nt news press council

NT News has its own “final solution” controversy, Bunnings snags a top spot over the ABC in trust rankings, News Corp expands online real estate business, plus other media tidbits from the day.

NT News Holocaust text breaches standards. The Australian Press Council has found the NT News in breach of its standards, after featuring a text message about Eurovision that referred to the “final solution”. Published in the “Txt the editor” section, the May 17 edition of the paper included a text message referring to Israel winning the song competition’s grand final: “I am not happy about the Eurovision winner and I would prefer another grand final solution”. The NT News told the Press Council the message was not a reference to the Holocaust:

The publication said it is aware of the significance of the phrase, but the reference in the text message was to a ‘grand final solution’, not the ‘final solution’ phrase with Holocaust connotations, and that the Eurovision Song Contest has a ‘Grand Final’, being the stage at which the winner is determined.

But the council found that many readers would find it to be a reference to the Holocaust:

The effect was to trivialise the Holocaust and imply that another holocaust may be a remedy to the author’s displeasure at Israel winning the Contest and hosting the next grand final. Whether the language used was the result of poor expression or an ill-advised attempt at humour rather than being deliberately offensive, it was likely to cause substantial offence and distress to readers.

Bunnings more trusted than ABC. The national broadcaster has been named the fourth-most trusted brand in Australia, after Aldi, Bunnings, and Qantas. A Roy Morgan survey found that the ABC is the most-trusted media brand in Australia, while Facebook is the most distrusted media brand.

News Corp expands real estate business. For all the pretensions that News Corp is a media company with other bits (including property services) attached, the Murdoch family company has just spent US$210 million (AU$287 million) expanding deeper into the online real estate business in America. In a statement issued this morning, News Corp said its US online real estate subsidiary Move Inc had agreed to buy a company called Opcity which matches qualified home buyers and sellers with real estate professionals in real time.

The deal confirms that digital real estate in the US and Australia are the major sources of growth for News. Digital real estate revenues topped the US$1 billion mark for the first time (out of a total of US$9 billion for the group) in the year to June — a rise of 22% for the year. Earnings from this business hit US$401 million, up 26% and it is now the single largest profit centre in the company. REA Group is 61.6% owned by News Corp and its market value of AU$11.7 billion is more than that of News Corp (AU$10.6 billion). — Glenn Dyer

Newsprint tariffs overturned. One of Donald Trump’s first acts as US President — the imposition tariffs on imports of Canadian newsprint into the US to help one US paper mill owned by a hedge fund — has been overturned by the International Trade Commission (ITC). That decision, announced overnight Wednesday was after the US Commerce Department upheld the tariff decision earlier this month. The ITC is the most direct repudiation of Trump’s tariffs-first approach to trade policy.

The tariffs, announced in early 2017, had started at the start of 2018 and had already lifted newsprint costs for a host of papers, forcing some to cut costs by reducing staffing levels or cutting back on paper sizes. Several papers had closed, such as rural weeklies in the US state of Arkansas. Hundreds of US papers have editorialised in recent months against the tariffs and they were opposed by 174 members of the US Congress from all parties.

In a statement announcing its decision, the ITC said it determined that a “US industry is not materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada that the US Department of Commerce has determined are subsidised and sold in the United States at less than fair value.” The decision will see US papers continue the import of Canadian paper and stop paying tariffs on imports of newsprint. — Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. It was Nine’s night thanks to The Block (1.22 million nationally), though Ten did well with The Bachelor (1.12 million nationally and some juicy figures among the younger demos as well as 25-54s). Seven and the ABC drifted in their wake. 

In regional markets Seven’s 6pm News led the way with 555,000, then Seven News/TT with 424,000. Third was The Block with 383,000, then The Chase Australia from 5.30pm with 379,000 and Home and Away was fifth with 366,000. On Foxtel, Gogglebox Australia returned and rated 194,000 people. This was the top spot — easily beating the chattering chaps on Sky News. Gogglebox is back on Ten tonight — what will they say about last week’s coverage of the the ejection of Malcolm Turnbull? Read the rest on the Crikey website.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey