Hun‘s prejudicial murder framing. This item ran in the “In Brief” column on page 4 of the Herald Sun on Thursday 9 April:

How can it possibly be relevant that a murder victim “used a wheelchair”? Or that he “hosted loud parties”? Furthermore, how can the Herald Sun justify using these phrases to introduce the victim, before we even read that he has been murdered? This has the effect of framing the item in a way that seems to blame the murder, at least in part, on the victim himself. And the piece also carries strong moralistic overtones, as though “hosting loud parties” and especially “a drinking party” just naturally lead to murder!

The final sentence is particularly interesting — it implies that all of the details above had been released by police. So is it the journalists or the police who are responsible for the unhelpful and prejudicial framing of this item? Even had the police been so indiscreet and unprofessional as to gossip about the victim’s lifestyle and habits, isn’t it the responsibility of journalists to present this information in a neutral manner? — RMIT’s Professor Stephen Downes

Fairfax: have sponsor will travel. This week the Sydney Morning Herald’s transport reporter Linton Besser has been writing from Seoul. Yesterday’s article carried a footnote: “The reporter was a guest of Veolia Transport in South Korea.” His piece was based on an interview with Daniel Cukierman, Veolia Transport’s chief executive for Asia, who gave Besser the trail-blazing opinion that “transport projects in many cities can fail if they are not properly planned”. This may come as a revelation to the ministers and transport bureaucrats of the NSW Government but to Herald readers and angry commuters it will be a statement of the bleeding obvious.

Veolia, formerly Connex Group Australia, was established in 1997 and has grown into the largest private operator of buses, light rail, trains and monorail in Australia and New Zealand. Since entering the private bus industry in NSW in 1999, Veolia now operates five Sydney depots at Taren Point, Menai, Revesby, Bankstown and Villawood and the company boasts: “Globally, Veolia Transport is a world leader in the operation of passenger transport services. Operating in over 30 countries, it has more than 81,900 employees worldwide, manages more than 30,000 road and railway vehicles and carries over 2.7 billion passengers a year.”

It seems that one of the highly damaging side effects of Fairfax’s meltdown is that its journalists are now travelling abroad at the expense of the Big End of Town. It can’t be good for journalism. At least Besser had the grace to make a declaration of the circumstances of his travel unlike his colleague, the frothing commentator who visits Israel without any acknowledgement of the paymaster of his airline tickets (business class or first class?) and accommodation. — Thomas the Tank Engine

BBC star reporter “breached rules on impartiality”. The BBC Trust yesterday called into question the corporation’s reporting of the most sensitive news story of modern times, publishing findings that the BBC Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, had breached guidelines on accuracy and impartiality. The ruling will be seized upon by campaigners who claim that BBC News is prejudiced against Israel in its coverage of the Middle East. But the decision to censure Bowen caused anger within the BBC, with some alleging that the trust, which oversees the corporation, was undermining the credibility of its news. — The Independent

Magazine sales fall 10% in newsagencies in Q1 2009. A benchmark study of sales data from 97 newsagencies, comparing sales between January and March 2009 with the same period a year earlier, has revealed a 10% fall in magazine sales in newsagencies. The benchmark study has also revealed better than expected sales results for newspapers, growth for greeting cards and reasonable growth for stationery. — Australian Newsagency Blog

Seattle’s former PI journos create their own competitive news source. The last you saw of us, we had the stunned look of many people in this economy — suddenly jobless, our futures and our careers uncertain. Many of us were in tears. We became the subject of news ourselves, on TV, in the papers, in the blogosphere, as the pages of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer died. It’s been almost a month. But we haven’t left. Today, we — former P-I journalists — are embarking on a new stage in our careers, hoping to fulfill our life’s mission in a different way. We want to keep letting you know what’s really going on in this city. At first, we’re doing this as volunteers. But what you’ll find on this Web site is a story much larger than ours. — Seattle PostGlobe

Woody Allen has no reputation to ruin, says American Apparel in $10m lawsuit. Woody Allen cannot sue an American clothing company for damaging his reputation in its adverts because he has no reputation left to ruin, the firm said today. Allen has launched a $US10m lawsuit against American Apparel for the use his images in an advertising campaign, including one from 1977 film Annie Hall of Allen dressed as a Hasidic Jew with a long beard and black hat, without his permission. — Guardian

TweetFreak… for micro blogging fans. From the makers of AdWeek‘s advertising blog AdFreak comes TweetFreak — a blog all about Twitter! It was inevitable really. In their own words:

It’s intended to be a hub where marketing and advertising people can learn more about Twitter and get more out of their involvement with it. We’ll be introducing various recurring elements over the next few weeks — advice on whom to follow; Q&As with the Twitterati; embedded Twitter feeds that track agencies, brands, people and topics in the news; week-in-review posts; and more. We’re also developing a list of ad-agency Twitter accounts.

Check out TweetFreak here.

Dominos reacts cautiously, quietly to YouTube gross-out video. In a video posted on YouTube on April 13, two youths identifying themselves as Kristy and Michael besmirch a pair of sub sandwiches and the pizza chain’s reputation. Michael inserts pieces of cheese into his nose and waves pieces of salami behind his backside. Both the salami and the cheese are placed on the sandwiches. The video had gotten more than 21,000 YouTube views at press time. Dominos spokesman Tim McIntyre said the chain has identified the employees, and they are expected to be terminated today. The affected franchisee has filed a criminal complaint, and Mr. McIntyre said Dominos is examining its own legal options, including a possible civil action against the pair for defamation of the brand. — Advertising Age

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