Archive for July, 2009

Publishers consider Google pull-out

July 29, 2009

NEWS LTD and Fairfax Media are evaluating their relationships with Google after the search giant moved into the online real estate listings space – a market currently dominated by the two publishers – according to The Age newspaper.

News, through, and Fairfax, through its Domain property, face further competition for real estate listing dollars after Google launched its own service.

This competition could lead the two publishers to re-evaluate their spending of millions of dollars to buy search terms from Google, the report said.

Fairfax’s Lloyd Whish-Wilson told The Age: “We are looking at our options at the moment. We are obviously not keen to support a would-be competitor with our revenue.”

Simon Baker, an online classifieds specialist and former boss at, said Google was moving from a search engine to a portal that “is now serving up the end data itself”.


News gives metros hyper-local power

July 28, 2009

A SIGNIFICANT editorial shake-up has been announced by News Ltd this evening (Tuesday).

It would appear senior journalists from local newspaper groups have moved to metropolitan papers; perhaps in part to encourage a so-called hyper-local focus.

Its chairman and chief executive, John Hartigan, has made five appointments in the senior editorial ranks.
They are:

o Toni Hetherington, currently editor-in-chief of Leader Newspapers in Victoria, has been promoted to deputy editor of the Sunday Herald Sun;

o John Trevorrow, currently managing editor of the Herald and Weekly Times group, will take over as Leader’s editor-in-chief;

o Scott Thompson, currently editor-in-chief at Quest Newspapers in Queensland, becomes deputy editor of The Sunday Mail in Brisbane;

o Sue McVay, now deputy editor of the Sunday Mail, will take up the new position of managing editor for both The Courier-Mail and The Sunday Mail;

o Neil Melloy executive editor at The Courier-Mail, is to be editor-in-chief at Quest.

“Community connection is key to the future of vibrant and successful newspapers,” said Mr Hartigan in reference to the appointments of Scott Thompson and Toni Hetherington.

“In turn, John Trevorrow and Neil Melloy bring a wealth of daily newspaper experience to the Leader and Quest groups, ensuring they will continue to thrive in their regions.”

Mr Hartigan also praised Sue McVay for managing to juggle two roles – deputy editor and managing editor – at The Sunday Mail for the past 10 months.

Marketers face additional scrutiny – report

July 27, 2009

ACCOUNTABILITY is the top issue facing marketers, according to a report released by Australia’s News Digital Media.

The study conducted by research company, Core Data, of more than 288 marketing professionals across Australia examined current market sentiment and future marketing plans.

Marketers are experiencing greater scrutiny from management with the majority of respondents (61%) saying they were required to show more accountability in their decision making as a result of the downturn.

The News Digital Media Report – Accountability the top issue facing marketers also found:

• A more frequent monitoring of marketing activity by management with reporting cycles becoming shorter term for most marketers (57%).

• Most marketers (59%) felt they were being given different objectives and instructions from management as a result of the economic downturn.

• Truncated marketing planning cycles with 38% saying their planning cycle has become shorter as a result of the economic downturn. Plans spanning less than 6 months have grown from representing 9% to 66% of the marketers.

• Budgets are being cut with 62% of marketers experiencing marketing budget cuts in the current financial year as a result of the economic downturn.

• Changes in media mix used has seen most mediums apparently lose ground to online, for which 75% of marketers are already allocating relatively more budget to online as a result of budget cuts.

News Digital Media’s chief commercial officer, Ed Smith, said “The report is evidence that marketers across Australia are feeling the pressure of today’s economic environment as we all try to do more with less.

“They are subject to more scrutiny from management and are not replacing staff who leave. Many are reducing their spend on brand advertising and marketing with many putting launches on hold.”

Business paper to charge for online content

July 20, 2009

AMID industry-wide discussion on the possibility of charging for online journalism, New Zealand’s National Business Review has told readers it is taking the plunge, offering a six-month subscription for $NZ89.

Publisher Barry Colman said his publication was at the start of “The Great New Journalism Adventure”.

The introductory price will be followed by a standard charge of $NZ149.

The “Subscriber Only Content service” would be additional to the regular news provided online, Mr Coleman said in a letter to readers.

“These selected, top stories will be aimed at providing you quality, original, useful material you will not read anywhere else”, he wrote. “And they will be relevant to you as a time-poor business person. They will add a new quality dimension to business reporting in New Zealand.

“We will be offering you an introductory subscription rate for access to this exclusive content for $89 (normal rate $149). This will allow you automatic access to all Subscriber Only Content for the next six months. The cost is a little more than 80c a day and I promise you it will be one investment you won’t regret.”

Mr Colman predicted 20 per cent of the NBR’s web news would be behind the subscriber-only firewall.

He described the practice of providing news online for free as “madness” and complained that “the aggregators” had “profited the most from the supply of … free news copy”.

National money section to launch

July 16, 2009

NEWS Limited tonight announced the launch of a new national section titled Your Money, which will appear in metropolitan newspapers each Monday and online at and masthead websites.

It is aimed at families are looking for clear, simple and timely financial advice from trusted sources.

News promises the section will “cut out the jargon to inform, educate, entertain and inspire readers, helping them to better manage their personal finances”.

The section will be edited by Anthony Keane, a former financial planner. He was editor of The Adelaide Advertiser’s weekly personal finance liftout from 2006, and a business editor of the newspaper. He joined The Advertiser in 1996.

Columunists will include Sunrise presenter and finance expert David Koch and his wife Libby. They will focus on financial planning.

Your Money is a cross-platform brand and will run in the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, Courier Mail and The Advertiser and online at masthead websites and

Each week, content in print will be further developed online with video, expert blogs and financial tools and up-to-the-minute personal finance news and views.

Alan Oakley, Editor, National Features for News Ltd, said there was no better time to be launching such a section.

“We will be talking to the millions of Australians who want independent advice on how to plan their financial future. We will address complex issues of money management in a simple style and format not currently seen in any other media. We believe people will come to regard Your Money as their financial friend,” said Mr Oakley.

Journalists demand access to text messages

July 16, 2009

TWO newspapers have made an unusual freedom of information demand in court, asking for access to the SMS messages of city officials.

Journalists want a city judge to order a telecommunications company to turn over possibly thousands of text messages.

The judge, rather than the journalists, would then go through the messages to seek evidence of corruption.

The action is being taken by the sister daily newspapers in Detroit – the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press – to seek out the truth of allegations of corruption by the city administration of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

A decision on the proposal – being conducted under a proposed settlement of a Michigan Freedom of Information lawsuit – is expected next week.

PANPA announces Technical Excellence dates

July 13, 2009

PANPA has announced the dates that entries into the Technical Excellence category of the annual awards should come from. Members were asked to collect newspapers between June 22 and July 10.

Entrants for the 2009 Technical Excellence Awards must supply three (3) copies of their newspapers from two of the dates specified below (that means sending six (6) newspapers in total).

For Dailies, choose from:
Friday, June 26
Tuesday, June 30
Saturday, July 4
Wednesday, July 8

For Sundays, please submit:
Sunday, June 28
Sunday, July 5

For Non-Dailies, choose two dates (and send three newspapers from each) from between:
June 27 to July 10

Note: These dates apply to the Technical Excellence categories for Single-Width and Double-Width press newspapers. The Pre-Print/Supplement sub-category has separate rules – check the website.

If you have any problems complying to the supplied dates, contact PANPA to discuss.

Technical Excellence newspapers must arrive at PANPA by Friday, July 24. Send to:

PANPA Awards
Suite 62, The Hub
89-97 Jones St

See the Technical Excellence awards page for details.

Five bucks a month for online news?

July 13, 2009

THE New York Times could settle on US$5 a month as the magic number for access to their website in a pay-per-view format, Bloomberg reported.

The US$5 figure emerged as the newspaper quizzed subscribers about their willingness to pay for online content.

The subscriber survey suggested that the US$5 would open up all content of what is the most popular newspaper website in the US, the report said. is currently free to view, after it flirted with a pay-for-premium-content model two years ago.

The company also floated a smaller US$2.50 figure in the survey.

The possible US$5-per-month figure is one of the first specific developments in the news site paywall debate, as media companies consider new business models to monetise content in the online space in the face of weak advertising revenues.

Ad of the Year cuts up competition

July 10, 2009

THE best newspaper ad in New Zealand has been announced by the Newspaper Advertising Bureau.

"Help! He's got a knife!"

"Help! He's got a knife!"

DDB’s “Knife” creative for the Throaties throat lozenges took out the Newspaper Ad of the Year for 2008/09 at last night’s awards ceremony in Auckland.

The creative team, headed by executive creative director Tony Talbot, wins NZ$10,000.

“The Newspaper Ad of the Year winner is strikingly simple and page stopping. It’s advertising at its best”, said Lexie Ribot, creative manager of the NAB.

All the finalist ads can be viewed in full here.

Jackson’s web video hits

July 10, 2009

MICHAEL Jackson’s funeral boosted traffic to major news websites by 20 percent yesterday.

Fairfax Media NZ group online editor Sinead Boucher said had 20 percent more unique browsers than on an average Wednesday. editor David Higgins revealed his site had a similar spike in traffic.

Jackson’s death brought Stuff’s biggest ever day. Ms Boucher said her site experienced bandwidth peaks of three times the normal level as readers watched video from the memorial service.

News sites committed staff to the story in the early hours of Wednesday, anticipating the wave of interest.

Ms Boucher said switched to its “defcon” layout, which focuses on one key story. “We built photo-galleries, added lots of sidebars and opinion pieces, and asked for reader comments- which came in droves,” she said.

Celebrity news site, which broke news of Jackson being rushed to hospital, stayed ahead of the story, leading with its exclusive that the death certificate failed to state a cause of death.

At News, Mr Higgins said his team were now efficiently co-ordinating News Ltd’s wide network of resources for mega-stories such as Jackson’s death and funeral after the experience of the Victorian bushfires and US President Obama’s election.

Darren Burden, of Fairfax Digital, said the middle-of-the-night timing of the funeral limited the story’s impact on web traffic.