Monica Attard’s Global Mail is born. Welcome to the neighbourhood, Global Mail. After a few teething problems — it didn’t quite launch at midnight as expected, and the site crashed briefly this morning under the traffic load — the brave new experiment in non-profit, philanthropic journalism has arrived. The slick, magazine-style website, gifted to ex-ABC journo Monica Attard by Greens-supporting multimillionaire Graeme Wood, was rich with content this morning, leading with investigations into the healthcare register and energy costs (by ex-Sixty Minutes star Ellen Fanning) and dispatches from ex-ABC correspondents Michael Maher (New York) and Jess Hill(Cairo).
As Crikey first revealed in July, Attard has squeezed $15 million out of Wood to set up the enterprise, modelled on ProPublica in the US, with an impressive roster of staff at Sydney HQ and around the world. Attard is now the envy of editors everywhere, with no traffic targets (as she insisted in a chat with The Australian), advertising interference and a budget Wood has apparently guaranteed for five years. She’ll look at ways to raise revenue so the outlet can pay some of its way, but subscriptions and ads are off the table. We watch with interest. — Jason Whittaker
Monckton and Bolt: coming to a TV near you. The mere idea sends shivers through progressive thinkers everywhere: Christopher Monckton TV. It certainly scares the likes of liberal activist group GetUp!, which uncovered this footage from July last year of Monckton prophetically offering a playbook for Gina Rinehart when it comes to investing in the media. He told a boardroom at Mannkal — a Perth-based group that promises to “strengthen the free market system” — that the answer to defeat climate change action and other lefty causes is to “capture the high ground of what are still the major media”:
“And until we crack that one both in the UK and Australia, we’re going to suffer from a disadvantage, against the more libertarian right-wing minded people in the United States who have got Fox News and have therefore got things like a Tea Party, have at least put some lead into the pencil of the Republican Party.
“And it seems to me that diverting some time and effort into encouraging those we know who are super rich to invest in perhaps even establishing a new satellite TV channel is not an expensive thing, and then get a few Joe Novas and Andrew Bolts to go on and do the commentating ever day — and keep the news free and fair and balanced as they do on Fox — that would breakthrough and give to Australia as it has in America a proper dose of free-market thinking.”
The video — now making the rounds of social media after GetUp! posted it to YouTube last week — shows Monckton taking a vote on his proposal, with no dissenters. He then says he’s happy to work with Andrew Bolt to “put together a business plan for such a thing”. No word from Monckton on where that plan may be at. — Jason Whittaker
And the FitzShameless goes to … Recently we announced the launch of The FitzShameless Awards, in honour of columnist Peter FitzSimons and the many other journos who shamelessly attempt to spruik their latest tome in articles and radio broadcasts around the country. Our first award goes to a deserving winner, one who often jokes about how his editor refuses to let him mention his book in his column. Mark Dapin got a doozy into his latest column on Saturday in Fairfax’s Good Weekend:
“Anyway, I’d like to wish all my readers a Happy Columnists’ New Year, and hope you all enjoy reading my new novel Spirit House, which I’m sure you received for Christmas.
If you didn’t find a copy of Spirit House under your tree, it’s because your partner doesn’t really love you. To get your own back, wait until they’re asleep, then shove a Lego Clone Wars Mandalorian helmet up their nose”
We wonder how lenient new Good Weekend editor Ben Naparstek will be with gratuitous attempts at self-promotion (and columns mentioning Chris Ryan). Stay tuned. And if you’ve got a nomination for a FitzShameless, please let us know. The book industry is tough, we need to shine a light on their plight.
What does 70% of the print news market look like?
“What does that 70 per cent of the print media market look like? This map provides the perfect vantage point from which to view News’ dominance of the Australian news media. The map includes News’ publications from the Herald Sun to the Hills Gazette.” — UpStart
Ten chairman says Rinehart has not interfered
“Ten Network Holdings chairman Brian Long has refuted claims that shareholder Gina Rinehart has interfered in the broadcaster’s editorial content and programming.” — Media Spy
TV revenues down across the board
“Advertising revenues for the free TV networks are down virtually cross the board, the latest set of data from industry body Free TV indicates.” — mUmBRELLA
Print news media go live with video programming
“The newest addition to the newsroom of Politico makes a statement about the news Web site’s priorities. It’s a stage set with lights, microphones, an anchor desk and five high-definition cameras so that reporters and editors can produce hours of live programming for Internet viewers.” — New York Times
Met police investigators ‘jeopardise press freedom’
“The Metropolitan police has a team of up to 20 detectives based at News Corporation’s internal investigation unit in Wapping, a move which leading media and human rights lawyers say puts press freedom in jeopardy.” — The Guardian
Good times for long-form journalism?
“It seems that despite the ever-quickening speeds of information travel, long-form journalism is adapting and thriving in the new media environment.” — 10,000 Words