Mark Scott warns of News monopoly. As jobs are lost in mainstream newsrooms and rumours circulate that Fairfax is leaving behind paper editions, the ABC is your best bet for robust and diverse reporting, managing director Mark Scott told an audience last night at Melbourne University’s Centre for Advancing Journalism.

“The reason it feels like the media battle is being waged as though it’s winner takes all is because that’s exactly what it is,” he said. If Fairfax stops printing Monday-to-Friday editions, as many suspect it will, News Corp’s market share will increase even further. If Fairfax retreats to a weekly print edition, Scott warned that under “fairly conservative modelling” News Corp’s 70% stake in newspapers sold in metropolitan cities could rise to 80%, with “Perth the only city without a News Corp monopoly throughout the week”.

If new entrants to the market manage to set the news agenda, it’s possible this won’t be a concern. But Scott is sceptical of the extent to which digital and citizen media current does so, saying it’s still the big media players that break news and set the tone for the national debate.

It’s in this environment that the role played by the ABC becomes even more important, he said. “The ABC remains the only sure bet to invest in quality news and current affairs in prime time every weeknight… A sure bet in the midst of a media storm.” — Myriam Robin

Advertorial for free in the Oz. Is it news? Is it an ad? Readers of The Australian might not have been able to tell the difference this morning …

James Nathan, co-founder of online start-up Food Orbit, would have been pleased with his splash. But this was more about promoting venture capital firm M.H. Carnegie. As business hack Andrew White, an associate editor of the paper, wrote in the strange piece:

“Conceived as an online ordering platform to connect restaurants with local farmers, Food Orbit collected the people’s choice award in October at the inaugural Carnegie’s Den event, a kind of speed dating for cashed-up venture capital investors and start-ups hoping to attract funding that is being supported by The Australian.”

Supported by? “In partnership with”, as the logo stated. Oz business editor Geoff Elliott insisted to Crikey this morning that no money had changed hands — it’s a purely editorial partnership. Just a good, old-fashioned spruik for a project the paper’s involved in. We’re happy to make it a little clearer for the paper’s readers. — Jason Whittaker

Media jumps gun on Knight’s injury. The Newcastle Knights have hit back at reports regarding the injury of 22-year-old player Alex McKinnon. On Monday night, Channel 9 stated that the player was facing life as a quadriplegic after being injured in a game against Melbourne Storm two weekends ago. Nine’s report was broadly covered in Tuesday’s papers, with Fairfax and News Corp outlets writing that the player had been “diagnosed”, according to television reports, as a quadriplegic.

But on Tuesday afternoon, the club issued a statement saying there were no new developments in McKinnon’s condition:

“The Club is extremely disappointed in the sensationalised television news story on Monday night about this tragic situation. One of the most important factors for Alex at this time is hope, which was jeopardised by this report. The Club and the McKinnons appreciate the respectful way other media have handled and reported on Alex’s condition.”

Given the nature of the injury, recovery is likely to take up to two years, the club continued. — Myriam Robin

Video of the day. Israel has partly banned a saucy ad starring supermodel Bar Refaeli (in three incarnations) and a purple puppet post coitus. Here’s the ad Israel says is too rude to play before 10pm …

Peter Fray

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