News downsizes Reply

News Limited has ditched its traditional newspaper structure to meet the demands of 24/7 multiplatform journalism.

The legacy of a series of takeovers and expansions, News Limited had 19 Divisions, including The Herald and Weekly Times in Melbourne, Queensland Newspapers and Nationwide News in Sydney.
Under the new organisation, management will be reduced to five divisions with multiplatform responsibilities.

News Limited, owned by the US based News Corporation, publishes most of Australia’s major newspapers, including the Herald Sun, the Courier Mail, the Sunday Mail, the Adelaide Advertiser and the Sydney Telegraph. While Rupert Murdoch was one of the first newspaper publishers to warn against the impact of the internet, News Corporation’s attempts to diversify into new media such as My Space, have floundered. Newspapers are now a relatively minor part of international News Corporation operations which are dominated by cable television, satellite services, movies,  and other entertainment.

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Making Australian media acountable : the Finkelstein report 6

Australian media are not as accountable as a democracy might expect.

That’s the view of the Australian government’s Independent Inquiry into Media and Media Regulations, conducted by a retired judge, Ray Finkelstein.

Australia has a very narrow mainstream media ownership by democratic standards. One foreign media group dominates the newspapers, while the taxpayer funded ABC generates the bulk of electronic media news and current affairs.

Finkelstein as seen by the Sydney Morning Herald

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Journalism abuse : calling MPs rats and child molesters 1

You could expect the Liberal National Party to be angry about MP Peter Slipper ignoring party orders and becoming Speaker of the Australian parliament. His switch was an embarrassment for the aggressive opposition leader, Tony Abbott, who until then, was confident he could force a new election.

News Corp's digitally altered front page


But what of reporters at News Corporation dropping any pretense of objectivity and larding their reportage with  abuse worthy of a shock jock?

This week’s Sunday Mail, a Brisbane based News Corporation paper, carried the story, “How Labor lured Peter Slipper to Speaker’s chair in Federal Parliament” by Renee Viellaris, a senior writer. More…

The death of newspapers? 3

In Australia, we hear a lot about a crisis in journalism, caused by newspapers’ decline.

But perhaps thats because we get much of our international news from the United States where there appear to be genuine problems with the big newspaper groups whose revenue underpinned much of its quality news. These rather gloomy stories are spread by mainstream news  distribution systems which still inform many globalised discussions.

Reports of the death of Australian newspapers were premature, according to The Newspaper Works. The State of Australian Newspapers 2011, published by Newspaper Works, claimed that Australian newspaper revenue had bounced back by 6% in 2010 after a big decline caused by the Global Financial Crisis. More…

Who is Alan Knight? : an opinion on News Corporation 1

Error by omission is a frequent fault of journalists trying to balance concise writing against providing all the relevant information.

I am guilty of it myself sometimes.

This month, I was contacted by the Age and asked to write an opinion piece about the contest to secure the contract for the Australia Television Network, Australia’s voice to Asia. I wrote a piece which described the Network, currently managed by the ABC, as “pedestrian” . More…

Murdoch’s paywalls don’t work : Mark Scott Reply

Media organisations should ride the internet wave, not try to turn back the tide, according to Mark Scott, the Managing Director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Speaking at the Journalism Education Conference in Sydney, Scott attacked Rupert Murdoch’s firewalls around News content.

The boldest paywall experiment is underway globally with [Murdoch's] The Times in London. But as Clay Shirky points out, before the paywall went up the two Times websites had
roughly six times more readers than there were print sales of the paper. Post paywall, the web audience is less than a sixth of print sales and the paying web isless than a twentieth of print sales, possibly far less. And at the same time, circulation for the print editions of these newspapers has continued to decline at the same dramatic rate as other papers in the UK market.

With so much content available free online, there would be a struggle to obtain a price for content, unless it was “extraordinarily distinctive”. In the UK, because non-subscribers could not read Times stories forwarded by friends or those linked through Twitter or Facebook, the stories remained locked in a very limited and narrow world speaking only to itself. More…

Can Journalism survive the internet? : News 2.0 2

Mainstream  journalism has failed the public interest, reckons author, Martin Hirst.  Citizen journalism is too feeble to provide a viable alternative. The future looks grim.

Fortunately,  Dr Hirst believes that pessimism of the intellect should be coupled with optimism of the will.

Dr Martin Hirst is an Associate Professor of Journalism at the Auckland University of Technology. A former Sydney journalist, he’s previously co-published a book on journalism ethics.

Hirst’s new book,News 2.0, asks whether journalism can survive the internet? His brief is broad and his arguments impeccable. But ultimately he provides only qualified answers. More…