NYT looks at the condition of newspapers in Spain; an update for NYT Cooking app to add ‘Learn to Cook’ section
US Labor Department reports that the economy added 271,000 jobs in October as unemployment rate falls to 5%, the lowest level since April 2008
The Spanish media gets examined by The New York Times today in a feature that is especially critical of the country’s Prime Minister and the Popular Party.
Written by Raphael Minder, who is based in Madrid, the feature recounts the loss of some 11,000 jobs for journalists in the country, and the tightening grip of the press by the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Many in the industry say the formidable combination of government and financial pressures has blunted their ability to cover any range of conflicts of interest among big business and politicians at a time of multiplying financial and political scandals that emerged after the onset of Spain’s debt crisis.
“The newspapers are in the hands of creditors, and also in those of a government that has helped convince the creditors that the papers should be kept alive rather than just asphyxiated because of their debts,” said Miguel Ángel Aguilar, a veteran Spanish journalist who founded his own publication, Ahora, in September.
Friends in Spain have reinforced this view with me – though to be honest, most were never supporters of the conservative government to begin with.
But the issue of media company debt is a real one, and one that has severely damaged the media here in the States. Sometimes the debt is not traditional debt in the sense of bank loans, but the ownership of private equity companies that force the media properties to pay large fees, all the while cutting costs through staff reductions. In this manner, the B2B magazine business has been decimated in the US (something the trade press prefer to not talk about as M&A firms are often their most loyal advertisers).
“Newspapers are no longer led by their editors, but by chief executives who are worried about accounts and trying to maintain good relationships with those in power,” said Pedro J. Ramirez, the former editor of El Mundo, the conservative newspaper he founded 25 years ago. Ramirez blamed dismissal on his decision to publish embarrassing text messages sent by Prime Minister Rajoy.
Of course, the government in Spain doesn’t see any problems with the media as it currently exists in Spain.
I don’t see a problem with the press in Spain,” said a spokesman for the Popular Party.
The New York Times launched a new app yesterday, NYT VR, in partnership with IM360 (see TNM report on the app here). But, in general, the paper has been less than an aggressive developer of apps.
But one app the paper seems to be happy with is its NYT Cooking app which received another update today. The app is a good example of what happens when an app gets launched, then frequently updated. It remains fresh, adds features, and generally outperforms those apps that get launched, then are forgotten.
The Times has updated the app 16 times since its initial launch in September of last year – far more that other apps in its portfolio. User reviews continue to be good, though following the release of iOS 9 there were a few complaints about the app crashing, but the developers quickly released a bug fix update following that feedback. That kind of quick response also helps keeps users loyal to the app.
Here is the update information:
Master essential dishes, ingredients and cooking techniques in our new Learn to Cook section, which features our best instructional guides, recipes and videos for novices and confident home cooks alike.Also, plan your Thanksgiving with our complete guide to the year’s biggest feast.If you like our app, please take a moment to rate us in the App Store. For bug reports or complaints, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Economist for iPad has also been updated, bring the app up to version 3.2.2.
The app now notifies users when a new issue is available when they auto-resume an older issue. The update also makes sure the app is compatible with the new iPad Pro (which Apple has still not set a launch date for).
The unemployment rate, always a bit of a disputed number, also fell to 5 percent. That is the lowest level for that measurement since April of 2008.
The strong jobs report may give the Fed the ammunition it needs to decide to begin raising interest rates at its next meeting in December.