December 5, 2023

Times Site Is Disrupted in Attack by Hackers

The hacking was just the latest of a major media organization, with The Financial Times and The Washington Post also having their operations disrupted within the last few months. It was also the second time this month that the Web site of The New York Times was unavailable for several hours.

Marc Frons, chief information officer for The New York Times Company, issued a statement at 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday warning employees that the disruption — which appeared to be affecting the Web site well into the evening — was “the result of a malicious external attack.” He advised employees to “be careful when sending e-mail communications until this situation is resolved.”

In an interview, Mr. Frons said the attack was carried out by a group known as “the Syrian Electronic Army, or someone trying very hard to be them.” The group attacked the company’s domain name registrar, Melbourne IT. The Web site first went down after 3 p.m.; once service was restored, the hackers quickly disrupted the site again. Shortly after 6 p.m., Mr. Frons said that “we believe that we are on the road to fixing the problem.”

The Syrian Electronic Army is a group of hackers who support President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Matt Johansen, head of the Threat Research Center at White Hat Security, posted on Twitter that he was directed to a Syrian Web domain when he tried to view The Times’s Web site.

Until now, The Times has been spared from being hacked by the S.E.A., but on Aug. 15, the group attacked The Washington Post’s Web site through a third-party service provided by a company called Outbrain. At the time, the S.E.A. also tried to hack CNN.

Just a day earlier, The Times’s Web site was down for several hours. The Times cited technical problems and said there was no indication the site had been hacked.

The S.E.A. first emerged in May 2011, during the first Syrian uprisings, when it started attacking a wide array of media outlets and nonprofits and spamming popular Facebook pages like President Obama’s and Oprah Winfrey’s with pro-Assad comments. Their goal, they said, was to offer a pro-government counternarrative to media coverage of Syria.

The group, which also disrupted The Financial Times in May, has consistently denied ties to the government and has said it does not target Syrian dissidents, but security researchers and Syrian rebels say they are not convinced. They say the group is the outward-facing campaign of a much quieter surveillance campaign focused on Syrian dissidents and are quick to point out that Mr. Assad once referred to the S.E.A. as “a real army in a virtual reality.”

In a post on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, the S.E.A. also said it had hacked the administrative contact information for Twitter’s domain name registry records. According to, the S.E.A. was listed on the entries for Twitter’s administrative name, technical name and e-mail address.

Twitter said that at 4:49 p.m., the domain name records for one image server,, were modified, affecting the viewing of images and photos for some users. By 6:29 p.m. the company said, it had regained control, although as of early evening, some users were still reporting problems receiving images.

The social networking company, based in San Francisco, said no user information had been affected.

Mr. Frons said the attacks on Twitter and The New York Times required significantly more skill than the string of S.E.A. attacks on media outlets earlier this year, when the group attacked Twitter accounts for dozens of outlets including The Associated Press. Those attacks caused the stock market to plunge after the group planted false tales of explosions at the White House.

“In terms of the sophistication of the attack, this is a big deal,” Mr. Frons said. “It’s sort of like breaking into the local savings and loan versus breaking into Fort Knox. A domain registrar should have extremely tight security because they are holding the security to hundreds if not thousands of Web sites.”

Vindu Goel contributed reporting.

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DealBook: Barnes & Noble Shares Jump on Sign of Microsoft Interest in Nook

William Lynch, Barnes  Noble's chief executive, shows off the Nook tablet at a bookstore in Manhattan.Jim Sulley/Barnes Noble, via NewscastWilliam Lynch, Barnes Noble’s chief executive, with a Nook tablet at a bookstore in Manhattan.

10:51 a.m. | Updated

Shares of Barnes Noble skyrocketed in early trading on Thursday after a report said Microsoft was offering $1 billion for the digital assets of the bookseller’s e-reader business.

In morning trading, shares of Barnes Noble were up 18 pecent, at $20.99.

Investors appeared encouraged by signs that there might be a deal for the digital arm of Nook Media. The report appeared on the technology blog TechCrunch, which cited internal Microsoft documents.

Microsoft already owns about 17.6 percent of the Nook division, having paid $300 million last year. According to TechCrunch, the company would seek to take over the unit’s e-books and devices operations.

The Nook business would then focus on selling through apps on “third party” devices.

A person briefed on the matter confirmed the authenticity of the documents, but added that they appeared to be at least several weeks old. It is not clear what Microsoft’s current thinking is or whether it will reach a deal with Barnes Noble.

This person cautioned that any such transaction was at least several weeks away.

News of Microsoft’s interest comes over two months after Leonard S. Riggio, Barnes Noble’s chairman, disclosed his effort to buy the bookseller’s 689 stores.

By consummating deals with Mr. Riggio and Microsoft, Barnes Noble could effectively sell off its most viable businesses at a time when both face significant challenges.

A spokeswoman for Barnes Noble declined to comment. A representative for Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.

In December, Pearson, the British educational publisher and owner of The Financial Times, agreed to acquire a 5 percent stake in Nook Media. That investment valued Nook Media in its entirety at nearly $1.8 billion.

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YouTube Said to Be Planning a Subscription Option

The overwhelming majority of videos on YouTube, a unit of Google, will remain free to all, but the plan will let the company’s partners try out a second source of revenue, analogous to the flexible pay walls that some newspapers and magazines have adopted.

There will be subscription channels for children’s programming, entertainment, music and many other topic areas, according to the people with knowledge of the plan, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they had been asked by YouTube not to comment publicly yet. Some channels will cost as little as $1.99 a month.

These won’t be channels in the television sense of the term; rather, they will consist of libraries of videos on demand, much like the thousands of free channels already on YouTube. Some of the video makers who have worked with YouTube on the subscription option want to convert existing fans to paying customers; others hope to distinguish themselves by selling archives of old TV episodes.

Some of the partners planned to start promoting their channels on Thursday, though the announcements could come sooner, in light of recent press coverage. The Financial Times reported on Sunday that the announcements were expected as early as this week.

A YouTube spokesman declined to comment on the specifics of the subscription plan. In a statement the company said, “We have nothing to announce at this time, but we’re looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our partners with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer.”

YouTube’s plan to add a subscription option has been an open secret in the online video industry for more than a year. The plan has gained momentum as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have drawn in subscribers for their video offerings. Netflix has nearly 30 million streaming subscribers in the United States; Hulu’s paid service, Hulu Plus, has about four million. Amazon has not said how many people pay for Amazon Prime, which includes its video service, but the number is known to be in the millions.

YouTube’s strategy is different; in effect it is empowering partners to be their own Netflixes and Hulus, albeit not at the same scale. It looks more like the à la carte model of a newsstand than the bundled channel model of cable television.

If the subscription option catches on, it could herald a huge change for online video, which has subsisted almost entirely on advertising revenue. Executives at YouTube, though, have sought to downplay the initial importance of the paid subscriptions; some have described the plan as a test, intended in part to mollify some of the most popular contributors to the Web site.

Indeed, some homegrown YouTube stars and start-ups have been frustrated by what they see as relatively low amounts of revenue coming from the ads that YouTube attaches to their videos. By enabling the subscription option, YouTube is giving them another way to get paid — if people are willing to pay, that is.

It is unknown how YouTube will split the revenue with the partners that try subscriptions. A number of YouTube’s most popular video makers have passed on the subscription trial, preferring to watch and learn from others.

The company pitched two options to partners: one version with ads and one version without. The ad-free option was appealing to programmers of children’s channels, according to some people briefed on the plan. Another appealing aspect: some of the subscription channels will be available internationally, allowing for a vast potential audience overseas.

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DealBook: Easing of Rules for Banks Acknowledges Reality

Jamie Dimon, chief of JPMorgan Chase.Yuri Gripas/ReutersJamie Dimon, chief of JPMorgan Chase.

When a global committee of regulators and central bankers agreed to a new set of rules for the banking system a year and a half ago, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, told The Financial Times, “I’m very close to thinking the United States shouldn’t be in Basel anymore. I would not have agreed to rules that are blatantly anti-American.”

Over the last weekend, Mr. Dimon finally got what he had wanted: a form of deregulation of sorts. The new international capital requirements for banks, known as Basel III — apologies if your eyes are glazing over — were significantly relaxed by regulators.

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Instead of requiring banks to maintain, by 2015, a certain amount of assets that can quickly be turned into cash, the most stringent deadline was pushed to 2019. Perhaps more important, the type of assets that could be counted in a bank’s liquidity requirement was changed to be more flexible, including securities backed by mortgages, for example, instead of simply sovereign debt.

This sounds boring, but it is important stuff. Increasing bank capital and liquidity requirements — think of it as the size of a bank’s rainy day fund — is arguably more significant than all of the new laws in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The more capital a bank is required to hold, the lower the chance it could suffer a run on the bank like Lehman Brothers did in 2008.

Given memories of the financial crisis, the idea that regulators would loosen rules even a smidgen is considered a huge giveaway. The conventional wisdom is that the banks are the big winners and the regulators are, once again, patsies, capitulating under pressure to the all-powerful financial industry. The headlines tell the story: “Banks Win 4-Year Delay as Basel Liquidity Rule Loosened,” Bloomberg declared. The Financial Times splashed, “ ‘Massive Softening’ of Basel Rules.” “Bank Regulators Retreat,” the Huffington Post said. Reuters described the new regulations as a “light touch.”

Mayra Rodríguez Valladares, a managing principal at MRV Associates, a regulatory consulting firm, put it this way, “With every part of Basel III that is gutted, we are increasingly back where we were at the eve of the crisis.” She went on to say, “In today’s financial world, regulators pretend to supervise while banks pretend to be liquid.”

But this is a knee-jerk response.

While there is no question that the original rules would do a better job preventing the next 100-year flood in the banking system, their quick adoption most likely would have created their own drag on the economy because bank lending would most likely have been curtailed.

“If Basel had been implemented this year as written, it almost certainly would have thrown the U.S. and other economies into a recession more than going over the fiscal cliff ever would have,” John Berlau of the Bastiat Institute, a research organization promoting free markets, wrote. Mr. Berlau, who may have a penchant for hyperbole, had been calling the deadline the Basel cliff. He added, “Basel III has been delayed, and for Main Street growth and financial stability, that is all to the good.”

Mr. Berlau is right. In truth, the reason that regulators ultimately chose to relax the rules was simple practicality: many banks in Europe and some in the United States would have never been able to meet the requirements without significantly reducing the amount of credit they were to extend to Main Street over the next two years, according to people involved in the Basel decision process.

That’s the other side of the regulatory coin that Main Street often forgets about. At the time that the original rules were written in 2010, the consensus among economists was that the global economy would be in much better shape today than it is.

“Nobody set out to make it stronger or weaker, but to make it more realistic,” Mervyn A. King, governor of the Bank of England, explained.

Let’s be clear: high capital requirements are a good thing to do to reduce risk in the system. And there is no question that the banks, especially in the United States, are in a much stronger position than they were. Let’s also stipulate that the Basel committee did a horrible job before the financial crisis in setting and enforcing proper standards. Basel’s loosening of rules before the crisis that worsened the pain of the global banking system.

But the push for stricter rules just as the global economy is trying to nurse itself back to health, simply to satisfy the public, rather to find a solution that balances the risks to the economy and the banking system, would have been a mistake. The chances of a leverage-induced crisis from Wall Street banks right now is quite low.

The challenge for regulators is making sure their memories aren’t so short that they seek to scale back the rules again.

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Media Decoder Blog: In Universal-EMI Deal, Indie Labels Await Scraps From the Table

Who gets the castoffs from the biggest record company on the planet?

That is the question gripping the music industry as the Universal Music Group negotiates with European regulators over its $1.9 billion takeover of EMI Music, a deal that would give Universal — already the dominant music company, with hundreds of acts from Justin Bieber to Plácido Domingo — a market share of at least 40 percent.

After tough scrutiny from the European Commission, Universal now seems willing to sell large chunks of EMI as concessions to regulators — as much as half the company could be put up for sale, by one analyst’s estimate. And in one scenario now playing itself out with consequences at all levels of the industry, the biggest beneficiary of this process might be independent labels.

This week it emerged that Lucian Grainge, the chairman of Universal, had made a bold offer to independent labels and executives, giving them the opportunity to buy about $300 million worth of European rights to EMI’s music, according to a report in The Financial Times that was corroborated by recipients and others who had seen the letter. Those assets include the catalogs of Virgin, Mute, Chrysalis and other labels, as well as some of EMI’s vast holdings of classical music and jazz.

The letter came as a surprise given what has been a unified stance by the indies against the deal. Impala, an organization in Brussels that represents thousands of small labels, has been one of its loudest critics. And last month Martin Mills, founder of the Beggars Group, one of the largest and most successful independents — its artists include Adele — minced no words when he spoke against it at a United States Senate hearing.

But the responses to Universal’s offer revealed that not everyone in the independent world opposes the merger — at least, that is, as long as there might be something to be gained from it.

Daniel Miller, who founded the influential label Mute in 1978 and sold it to EMI in 2002, said Mr. Grainge’s letter was aimed at entrepreneurs like him who had sold their babies to EMI but now had a chance to get them back. And he said he was interested in buying.

“Universal is already the biggest music company in the world — that’s not going to change,” Mr. Miller said in an interview on Thursday. “This is an opportunity to strengthen the independent sector. In my personal view, it would be good for Mute, it would be good for our artists, and good for the whole independent distribution network.”

Another respected independent figure who now appears to favor the deal is Patrick Zelnik, the head of the French label Naïve and an Impala board member. He is teaming with Richard Branson on a possible bid for Virgin. Mr. Branson — who founded the label in 1972 and sold it to EMI 20 years ago — called Virgin a “sleeping beauty” that “has been mismanaged in the last 10 years.”

The shocked industry response to Mr. Zelnik’s announcement suggests what might be a strategy by Universal to divide and conquer — by offering deals that can benefit certain small labels, it would seem, Universal has been able to make allies of some former foes. Impala, for example, once unanimous in its opposition, now shows a rift.

But Universal has not been fully successful in damaging the opposition. On Monday, a majority of Impala’s board voted in favor the merger — but the group’s official stance remains unchanged, since the vote came short of a two-thirds requirement to overturn its earlier vote. And it wasn’t long before more indies rallied to the opposition. Merlin, a group that negotiates licensing deals on behalf of thousands of independents, gave its support — unanimously, it noted.

And some indie figures are firm in their opposition to the merger, regardless of the possibility of picking up Universal’s crumbs. In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Mills said he was not interested in buying any of EMI, and still believed that regulators in Europe and the United States should block the deal outright.

“My position is that no remedies are great enough to cure the damage to the market of having a behemoth of this size,” Mr. Mills said. “However, if it is going to go through anyway, it’s better to have remedies than to have nothing.”

The most novel answer to the question of who should get divested EMI assets came in the form of a letter to The Financial Times on Thursday from three musicians who represent the Featured Artists’ Coalition in London. The three co-heads of the group — Ed O’Brien of Radiohead, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and the 1960s British pop star Sandie Shaw — said that the copyrights for songs should be offered to the artists who created them.

“To sell them to other corporations, whether large or small, is just a perpetuation of an old business model, which has seen the recorded music business halve in value over 10 years,” the artists wrote.

“We do not need to repeat the mistakes of the past,” they added.

Ben Sisario writes about the music industry. Follow @sisario on Twitter.

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E.C.B. Warns of Dangers Ahead for Euro Zone Economy

But the E.C.B., in its twice-yearly assessment of risks to the euro area financial system, did not mention one risk that clearly weighs on many investors, economists and political leaders: the possibility that the euro zone could break up.

“I have no doubt about the euro,” Mario Draghi, the president of the E.C.B., told members of the European Parliament in Brussels. “The one currency is irreversible.”

He said he had discussed the possibility of a euro breakup in an interview with The Financial Times, published Monday, to counter “morbid speculation” about the demise of the common currency.

By some measures, the stresses on the European financial system are approaching or even exceeding levels last seen after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in 2008. For example, market perception of the risk that two large banks in the euro area could fail in the next year have surpassed the previous peak in 2009, according to data in the E.C.B.’s Financial Stability Review.

“The transmission of tensions among sovereigns, across banks and between the two intensified to take on systemic crisis proportions not witnessed since the collapse of Lehman Brothers three years ago,” the report said.

Several negative developments are converging, the report said. Banks must roll over about €220 billion, or $286 billion, in debt during the first three months of 2012, even as market funding has become scarce and expensive. Credit crunches are already visible in some countries like Ireland, Vitor Constâncio, the vice president of the E.C.B., told reporters Monday.

Meanwhile, slower economic growth is likely to lead to an increase in bad loans, which will further weaken lenders.

“The whole year is going to be a difficult year for the banks,” Mr. Draghi said.

But Mr. Draghi and Mr. Constâncio said that the E.C.B. addressed the problem when, earlier this month, the bank announced plans to begin lending money to banks at 1 percent interest for as long as three years. The action was one of a series of moves designed to ensure that banks have the money they need to support economic growth.

The measures “will eliminate all excuses to say that credit could decelerate,” Mr. Constâncio said.

Echoing recent statements by Mr. Draghi, the Stability Review leaned on political leaders to swiftly deploy measures they have agreed on to contain the crisis, such as the new euro area bailout fund.

Mr. Constâncio also criticized European leaders for a plan, supposedly voluntary, under which investors would accept a 50 percent decline in the value of their holdings of Greek bonds. That action in July put markets on notice that default of a euro zone country was not unthinkable, and raised pressure on other countries, Mr. Constâncio said.

Political leaders have since said that Greece will be a unique case, a statement some investors have taken as an implied guarantee on the debt of other countries. Asked if there was in fact a guarantee, Mr. Constâncio put the onus on governments to implement policies “that will counter the risk of that happening.”

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G-7 Faces Calls for Urgent Action to Spur Growth

MARSEILLE, FRANCE — With the prospect of a drawn-out recession in the United States and Europe, officials of the Group of 7 industrialized nations faced calls Friday to act urgently to stimulate growth, even at the risk of running up deficits that have brought some countries under pressure in global financial markets.

A day after President Barack Obama pressed the Congress to enact a $447 billion package of tax cuts and new government spending to try to create jobs in the United States, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner insisted that such an economic stimulus would reduce the odds of America slipping into a double-dip recession.

But he warned that headwinds from Europe’s deepening debt crisis risked hitting the United States at a time when it is still weak. In remarks that indicated Washington considers Europe’s problems to be a major threat, he admonished European leaders in a letter published in the Financial Times to take “more forceful action” to show they are committed to resolving their problems.

“Europe is still under enormous pressure,” Mr. Geithner said in an interview at the G-7 with Bloomberg Television. The crisis on the continent has been a “significant” factor in the U.S. slowdown, he added.

Concerns about Europe’s ability to contain the crisis deepened Friday when Jürgen Stark, a German who sits on the executive board of the European Central Bank and has opposed the bank policy of buying bonds from Greece and other troubled countries to support them, abruptly announced his resignation. European and U.S. stocks were off sharply Friday and the euro lost more than 2 cents against the dollar.

Europe’s leaders have struggled to prevent a crisis that started in Greece nearly two years ago from contaminating larger countries like Italy and Spain, as worries about high debt and deficit levels, and the health of European banks that hold the bonds of governments hit by the crisis, spread. Even France — which, together with Germany is footing most of the bill for the crisis — has came under attack as investors grow more nervous about the state of its banks.

Of course, the United States is not blameless. As the world’s largest economy, its slowdown, ignited by the global financial crisis that blew up on Wall Street in 2008, has ricocheted through other economies, none of which has ever really recovered since then.

The downgrade to the United States’s AAA rating by Standard and Poor’s ratings agency last month also did more damage to financial companies than initially thought, for instance by forcing banks to re-price the risks of what was once considered a totally risk-free asset — U.S. Treasury securities.

That event sparked particular angst in China, the world’s largest holder of U.S. Treasuries. Although China is one of the few locomotives of global growth, Beijing is facing the twin danger of seeing its two largest customers — the United States and Europe — slowing simultaneously while it struggles to encourage growth in its own domestic demand.

China has already stepped in, albeit mildly, to help support the euro by buying the debt of Spain and Greece, two of the countries hit hardest by the crisis.

Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior Chinese officials have talked for many months about their intention to buy more euro-denominated bonds with the country’s $3.2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, portraying this as a way to cement ties to Europe.

But bankers and economists say that while China wants to be helpful and appears to have poured tens of billions of dollars worth of foreign reserves into euro-denominated investments already this year, Chinese officials are still cautious about taking big risks with the country’s nest egg.

Washington is also ready to help ensure that Europe’s problems do not taint the United States, Mr. Geithner said. But he did not specify how, other than allowing that he is in regular consultation with his European counterparts.

“What well see in coming months is the Americans and Asians will become more open in their expression of concern about way the Europeans are handling the crisis, because unless they do address key problems, including the banks, there is a risk this is going to trigger a Lehman 2,” said Simon Tilford, the chief economist of the Center for European Reform in London. “So far they have kept their counsel publicly. But now they recognize Europe’s strategy is not working, and they are starting to panic.”

The G-7 ministers themselves, however, were not expected to announce any coordinated action or new initiatives to shore up growth in the advanced world, which the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Economic said Thursday is near stagnation and set to remain limp through the rest of the year, although a downturn on the scale of the last one appears unlikely.

Christine Lagarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, also urged Europe’s policymakers Friday to take bold and unified action to see the global economy through what she described as a “dangerous phase.”

In a speech delivered in London before she headed to join G-7 finance ministers under a blazing sun at the Palais du Pharon, a Napoleonic-era building perched by the azure waters of Marseille’s Vieux Port, Ms. Lagarde emphasized that governments with surpluses or the flexibility to use more direct fiscal action should do so.

The world is “collectively suffering from a crisis of confidence in the face of a deteriorating economic outlook,” she said. “Countries must act now and act boldly to steer their economies through this dangerous phase of the recovery.”

Ms. Lagarde also reiterated the fund’s concern about the health of Europe’s banks. Much to the irritation of European Union officials, she recently suggested that the euro zone’s bailout fund should be used to provide a big injection of capital into European banks.

On Friday, she did not back away from that position. “Some banks need additional capital,” she said, warning of the possibility of “a debilitating liquidity crisis.”

Keith Bradsher contributed reporting from Hong Kong and Landon Thomas Jr. from London.

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Apple Eases Rules for Publishers on Apps

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: June 9, 2011

An earlier version of this story mischaracterized The Financial Times’s motivation for shifting to a Web-based app. It was to avoid Apple’s store, not to attract readers from the store.

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European Ventures Seek to Fill a Void in World News

As a result, readers seeking international news are increasingly spoiled for choice — especially if they read English, the common second language of many Europeans and the favored tongue for many of the new outlets.

Worldcrunch, a Web-based start-up in Paris, offers English translations of newspaper articles from around the world. Presseurop, another new site edited from Paris, does something similar for European newspapers, translating articles into 10 languages, including English.

The Huffington Post, one of the most popular American news aggregators on the Web, has Europe in its sights, saying it plans to introduce a British edition soon. In Brussels, a site called Europe Today aggregates news from across the region, gathering snippets from a variety of European sources and translating them into English. Its founders want to start a pan-European newspaper — in print, no less.

Why the flurry of activity? European readers seeking international news in English could already choose from a variety of sources, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal Europe and The International Herald Tribune, which is the global edition of The New York Times. British newspapers and their Web sites are available across the Continent. Other publications, like the German magazine Der Spiegel, long ago introduced Web sites in English.

“I’m not so sure there is such a big market that needs to know what is happening in Berlin or Athens or Paris, all at the same time, and those that do already have several choices,” said Piet Bakker, a journalism professor at Hogeschool Utrecht in the Netherlands and author of a blog called Newspaper Innovation. “If you ask people in Europe what kind of information they want in a newspaper, local information almost always comes out on top.”

But the people behind the ventures say there is room for new entrants, as they aim to fill underserved journalistic niches or to replace coverage that has disappeared. They also want to develop new business models or tap financing from new sources.

English-speaking media have thought “they can do it all themselves,” said Jeff Israely, editor of Worldcrunch. “Now it’s becoming clear they cannot. Professional journalists are being brought home from foreign bureaus, and that is not going to be reversed.”

Mr. Israely, a former correspondent for Time magazine in Rome and Paris, had no job last year after Time closed much of its European operation.

He founded Worldcrunch with Irene Toporkoff, a former chief executive of the French unit of, and investments from three French Internet entrepreneurs. The site, which set up a beta version last year, made its official debut last week.

Using freelance journalists, Worldcrunch plans to publish several dozen English translations of articles from newspapers like Le Monde, Die Welt and La Stampa every week. While most of the papers are European, Hurriyet in Turkey and The Economic Observer in China are included, and Mr. Israely said he was seeking more global partners.

Some of the partner publications, like the French business daily Les Échos, have English-language sections on their sites where they post the articles Worldcrunch has translated.

Worldcrunch is exploring revenue-generating ideas, including selling the translated articles via syndication networks, Mr. Israely said. The income would be shared with originating papers.

“We don’t want to kill traditional media,” he said. “We are a start-up that relies on them.”

Revenue is not something that Presseurop has to worry about, for now. The site was set up in 2009 with financing from the European Commission in Brussels, which was worried by reports of growing skepticism about the European Union in member states.

While Presseurop compiles its contents from some of the same newspapers as Worldcrunch, its mission is more focused — to “bring the European Union to life,” as its Web site puts it.

“Europeans are interested in what happens in their close neighbors almost as much as what happens in their own country,” said Gian Paolo Accardo, deputy editor of Presseurop. “There is also growing interest in what happens at the European level. Yet the media tend to cover national topics more.”

Christofer Berg, co-founder of Europe Today, said young European expatriates, who move among European capitals with an ease that their parents never felt and communicate with one another in English, were poorly served by news outlets. Mr. Berg, a Swede, said he got the idea for Europe Today while he and a friend were studying in Paris. He now lives in Brussels and is an assistant to a member of the European Parliament.

These readers find the American- and British-owned papers that are available in Europe not Continental enough, he said.

“We just want to give that mobile, educated European individual something to read, because it’s not out there,” he said.

Mr. Berg said he and his friend, Johan Malmsten, a management consultant, have invested “tens of thousands of euros” of their money in the project, which was set up in 2008. They are looking for substantial additional investment to finance their vision of creating an ink-on-paper publication with its own journalists.

In anticipation of moving into print, they plan to change the name of their Web site to The European Daily.

For would-be publishers with a pan-European vision, there is a cautionary tale: the story of The European, a London-based newspaper created by the Fleet Street baron Robert Maxwell in 1990. Under new owners, the paper was closed in 1998, seven years after his death at sea, as sales dwindled and losses piled up.

Still, the name of Mr. Maxwell’s creation has retained its allure. A German journalist, Alexander Görlach, created a Web site two years ago under that name, offering news analyses and opinion. The site, originally published in German, recently added an English version.

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The Search: The Shifting Definition of Worker Loyalty

Just last month, Lynda Gratton, a workplace expert, proclaimed that it was. In The Financial Times, she said that it had been “killed off through shortening contracts, outsourcing, automation and multiple careers.”

Ms. Gratton seemed to be echoing the comments of many other career specialists who say that loyalty has been sacrificed to the realities of a fast-paced economy. It’s sad if this sterling virtue — so prized in a spouse, a friend, a pet — is now out of place in the business world.

But the situation may be more complicated. Depending on how you define it, loyalty may not be dead, but is just playing out differently in the workplace.

Loyalty implies sticking with someone or something even if it goes against your own self-interest. Especially in business, loyalty carries the expectation that you will be rewarded for this allegiance.

Fifty years ago, an employee could stay at the same company for decades, and the company reciprocated with long-term protection and care, said Tammy Erickson, an author and work-force consultant. Many were guaranteed longtime employment along with health care and a pension.

Now many companies cannot or will not hold up their end of the bargain, so why should the employees hold up theirs? Given the opportunity, they’ll take their skills and their portable 401(k)’s elsewhere.

These days, Ms. Gratton writes, trust is more important than loyalty: “Loyalty is about the future — trust is about the present.” Serial career monogamy is now the order of the day, she says.

Ms. Erickson says that the quid pro quo of modern employment is more likely to be: As long as I work for you, I promise to have the relevant skills and engage fully in my work; in return you’ll pay me fairly, but I don’t expect you to care for me when I’m 110.

For some baby boomers, this shift has been hard to accept. Many started their careers assuming that they would be rewarded based on long tenure. Now they are seeing that structure crumbling around them — witness recent layoffs. Don’t their experience, wisdom and institutional memory count for anything?

A longtime employee who is also productive and motivated is of enormous value, said Cathy Benko, chief talent officer at Deloitte. On the other hand, she said, “You can be with a company a long time and not be highly engaged.”

Ms. Benko, who is a boomer herself, has seen her company shift its focus to employees’ level of engagement — or “the level at which people are motivated to deliver their best work” — rather than length of tenure.

Younger workers are likely to hold many more jobs in their lifetime than baby boomers did, Ms. Benko said. More than previous generations, she said, they are asking themselves: Is my work meaningful and challenging, and does it fit in with my life? If the answer is no, they may move on. But the attitude is “I’m  leaving, I had a great experience, and I’m taking that with me,” she said. 

In certain people, though, loyalty shows up strongly as a personality trait, said Eva Rykr, an organizational psychologist and learning director of EQmentor, a professional development company near Charlotte, N.C.

Some people just have a need to attach themselves to someone or something, she said. But that can be risky when the object of attachment is an abstract company, she warned.

“Perhaps you can consider loyalty to your co-workers and clients as the new loyalty,” she wrote in a Web post last year. This would be “a practical loyalty that is based on our relationships.”

“Looking at the bigger picture,” she added, “you can consider loyalty to your team, your department or a cause.”

But employees may be invoking loyalty when something very different is involved. They may say they are staying in a job for the sake of their company, when, in fact, inertia and fear of change are keeping them there.

Then there are the effects of the recent recession. Many people — if they haven’t been laid off — have stayed in jobs not out of loyalty but because they feel they have no choice. Employers may need to prepare for profound disruptions as their workers head for the exits when the job market improves.

If the pendulum shifts, how will businesses persuade their best employees to stay? Money may do the trick, but not always. Especially with younger people, “you’re not going to buy extra loyalty with extra money,” Ms. Erickson said. Rather, employers need to make jobs more challenging and give workers more creative leeway, she said.

More experienced workers can benefit from opportunities, retraining, recognition and flexibility. Loyalty may not be what it once was, but most companies will still be better off with at least a core of people who stay with them across decades.

In short, if loyalty is seen as a commitment to keep workers of all ages fulfilled, productive and involved, it can continue to be cultivated in the workplace — to the benefit of both employer and employee. 


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