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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

Journalists who took a tweet too far

20 Aug

By Sophie Lane

Mosts journalists these days know twitter is a go-to goldmine for networking and investigating, but it can also hinder hard-earned successes. These journalists famously typed one character too many and found themselves jobless due their troublesome tweets. Perhaps it’s Twitter’s friendly interface that makes it easy to forget you’re publishing those thoughts the world, or maybe that journalistic integrity happened to be on vacation?

Catherine Deveny @CatherineDeveny
Deveny was sacked from her position as columnist for The Age in 2010 for tweeting defamatory comments about celebrities during an awards ceremony at Melbourne’s Crown Casino. One of her last lines included “I do so hope Bindi Irwin gets laid”.

“We are appreciative of the columns Catherine has written for The Age over several years but the views she has expressed recently on Twitter are not in keeping with the standards we set at The Age,” The Age’s editor-In-chief at the time, Paul Ramadge said at the time.

Jill Singer @snooplady

Singer’s 15 year stint as columnist at The Herald Sun ended abruptly in March of this year after the journalist received a letter from the newspaper stating that her column was no longer needed. Many attribute the sudden-sack to fiery tweet arguments Singer had with Herald Sun cooworker Andrew Bolt.

Gavin Miller @gavdanmiller (account no longer active)

Gavin Miller was originally hired for Perth 96FM‘s ‘Classic Cafe’ show as a replacement for announcer Steve Fitton, who had been fired for breaching the radio station’s media policy. Miller however, followed in his predecessor’s footsteps and got fired himself for publicly shaming head of the Australian Christian Lobby, Jim Wallace via Twitter. “Turd” was the lightest of terms used, with others too offensive for publication.

Who else has taken to twitter and lived to regret their actions? Let us know!


Fairfax announces newsroom transformation

27 Jun

Fairfax today unveiled a national “digital-first” editorial restructure that it says will transform the company into one newsroom with its own internal newswire.

Metro division group editorial director Garry Linnell, who briefed staff on Wednesday, said the plan was “the most significant editorial transformation in this company’s history” in a 25-page staff briefing.

The publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age will remove divisions between various print, web, tablet and smartphone as it pushes ahead with plans to shed 1900 staff over three years and build paywalls around most of its content.

Fairfax’s one-newsroom model, which will come with a single art department, is aimed at removing duplication among Fairfax staff.

“We will operate as one newsroom – across platforms, across geographies and across seven days,” Linnell’s briefing states.

“A shared, comprehensive national newslist is one of our greatest assets. It underpins our integrated newsroom.”

Under the new plan, Fairfax journalists will effectively become newswire reporters by filing copy on “rolling deadlines” across a seven-day roster for all platforms.

Weekend and magazine staff will also be rolled into the one-newsroom model and report to a topics editor.

The document describes the process so far. Staff were asked for feedback, reporting that:

  • The current way of operating leads to duplication, confusion and platforms not always getting the best content.
  • While the situation has improved, they still waste the effort of editorial staff and managers because planning and commissioning decisions are not transparent or disciplined.
  • Online is not included in planning
  • With about 90 per cent of staff reporting to print editors and a daily rhythm revolving around a newspaper, they do not treat online audience equally and create additional work for staff, particularly in production.

A number of  new roles are being created and others being transformed.

Editor‐in‐Chief: oversees journalism across all platforms – a transformative change from the current situation in which print and digital are managed separately. The EIC is the ultimate arbiter in the newsroom and the internal and external figurehead. Reports to the Editorial Director.
News Director: the newsroom’s linchpin, effectively the head of content. Platform‐neutral, the News Director is the EIC’s delegate in day‐to‐day operations and forward planning. When questions are raised about when and where a story is published, the News Director makes the final call. News Directors chair the daily and weekly news briefings, manage quality control and Topic Editors’ needs/performance and ensure Platform Editors’ needs are met. They will be supported by deputies to ensure news director presence 6am‐late across seven days.
Platform Editors: The editors of our newspapers, websites, tablet apps and mobile sites are the champions of our products. They are totally immersed in delivering journalism for targeted audiences, and must know intimately their platform’s strengths, audience reach/needs and demographics. They are not passive curators of journalism in the newsroom, but are expected to be
active in ideas generation and execution by liaising with Topic Editors and News Directors.
Topic Editors: Topic Editors lead a team of journalists and are responsible for delivering 24/7 coverage of assigned rounds to all of the platforms. A platform‐neutral role, they will be active in daily and weekly news briefings, maintain newslistings and diaries, manage the performance of the journalists in their team, oversee the production of online and print sections and liaise with
fellow Topic Editors. Editors of national topics report to the National Editor, editors of local topics report to the News Director.
Reporters: Reporters will no longer be aligned to one platform – they will be organised into topics and will produce their stories for all platforms. Their aim will be the same: to set the agenda by breaking exclusive stories, finding fresh and compelling new angles and engaging our audiences.
National of Production Head: a new role to lead a cross‐masthead, cross‐platform production team, elevating the quality of our online journalism.
Producers: for the first time, digital, newspaper and magazine production staff across geographies will unite to form a multiskilled production team.

Staff structure

Fairfax restucturing coverage: a round up

19 Jun

There’s been extensive coverage of the losses of up to 1900 jobs at Fairfax. Here are some highlights around coverage of the announcement, which has also coincided with Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart upping her stake in Fairfax:

The Australian has been reporting that Rinehart is after three board seats, but expects to be offered two. Also, that she is wanting the right to hire and fire editors.

As Australia’s richest person, and Fairfax’s biggest shareholder, Gina Rinehart stepped up her campaign to secure board seats and a say in the newspapers’ editorial direction, chief executive Greg Hywood shocked the media industry with the scale of the restructuring to be undertaken at the 180-year-old company.

Hit by what Mr Hywood called the “perfect storm” of structural and cyclical changes buffeting the newspaper publishing, online and radio group, he revealed the group contemplated a wholesale break-up of its operations before opting instead for the announced restructuring plan.

Alan Kohler in Business Spectator talks about the disconnect between management and Rinehart.

“Australia’s strangest rich person is apparently oblivious to the challenges facing publishers and is interested only in moulding public opinion. Meanwhile the last thing on the minds of Fairfax directors is the influence their editors and journalists might possess.

In other words, the company’s board and its now largest shareholder are at cross-purposes, which is a pretty rum state of affairs. Gina Rinehart has absolutely nothing to contribute to the transformation of the company into a profitable digital publisher and is not interested in it anyway, and no one inside the business is the slightest bit interested in moulding public opinion – they are just trying to survive.”

John Birmingham, a Fairfax columnist says we’ve got to share some of the blame.

 “ … although comment threads and letters to the editor bemoan the decline in standards of journalism, and cry out for more quality and care and less bias, most readers are less interested in hard news than they are in complete tosh.”

Some good background too . The Monthly has put their profile on Rinehart online.

Lang Hancock thought journalists were either “socialists” or “communists”. Gina, too, is deeply scornful of the press. Very few reporters ever get to speak to her, still less meet her face-to-face. In a testy email exchange in late 2010 with Tim Treadgold, the Perth-based resources reporter, she complained about “the established anti-mining journalists (and those who would prefer to do cheap inaccurate shots instead of considering important issues to Australia’s future)”. She went on to grant him an interview, of sorts, by emailing him the questions as well as her answers.

And for more background on Fairfax from The Monthly, here is Margaret Simons in February last year.

Even the optimists within the company acknowledge that if the next few years are mismanaged, Fairfax might not survive as a publisher of quality journalism. To put it baldly, we may lose the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, or they might be sold off. Even if the names survive, the mastheads may cease to exist as large-scale employers of journalists.

Wendy Bacon argues on New Matilda that journalists need to make the importance of independence known.

If journalists and the unions want the public to understand what is at stake they need to explain how the charter works and be part of a more broadly based community campaign to support public interest journalism, both in and outside the mainstream media. The interests of journalists are not the same as corporate management.

And they have –  writting to Rinehart to sign Fairfax’s charter of  editorial independence. Unsurprisingly, no word back from her.

Meanwhile in the WSJ, Deutsche Bank analyst Andrew Anagnostellis has some further bad news.

Fairfax Media’s Australian metropolitan print business, including flagship mastheads The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, is worthless despite a dramatic restructuring, in the eyes of Deutsche Bank analyst Andrew Anagnostellis.

The broker said the “nil value” reflects the metro division’s deteriorating earnings profile due to highly competitive conditions under which metro and community newspapers operate, the significantly high cost base relative to revenue and the weak structural industry position.

From Private Media, Amanda Gome has some strong opinions on the restructuring:

So in order to stave off the inevitable, Hywood has announced a centralisation model which is really a huge virtual newsroom that then dishes out commodity news to the different states and to different platforms. And that is the next death knell for The Age and SMH. Already they stand accused of having lost contact with their city communities. As a demoralised Fairfax workforce works even harder with fewer staff to pump out commodity news, their papers will look more like The Australian: nationally focused, authoritative, aloof and struggling to stay ahead. This leaves the door open for many smaller, highly targeted niche publications that will take their news and tailor it to their communities.

Not to be outdone by her boss Eric Beecher, who writes of the time eight years ago when he was asked to advise Fairfax on its future:

Three years ago, just as Roger Corbett was proudly taking the helm of an organisation “envied by media companies around the world”, a new book was published. Written by Jim Collins, well known for his deep studies of how companies work, How The Mighty Fall describes the five stages of the decline of once-successful companies:

  • Stage 1: Hubris born of success
  • Stage 2: Undisciplined pursuit of more
  • Stage 3: Denial of risk and peril
  • Stage 4: Grasping for salvation
  • Stage 5: Capitulation to irrelevance or death.

Under its current chairman, Fairfax Media took less than three years to move briskly from Stage 3 to Stage 4. And if there’s one certainty about the future of the company, it is that the current chairman and board won’t be hanging around to preside over Stage 5.

Behold: People are paying for (particular) content on their tablets

19 Jun

A survey, funded by the Online Publishers Association, found that 61 percent of tablet users have purchased some form of digital content.

Poynter has a piece on it, but in summary:

  • People are buying magazines (39%) and e-books (35%) and newspapers (15%)
  • Magazines (10%) and entertainment (8%) win out over newspapers (5%) and news (4%)
  • There is little consensus about whether digital content should be sold on its own or bundled with other offline content, such as a print subscription
  • More people prefer to get content via mobile-optimized websites than apps
  • Paid or not, content consumption is one of the favored uses of tablets
  • Video comes out on top as the most-common type of content viewed on tablets (54%), next followed by weather info (49%), local news (41%) and national news (37%)
  • Short form news and entertainment  are the most popular video content
  • 31% of Internet-using Americans now use tablets, up from 12% last year
  • It’s predicted that 47 %t will use tablets by 2013