Tag Archives: Financial Times Deutschland

Out of Date – Out of Time?

Is journalism about to become history, noted in the ebooks as an antiquarian profession? There seem to be those who thinks traditional, fact-finding, journalism may already be dead. The major European finacial newspaper, Finacial Times Deutschland makes its last edition tomorrow, December 7. It will be like a funeral.

“News is becoming ever more streamlined. The concept of whole, complete article is out of date.”

Sascha Lobo

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The Financial Times Deutschland is hitting the newstands for the last time on December 7, and the Frankfurter Rundschau is insolvent. Behind this, lies a development that is bigger than the Internet, says media guru Sascha Lobo: news is becoming ever more streamlined. The concept of whole, complete article is out of date.

Food for thoughts her, at www.europress.eu:

“Don’t shoot the messenger” is the English proverb, meaning “Don’t punish the bearer of bad news.” Sure – but it’s hard not to.

The dying of the print media in Germany seems to have begun, and apparently the victims range from the left (Frankfurter Rundschau) to the centre (Financial Times Deutschland) – from the higher echelons including business magazine Impulse, to the lower ones such as lifestyle magazinePrince, which will be sold strictly online as of January 2013.

A lively discussion about the causes, and conclusions that must be drawn, has begun. Often it’s about business models, newspapers and of course the Internet. Less commonly, it’s about how the concept of news itself has changed, whether printed or pixilated.

Behind this lies a development bigger than the Internet. The history of technology is a history of streamlining: apparently, humanity has always striven to make the world fluid – and the Greek aphorism “Panta Rhei” (“Everything flows”) is to be grasped not as a declaration but as a clarion call.

Ironically, printed newspapers, which emerged in the early 17th Century, promoted streamlining in a crucial way; they were much faster at getting information across than the books that had been used until then. Digitisation and networking followed.

Written news therefore, whether on paper or via the Internet, comes in article form, which is the customary way it is consumed. But perhaps that will change, just because the audience also expects that same streamlining here. News gives you the feeling that you are up to date with the latest events. Perhaps it is not the printed newspaper, but the static coverage and the concept of a completed news article that lies at the heart of the crisis.

Brave news world

In the print media, those who avoid the streamlining culture best, are those outlets which remove themselves from mere reportage.

The printed magazine Landlust (covering life in the German countryside), which can be counted as a success, as it covers topics that keep it at a safe distance from the world of traditional news.

The Economist, hailed as a role model in both its printed and pixelated versions, sums up world news events in the print edition in one to three sentences; the remainder of the articles are analyses, background reports and opinion pieces. That is, texts that will help to understand the news process, rather that putting a reporter on them to flash-freeze them at a point in time.

A news article, regardless of the medium, is no longer enough to describe the world. The growing streamlining can be seen on the Internet as well, and for that reason the static article of news coverage we have grown used to has become obsolete. The news process does not tolerate any downtime.

Read the rest here.

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The European Meltdown Begin

The European economy seems to have entered the meltdown phase, as prime ministers in both Greece and Italy are leaving their posts and rumors of a euro zone break-up in a matter of few days are emerging. The financial markets continues to tumble, as the euro zone is now subject to an unconstrained panic attack from financial markets, with Italian spreads at 5.6%, Spanish spreads over 4% and the French spreads creeping to 1.5%.

“The market meltdown signifies the effective collapse of the notion of a leveraged EFSF and other technical quick fixes.”

Eurointelligence.com

The euro zone’s latest “comprehensive solution” collapsed yesterday, as all the technical quick-fixes did before. We have now reached the bifurcation point in the crisis where the euro zone will, within days, have to make a choice between debt monetization, which is hardly feasible without a political commitment to a fiscal union, and a break-up. The latter will happen if no decision is taken.

According to Reuters, citing unnamed EU sources, French and German officials have been discussing a radical systems change, involving a smaller and more integrated euro zone.

Eurointelligence.com comments in today’s morning brief:

“We believe this story is true, but likely to make the crisis much worse. A break-up followed by ringfencing the core would, in a first stage, cause the total collapse of the financial system in Europe, including in Germany and France. We are not talking about crisis resolution here, but about the resurrection of Europe from the rubble.”

In others words: The political leaders are about to give up on a rescue operation of Europe, and are changing focus towards saving whatever is possible to save.

At the same time; government  leaders are staring to resign, with Italian Berusconi and Greek Papandreau leading the way, leaving the euro zone in complete  chaos.

Robert Shrimsley of the Financial Times makes the point that there is now a possibility of technical government – led by Lucas Papademos in Greece, and Mario Monti in Italy, both former high ranking EU officials.

While European officials may find this reassuring, it is not solving what is fundamentally a political problem in those countries. The problem with technocrats is that they have avoided the traditional routes to power. Shrimsley  concludes the best politicians are also experts – they know what is politically possible.

“We agree with this. It is another one of these quick fix ideas. The EFSF did not work. Leveraging did not work. The next delusion is technical government. The euro zone crisis is a major political crisis at heart. This is why the financial markets are panicking,” http://www.eurointelligence.com writes.

As a result of the Italian crisis and the large exposure of Austrian banks to Italy ,Austria’s AAA rating may be in danger, Financial Times Deutschland reports.

In two weeks the analysts of Moody’s will visit the country and economists think that they decide to place the country on a negative outlook. In order to calm markets, the government now wants to quickly imitate the German example and introduce a constitutional debt break.

Personally, I’m quite stunned that a scenario I once (back in 2007) described as a “worst case,” is unfolding before my eyes, with the politicians repeating the same mistakes that others have done before them in almost every major crisis i history.

Anyway – here’s a postcard from our humorous friends at versusplus.com – a slightly different version of the famous “A Christmas Carol”  by Charles Dickens.

“In The Greek Midwinter”

See also: New Econparody Song About “Guess Who”

“Split-Rated” – New Econo-parody Song

iRock

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IMF Will Not Provide More Financial Aid For Greek

According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung it is almost sure that the IMF will not be able to continue to pay for Greece after June 29 and that three options are being discussed, one of which – the bankruptcy of Greece – is wanted by no one.

“It is our understanding that the EU is currently considering alternative options of a private sector involvement than a maturity transformation – which would trigger ratings downgrades and possibly a loss of access to ECB financing.”

www.eurointelligence.com

The second option is to use the Commission’s EFSM to take over the billions the IMF would have paid for otherwise. The advantage would be, from Angela Merkel‘s point of view, that it involves no votes of national parliaments.

A third option would be another adjustment program with yet more conditionality attached to it.

The article says the latter is option will be discussed at a technical level in Brussels today, but no immediate decisions are expected.

It is far from certain that Merkel will get a majority for that in Bundestag for such a package. And there remains the disagreement whether any such package should be accompanied by a private sector involvement.

The Wall Street Journal’s reports from Berlin that Germany is considering dropping its push for an early rescheduling of Greek debt.

The article quote unnamed officials in Berlin who express hope that a deal could be reached with Athens to render this step unnecessary.

Financial Times Deutschland, by contrast, reports that some central banks no longer exclude a voluntary restructuring – provided it does not trigger a negative chain reaction on the markets.

It seems like the conflicting news reports somewhat reflect the confusion that currently reigns in European capitals, as the system finds it, once again, hard to cope with actual crisis management, eurointelligence.com points out. 

“It is our understanding that the EU is currently considering alternative options of a private sector involvement than a maturity transformation – which would trigger ratings downgrades and possibly a loss of access to ECB financing.”

Meanwhile, European leaders seem to have agreed that Greece can cut its VAT rate from 23% to 20% in a move designed to win support for the new austerity package from opposition parties.

But Greece’s conservative opposition party said on Tuesday that a VAT cut was not enough to win its support, Reuters reports.

An official at the new Democracy Party says: “If correct, it is a good step but not good enough, not sufficient to restart the economy…The corporate tax and personal income tax cuts we suggested would have more impact, less cost and no immediate cash flow impact.”

The VAT deal is not confirmed yet, and the so-called “troika” is expected to complete its mission to Athens late this week and then produce its review of the government’s progress towards meeting its deficit targets.

German Handelsblatt writes that the Greek have warmed to the idea of creating an independent Treuhand charged with implementing the privatization program. While the principle of this idea seems to be agreed it is still unclear if the representatives of the EU, the ECB or the IMF will be directly involved in this.

 About 50,000 people gathered in central Athens, in a seventh consecutive day of anti-austerity protests.

Banging cooking pots, protesters held a banner in front of parliament reading: “We won’t go away until the government, the troika and the debt leave.”

Last night in Athens, a trickle of protesters stopped the traffic outside parliament building on Syntagma Square. Less than an hour later they were numbered in their thousands, chanting “thieves, thieves, thieves”.

 

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