Archive for October, 2008

Ad of the month announced

October 31, 2008

A Multiple Sclerosis ad has won October’s Ad of the Month in New Zealand.

In the monthly competition run by the Newspaper Advertising Bureau, the inventine effort (pictured below) scored a $250 cash prize for the TBWA/Whybin agency team headed by creative director Andy Blood.

Judges said: “This ad stood out because it wasn’t a conventional-style print ad with headline and visual. It was unexpected but rewarding.”

The ad is now entered into the 08/09 Ad of the Year, which fetches a $10,000 prize.

Click here to view a larger version

Competition watchdog not hounding Seven’s WAN deal

October 30, 2008

Australia’s competition regulator has cleared the Seven Network to increase its stake in West Australian Newspapers, according to reports in The Age and The Australian.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission concluded an investigation into the television company’s growing interest in WAN and informed Seven it had no objection to its purchase of 22.4 percent of the publisher or any potential takeover.

The Australian said it is the first time the ACCC has approved a metropolitan cross-media print and TV deal, although the watchdog reserved the right to review its ruling at a later date.

Food site chews up competition

October 30, 2008

IN JUST five months, the Singapore food website SoShiok has swept away its competition with a mix of practical recipes for Asian families and an active blog area offering criticism and original food ideas., a food and beverage website owned by Singapore Press Holdings, publisher of the Singapore Straits Times, was ranked first in the Food and Beverage (lifestyle and reference) category between July and September, according to Internet research firm Hitwise, which tracks the surfing habits of more than 1.5 million users in Singapore. captured a 10.51 per cent share in the category for September, sending it ahead of its competitors which include user-generated review sites and food critic blogs. The site is a part of SPH’s AsiaOne news and lifestyle portal.

SPH’s my paper reported that makes meal recommendations for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all picked by editors. The site’s editor Chen Jingwen told my paper: “We make things even easier by having an interactive restaurant search feature with a map function that tells you where your dining place is located.” focuses on interaction with its community of readers through initiatives such as organised events, competitions for user-generated reviews and online forums.

US daily abandons print edition

October 30, 2008

American specialist newspaper Christian Science Monitor will cease its daily print edition next year, it announced on its website.

The publication will move to an almost exclusively web-based model, supplemented by weekly print and daily email editions.

The 100-year-old newspaper revealed its circulation had been declining for 40 years, and that the move would involve a “modest reduction” in staff numbers.

The LA Times reported that the change in model could be particularly risky for the seven-times Pulitzer Prize winner due to its primarily subscription-driven revenue. Advertising income, which formed only $US800,000 of the paper’s annual $US12.5m revenue, would have to be more heavily relied on according to the Times.

The Times said the new publishing cycle could suit the Monitor, which had not been able to get its print product to many of its subscribers until two days after printing. However it was “uncertain” as to whether the Monitor would maintain its traditionally more analytical journalism style with the new instant delivery platform, the Times said.

Female editor No. 2, this time for Manawatu daily

October 29, 2008

Bernadette Courtney has been appointed Editor of the New Zealand daily Manawatu Standard, a Fairfax statement said today.

Bernadette Courtney

Bernadette Courtney

She has been appointed to replace Paul Taggart who left the paper recently to become Managing Editor – Production for the Standard’s publisher, Fairfax Media.

The appointment follows another new female editor for a New Zealand paper, with Australian Natalie Gauld joining APN’s Hawke’s Bay Today last week.

Ms Courtney is currently Assistant Editor of The Dominion Post and has a journalism career spanning 25 years in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

Ms Courtney, who is in the closing stages of completing a Fairfax leadership development course at Auckland University, said she was excited by the role and looking forward to her start on November 24.

“I’m looking forward to joining what is a very talented and motivated team,” she said.


Hawke’s Bay Today takes on first leading lady

October 29, 2008

NEW Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay Today has appointed its first female editor-in-chief. She is Natalie Gauld, who has taken over the flagship newspaper of the Hawke’s Bay Newspapers company this week.

Natalie Gauld

Natalie Gauld

Ms Gauld swapped the sunshine of Ipswich – where she was the first female editor of another APN paper, Queensland Times – for the frost of New Zealand’s North Island last week.

She replaces Louis Pierard, who has stepped back from the editor’s chair but remains with the newspaper.

Ms Gauld told she had “come over to New Zealand on family holidays and thought – gee, we could live here”. Her family will join her when the Australian school year finishes.

As well as the HBT, Ms Gauld will oversee four community titles in role that she believes will benefit from her past experience and also provide an opportunity to learn.

“The move from a morning tabloid to an afternoon broadsheet gives me new challenges in cycle and layout,” she said.

“The editorial focus is definitely the same though – local news comes first.”

The change in locale has already present its own challenges.

“Everyone here boasts about the weather – it is a beautiful part of the world – but in my first week I’ve had an earthquake and subzero temperatures.

“I left the house one morning and there were two helicopters flying. My journalistic instincts took over and when I got to the office I asked what road crash or tragedy had occured. I was informed the choppers are often taken up to blow the frost off the grapes in the vineyard.”

OMG! Fairfax buys stake in online directory firm

October 29, 2008

FAIRFAX Digital has made a move into the online search and directory market by buying a strategic stake in Online Marketing Group, an Australian company with a portfolio of generic domain names such as and

Fairfax Digital Director of Corporate Development, Dale McCarthy, said OMG will leverage Fairfax’s assets and knowledge to achieve its goal of building the “largest network of response ad (pay per click) sites and niche directories” in Australia.

Ms McCarthy indicated the move into online search and directories is “not so much a newspaper strategy as a digital strategy”. She said Fairfax would be a minority shareholder in OMG, who would source content from Fairfax as well as other parties to populate the sites.

Photographer snares award for bombing coverage

October 28, 2008

STEPHEN Dupont won the photojournalism section of the United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Awards last night for his coverage in Fairfax papers of a suicide blast in Afghanistan that nearly killed him.

He had been travelling with a convoy of Afghani police when a Taliban suicide bomber attacked, killing around 15 and wounding 14, including Dupont, who suffered minor head injuries.

You can read Dupont’s personal account of the incident and access a slideshow of his images at the New York Times’ blog The Lede by clicking here.

Stephen Dupont shortly after the blast

Stephen Dupont shortly after the blast

Advertiser eases readers’ money problems

October 28, 2008

A CAMPAIGN to save readers money in tough economic times is continuing at Advertiser Newspapers in Adelaide. Its Sunday Mail newspaper has just finished a competition to give one reader $A40,000 as relief on their mortgage repayments, or as a deposit for a new home.

The contest is part of an ongoing set of initiatives run by Marketing Director Dan Demaria to help readers who are “feeling financially burdened”.

Advertiser Newspapers partnered with HomeStart in a two-week campaign, tapping a strong community fear about the ongoing financial crisis. Adelaide’s home prices are now under pressure, having enjoyed double digit growth in the last few years, including a 17% jump in the last 12 months.

The Sunday Mail, which claims Australia’s highest reaching newspaper per capita at 56% of audience, carried an entry form with coupons in the Monday-to-Friday Advertiser for readers to collect.

Even with recent cuts to (Australian) interest rates, many South Australian families are still feeling financially burdened,” said Mr Demaria.

Advertiser Newspapers and HomeStart want to significantly ease this burden for a lucky reader, or to help assist someone trying to get a start in a housing market that has seen a 17% growth in median housing prices in the last 12 months.” said Mr Demaria.

The promotion, he said, demonstrated Advertiser Newspapers’ commitment to helping South Australians. Other promotions run by the newspaper company have included SuperSavers and a $70,000 cash giveaway, which used printing towers normally deployed by the food and beverage industry to give each copy a unique number in a lottery-style competition. sees it from all angles

October 27, 2008

A NEW drag-and-drop feature to help readers decide how they want to read the news has been launched by the News Ltd flagship website,

Readers will be able to customise pages so they can prioritise the type of news they want.

Publisher Sigrid Kirk said in a statement the changes had been after research to explore what readers wanted from a news website. “An ever-increasing array of options in every category of life fuels people’s desires for total customisation,” she said. “People are picking and choosing what works for them and on their terms.”

The website layout is ordered into content boxes such as “National & Local”, “World”, “Fox Sport” and “Business”. If you are more interested in sport than any other category, you can use your cursor to drag that box higher up the home page – and this reorganisation of “your” homepage is saved for next time.

(Editor David Higgins discusses why made its move in this direction in the story below.)