Archive | August, 2012

One for the new media ethics book – is it ok to link to people’s Facebook pages in news stories?

27 Aug has a story up at the moment about a domestic between a politician and his wife on a flight.

Aside from the fact that the story is from Canada – you need to click through to know this – they have taken the rather questionable move of linking directly to the wife’s personal Facebook page.

While we are big advocates of linking for context our media ethics alarm bells are ringing on this one. Yours?

(Hat tip: Heidi Costello, Digital News Editor, APN Australian Regional Media)


New Fairfax Business Network aims to lure like-minded advertisers

27 Aug

The Fairfax Business Network (FBN) is the brand new portal created by Fairfax Metro Media for advertisers looking to reach business and finance minded audiences.


The Australian Financial Review – Picture: Lachlan Hardy, Flickr.

The FBN is now home to business titles including The Australian Financial Review, BusinessDay, MySmallBusiness, BRW, Executive Style, Money, Smart Investor, Money Manager, Trading Room, InvestSmart and ASX.

The network has been designed to give advertisers a one-stop shop to a combined audience of over 2 million monthly readers.

The new network comes after Fairfax posted a loss of $2.7b last week.

Fairfax Metro Media chief executive Jack Matthews said, “The Fairfax Business Network has been created to give our advertisers one easy gateway to engage with out audience through multiple platforms, across our extensive portfolio of business and personal finance brands.”

Fairfax Media made a similar move last year when they created Fairfax Woman’s Network, combining eight titles into the network, allowing advertisers to engage with millions of readers.

News publications embracing the digital age

23 Aug

Sophie Lane, a final year journalism student, talks about which publications are most accessable for young, online readers.

Most journalists wouldn’t have  heard the sentence “the industry is changing”. While we’re all well aware of the progression from print to online, the job losses, and the new career paths we all must embrace for this change to run smoothly; few news publications are getting it ‘right’.

Unfortunately for us, it’s not as easy as a simple copy and paste command. The digitised platform carries conventions of its own, and all within very good reason.

Research shows 80 per cent of online readers will only read above the ‘page fold’ of each website they visit. That is, they will not bother scrolling down their page in order to find more information. The 20 per cent of readers who do drag that scroll bar decline with each and every digitised day.

So just how does your favourite news outlet stack up against the rest when it comes to the online world?

The Age (Fairfax Media)
The newspaper whose size you love to hate has managed to move forward without losing its metaphorical curves. The publication, as part of online content, now offers a subscription service that mimics the exact layout of your hard copy morning paper- page flicking and all. The best part about it is that thanks to the zoom feature, you don’t have to reach for your glasses. Spread out, relax and read. The Age has embraced online in the classiest of ways.

The Herald Sun (News Limited)
This publication invites you to ‘access all areas’ with an ‘exclusive’ pass to online content for a fee that amounts to far less than your hard copy paper. What’s clever about this model, is that the Sun has hidden video, audio and interactive gems from the general public- meaning the site is sure to gain your subscription soon enough. At $1 for the first month, you’re granted online savvy content produced with nothing but the digital medium in mind. Eye catching, scroll-less and interactive, The Herald Sun has got it right. (News Limited) is a dedicated online publication– allowing them to keep things fresh with innovative ideas for the online reader. A menu bar titled ‘video’ brings you the latest news coverage according to regional state or section of interest. There’s enough digital content in this section to last readers (or ‘watchers’) hours. The best part is, as of yet, there’s no subscription fee!

How can you make your articles online friendly?

  • Use dot points to avoid readers feeling as though there’s too much text
  •  Insert links where possible to keep your article interactive
  • Create an interactive graphic (such as a google map, or soundslide) to keep readers ‘watching’.

3 radio jockeys who said too much

23 Aug

In an industry where you’re paid to talk, one would think big mouths equal big bonuses. Unfortunately for these radio jockeys, it was their talking teeth that landed them in the media firing range.

Kyle Sandilands
The Fox FM broadcaster was suspended from his own ‘Kyle and Jackie O Show’ after asking a teenage girl, live on air, about her sexual experiences. As if this wasn’t controversial enough, the shock jock continued to question the female after she confessed to an incident involving being raped as a 12 year old child. The live program continued to fill the ears of listeners without so much as a flinch from Sandilands. Shocked audiences continue to talk about the scandal today, while Sandilands continues to hold his position on air.

Derryn Hinch
Hinch was infamously sent to jail for naming a Melbourne paedophile priest in the 1980’s. Years after his release, Hinch striked again, breaching suppression orders against the names of two sex offenders, for which he received 5 months home detention.

Neil Mitchell
The 3AW talkback host did more than just ‘talk Melbourne’ in October of 2010 when he decided to name two Collingwood Australian Football League players interviewed by the police for alleged sexual assault against a female. The players, Dayne Beams and John McCarthy, were revealed to Australia after Mitchell was warned not to name who he thought was to blame.

Which shock jocks should zip it? Have your say below!

Sophie Lane

Fairfax announcements on new positions

22 Aug

The new positions at Fairfax have been announced, here is the email that hit SMH journos’ inboxes, national topic editors cover The Age and SMH as far as we understand UPDATE: The Age now included below:


SMH Mon-Fri Print Editor – Richard Woolveridge

Richard is a 40 year veteran of media who has spent the past 14 years working in digital media. He began as local government and crime reporter, was editor of the South London Press from 1980-90, chairman of the Guild of British Newspaper Editors from 1988-90, before moving to Australia. He is a Walkley Award winner in the headline category and was deputy chief sub and acting chief sub of the SMH before moving to digital publishing.

Heath Gilmore has been appointed Deputy Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald (Mon-Fri) print edition.

SMH Saturday Print Editor -Judith Whelan

Judith has more than 25 years’ experience in newspaper and magazine journalism in Australia and Britain. She has been the Saturday editor of the Sydney Morning Herald since August last year after spending seven years as the editor of Good Weekend. Before joining Good Weekend Judith was assistant editor of the Herald, overseeing features, opinion and arts coverage. She was nominated for Walkley Awards while reporting in the transport and health rounds for the Herald.


Sun Herald Print Editor -Kate Cox

Kate has worked at Fairfax Media for 14 years including stints in the Canberra Press Gallery and as health reporter, property reporter and Olympics reporter. Kate developed S magazine and in recent years has been a regular on radio and TV. She has edited numerous sections including Travel, Sunday Metro, My Career, Tempo, mag, Fit for Life and the children’s pages. Most recently she has been the successful editor of Sunday Life. Editor -Conal Hanna

Conal Hanna was a founding member of Fairfax’s in 2007 and has been its Managing Editor for the past three years. Before that, he worked in newspapers and magazines, writing and editing everything from news and sport to travel, food and opinion. He has a strong commitment to innovation in journalism.

Tablet Editor -Stephen Hutcheon

Stephen has been tablet editor since December 2011. At the Herald, he has been foreign editor, China correspondent, online editor, online technology editor and national online sections editor.  A member of three Walkley Award winnings teams, Stephen has been a fellow at Harvard University’ Joan Shorenstein Centre for Press, Politics and Public Policy and has also taught online journalism at university.


News Directors

Deputy News Director (day) -Tom Allard

AM Deputy News Director AM – Liam Phillips

PM Deputy News Director PM – Tom Reilly

National Topic Editors

Entertainment – Monique Farmer

Society – Adam Morton

Life – Sue Bennett

Foreign – Connie Levett

Business – Mark Hawthorne

Food and Wine – Lisa Hudson*

Travel – Lauren Quaintance*

Drive – Toby Hagon*

Managing Editor (National) – Mark Baker*


Local Topic Editors

State – Sherrill Nixon (Sherrill will take up her position at the completion of her duties overseeing the newsroom review in late 2012)

Investigations/Feature Writers – Anne Davies

Community – Kathryn Wicks, who will be responsible for the new social media team led by Georgia Waters.

Sport – Ian Fuge*

Justice – Lisa Davies*

Domain – Stephen Nicholls*

* Incumbent

For The Age:

The Age

News Director – Steve Foley

Mon-Fri Print Editor – Mark Fuller

Saturday Age Editor – Margie Easterbrook

Sunday Age Editor – Mark Forbes

Online Editor – Daniel Sankey*

Tablet Editor – David Dick*

AM Deputy News Director – Craig Dixon

PM Deputy News Director – Dan Silkstone

Weekend Deputy News Director – Melissa Singer

State Editor – Michelle Griffin

Justice Editor – Dan Oakes

Social Media Editor – Angus Holland

Investigations/Features Editor – Graham Reilly

Community Editor – Paul Austin

Weekend Features Editor – Mary-Anne Toy

Sports Editor- Alex Lavelle*

Images Editor & Edit Operations Manager – Viki Lascaris*

Video Editor – Andrew Webster


Data-driven strategy isn’t just hyperbole

22 Aug

Karalee Evans works in digital but still has her soul as well as a passion for writing, snowboarding and politics. Working in communications, digital and strategy for the past decade (there is no way to write that without sounding old), Karalee still isn’t an expert. But she can pour a pretty mean pint. This is her fourth column for MediaRound.

Data intelligence is by no means unique to the online era or indeed the year of Big Data; historically we’ve used everything from phone surveys, door-to-door polls and even mail-in coupons to identify our audiences’ needs and address them. Of course, digital data has given us access to far more insights than ever before – but more important than the source of data is how we manage it for the best results.

It’s an understatement to say that marketers and strategists have access to more data than ever before. Not only do we have a wealth of information coming in from online analytics and behavioural tracking, we’re also privy to offline consumer data from a whole range of sources. When you add online and offline data, you have a staggering volume of information at your disposal. If not carefully managed, that volume can end up as white noise and overwhelm your strategy and tactics instead of strengthening them.

The key to successful targeting is not necessarily the volume of data being used. What usually matters most is the accuracy with which the strategist can use the available data to understand the consumers it wishes to engage with, and calibrate its tactics to do so most effectively.

The potential for targeting grows even further when you combine both online and offline data. Until recently, most strategists have struggled with incorporating offline insights into their online strategy, and vice versa. However, continuous improvements in analytics and database technologies mean that we’re increasingly able to link online data to its offline equivalents, generating even more comprehensive profiles of consumer behaviours and values in the process.

Every aspect of the intersection between humans and technology is fed by, and feeds, the collation of data. Every time you check-in on Foursquare, Tweet, ‘like’ something on Facebook, send an email, make or receive a phone call, transfer money, purchase an eBook, search for a hotel in Darwin, download an episode of GoT, purchase the latest Gaga song, read about Clams licking salt on, watch a cat swim in a bath on YouTube…. transactional and behavioural data is the result.

For example researchers have found a spike in Google search requests for terms like “flu symptoms” and “flu treatments” a couple of weeks before there is an increase in flu patients coming to hospital emergency rooms in a region (and emergency room reports usually lag behind visits by two weeks or so). So, if you’re a strategist for a Big Pharma, you should be using this intelligence to predict supply and demand for your cold remedies and conversely if you’re a Health Prevention Director, you can predict demand for health services before the epidemic.

Data alone is not the silver bullet. It is what this data is feeding that in my opinion, is the next disruptive innovation.

Data-driven strategy is now pretty mainstream. Everyone is talking about it, and trying to do it. Big Data is one of the most widely used, and misunderstood, topics of the modern-day tech bubble. But behind the hyperbole, there are real examples of innovation that will create new markets and change the course of how industries and specialties will deliver their value proposition. And it’s driving a new value network of roles and jobs. A report last year by the McKinsey Global Institute, projected that the United States alone needs 140,000 to 190,000 more workers with “deep analytical” expertise and 1.5 million more data-literate managers, whether retrained or hired just to sustain data-driven processes.

And when you consider this predictive power of data in fields like public health, economic development and economic forecasting, data-driven strategy is already becoming the next big disruption.

Connecting insights into both online and offline worlds lets marketers not only better target their actions, but also evaluate their results in a more comprehensive fashion. However, the sheer volume of data involved in these processes further highlights the need for a structured approach to targeting.

For their part, marketers can aim to structure available data according to business goals (like raising sales amongst a certain age group) rather than by traditional demographics. They can eliminate data not relevant to the scope of their campaign, or isolate the points which are most obviously actionable. But they need to remember that the full picture of data sometimes reveals far more than its parts. It’s a tricky balancing act between “too much” and “too little” data, especially as online and offline become increasingly interlinked. Marketers need to focus on the objectives of their campaigns to avoid being overloaded.

By bridging the gap between online and offline worlds, strategists can reach their audiences based targeted insights and not just demographic profiling. But the challenge to adopting data-driven strategy within your business is not the lack of available data; it’s whether you have invested in the skills and talent to really understand what’s meaningful and what’s just dirty data and hyperbole.

Digital First is not just a race

21 Aug

by Hugh Martin

In 2004 the night before the opening of the Athens Olympics, two Greek athletes Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou were forced to withdraw from the Games after missing a doping test. It was a huge story at the time as the two were major medal hopes for the host country.

That night a bunch of Fairfax journalists were having dinner at a restaurant in the Plaka, within sight of the Parthenon, getting ready for a fortnight of olympic reporting.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s then gun reporter, Jacquelin Magnay, happened to mention to the online editor that she had got hold of the Greek athlete story ahead of her international competition and was planning on sending it to the Herald’s newsdesk when she got back to the hotel after dinner.

The online editor convinced her that the story wouldn’t hold and that it would be all over the web within no time if they didn’t get it out immediately. Magnay agreed, and together they telephoned the news editor of It was 3am in Melbourne when they woke the news editor. He rolled out of bed, turned on his computer and took Magnay’s copy over the phone writing it straight on to and web sites.

Within minutes the story had hit the wires and ricocheted around the world. But Fairfax had already published.

Fast forward eight years to Adelaide 2012. As Media Watch reported last night, last week Adelaide Advertiser crime reporter Nigel Hunt had a genuine scoop about fraud in the South Australian Victim of Crime fund.

In the intervening eight years since the Athens Olympics “Digital First” has become the war cry in newsrooms around Australia (instead of merely the pleadings of online desperados).

Now there is no question of “holding stories for the paper”. But choosing the best time to publish, calculating when is the right time to maximise the exposure of a genuine exclusive – that is still an art.