media files geelong advertiser

The big news of the day is the “merger” between Nine and Fairfax. Read more about the deal here, and the political implications here. Elsewhere, Geelong Advertiser found in breach of Press Council standards, News Corp says they have a new innovation platform (if you can understand the press release), and Facebook unfriends $180 billion.

Attempted suicide report breached standards. A report about an attempted suicide, in the Geelong Advertiser, has been found in breach of an Australian Press Council standard. In an adjudication published today, the council found that any public interest in the story about a man involved in what the paper called a “rooftop stand-off” could’ve been served without details published about the attempted suicide. 

The council considers that the public interest justified reporting the location of the incident given its relevance to the resulting disruption. However, the council is not satisfied that it was in the public interest to publish the method of the attempted suicide.

Remembering Liz Jackson. The ABC is holding a public memorial for journalist Liz Jackson, who died last month. Jackson had previously revealed she was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, in a Walkley Award-winning documentary aired on Four Corners. The memorial will be held at the ABC’s Sydney headquarters in Ultimo on August 2. Registration is required.

News Corp’s launches innovation platform. News Corp Australia has announced an innovation program called “News Bolt” (not that Bolt) that it says will encourage its employees to “share big, disruptive ideas”. In a barely-decipherable press release, News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller said the company was “facilitating innovative thinking from a passionate team of people”.

Per the press release:

In ‘the relentless pursuit of the next big ideas’, News Corp will be utilising Town Halls, showcases, ‘innovation sprints’, workshops, mentoring and pitch days to select the top ideas for acceleration through to a disruptive Startup, entrepreneurial environment to produce working prototypes.

Winning “prototypes” will be presented at News Corp headquarters in New York for endorsement.

Facebook’s weak figures. Have we just seen the trigger for the widely predicted stock market slide? Facebook surprised with weaker than expected second quarter figures (they were still pretty good) this morning. It then doubled down by forecasting a flattening in growth and the continuing rise in costs and whooshka, the shares plunged in after hours trading on Wall Street, slicing more than 20% off the company’s market value or upwards of US$132 billion (or nearly AU$180 billion). Facebook shares had peaked at an all-time high of $218.62 during the day’s trading and ended after hours dealings around $172, about where they were when the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in late March.

Facebook earned a net profit of $5.12 billion for the quarter, up from $3.89 billion and above analysts’ estimates. But sales were slightly lower at $13.04 billion than forecasts (but still good). The company reported 1.47 billion daily active users (1.45 billion at the end of March quarter), while Wall Street expected 1.49 billion. It logged 2.23 billion monthly active users (2.20 billion at the end of the March quarter), but analysts wanted 2.25 billion. — Glenn Dyer

US broadcast deal rejected. US TV regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has said it would not approve the $6.6 billion Sinclair Broadcasting takeover of Tribune Media, which would have made the conservative Sinclair the largest operator of local TV stations in America. FCC chair Ajit Pai accused Sinclair of deceptive conduct and not providing all the facts in the sale of some of the Tribune stations to buyers who turned out to have strong business, financial or family links to Sinclair and its boss.

The FCC has sent the deal off to an administrative judge who will review whether Sinclair engaged in misrepresentation or a lack of candour and whether the deal would violate the FCC’s broadcast ownership rules. Sinclair has denied withholding any information or misleading the FCC. Companies can lose their licences for lying to the FCC.

Donald Trump ignored that point and has attacked the FCC for not approving the acquisition, calling it “disgraceful” compared with the FCC’s approval several years ago of a deal involving the NBC television network. — Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. MasterChef was the last reality-style program standing and it benefited with a solid 1.21 million national viewers last night for Ten. The real story however is how Seven lost the night, thanks to the sliding figures for The Single Wives from 7.30pm. It averaged 524,000 nationally (down from 571,000 a week ago) and 343,000 in the metros (379,000). Home and Away managed 1.06 million national viewers from 7pm, so the loss for the next hour was just over 50%. Seven lost the night last night because of that hour of failure. Ten’s Pointless at 6pm, in Family Feud country, with a national average last night of 398,000 — not working. Read the rest on the Crikey website.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey