tip off

Media briefs: Smith v Murdoch … ciggie front pages … ad revenue data …

Smith v Murdoch: an exercise in vanity. Dick Smith likes to remind everyone that he was “hopeless” at school. It’s a claim few would dispute. But the unspoken message behind his boast is that education — and, by inference, educated people — can’t really know much because he quickly went on to become a millionaire.

It’s this anti-intellectual streak that seems to motivate much of Smith’s current scattershot campaign against over-population, foreign ownership, and — without a hint of self-knowledge — what he calls “the widening gap between rich and poor”. What is it about wealthy, middle-aged, self-made men that makes them think (once they’ve made their pile), that they know what’s wrong with the world and how to fix it?

And they’re never reluctant to use their money as a megaphone. Today’s Sydney Morning Herald, Age and Australian Financial Review included a glossy, full-colour, 28-page insert titled Dick Smith’s Magazine of Forbidden Ideas That You Won’t Read About in the Mainstream Media. Even in today’s depressed print market, this curious offering must have cost a small fortune in production and insert charges. —  David Salter (read the full story here)

Newspaper ad revenue collapses: Advertising revenue for metropolitan newspapers plummeted by 32% last month, the biggest drop since records began five years ago. The latest figures from the Standard Media Index make last week’s circulation figures  — showing double-digit drops at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age  — seem positively rosy.

Ad revenue for regional newspapers slumped by 29.8% while magazines weren’t much better, suffering an 18% year-on-year decline. Online display advertising, long a strong performer, suffered a surprising 12% drop — the first fall in three years. Cinema and pay TV were the stand-out performers, growing by 30.5% and 18% respectively.

The SMI measures ad spending through media agencies — which makes up around half of all newspaper ad revenue — but does not include classified or direct advertising. The overall agency ad market fell 7.2% in July, the largest drop since September 2009.  —  Matthew Knott

Murdoch internal memo: we’re on track. Rupert Murdoch has sent an internal memo to News Corporation staff updating the company’s review of compliance with bribery laws. He writes: “I assured parliament and the Leveson inquiry that we would move quickly and aggressively to redress wrongdoing, co-operate with law enforcement officials and strengthen our compliance and ethics programme company-wide. With the support of our board of directors, I am pleased to tell you that we have made progress on each of these important steps.” Read the full memo here …

Is High Court ruling front page news? Yesterday’s High Court ruling paving the way for the introduction of the plain packaging of cigarettes in Australia sent shock waves through the tobacco industry and made headlines in Australia and around the world. Locally, today’s Fairfax papers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age led strongly with the story. It also appeared today on the front pages of prominent international newspapers such as the International Herald Tribune, South China Morning Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Hindustan Times and the Bangkok Post so far.

But what about News Limited papers in Australia? Crikey noticed something strange among the 10 News Limited metro tabloids and its broadsheet leader The Australian this morning. Eleven newspapers and, apart from a small article in The Oz, not a story on any front page. The Australian was the only News Ltd paper today to cover (in any way) the plain packaging ruling on its front page. There was not a mention, nor break-out-box, nor above-the-masthead-lead, on any other News Limited paper’s front page.

There are 10 News Limited metro tabloids in Australia, each front page measures 376mm high x 262mm wide. The Australian broadsheet front page measures 550mm high x 376mm wide. If you collate the entire available front page space across all metro News Ltd front pages it equates to a total of 12,912,760mm².

The Australian devoted a 62mm high x 88mm wide article on the bottom right hand side of its front page today on the story. As a percentage of the total available space available to News Limited in its front pages this represents 0.042%. We wonder why. — Leigh Josey

Front page of the day. Meanwhile, on a stretch of the East China Sea lies the Diaoyu Islands where currently an international row is brewing between China and Japan as 14 Hong Kong activist landed on the sought after islands, embarrassing Tokyo and raising tensions between the two countries:

News Corp announces anti-corruption boss

News Corp says its general counsel, Gerson Zweifach, has been designated the company’s chief compliance officer, in charge of a review of its anti-corruption controls. ” — The Australian

Getty Images bought by private equity

The world’s biggest picture agency, Getty Images, has been acquired for $3.3bn (£2.1bn) by the private equity firm Carlyle Group.” — The Guardian

Female image protesters target Cleo

Cleo has been targeted by a protest group which wants the young women’s magazine to stop Photoshopping images of girls.” — mUmBRELLA

 Hackers post false story on Reuters

The Reuters news agency says hackers have broken into one of its websites for the second time in two weeks and posted a false story saying Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister had died.” — Huffington Post

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  • 1
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Simple explanation? Limited News “plain packaging of Gillard/Labor victories”?
    If this was a Conservative/Howard/Abbott initiative what do reckon they’d do to publicise it? Devote a “full front page to their win for national health”? Too Right?

  • 2
    wayne robinson
    Posted Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Of course the High Court decision concerning plain packaging of cigarettes would have gone prominently on the front page of all the News Limited newspapers … if it had gone the other way against the federal government, providing yet another stick with which to beat the Labor Party.

  • 3
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    On track”? The same track they were on, tracking down that “rogue reporter”?
    And the cost of those sort of smoke-screen-signals would be getting cheaper - with less on the mail-out list?

  • 4
    rodholesgrove
    Posted Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    The High Court plain packaging decision was a lead story on Germany’s international TV outlet ‘The Journal ’ on 16 August .

    - how pathetic is News Corp, Australia?, just sub-standard journalism!

    Rod

  • 5
    ailie.bruins@gmail.com
    Posted Thursday, 16 August 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    News Limited should starts at the basics and enforce it own Code of Conduct. Just the first rules under ACCURACY would suffice.

    1.1 Facts must be reported impartially, accurately and with integrity.

    1.2 Clear distinction must be made between fact, conjecture and comment.

    1.3 Try always to tell all sides of the story in any kind of dispute.

    1.4 Do not knowingly withhold or suppress essential facts.

    1.5 Journalists should be reluctant to rely on only one source. Be careful not to recycle an error from one reference source to another. Check and check again.

    1.6 Direct quotations should not be altered except to delete offensive language, protect against defamation, or to make minor changes for clarity.

    1.7 Reports of new drugs or medical treatments must be considered with great caution. It is easy to raise false hopes or alarm among readers. Cross-check all claims with responsible and neutral sources.

    1.8 Photographs may be enhanced to improve reproduction, but must not be altered in a way which could mislead readers. Care must be taken to ensure accuracy in captions. The editor must approve any alteration or manipulation of a digital photographic image, and the alteration must be explained in the caption before publication and archiving.

  • 6
    Q___ten
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Usually I love it when Crikey does maths. It gives me hope that some Australian journalists have a grasp on statistics - they sure like to use them.

    But this one jumped out at me and I couldn’t help checking it. I don’t know how you came up with 12,912,760mm^2… it’s actually about a tenth of that and the statistic is 0.46%. Still pretty dreadful, but so much more damning when it’s not been overcooked.

  • 7
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Q-ten - I thought that at first too - then I realised it referred to space available “across all Limited News front pages”

    These 11; and which possibly includes the “provincials”, with their back-yard gazing priorities?
    And if they’re not, imagine the proportion then? “146” papers with “70%” of the market cornered in their stable - like kittens, by the world’s biggest “King Rat”?

  • 8
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    That’s an awful lot of “+ve PR” political image clout (with emphasis on the “awful”) wrapped up in their limited views of current events - inclined their one way - and bad news for anyone with alternate views trying to get their message out (like “the Left”), against the cacophony and static of their conservative loud-hailer service.

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