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Special site launches on Afghan war

September 25, 2009

NEWS Limited websites today launch a multimedia package of exclusive content dedicated to the war in Afghanistan.

To view this exclusive material go here

News Ltd’s national defence writer Ian McPhedran and chief photographer Gary Ramage spent a month living with Australian troops at their forward bases in Oruzgan Province, covering the daily battle against the Taliban, the harsh environment and a deep cultural divide with their Afghan National Army comrades.

The exclusive material includes images of a Taliban rocket attack and an Army Chinook chopper mission that was attacked by mortars, together with interviews with pilots and diggers and rare images of Taliban weapons caches.

The package also features harrowing video and photographs of the war’s smallest victims, Afghan children, being treated at the Kandahar trauma hospital.

Their copy and pictures can be seen at,,,, and

And check out the latest in News Digital Media’s online charging strategy in the article below; plus listen to NDM boss Richard Freudenstein on his strategy

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.

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.

Obama boosts sales and web traffic

January 22, 2009

AFTERNOON wrap-arounds and spikes in traffic on leading newspaper websites marked the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States yesterday.

Newspapers put on extra staff and ran true 24-hour newsrooms to make sure their readers across the region did not miss a moment.

In Sydney, arch-rivals The Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald put out afternoon editions to catch the commuters. The Telegraph invested marketing dollars in spruiking its special on commercial radio stations – a strategy that would have also helped the Herald’s sales figures at the newsagent.

Other souvenir editions featured in the many cities of Australia and New Zealand and early indications are that newspaper sales increased as a result.

Coverage also marked a growing management maturity within the editorial departments, as online and print colleagues combined to ensure an integrated coverage and resisted the temptation to duplicate projects.

“The inauguration demonstrated that we are getting much better at planning who does what across the network of News Limited mastheads,” said the editor of, David Higgins. “So, rather than seven sites producing seven identical picture galleries, we have more journalists assigned to unique projects, which is a better result for our readers.”

His website had six journalists working through the night. “One of the most pleasing parts of the process,” said Mr Higgins, “was seeing all of News Limited’s mastheads work together to co-ordinate editorial and multimedia content for the network for online and print.”

News Ltd colleague Nic Hopkins, of The Australian, said his newspaper had “people on from 3am with correspondents filing from 3.30am out of Washington.”

“We have seen an estimated 30 per cent increase in traffic, with much of that caused by strong Google representation, a large number of picture galleries and a higher-than-average volume of videos, plus we completely changed our homepage template to provide saturation coverage of the inauguration,” Mr Hopkins said.

“This met or even slightly exceeded our expectations.”

Back at, Mr Higgins said: “I can tell you that Tuesday was the biggest day of the year so far for with about 650,000 total unique visitors — and we expect Wednesday’s figures to be in excess of that.”

Mr Higgins said he would not know the final figures until later Thursday, “but our servers have been working over-time”.

Another News Ltd property, Brisbane’s, reported a “marginal increase in page impressions (with) unique visitors about average”. Editor John Grey said the increase was in “our normal main traffic times, not overnight”.

“We had a news editor from online updating the site and a print team preparing a souvenir print edition for inner-city counter sales,” Mr Gray said.

At Fairfax Media, online editor-in-chief Mike Van Niekerk, who has charge over the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age of Melbourne, said: “I can’t give you accurate figures just at this time.

“Events such as the presidential inauguration are significant new events that we will always do something special for, for our readers. All I can say is that we had additional staff overnight to work on our coverage.”