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Media briefs

Oct 11, 2011

Cutting The Monthly … violence in Egypt …

Across the inner cities of the world, goes out the cry these days -- has The Guardian completely lost the plot? That's due to rising prices and making the paper a crowd sourced affair. Plus, other media news of the day.

What’s going on at The Guardian? Across the inner cities of the world, goes out the cry these days — has The Guardian completely lost the plot? Three weeks ago, the paper edition of what is increasingly a news site had a hefty 20% price hike, to £1.20 an issue — enough of a psychological barrier for many former addicts to wonder if we really needed it every day. Then editor Alan Rusbridger posted a “letter to readers” in which he claimed among other reasons for supporting the paper, the WikiLeaks/cablegate stories — months after its journalists had written a peekaboo book about the affair, traduced their source in numerous stories, and sold the book to Hollywood.

Now, news editor Ian Katz is sourcing stories on Twitter:

This seems to be the upmarket version of the ad The Sun used to run, and was much-mocked for — “Got a story? Call the Sun on XXXXXXXX” — but The Grauniad has gone one stage further, with the announcement that it will open its daily newslists for the next day’s edition, so that readers can help out with them.

Not only do you have to write the sodding paper on Twitter, you now have to edit it too. No word yet on how much of Rusbridger’s £400,000-plus salary will be distributed in the same manner. Perhaps eventually, like the state, The Guardian will wither away. It certainly seems to be the strategy of its current management. — Guy Rundle

Pasting elitism onto The Monthly. Cut and Paste was set to work reading The Monthly today, as News Limited went to the mattresses over Anne Summers’ unthreading of Andrew Bolt — and scored, by taking a slab of a Don Watson piece, reflecting on class differences in car purchases, and pinging him for, uh, reflecting on class differences in car purchases, which was elitist. There are no elitists at News Ltd — except perhaps for Bolt, who titled a piece on racist gangs in Melbourne’s west as “The underclass stirs”, suggested that nobody in Dandenong — or any outer suburb we presume — reads a book, and implied that the prime cause of murderous violence was living in a caravan park.

No elitism there, just God’s word to the elect. — Guy Rundle

Front page of the day. This graphic front page from Egypt, which saw at least 24 killed yesterday in protests between Christians and the military …

Department of Corrections. Often in newspapers there are legitimate mistakes. Although on occasion there are illegitimate mistakes. From The Guardian‘s October 8 edition:

Baltimore’s paper gets a pay wall …

“The Baltimore Sun is the latest newspaper to add a metered paywall, for both print and non-print subscribers. A digital subscription will cost $2.49 per week or $49.99 for 26 weeks (which works out to $99.84 per year) for non-print subscribers, and $0.75 per week or $29.99 per year for print subscribers.” — Paid Content

… so does the Indy — if you live overseas

“The Independent, which celebrated its 25th birthday on Friday, is to launch a paywall for non-UK readers, a top-priced iPad application and strip more than 70,000 free bulk copies from its circulation, in a strategy designed to reinforce its credentials as a premium multimedia title.” — Paid Content

Today‘s Beyonce actually three months old

“Nine’s Today Show viewers will have been impressed with the big start to the program’s visit to New York, based on the set of Good Morning America. One of the big treats – heavily promoted throughout the morning — was Beyonce, playing in Central Park. Dr Mumbo wonders how many of those viewers will have noticed that it wasn’t actually tagged as live.” — mUmBRELLA

US govt demand access to WikiLeaks emails

“The U.S. government has obtained a controversial type of secret court order to force Google Inc. and small Internet provider Inc. to turn over information from the email accounts of WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.” — Wall Street Journal

Condé Nast goes to Hollywood

“Condé Nast, intensely focused of late on reducing its reliance on advertising (or at least finding ways to give current advertisers more value), plans to announce the creation of a full-fledged entertainment division on Monday. Developing television and online programming based on Condé Nast personalities, articles and general brands is the first priority, although movies are also a focus.” — New York Times

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4 thoughts on “Cutting The Monthly … violence in Egypt …

  1. Steve Carey

    Re “What’s Wrong At The Guardian?”: couldn’t disagree more. As an exile I don’t see the print edition, but I visit the website and have the iPhone app and read both (each depending on my location) voraciously. The Guardian feels to me like a paper with real vigour and energy, cf the ways it uses data, its coverage of the MP rort stuff, its lone voice howling about the News International hacking scandal, its imaginative and intelligent coverage of the recent riots… the list goes on. As for it opening its daily newslists, this is just part of the gradual breaking down of the “we the journos” versus “you the great unwashed,” recognising that when news happens (such as the riots, or the London bombings), technology has now made it possible for, literally, the Man on The Clapham Omnibus to capture and transmit, if not broadcast, it.

    If the nearest Australia has to the Graun is The Aged, the SMH and the Australian, which would YOU choose? Gimme my Guardian. Every day.

  2. michael r james

    Guy, the reason for the 20% price increase, as ineffectual as it may be, is that–as you surely must be aware–it is losing something like £50 million per year! (So, even with it and the Observers feeble circulation of <250k per day, it would bring in an extra £18m.) Even more than any Murdoch paper (NY Post, or The Australian, reportedly about $50M and $25M losses respectively). It can only do this because it is funded by the Scott Trust but one wonders how sustainable this is. And obviously this is why there is often discussion about how long they can persist with the free online access model.

  3. Guy Rundle


    – i didnt say the paper wasn’t good, hence the first sentence. i was asking whether some of its recent strategies werent a bit whacky. as far as breaking down the barriers goes, that would be better done by a more inclusive and open editorial structure rather than getting readers to do unpaid newsgathering and feedback. the centre of the guardian remains unchanged.


    – so the price rise is to earn more money. well i never. i wasn’t bewildered about that, i was bewildered about the way they were going about it

  4. Andrew

    Just out of interest, the Al Ahram headline reads “Egypt bleeds in Maspero”.
    “24 dead and 313 injured in confrontations between Copts, army and security”
    “Minister of Justice: Military prosecution has begun its investigation today into the circumstances of the events”
    “Sharaf (Egyptian PM): What happened is not sectarian tension, but a conspiracy for the downfall of the state”