Nine News Melbourne: when live reporting goes bad. Sometimes you just wish you’d slept in…


Good news from the slumping UK newspaper sector. Hit by sharp falls in classified and display advertising (over 20% for most groups in the past couple of months), March circulation figures were positive, showing a a further slowing in the rate of decline of national newspaper sales. The 6% plus slumps in sales of September/October 2008 have come back to an annual 5% in the March figures. This is due mostly to the surge in tabloid (“Red Tops”) sales which successfully exploited the death of Jade Goody from cancer, after years of reviling her as a “no talent” wastrel from Big Brother.

The Guardian says the popular market is now sliding by 4.6% year on year with the dailies down 1.9%, far better than the nasty 7% drop for Sundays. The Daily Star is up 13.5%, because of a sharp price cut which saw the cover price almost halve from 35 p to 20p last November. Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun has picked up to be down 0.9% for the year to March, but it rose 4% in the month of March as it covered Jade Goody’s death ruthlessly. Sales regained the 3 million mark in March and it is the biggest selling UK paper with the equally nasty News stablemate, the News of the World second. The Daily Mirror saw sales fall 9.7% in the year to March.

The Sundays were off 3%, stronger than the dailies (-6%), with and Murdoch’s Sunday Times showed a 2.8% year-on-year rise, the only quality paper to have a positive return for the year to March. The worst performer was the Independent on Sunday registered a drop of 24.3%, no wonder Tony O’Reilly’s Independent News & Media has proven to be unsalable. The fall in March accelerated from the 21% drop in the year to February for the Independent on Sunday.

Guardian News & Media’s Observer saw its weekly circulation fall 6.65%. The Sunday Telegraph had decline of 4.13% year on year but an increase of 0.78% month on month. (The Observer and the Sunday Times also has positive months in March). Trinity Mirror’s People Sunday tabloid also fell nearly 12% year on year. — Glenn Dyer

US newspaper hotel blow. Reuters reports there’s more bad news for embattled US newspaper groups. The Marriott International hotel chain will now offer guests a choice of papers, or no paper at all. Marriott says will stop dropping daily papers automatically at its guests’ doors. Now, it will offer them a choice of papers or, if they want, no paper at all. Based on preliminary data, Marriott projects that this will reduce newspaper distribution by about 50,000 copies daily, or 18 million annually. It has offered guests USA Today, the Wall Street Journal or local papers. The Gannett owned USA Today is seen as the biggest loser. — Glenn Dyer

Punch up online. While we here at Crikey are all for senseless violence on the internet, we have to question the Herald Sun‘s decision to run an unedited version of CCTV footage depicting a brawl in Geddes Lane in Melbourne.

War on violence anyone?

Bring back the school nurse — yes please! Inappropriate picture for the article?

Bring Back the School nurse” cries the Essential Baby section of The Age online on Saturday night. I don’t know about Crikey‘s readers, but I am sure many would agree with the sentiment if nurses were dressed by an adult store like this picture suggests. Online subediting at Fairfax certainly needs a bit of work. — Crikey reader Mark Scott

Letter to Editor: SMH website technical issues.

Dear Editor,

I think the increase in chiefs and decrease in indians is finally having an adverse impact at Fairfax Online. The horoscopes were returning a page not found error for at least 2 days last week, and after I complained they fixed it by linking to The Age. Now it’s really fixed — been stuck on the horoscopes for 19th January for 3 days. Oh, and the current temperature reading on the Home Page is blank this morning.

Impossible to get good quality and capable help these days 🙂

Michael Cooper,

Surry Hills NSW 2010

Beautiful automated advertisement placement at The Age:

Media crackdown by Fiji military. Fijians are feeling the force of a new military government with censors now controlling the media. Under a 30-day state of emergency, newspapers and broadcasters are not allowed to carry stories critical of the army’s grip on power in Fiji. Army chief Commodore Frank Bainimarama has been reinstated as prime minister. Editors at Fiji’s newspapers as well as its television and radio stations have been ordered not to publish or broadcast any material that shows the military in a bad light. — BBC

Tracking media moves. Papercuts, the site that brought you a Google map version of newspaper deathwatch in the United States, is now plotting American publications that have moved solely online this year:

Gawker to the Somali pirates: You must regain the affection of the media. Look, the US media is by and large a big herd of sheep, led by a few wolves. Everyone in the media is afraid to be a contrarian, except for the handful of professional contrarians, who are ignored. When some sh-t like the kidnapping of the Captain incident happens, it becomes a contest to see which media outlet can most strenuously condemn you.  What you must do, pirates, is to cultivate a few loud voices who aren’t afraid to steer the rest of the sheeplike media back towards a more understanding point of view. It’s a classic PR strategy. Turn one reporter and watch the rest follow. Make friends with some of those ragged East African correspondents. Give some exclusives. They’ll love you for it! — Gawker

Condaleeza Rice on golf. The former US secretary of state has tried her hand at something new… sports reporting for the Daily Beast.

I know Tiger from our Stanford connection. I once sat with him at a Stanford-Duke basketball game. Stanford won on a buzzer beater, and we stormed the court together. With that kind of bonding, whom else would I pull for? I had decided that if Tiger did not win, I would champion the cause of Phil Mickelson (met him at the White House and he’s a really nice guy); Stuart Cink (met him in Atlanta and he’s a really nice guy); or Anthony Kim (haven’t met him but I like his swagger).

New chapter begins for book downloads. A small Oxford-based company is preparing for a full “iTunes-style” service to download digital books in upcoming months in preparation to take on US internet leaders Amazon and Google. Publishing Technology has been testing a service that will allow publishers to sell full “e-books”, highlights of titles or chapters, and to create their own websites. The market for electronic books has expanded rapidly in recent months following the launch of specific electronic reading devices such as Amazon’s Kindle device and Sony’s Reader. — Financial Times

Glenn Beck adds fuel to the fire… literally. American Fox News host Glenn Beck is obviously oblivious. He is undeterred. Despite last week’s tragedy in Pennsylvania he continues to up the ante in his violent and over-the-top imagery and rhetoric. In a recent segment, Beck play-acted Obama pouring gasoline on Beck/America and lighting it on fire. To do so he poured “gasoline” all over a person in the studio as he ranted and raved about what Obama was doing. The effect was not so much that this is what Obama was doing to America but 1) what Beck wanted to do to Obama and 2) what Obama was doing to the “us” who surround “them.” — Daily Kos