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International: Newspapers battle popularity of cell phone text messages

10-May-2004
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International: Newspapers battle popularity of cell phone text messages

Editors and publishers from Europe and the United States have warned that nontraditional communications - such as cell phone text messages - are rapidly outflanking radio, television, and print media because of their immediacy and proximity to the public.

In a two-day meeting to stimulate newspaper readership among the young, US publishers from the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the New York Post exchanged views with European media leaders on shrinking newspaper circulation and the European and American media scene.

"The (Jose Maria) Aznar government in Spain was unseated by a shower of telephone text messages, an alternative to the traditional print media, which was initially repeating the government line that the train bombings should be blamed on Basque terrorism instead of al-Qaida," said Nina Calarco, editor and publisher of southern Italy's Gazzetta del Sud.

But students attacked the newspaper publishers and editors during a round table on Friday for using arcane language, rehashing crime stories already seen on TV and wasting space on reporting on TV reality shows.

They said free tabloids were making headway against mainline newspapers because of their direct approach and brief stories.

The convention, organised by the Permanent Observatory for Youth and Publishers, heard how the American media was fighting stagnant circulation with new techniques.

The Los Angeles Times, said publisher and president John Puerner, has started publishing a daily in Spanish, Hoy, directed at the 53 per cent Hispanic youth group in the region to bring those readers to the mainline paper as they get older.

-- Los Angeles Times

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