Tele gets it wrong on rental properties The Daily Telegraph has just breathlessly reported: City of five million, just 739 homes for rent (September 24, 2008). However, other sources suggest there could easily be some 20,000 homes available for rent in the greater Sydney area. The figure 739 seems to have been mistakenly extracted for the City of Sydney LGA, being the innermost council at the city centre, with only 150,000 dwellings in total. Further, a property research company SQM Research is actively calculating Australian vacancies drawn from online advertising, and consistently finds significantly higher vacancy rates than the ‘official’ reported REI figures. REIs are vested interests representing real estate agents and landlords.

However, the majority of the news services simply ran with the misleading release as it was created by the REINSW and News Ltd, without questioning the ludicrously low figure claimed for the whole of Sydney. The original REINSW media release can be found here. This is at a time when it is accepted from auction clearance figures that there has been no ‘spring bounce’ in property sales this year, as prices remain too high for many and interest rates remain higher than in the boom years of easy credit. — Sean Reynolds, Housing Affordability blog  

Musicians cashing in. An announcement was made today that online music services, record label, music publishers, and songwriters have actually reached a mutual agreement in regards to royalties of content distributed online. According to the agreement, online services (Napster, Rhapsody) offering limited downloads and streaming content must pay a mechanical royalty of 10.5 percent of revenue after other royalties are calculated. Services offering permanent media downloads (iTunes, Amazon MP3, Wal-Mart) will not be affected, as they already pay the royalty fee. — Toms Guide

Bastion of press freedom goes down. Africa media watchers are following the progress of Botswana’s new Media Practitioners Bill with its envisaged Draconian restrictions on the print and broadcast media and the developing electronic web media with deep concern and shock. Botswana has for years enjoyed one of the highest ratings in Africa by international monitoring organisations for the freedom of its media – one of the very few on the continent – but the new legislation is destroying that enviable reputation. — Mmegi Online

Journalism loses a pioneer. Journalism has lost a tireless advocate for racial diversity in the profession, a leader who understood that the media cannot hope to adequately cover the issues of the day if television stations and newspapers fail to draw staff from people of color. Nancy Hicks Maynard died Sunday in Los Angeles after a months-long illness. She was 61. In 1968, she was the first black reporter at the New York Times and, when she joined the paper in her early 20s, she was the youngest. About a decade later, she and her husband, Robert C. Maynard, gave up jobs at the Times and the Washington Post, respectively, to found the East Bay-based Institute for Journalism Education that trains minority journalists. — Times Herald

Ethnic-minority journalists jailed in Iran. The media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has called on Iran to stop what it called Tehran’s “all-out repression” of ethnic-minority journalists. The Paris-based group said four ethnic-Azeri journalists — Alireza Sarafi, Said Mohamadi, Hassain Rashedi, and Akabar Azad — have been held without charge for more than 10 days, while another, Shahnaz Gholami, was sentenced on September 20 to six months in prison for her online articles. — Radio Free Europe. Radio Liberty.

The Blogging Revolution. Technorati has come out with its annual State of the Blogosphere report and some numbers are truly eye-popping. The site found blogs in 81 languages and daily posts are closing in on one million. Nearly 185 million people have started a blog (although most don’t tend them regularly). Newspapers have the bug: 95% of the top 100 US newspapers have reporter blogs. Four in five bloggers post brand or product reviews and 90% of bloggers say they post about the brands they love or hate. Most bloggers who accept advertising make a profit. Technorati did a big survey and got comments from various media influencers. We haven’t had a chance to read it all yet, but if you’re interested in publishing, you should check it out. — Newspaper Death Watch

Peter Fray

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