Newspaper revolution = marketing ploy. The News Ltd Sunday tabloids were tarting a “newspaper revolution” last weekend that had a far more crass motive: cross promoting a movie from the Fox film studios. Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph was the outlet chosen in Sydney for the odd new promotion yesterday. Readers in Sydney would not have realised the same promotion popped up in the tabloid Sundays in Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Perth, Darwin and Adelaide:

The Sunday Telegraph has become part of a newspaper revolution, where readers get the chance to enter an interactive digital world.

Using a new technology powered by Total Immersion, our readers will be among the first to access the digital experience, called Papermotion, that will bring newspapers to life like never before.

The technology has been brought to Australia through French company Total Immersion’s partnership with Dreamscape Group.

Take the advertisement on Page 23 of The Sunday Telegraph, then LEARN HOW TO PLAY BY CLICKING HERE on your computer and hold the ad in front of a webcam.

The technology brings one-dimensional media to life by triggering interactive displays of 3D animation, film clips, music, mini-sites and games.

Today, readers will be able to celebrate the release of the new Ben Stiller film, Night At The Museum 2, by activating a virtual-reality world where they can interact with characters from the film.

Only one small point was missed in the Page 2 promotional spiel: Night At The Museum 2 is a 20th Century Fox film, so anyone using this “newspaper revolution” are actually helping promote the movie for the owners of 20th Century Fox, which is… News Corp, owners of the Sunday Tele (through News Ltd in Australia). The ad on Page 23 has the 20th Century Fox logo in about four point type in the bottom right hand corner. That’s not prominent, its so small as to be almost invisible. There was no disclosure in the Page 2 blurb for this “revolution”.

So far from being a “revolution” it’s yet another tiresome promotion for a Rupert Murdoch-owned product, dressed up as an obscure benefit for readers. The media goes on rightly about cash for comment scams in Radio, TV; but what about cross promotion in News Ltd papers?

By the way, the promotional blurb (and its lack of disclosure) was prominent on Page 2 of the Tele, to the right of the small apology to Pauline Hanson for claiming “those n-de “photos published on March 15 were of her. The apology was given by Telegraph editor, Neil Breen, who had said that it was his job if the photos were not of Ms Hanson. Mr Breen is still editor. — Glenn Dyer

Hitler, Gordon Brown, same same. Prize for the most gratuitous breach of Godwin’s law (first person to mention Hitler has lost the argument) has to go to Iain Dale, British blogger, for this:

“Gordon Brown is making an unscheduled address to the Parliamentary Labour Party at 6pm. It’s a bit like the Fuehrer making an impromptu trip to the Oder to address the Hitler Jugend. “Ze War is proceeding as planned, chaps. Keep buggering on!”

I wonder what he will really say. “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for an election”? Hitler called meetings. Gordon Brown called meetings. He’s just saying. — Kim Serca

Shiny new Newsweek. US magazine Newsweek rolled out a redesign on Monday as the weekly title seeks to reinvent itself in an age of constantly updated news on the Internet, declining circulation and falling advertising revenue. The inaugural issue of the “new” Newsweek hit the newsstands featuring an exclusive interview with President Barack Obama and a dramatically different look. The revamp of the 76-year-old news magazine, which has been owned by The Washington Post Co. since 1961, affects not just the content but also the appearance with Newsweek now printing on high-quality glossy paper.

Editor Jon Meachem wrote that the “reinvented and rethought” Newsweek would focus more on “original reporting, provocative (but not partisan) arguments and unique voices” and less on the “straightforward news piece.” Media analysts have described Newsweek‘s redesign as an effort to become more like Britain’s Economist and less like its longtime US rival Time. Assistant managing editor Kathleen Deveny wrote in an article about the redesign that the changes were brought about by the shifting media landscape ushered in by the Internet.

“Even as the daily buzz of information rises around us, our advertisers have turned away, or fallen on hard times themselves,” she wrote. “Revenue and ad pages have declined. We reduced our workforce by 160 people to around 400. Last year, the magazine’s 75th, Newsweek slipped into the red.”

She said the new Newsweek would eschew celebrity news and was seeking to appeal to “smart, educated readers who are looking for a publication that can help them put the flood of news into perspective.”

“We will focus on a smaller, more devoted, slightly more affluent audience,” she said, adding the magazine would drop its guaranteed circulation from 2.6 million to 1.5 million by January and increase subscription prices. — Glenn Dyer

ACA credibility delivered via firebomb. The Perth edition of A Current Affair (owned by WIN, not the Nine Network or PBL Media) has earned a bit of credibility the hard way. Senior reporter, John Mort’s car was firebombed Sunday night in Perth after he had reported on the activities on bikie gangs in the city. News Ltd’s website Perth Now reported:

Mr Mort said he believed the attack could be linked to gang-related stories he has been working on.

“I was actually watching Crime Scene Investigation when my daughter came running in saying my car was on fire,” the A Current Affair reporter said.

“They have actually thrown two fire bombs through the back window, which they smashed.

“It could have just been a couple of passing hoons, but I doubt it.

“I have been doing some stories on the bikies and I’ve been doing some stories on crime figures.

“Basically, the gang crime squad is looking at this.”

The West Australian, controlled by Seven chairman Kerry Stokes, reported it as well. That’s always nice when a rival media group (Seven’s Today Tonight is more popular in Perth than ACA) reports on a news story involving a rival media group doing its job, even if it was a very personal. The West Australian also reported on two bikies being shot overnight in Perth’s southern suburbs. — Glenn Dyer

Long term planning at The Age. Accrued annual leave can be a balance sheet nightmare for any big employer. It’s been something that Fairfax management has been waging war on for some time, for it seems there are many journalist employees at Fairfax titles who are loathe to take their annual allocation of days off … perhaps because they worry that while they’re away someone will change the locks?

Whatever, it now seems that at least at The Age, management is getting on the front foot, now not only insisting that various staff take great swathes of long-accumulated leave, but also demanding that henceforth they plan their annual leave dates a year in advance. So forward thinking. Here is the latest missive from Age editor Paul Ramadge, clearly a firm believer in the many advantages of rigorous long-term planning:

From: Paul RAMADGE
Sent: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 10:09 AM
To: Age Editorial-DL
Subject: Annual leave

ANNUAL LEAVE

Thank you to all staff who have responded to our requests to reduce accrued annual leave.

The leave taken or booked up to June 30 has been significant.

The next step is to improve the management of annual leave so that we don’t have such high accruals.

Some staff take most or all of their entitlement each year. Others, until pushed, take none.

To improve this system and to make it fairer, a new way of managing leave begins next week.

The key points are:

1. All staff to apply for leave in May and June for 33 days’ leave to be taken in the 2009/10 year.

2. Staff who have not applied by the middle of June will get a reminder.

3. Senior editors to review the requests, discuss any issues with staff then alter the leave accordingly.

4. Changes to bookings can be made at any time after discussions with senior editors.

I think everyone accepts the basic principle involved here — it is important for staff to take annual leave, for work/life balance, family and good health.

Please keep these things in mind as we introduce this new system.

It is to everyone’s benefit.

Paul Ramadge

Black gets top US court review of fraud conviction. The US Supreme Court agreed to review the conviction of Conrad Black, the former Hollinger Inc. chairman who is serving a 6 1/2-year prison sentence for mail fraud and obstruction of justice. Black, 64, was convicted in 2007 of stealing $6.1 million from the newspaper publishing company and a US appeals court upheld the conviction. Black and two other onetime Hollinger executives say the appeals court improperly expanded the scope of the federal mail fraud law, allowing a conviction even though the company wasn’t at risk of losing money. — Bloomberg

A-se-fairy: Guardian’s Eurovision blog sparks minor international media incident. MediaGuardian.co.uk’s live Eurovision Song Contest blog on Saturday night prompted a minor diplomatic spat with some Norwegians, who didn’t take kindly to blogger Heidi Stephens’s light-hearted comments about their country’s winning song. This is what she said:

“It’s NORWAY, and a young cheeky little chap called Alexander Rybak. This is the favourite, apparently … umm, sorry?

“He’s like a little Dickensian schoolboy with a violin and bonkers eyebrows, and it’s all very theatrical, with backing dancers in braces doing gymnastics. It’s like a stage school performance of Fiddler On the Roof. Could someone please poke him in the eye with his violin bow, please? Fairytale my ass.

“This cannot possibly win. I will not allow it.”

Tabloids in the country, as well as in Sweden, picked up on the blog, quoting it as being the Guardian’s official view, and including a link to it, which angry Norwegians used to vent their fury. Heidi added a comment to her own blogpost apologising for any offence caused. — Guardian

Woody Allen, American Apparel settle suit for $US5M. Woody Allen agreed Monday to a $5 million settlement in his lawsuit accusing American Apparel of using an image parodying him as a rabbi without his permission. Both sides announced the settlement — to be paid by American Apparel Inc.’s insurance company — on the morning a trial was to start in federal court in Manhattan. Reading from a statement outside court, Allen said he hoped the outcome “would discourage American Apparel or anyone else from ever trying such a thing again.” His lawyers said the $5 million appeared to be the largest amount ever paid to settle a lawsuit brought under state privacy statutes.Associated Press

How Eminem’s marketing team is using Twitter to build buzz. In the world of hip-hop, a five-year absence is an eternity. So for Eminem’s new album, “The Relapse,” the marketing team at Aftermath/Interscope Records has mounted an audacious campaign that playfully smears the lines between the rapper’s troubled past and the nightmarish, fictionalized world of his latest work. By using Twitter to dispense short, often disturbing thoughts and links to multimedia components revolving around a mental institution, they’ve helped make the album the most highly anticipated hip-hop release of the year — and set it up for a sequel in the second half of 2009. — Advertising Age

Keith Olbermann holiday shemozzle. Oh man, Keith Olbermann took to his nightly airwaves to try and shame CityFile, Wonkette and us for raising questions about his unexplained vacation last April. We’re not sorry. We maintain that Olbermann threw a hissy fit because he felt upstaged by his hand-picked protege Ben Afleck; he says we’re heartless assholes because he’s been in a state of mourning over the death of his mother. We sought out MSNBC today to get Olbermann’s side, but a spokeswoman offered nothing for the record beyond a previously released statement before he went on his show to slam Gawker and the horrible, horrible blogosphere in his new WTF segment. So much for the journalistic cred of the MSM. — Gawker

Peter Fray

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