data scientist worth?

Category : Business

Bruno Aziza: What does it take to make a data scientist?
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We all know that Data Scientists are a hot commodity these days. Research Analysts from McKinsey to IDC report that companies around the world will need to hire thousands of them if they are to win in the new data economy.

Unfortunately, there has been very little data with regards to what a data scientist is and how much he or she should be paid.

The first-of-its-kind global survey looks across all data professionals to identify the trends & drivers that impact the compensation of these data geeks worldwide. This is great data if you are a data scientist today, aspiring to be one or if you are in the process of hiring a few. Here are some highlights; the full report can be found here.

The majority of Data Professionals are bullish about their ability to earn more. Many of them acknowledge that they’ve earned more money this year than they did last year. Yet, when it comes to compensation and job security concerns, Data Scientists are better off. Data Scientists make more money than their Data Professional peers and are less concerned about job security.

When it comes to maximizing earning potential, length in job works better than education. Further, working longer than seven years in the same data job helps Data Pros earn more. But many of them switch jobs within six years and miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of seniority. Data shows that, while their average earnings climb by about 15% from year one to year seven, it can jump by 38% after year nine.

There a lot more insights in the 2012 Data Professional Survey. For instance, you’ll find out if men make more money than women. You’ll also be able to see what skills Data Pros should develop to maximize their earnings. And here’s some of the survey sample data here for you to play with.

Bruno Aziza is co-author of “Drive Business Performance”, a book on Data and Culture and has worked at BusinessObjects/SAP, Apple, Microsoft and many more data-driven companies. He is currently VP Marketing at SiSense. You can contact him directly at

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Channel 4 News’s Benjamin Cohen to leave to ‘make millions’

Category : Business

Tech correspondent to return to technology startup world after joining ITN-produced news programme in 2006

Benjamin Cohen, the Channel 4 News technology correspondent, has left the programme after six years to return to the technology startup world with a new internet company.

Cohen joined the ITN-produced news programme in 2006 as its first full-time technology correspondent.

He told MediaGuardian on Friday that now was the right time to leave journalism and “make millions” with his new business, about which he revealed few details.

Cohen was the youngest correspondent hired by Channel 4 News when he joined in 2006, aged 23. It was his first full-time job in journalism, having been a freelance e-business columnist for the Times and an internet entrepreneur.

He made his name with internet firms founded and sold at the height of the dotcom boom. He claims at one point to have been the youngest director of a public company.

Cohen would only say on Friday that his new business – which he is launching along with Alex Halliday, serial entrepreneur – would be an “international venture based around the social networking revolution”. It will be based in New York, where he will move in the coming weeks, but will have an office in London.

He said the company was in the process of raising a $6m round of venture capital funding to launch the product, which will be available first in New York and then region by region across the US and the UK.

Cohen told MediaGuardian: “I slightly fell into journalism by accident. It now feels like I want to make millions. You’re not going to do that at Channel 4 News and you’re not going to do that in journalism. The way to do that is to launch a business.”

Jim Gray, the editor of Channel 4 News said in a statement: “Benjamin has really made a mark on the technology brief for Channel 4 News, bringing ingenuity and imagination to our coverage. Beyond that, he has increased our understanding and expertise in amplifying our journalism through social media. We wish him all the best as he sets off to tackle fresh challenges.”

Mary Beith, the journalist who broke the ‘smoking beagles’ story

Category : Business

Mary Beith, who died last weekend aged 73, was responsible for one of the most memorable newspaper front pages in the history of popular journalism.

She was the undercover reporter who took pictures of dogs being forced to inhale cigarette smoke, resulting in an iconic 1975 People splash: “The smoking beagles.”

The animals were being used in an experiment to test a new (allegedly) “safe” cigarette.

The story behind the story was a classic example of investigative journalism – a mixture of determination, chutzpah, good luck and comedy.

Beith, then working for The People in Manchester, was asked by its investigations supremo, Laurie Manifold, to see if she could obtain a job in an ICI animal-testing laboratory.

She chose the Macclesfield lab for the simple reason that it was close to her home and, in spite of lacking insurance cards, managed to land the job.

Part of her work involved trussing the dogs into fabric slings, essentially straitjackets.

“Their heads were restrained by locking boards in place like medieval stocks,” she later wrote.

“The dogs were then lifted on to trolleys to the smoking platforms and the masks, valves and tubes were fixed to their faces.”

Some of the 48 beagles used in the experiment were expected to smoke as many as 30 cigarettes in a day.

Beith was equipped with a spy-style camera and snapped a number of shots of the chain-smoking beagles. But when she took the film back to the office the dark room staff laughed at her efforts.

One told her: “The next time you take pics of those beagles, Mary, please be sure to take your finger off the lens!”

“It was a very small camera,” she told me in an a couple of years ago.

So the following day she went back to the lab and got the shot that you can see above, the one that shocked People readers.

In all, Beith spent seven days at the lab in the summer of 1974. But, she said, “the paper then sat on the story for around six months.”

It caused a sensation when it was finally published in 1975 and Beith won an award as campaigning journalist of the year.

Though this was her best-known exposé by far, Beith carried out many other investigations, including the abuse of the elderly in psychiatric institutions. Her daughter, Alison, remembered her mother dressing in a nurse’s uniform for that assignment. She was also sent on several assignments to Northern Ireland.

Mary Beith was born in 1938 in London. Her father, Freddie, spent some years as a journalist before he became a civil servant.

She went to boarding school in Surrey and was briefly a teacher before taking a journalism course and initially working for the Bournemouth Times. While there she met and married a Bournemouth Echo reporter, Roger Scott. They later had three children.

After moving to Macclesfield, she took a reporting job with The People at its Manchester office.

In the late 1970s, following the break-up of her marriage, she moved to Glasgow and joined the Sunday Mail.

She then moved to the Highlands and began freelancing, mainly for The Scotsman, and much of her work was concentrated on archaeology and botany.

She eventually settled in Sutherland, at the mouth of the Kyle of Tongue, and in 1989 started to write a fortnightly column for the West Highland Free Press, mainly on the history of Gaelic medicine.

It led to he writing a book Healing Threads, Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands. She became immersed in Gaelic education and also wrote a couple of children’s books. One, The Magic Apple Tree, was published in Gaelic.

In view of the smoking beagles story it was perhaps, ironic that she was an habitual smoker throughout her life. Diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer, she managed to outlive the doctors’ original prognosis.

She is survived by her children – Alison, Andrew and Fiona – and eight grandchildren.

Mary Beith, journalist. Born 22 May 1938, in London. Died 13 May 2012, in Sutherland, Scotland

Sources: The Scotsman/The Herald/Personal communications Hat tip: allmedia Scotland

America’s digital apostle has some harsh news for print

Category : Business

Stop listening to newspaper people, says John Paton of the Journal Register group. ‘We’ve had since the mid-90s to get this right and we are no good at it’

Viewers of the sumptuous new Guardian TV ad – featuring three little pigs and paeans for “open journalism” – may find the participatory ways of online exciting and life enhancing. But here, as with all things in life, you can play the mood music sweet or harsh – and my Canadian editor chums are still reeling from a brutal lecture from John Paton, currently America’s leading apostle of the surge from dead forests to digital (at his burgeoning Journal Register group). To begin with, he says, “crappy newspaper executives are a bigger threat to journalism’s future than the internet“.

See how easily they delude themselves? Print’s coming back, they say. Rubbish! “In America from 1985 to 2005 – the very peak of print newspaper advertising revenue – the average annual growth was 2.7%; [and] that was the golden era… It will be more than a quarter of a century before we’re back to 2005 levels. Though that’s not going to happen as advertising gets an ever smaller share of marketing dollars.”

So Paton moves into invigorating hymns about participation, digital democracy and open publishing. He wants us to acknowledge that “the print model is broken”. Look, “as career journalists, we’ve entered a new era where what we know and what we traditionally do has finally found its value in the marketplace and that value is about zero … ‘You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone’ isn’t much of a business model.”

He wants community-building and the dialogue and inter-reaction that can make it live. He’s bored with top-down journalism and gatekeeper antics. He has seen a caring, sharing world and he knows it can work. “For God’s sake, stop listening to newspaper people. We have had since the mid-90s to get this right and clearly we are no good at it. Put the digital people in charge, of everything. They can take what we have built and make it better.”

And I’ll have some apple chutney with my barbecued pork, please…

■ It’s the problem Woodward and Bernstein couldn’t solve: is the Washington Post a local or national paper? Enter the formidable Sarah Ellison, reporting for Vanity Fair, and a quote from the Post‘s publisher that resounds. “One of our biggest problems is that we have three people at the top of the paper, none of whom care a shit about Sports, Metro or Style,” says Katharine Weymouth. And there’s the rub. If you range around Europe, looking at circulation trends, you know that British national papers – without regions to identify with – are falling fastest of all. Give them a big city to hang on to and they can gain more traction. But is that what supposedly national editors eager for glory and Pulitzer prizes want? There’s the most profound problem of the lot.

Apple’s over-compliant media | Dan Gillmor

Category : Business

Instead of writing breathless press releases for the next iPad, journalists should be asking harder questions of the tech giant

It’s become the stuff of headlines lately when Apple announces a new product. But should rumors and content-free announcements of announcements also be considered news?

They are in the weird world of business and technology media, thanks to a combination of lazy journalism and Apple’s uncanny ability to turn otherwise sensible people into wind-up dolls. We’re seeing the latest example this week in a series of breathless reports that confirm previous rumors of an imminent announcement of what is probably the next version of the iPad.

Allow me to parse that last sentence, with some history.

Apple announced the first two versions of the iPad in each of the past two winters, and released them for sale in April 2011 and March 2010. Traditional and new media reports have passed along a variety of rumors guessing, reasonably, that the iPad 3 would arrive on much the same schedule, with the assortment of improvements that accompany the release of any new technology product. Much of that “coverage” has centered on: a) when Apple would announce the tablet; and b) what the improvements might be.

Then, earlier this week, Apple sent out invitations to an event to be held next Wednesday in San Francisco. (Needless to say, I am not invited; I’ve been on Apple’s invisibility-cloak list for years.) The picture in the invitation included what appears to be a portion of an iPad. The invitation text included this: “We have something you really have to see. And touch.”

This is media catnip – with predictable results, including another boost to Apple’s stock price. In the day since the invitations went out, hundreds of stories relaying next week’s announcement have appeared online and in print. The invitations themselves sparked a flurry of what might be called an Apple version of Kremlinology, including several speculative pieces the message Apple is sending with the partial-screen image.

There are, of course, some mitigating factors in journalists’ contribution to this endless charade. Apple is, after all, the most valuable company in the world, one of the most profitable enterprises of all time – largely because it sells technology and software that are world-class and, in several cases, the best, period. And it has enormous influence on popular culture. Moreover, a large segment of the journalism audience seems to devour all news about Apple, even rumors of announcements of upcoming announcements. Online page views of Apple stories are routinely higher than page views for many, if not most other, topics. Paying the bills is part of running a media organization.

But there’s also a strong element of journalistic laziness, if not worse. Just as covering the horse race is easier for political reporters than digging deep into the issues, lame write-ups about Apple’s latest quarter-turn of the proverbial screw are easier than investigating on Apple’s less-praiseworthy policies and acts. (Here’s some useful journalism relating to the working conditions at Apple’s foreign manufacturers’ plants: an article in Grist, which covers environmental topics, noting that labor costs for iPhones and iPads are a tiny fraction, per unit, of Apple’s overheads. In other words, Apple could still enjoy staggering profit margins even if it required its captive manufacturers to do the right thing.)

In the 1990s, Microsoft enjoyed much the same kind of treatment from journalists. The run-up to the launch of Windows 95 produced some of the most entertaining hyperbole in media history.

What was less entertaining – though it took the tech press many years to notice – was Microsoft’s growing monopoly and its systematic abuses of that market dominance. The most public evidence of the company’s most egregious anti-competitive behavior surfaced in evidence and testimony during the big anti-trust trial in the late 1990s, but the company’s activities were no surprise to anyone who’d been paying serious attention. Microsoft hasn’t totally reformed its ways, but it’s been a vastly better corporate citizen since being put on notice that its predatory actions were not acceptable.

Recent reporting about Apple’s manufacturers is the exception to a longstanding obsequiousness that has characterized most journalism about the company. I keep wondering when the trade and business press will focus, hard, on the company’s global patent war against Android and hardware competitors, or its overwhelming dominance in the tablet market; or its “our way or the highway” polices with app developers and users. Apple’s record of control-freakery is unmatched in the industry – and expanding. (The fact that I can link to these stories is evidence that there’s not total journalistic silence on these topics; but these pieces are distinct outliers amid the OMG-isn’t-Apple-wonderful? chorus.)

Sooner or later, the journalistic worm will turn on Apple. I hope, when it does, that the journalism won’t tip over into an antagonism that is as unbalanced as today’s bended-knee style. Apple is one of the most important enterprises on the planet, for some very good reasons, as well as less praiseworthy ones. It’s time for journalists to examine much more closely all aspects of the organization and its power.