Dogs prove ratings blockbuster. Do cats or dogs rule the world of cute animal videos? Surprisingly, Seven’s followup to Cats Make You Laugh Out Loud rated even better than last week’s offering. More than 1.7 million Australians tuned in to see Dogs Make You Laugh Out Loud last night, including 1.04 million people in Australia’s largest five cities. It was the third most-watched thing last night, behind two iterations of Nine News.

Next week stay tuned for Pets Make You Laugh Out Loud. Heaven help us all. — Myriam Robin

Meanjin turns Fin-ish.What happens when a university vice-chancellor and a tabloid editor come together to produce a literary magazine. Is the result … The Australian Financial Review?

The lastest issue of Melbourne Uni lit mag Meanjin is being edited by the VC Glyn Davis, and former Herald and Weekly Times boss Phil Gardner is, as Crikey revealed, also helping out. While the issue isn’t out till September 15, the cover was released on social media yesterday, and has drawn a rather negative reaction from parts of Melbourne’s arts community, who are used to seeing Meanjin‘s covers be, well, rather more experimental. This time, the cover art was created by the Fin‘s in-house Walkley-winning cartoonist David Rowe.

One Melbourne literary insider says the magazine, under the guidance of Louise Adler (at Melbourne University Publishing), has always served as a “kind of bizarre quarterly for politicians — a testing-ground for their awful go-nowhere memoirs”, but also also provided “an extremely important space for new writers”. “They have completely squandered this year with a nonsensical line up of guest editors,” our source states. “My hope is they change ship very quickly in 2016 under Jonathan Green.”

The quarterly journal has been going through a period of “guest editors” this year since Zora Sanders stepped down as editor — new editor Green doesn’t actually take over the publication until December. — Myriam Robin

RIP Mark. The Australian Financial Review is continuing to mourn the passing of Latham’s column, today treating readers to a full-page collection of snippets from Latham’s best columns. Fin gossip column Rear Window, meanwhile, reports that the now-infamous Real Mark Latham Twitter account was operated “in concert, we’re told, with some friends”. Given the vile abuse coming from the account, we’re not sure if that makes it better or worse …

Journo skills outside the newsroom. More than 9000 people have signed up for a new journalism MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) being run by University of Melbourne journalism academics Dennis Muller and Meg Simons, aiming to teach basic journalism skills to the vast array of people producing content online for audiences.

“We’re teaching some basic journalism virtues Dennis and I have learned over combined 70 years of journalism,” Simons, a former Crikey media reporter, said. “Verification, ethics, particularly around public and private lives, and knowledge about how to find things out — interview skills, accessing public documents, accessing forums of government and the like.

“These things are almost learnt through osmosis in newsrooms. That kind of training doesn’t take place as much as it used.”

Assignments will be, as is usually done in MOOCs, graded by other students taking the course. Simons says she and Muller are keen to see if perceptions of good journalism shift significantly between professionals and consumers of media. — Myriam Robin

Media Watch Watch. Media Watch on Monday spent quite a bit of time debunking stories and claims that dry communities in Queensland were making alcohol out of Vegemite. But much of its analysis relied on investigations already conducted by SBS’ NITV News, which, in early August, aired a story itself showing that one cannot brew Vegemite. Media Watch didn’t acknowledge this on air, and, it seems after complaints, amended its online transcript to acknowledge NITV’s work. — Myriam Robin

Seven goes streaming. A busy 24 hours for the Seven Network and Seven West Media with the new AFL broadcast deal, the 2014-15 profits, and possibly the most important decision — the announcement of 24/7 streaming for all the network’s broadcast channels. From December 1, Seven says it will broadcast  Seven, 7TWO and 7mate to all Australians across any connected device. It will follow the move by the big American network CBS to stream its off-air broadcast across the US via its CBS All Access for US$5.99 a month. Seven is starting with Sunrise, which will be available streaming from today.

Seven experimented with streaming during the Australian Open tennis in January. During the Open Australian audiences were able to choose between matches on Seven and 7TWO, and they also had the option of watching one of 16 matches during the day and three at night through Hybrid TV on smart TVs, mobile, tablet and IOT devices. One-third of the Open’s audience, about 1.2 million people, chose to watch it on digital devices.

Not all content will move to streaming. Telstra holds the streaming rights to the AFL, for example, and has retained them in the new post-2017 contract announced last night. Seven could do a deal with Telstra on those rights in a joint venture (they are not part of the Foxtel side of the AFL deal). But this is a big jump ahead of rivals Nine, Ten, the ABC and SBS. It has the potential to make the so-called “audience reach rules” (75% at the moment) irrelevant. The internet is a national market, so this sort of live streaming (subject to the speed and quality of the connection), stands to make the reach rules irrelevant. Nine will have to follow with its own 24/7 streaming. It does control the streaming rights to the NRL in the new NRL contract for its four games. — Glenn Dyer

Video of the day. Eric Abetz wants to know why journalists report on cabinet leaks. “It’s gutless … and a breach of the rules” …

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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