Sign of the times: Star Observer to monthly. From April 17, the nation’s leading gay, lesbian (etc) print publication will move from a weekly to a monthly print run. Star Observer, which has been around in Sydney since 1979 and has a circulation of 18,000, is distributed for free along the east coast. It’s website reaches up to 40,000 people day.
CEO and publisher Daniel Bone told radio station Joy FM this morning that, given more people visit the publication online, it makes sense to focus less on news and more on long-form features in the print publication. “We’re looking at expanding format of print publication so stories have the space they need, and we’re looking at increasing the number of people we have as opinion writers and commentators from the broader community,” he said.
Part of the difficulty for the Star Observer, Bone said, is that as homosexuality becomes normalised in the community it’s become harder to reach large numbers of the paper’s readers through venues like gay bars. “The community has changed — and that’s something we should celebrate. People are living more diverse lives in more areas in the community,” he said.
It’s been a year and a half since Sydney Star Observer and Melbourne’s Southern Star Observer merged to create a national publication. Bone was keen to point out the move to monthly shouldn’t be seen as a sign the merger had failed. “We expanded into Victoria and Queensland because that’s where our audience is,” he said. — Myriam Robin
Getty sets its images free. Here’s a refreshingly novel way to combat copyright infringement: Getty Images has today made 35 million photos free to use. But there are some strings attached. Users can’t just download and save the images (which the company says is what most are currently doing), but must use Getty’s new embed feature, which works the same way as embedded YouTube clips. The images can’t be used for commercial purposes; it’s intended more for the world’s bloggers and social media users rather than media outlets.
“What we’re finding is that the vast majority of infringement in this space happen with self publishers who typically don’t know anything about copyright and licensing, and who simply don’t have any budget to support their content needs,” Getty’s Craig Peters told the British Journal of Photography. By allowing these users to utilise Getty’s images, the company hopes to gain some value (greater prominence and the like) without having users who don’t know what they’re doing continually breaching its copyright.
Don’t believe headlines: cities aren’t that expensive. Another six months, another round of Economist Intelligence Unit rankings on the relative cost of living in the world’s great cities. Melbourne and Sydney always rank highly on such lists, leading to a predictable write-up in the nation’s news sources. The Sydney Morning Herald, News.com.au, the ABC and The Australian (in today’s print edition) had pieces on the report. You should ignore them — the EUI rankings are completely meaningless to people already living here.
The formula is, simply, the average cost of things a global executive would need, converted into US dollars and ranked. It’s a useful exercise for HR managers trying to figure out how much to pay the people they send overseas, and useless for everyone else (which the Oz, to its credit, pointed out). The rankings don’t take into account average incomes, and the high Australian dollar boosts our rankings, too. Still, that doesn’t stop the nation’s journalists writing about them without explaining this, year after year. — Myriam Robin
Chris Kenny v Chaser in court. We’ll find out shortly after 2pm today whether Chris Kenny’s defamation trial against comedy troupe the Chaser — who depicted him having sex with a dog last year after he called for ABC funding cuts — will be put to a jury. Judge Robert Beech-Jones will release his decision, a day after the New South Wales Supreme Court heard the barristers for the ABC and Kenny make their arguments. Beech-Jones commented yesterday that because something was satirical it didn’t rule it out from also being defamatory, according to The Australian.
The defo case comes after the ABC cleared The Chaser of breaching its editorial policies over the sketch in October. The show came in from criticism from the ABC’s Media Watch in September. Host Paul Barry said: “No doubt the Chaser team’s defence is that it’s satire. But I can see nothing satirical or clever in the suggestion that Kenny – who is one of the ABC’s noisiest critics – has sex with animals.”