Dial M for Murdoch Reply

Politicians may need to be crazy brave to oppose the interests of the Murdoch press.

Rupert Murdoch, an American by choice since 1985, is the most powerful man in Australian media.  His local company, News Limited, while dominating the Australian press, is but a fraction of a globalised News consortium selling cable and satellite TV, films, music and newspapers.

Dial M for Murdoch is a blistering account of  News International‘s, excesses in Britain, written by Independent newspaper journalist, Martin Hickman, and Tom Watson, a Labour MP. More…

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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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…

Technology : a very short history of journalists and computers 1

Australia’s most prestigious newspaper group, Fairfax Media, this week moved to sack about eighty experienced sub-editors to outsource production and cut costs. The move followed share price falls resulting from from weak advertising markets, currency fluctuations and the impact of the internet on readership. It may have long term implications for the journalism culture which has sustained quality Fairfax newspapers.

Newspapers, like the automatic wrist watch or the big gun battleship, were inventions of the mechanical age. Journalists were at the front end of an information assembly line where reporters collected the raw materials, sub-editors refined it, lay out staff boilerplated the words together and printers manufactured the industrial out put. Newspapers were called “the daily miracle”.

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Future journalists need knowledge as well as skills 2

There has always been a view in the journalism industry that journalism educators should really be producing a better class of word technician. We heard a little of that at the Journalism Education conference , from some members of the industry panel who reckoned that what they needed was future journalists expert in the Dickensian skills of shorthand and writing news copy designed for the telegraph.

I have heard worse. I remember a celebrated JEA conference on the Gold Coast , when the cadet trainer, as he was styled, from the Brisbane Courier Mail got up before us and said he’d looked at all the university journalism courses and in his words, “they are all bullshit”!

“Why are they bullshit?” he asked.

“Because they don’t teach spelling and punctuation!” 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…