A gun ABC journo is breaking new online ground, and Facebook wants to be your new go-to media outlet. Plus other media tidbits of the day.
Testing new Waters in media. Jeff Waters, a long-serving senior ABC journo, has left the mainstream media for a new online venture. In an email lamenting Waters’ departure, ABC news director Kate Torney quoted news-gathering head Craig McMurtie, who said of Waters: “He pitched lots of stories, battled to defend them and fought for their place at the top of rundowns. Jeff sometimes challenged editors, but no one could doubt his passion.” Journalism, Torney added, was “in Jeff’s blood”.
Where’s Waters off to? He’s starting his own not-for-profit, which sounds a bit like a content marketing firm for NGOs. In 1997, when he was freelancing his way across the globe using a digital handycam, he got a grant from the British government to write a business plan for a niche news service providing news to “that proportion of the audience who give a damn about people and the planet”, as he put it to Crikey. He eventually went back to the ABC and spent a decade there, but always wanted to go back to his business plan. That’s what he’ll be doing now. The business, which he hopes to get up and running in some form by the end of the year, will have two income streams — a video production training component aimed at NGOs, and advertising on its website. “It’ll allow NGOs to circumvent the mainstream media and go direct to the audience,” he said.
He’s not the only one doing new things. Former News Corp editor Hugh Martin and journalist and author Tim Dunlop have founded a business that’ll provide liability insurance, aggregation services and advertising to bloggers. The business is at very early stages — they’re looking for angel investors at the moment. — Myriam Robin
How powerful is Rupert Murdoch? Not very, according to our Communications Minister. “Murdoch has less influence in the media today than he has had since he was a young man with a couple of small newspapers,” Malcolm Turnbull said on the ABC’s Q&A last night, where Murdoch’s influence was discussed among the panel. We suspect ABC managing director Mark Scott would disagree. But in Britain at least, former News Corp editor Andrew Neil, currently at the BBC, says that’s about right. “He certainly has less influence in Britain today than he had before, but that’s because half his journalists are in court,” he said. The voice of reason came from Guardian columnist Van Badham, who wondered if she were in an “alternate reality where Rupert Murdoch has no influence in the media”. We wondered the same.
News tabloids use Daily Mail playbook. The Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun have spiffy new web and mobile sites this morning. The redesign looks great — it’s bright, clear and attractive. But one feature caught Crikey’s eye: aDaily Mail style “Sidebar of Shame”. The stories on it aren’t too trashy at the moment (if we talk Mail standards), but it certainly seems to prioritise fluff over politics …
The Advertiser and Courier-Mail are due to get a facelift next week. In total, News Corp now has 200,000 digital subscriptions across its tabloids, broadsheet and web-only media properties, it announced in a release this morning.
Facebook ‘likes’ news. Facebook is developing a newswire service to help journalists discover verified, newsworthy content to aid in their reporting. FB Newswire will be powered by Storyful, bought by News Corp in late 2013, with a future goal of monetising user-generated content. Already 30% of Americans find their news on Facebook, compared with Twitter’s 8%. Storyful is already combining news and social media — it alerts newsrooms to real-time events after verifying posts by geolocation and so-called “diligent sourcing”. Andy Mitchell, Facebook’s director of news and global media partnerships, says the company is excited to “have found a partner with a track record of understanding both the potential of the social web as a key resource for media as well as the tools that newsrooms need to utilise it”. Expect to see original photos, videos and status updates posted by people on the front lines of major events on your future feed. — Clovelle Car
Video of the day. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin delivers her special brand of crazy to a meeting of the National Rifle Association …
Front page of the day. Happy 100 to The Monthly, which has produced a cracker cover for the occasion …