Showing posts with label newspapers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label newspapers. Show all posts

Monday, 29 June 2020

Murdoch & Costello may be doing their best to kill off print newspapers in Australia but some country towns are fighting back

ABC News, 26 June 2020:

As News Corp prints its final print editions of 125 titles, entrepreneurial publishers are considering how to fill the void. Newspaper editor Jeff Gibbs has employed 12 staff in the past week, picking up journalists made redundant by News Corp in northern New South Wales. 

Mr Gibbs said the opportunity presented by News Corp was too good to pass up. "We decided that the community needed a community newspaper and so we banded together and thought, 'right, let's do this,'" Mr Gibbs said. 

Jeff Gibbs thinks many readers and advertisers are not ready to go digital.(Supplied: Northern Rivers Times
From offices in Casino, Mr Gibbs and his staff are preparing the first edition of The Northern Rivers Times. 
Mr Gibbs said he had done the sums, and could make the numbers add up producing a weekly free publication with an initial print run of 15,000 covering the NSW Northern Rivers region, from Tweed Heads to Grafton.

"There's a number of ways of doing it and it's purely through advertising," Mr Gibbs said. "We're doing it all in house, we're not farming anything out. 

"I don't know what News Corp's business model was, but I can't see why they couldn't make it work." 

Mr Gibbs said it was his firm belief that a lot of readers and advertisers were not ready to go digital, particularly in areas with poor internet coverage.

Other print mastheads which have launched since those previously servicing rural/regional communities announced closures:

Southern Highland Express established June 2020 & published weekly. Price $2

Yass Valley Times established June 2020 & published weekly.

Hunter River Times established June 2020 & published fortnightly. Free

Naracoorte Community News established May 2020 & published weekly. Price $2

Ararat Advocate established May 2020 & published weekly.

Braidwood Changing Times established April 2020 & published fortnightly. Free

If you live in these areas please consider placing your business advertising, community notices, or personal notices in these new papers.

Print is much easier on the eye than News Corp and Nine digital newspaper editions, which in the end carry very little local news.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

This Is Not Journalism or How A 165 Year Old Australian Masthead Finally Lost Its Good Name

The Age newspaper has been read in Melbourne since October 1854.

Over the years it grew in circulation until it was read across the state of Victoria and elsewhere in Australia.

It has survived the vagaries of the print newspaper business, until the Fairfax-Nine Entertainment merger when it became part of a media group whose chairman was a former Liberal MP and onetime Australian federal treasurer Peter Costello and its CEO began courting the Liberal Party by hosting a $10,000 dollar a head party fundraiser at its headquarters in 2019 raising at least $700,000 for the party.

It is no secret that the current Federal Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government dislikes the Victorian Labor Government and is out to criticize and undermine it at every opportunity.

So when this front page headline appeared in The Age on 5 June 2020, "Activists 'planning trouble' at protest: Exclusive", under the bylines of the newspaper's State Political Editor and a general news journalist, it came as no surprise.

The opening paragraphs ran thus:

Activists have threatened police with spitting, inflammatory chanting and other forms of physical abuse during tomorrow's "Black Lives Matter" protest in Melbourne in an attempt to provoke use-of-force responses from officers. 

A senior government source told The Age police were preparing for tactics from some protesters tomorrow designed to provoke physical confrontation and produce images of police brutality. [my yellow highlighting]

The newspaper amplified this message on social media:

The online copy of the original article in question has since been removed. With the current online article now having a different headline and and text much altered from the original.

The apology issued by The Age and published on 6 June on the second page of the print newspaper, contains a meas culpa for its lapse in "editorial standards and values". However, this creates another issue surrounding these values.

It completely omitted mention of the "senior government source". Instead the apology states "one unnamed source".

The Age, 6 June 2020, p.2:


On June 5, The Age published a story headlined: "Activists 'planning trouble' at Protest". 

This story reported concerns within the Victorian government about the potential for physical confrontation during planned protests. 

The story fell short of The Age's editorial values and standards and caused understandable offence to many members of the community. 

The claim that activists had threatened police with spitting and abuse was not backed up beyond one unnamed source

The story put undue emphasis on these claims. The main organisers of the rally, the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, clearly stated that they had no knowledge of any threats to police. The Age apologises. [my yellow highlighting]

It certainly differed from the "clarification" displayed under the current online article posted at 11:45pm the night before:

One has to wonder if, between the publication of that original inflammatory article and the final print apology, management began to hedge its bets because the "source" cited appeared highly suspect and may not have been a source in government or even close to government and that there was a possibility that The Age's journalists had been played.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

News Corp goes digital & withdraws from print media in the NSW Northern Rivers region - with small print 'community' mastheads disappearing entirely

Last year News Corp told its shareholders that: "In addition, the Company has divested and may in the future divest certain assets or businesses that no longer fit with its strategic direction or growth targets."

It seems that such an event came to pass in May 2020, not quite four years after News Corp purchased so many of those print newspapers it is now closing down entirely or reinventing as purely digital news platforms.

Perhaps the clue to this restructuring is in the fact that this multinational media corporation mentioned "loss" or "losses" at least 223 times in its Annual Report 2019.

With News Corp owning 150 print newspapers, at the end May 2019 its readership across all mastheads only appeared to reach a weekly average of est. 7.7 million out of a nation of over 25 million people.

However, the Northern Rivers is the only NSW region being completely restructured - losing five small print 'community' newspapers entirely and six of its print news mastheads becoming digital news platforms only from Monday 29 June 2020.

News Corp Australia, media release, 27 May 2020: 

News Corp Australia announces portfolio changes 

The Executive Chairman of News Corp Australasia, Mr Michael Miller, today announced significant changes to News Corp Australia’s publishing portfolio. 

Mr Miller said that over recent months News Corp had undertaken a comprehensive review of its regional and community newspapers. This review considered the ongoing consumer shift to reading and subscribing to news online, and the acceleration of businesses using digital advertising.  

“COVID-19 has impacted the sustainability of community and regional publishing. Despite the audiences of News Corp’s digital mastheads growing more than 60 per cent as Australians turned to trusted media sources during the peak of the recent COVID-19 lockdowns, print advertising spending which contributes the majority of our revenues, has accelerated its decline,” Mr Miller said. 

“Consequently, to meet these changing trends, we are reshaping News Corp Australia to focus on where consumers and businesses are moving and to strengthen our position as Australia’s leading digital news media company. This will involve employing more digital only journalists and making investments in digital advertising and marketing solutions for our partners.” 

Mr Miller said News Corp’s portfolio review highlighted that many of our print mastheads were challenged, and the double impact of COVID-19 and the tech platforms not remunerating the local publisher whose content they profit from, had, unfortunately, made them unsustainable publications. 

He said the portfolio changes being implemented would mean that from Monday June 29 the bulk of News Corp’s regional and community titles would move to purely digital publishing. 

“More than 375 journalists will be specifically covering regional and community news and information. They will continue to serve, and live in, their local communities with the majority in regional Queensland where we have most of our titles,” Mr Miller said. 

“More than 640,000 Australians, our latest figures show, are currently subscribing to News Corp’s digital news content and subscriptions are growing at an annual rate of 24 per cent. 

“Much of this growth is from local news, where subscribers have more than doubled in the past year. In regional Queensland more than 80,000 people have digital subscriptions and this number has grown by more than 40 per cent this year. 

“I’m confident that these numbers will accelerate through dedicated and constant digital publishing and continuing to serve the local communities whose trust and community commitment the mastheads have developed over decades. 

“Over the past 19 months News has launched 16 new digital only local mastheads. In total we will now publish 92 digital only regional and community mastheads, each offering readers rolling coverage, electronic alerts and newsletters, richer audio and video content and deeper local sport coverage and community debate. 

“At the same time, News Corp’s major mastheads in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide – The Courier-Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun and The Advertiser – will now become more state focused with increased regional content and will partner with our regional and community local titles in their states to ensure we deliver compelling journalism to Australian consumers regardless of where they live. 

Subscribers wherever they live will now have access to the best of News Corp’s local, regional, state, national and international news, sport, features and columnists.” 

Describing the changes being announced today, Mr Miller said: “These initiatives are significant. They will involve fundamental changes to how we operate our business but they are necessary. Together with senior executive and editorial appointments announced recently, they will enable us to be more effective in driving further success in the growth areas News Corp is excelling in such as digital advertising products, solutions and subscriptions and will embed a more collaborative way of working to maximise our sport and news coverage, hyper local digital subscriptions and the success of our all-important weekend editions.” 

Today’s announcements to News Corp’s publishing portfolio will mean some job roles will change and regretfully, will lead to job losses. Mr Miller said that for those employees impacted by the changes, he wanted to thank them personally for their professionalism, dedication and contribution. 

“They have provided News with invaluable years of service. Their passionate commitment to the communities in which they live and work and their role in ensuring these have been informed and served by trusted local media has been substantial,” he said. 

Commercially, these portfolio changes will make News less complex for its partners to leverage and will build on the innovations it already has in place. 

This includes: 

  • News Xtend which is now Australia’s top digital marketing agency for small and medium enterprises; 
  • News Connect data platform which ensures businesses reach the right consumer segments wanting to pay for their products and services through its specialist ability to access two billion consumption signals from 12 million Australians; 
  • Australia’s number one digital publisher for news, real estate, business, sport and fantasy sport, food, fashion, health and beauty, parenting and women’s lifestyle; 
  • Digital powerhouse which has increased its audience more than 30 per cent in the past two months to more than 12.2 million monthly users; 
  • A leader in audio and video with News’ data now showing award-winning podcast downloads of more than five million monthly and digital video views topping 100 million monthly, up 45 per cent in a year; 
  • Monday’s launch of BINGE entertainment streaming service which joins Foxtel and the Kayo sport streaming service as the nation’s premium subscription broadcasters; 
  • REA Group which is Australia’s clear leader for real estate digital services and investing in Asia and the United States, through its 20 per cent stake in Move, Inc. 

In conclusion, Mr Miller said: “News Corp remains committed to Australia’s regions and communities and the initiatives we are implementing today represent a detailed, considered strategy to ensure we will better serve our journalism to Australians who live outside its major cities. 

“News Corp and its employees also will retain at their creative core their passion for championing, and advocating for an ever improving Australia. As our country emerges in coming weeks from the lockdown enforced on us by the threat of COVID-19 into a ‘new normal’, we will ensure these values that separate News Corp from other media companies are even stronger than ever.” 

Consequently, News Corp Australia is announcing today that: 

Our major regional titles – The Hobart Mercury, NT News, Cairns Post, Townsville Bulletin, Gold Coast Bulletin, Toowoomba Chronicle and Geelong Advertiser – will continue to publish both in print and digitally. 

The following regional titles will become digital only: Queensland – Mackay Daily Mercury, Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, Gladstone Observer, Bundaberg News Mail, Fraser Coast Chronicle, Gympie Times, Sunshine Coast Daily, Queensland Times, Warwick Daily News, Central and North Burnett Times, Central Queensland News, Chinchilla News, Dalby Herald. Gatton Star, Noosa News, South Burnett Times, Stanthorpe Border Post, Western Star, Western Times, Whitsunday Times, Whitsunday Coast Guardian and Bowen Independent, news from the towns covered by the Atherton Tablelander, Northern Miner, Post Douglas & Mossman Gazette and Burdekin Advocate will continue to appear, as it does currently, under the regional sections of the Cairns Post and Townsville Bulletin; 
NSW – Tweed Daily News, Ballina Advocate, Byron Shire News, Coffs Coast Advocate, Grafton Daily Examiner and Lismore Northern Star; Northern Territory – The Centralian Advocate. 

The bulk of titles in our community groups – NewsLocal in NSW/ACT, Leader in Melbourne, Quest in Brisbane and Messenger in Adelaide – will become digital only. Community print editions were suspended early in April because of the impact of COVID-19 restrictions. 

The community titles to be digital-only news services are: Melbourne Leader titles – Stonnington, Mornington Peninsula, Knox, Whitehorse, Monash, Northern, Whittlesea, Maroondah, Moorabbin, Mordialloc Chelsea, Moreland, Lilydale and Yarra Valley, Frankston, Bayside, Caulfield Port Phillip, Cranbourne, Greater Dandenong, Moonee Valley, Maribyrnong, Wyndham; 

NewsLocal in NSW and ACT – Fairfield Advance, Penrith Press, Macarthur Chronicle, Blacktown Advocate, Canterbury Bankstown Express, Central Coast Express, Hills Shire Times, Hornsby Advocate, Liverpool Leader, Manly Daily, Northern District Times, Parramatta Advertiser, Inner West Courier, Southern Courier, Illawarra Star, Wagga Wagga News, St George Shire Standard, Canberra Star, Newcastle News, Blue Mountains News, Central Sydney, South Coast News; 

Quest in Queensland – Albert and Logan News, Caboolture Herald, Westside News, Pine Rivers Press, Redcliffe and Bayside Herald, South-West News, Wynnum Herald, North Lakes Times, Redlands Community News, Springfield News; 

Messenger in SA – Messenger South Plus; Messenger East Plus, Messenger North, Messenger West, Messenger City, Adelaide Hills and Upper Spencer Gulf. 

Three Sydney community titles, Wentworth Courier, Mosman Daily and North Shore Times, which are distributed in the city’s most affluent suburbs, will resume print editions. 

Some small print newspapers will cease publication, but the local journalism coverage of their area will continue, feeding into the digital masthead for their regional community. The regional titles to cease publication are: Queensland – Buderim Chronicle, Caloundra Weekly, Capricorn Coast Mirror, Coolum News, Nambour Weekly, Ipswich Advertiser, Kawana/Maroochy Weekly, Gold Coast Sun, Hervey Bay Independent, Maryborough Herald, Balonne Beacon, Surat Basin News, Herbert River Express, Innisfail Advocate, Central Telegraph; NSW – Coastal Views, Northern Rivers Echo, Richmond River Express Examiner; Tasmania – Tasmanian Country; Specialist – Big Rigs, Rural Weekly, Seniors. 

Additionally, we will streamline our community titles and will publish local stories under their regional or city-based masthead. The community titles which will cease publication are: Leader titles in Victoria – Manningham, Preston, Diamond Valley, Heidelberg, Sunbury Macedon, Progress and Northcote; NewsLocal in NSW – Rouse Hill Times; Quest in Queensland – Northside Chronicle/Bayside Star, North-West News, South-East Advertiser, Southern Star, Bribie Weekly; and South Australia – Messenger Coast Plus. [my yellow highlighting]

Monday, 10 February 2020

Australian Newspaper Cross-Platform Audience Numbers for the 12 months to December 2019 are not good news for News Corp

This Roy Morgan survey of Cross-Platform Audiences covers the number of Australians who have read or accessed individual newspaper content via print, web or app from December 2018 to December 2019.

Print is calculated as net readership in an average 7 days and digital as net website visitation and app usage in an average 7 days. 

Of the 14 prominent mastheads in this cross-platform survey all had experienced readership decline in the 12 months to December 2019, with the exception of the Financial Review (up 14.1%), The Sydney Morning Herald (up 4.1%) and The Age (up 1.2%).

The worst decline in audience numbers occured in the News Corp mastheads.

Percentage Change In Cross-Platform Audience

Adelaide Advertiser  -4.4%

Canberra Times  -14.1% 
Courier-Mail  -1.4% 
Daily Telegraph  -15.5% 
Financial Review  14.1% 
Herald Sun  -7.7% 
Mercury  -3.5% 
Newcastle Herald  -5.3% 
Sunday Times  -4.0% 
Sydney Morning Herald  4.1% 
The Age  1.2% 
The Australian  -4.3%
The Saturday Paper  -7.6% 
West Australian  -6.6%

In the period December 2018 to December 2019 the print versions of all 14 mastheads experienced a degree of readership decline.

News Corp has reported a decline in global revenue and profits in the last quarter ending 31 December 2019, with revenue falling by 5.6% to $2.8 billion. 

According to Mumbrella, advertising revenue was down 5% across the business, with News Corp putting the blame largely on a “weakness in the print advertising market, primarily in Australia”.

Monday, 8 April 2019


With Murdoch’s News Corp mastheads dominating the local newspaper landscape in the NSW Northern Rivers region this should interest readers…….

The New York Times, 3 April 2019:

Rupert Murdoch, the founder of a global media empire that includes Fox News, has said he “never asked a prime minister for anything.”

But that empire has given him influence over world affairs in a way few private citizens ever have, granting the Murdoch family enormous sway over not just the United States, but English-speaking countries around the world.

A six-month investigation by The New York Times covering three continents and including more than 150 interviews has described how Mr. Murdoch and his feuding sons turned their media outlets into right-wing political influence machines that have destabilized democracy in North America, Europe and Australia.

Here are some key takeaways from The Times’s investigation into the Murdoch family and its role in the illiberal, right-wing political wave sweeping the globe.


Fox News has long exerted a gravitational pull on the Republican Party in the United States, where it most recently amplified the nativist revolt that has fueled the rise of the far right and the election of President Trump.

Mr. Murdoch’s newspaper The Sun spent years demonizing the European Union to its readers in Britain, where it helped lead the Brexit campaign that persuaded a slim majority of voters in a 2016 referendum to endorse pulling out of the bloc. Political havoc has reigned in Britain ever since.

And in Australia, where his hold over the media is most extensive, Mr. Murdoch’s outlets pushed for the repeal of the country’s carbon tax and helped topple a series of prime ministers whose agenda he disliked, including Malcolm Turnbull last year.

At the center of this upheaval sits the Murdoch family, a clan whose dysfunction has both shaped and mirrored the global tumult of recent years.

The Times explored those family dynamics and their impact on the Murdoch empire, which is on the cusp of succession as its 88-year-old patriarch prepares to hand power to the son whose politics most resemble his own: Lachlan Murdoch.

A key step in that succession has paradoxically been the partial dismemberment of the empire, which significantly shrunk last month when Mr. Murdoch sold one of his companies, the film studio 21st Century Fox, to the Walt Disney Company for $71.3 billion.

The deal turned Mr. Murdoch’s children into billionaires and left Lachlan in control of a powerful political weapon: a streamlined company, the Fox Corporation, whose most potent asset is Fox News…..

The Murdoch empire has also boldly flexed its muscles in Australia, which was for many years Lachlan’s domain.

In Australia, Lachlan expressed disdain for efforts to fight climate change and once rebuked the staff at one of his family’s newspapers, The Australian, for an editorial in support of same-sex marriage (He says through a representative that he is in favor of same-sex marriage). He also became close to the politician Tony Abbott, whose 2013 election as prime minister was given an assist by Murdoch newspapers.

The Murdoch family changed Australian politics in 2016 when it took control of Sky News Australia and imported the Fox News model. They quickly introduced a slate of right-wing opinion shows that often focused on race, immigration and climate change. The programming became known as Sky After Dark.

Last year, Mr. Turnbull and his staff accused Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch of using their media outlets to help foment the intraparty coup that thrust him from office in August. Mr. Turnbull, a moderate and longtime nemesis of his friend Mr. Abbott, was replaced by the right-wing nationalist Scott Morrison.

The Murdochs have denied any role in Mr. Turnbull’s downfall.....

The night after his arrival, Lachlan invited a small group of Sky employees and managers to his $16 million mansion in Sydney for drinks. With its new prime-time lineup of hard-right opinion hosts, Sky had become a force in Australian politics. Its audience was still small by American standards, but it was the network of choice in the capital, Canberra, and it was finalizing a deal to expand its reach into the Australian Outback — demographically speaking, the equivalent of Trump country.

It was a mirror of Fox News, with its fixation on race, identity and climate-change denial. Night after night, Sky’s hosts and their guests stirred anger over the perceived liberal bias of the media, “suicidal self-hatred” of Western civilization and the Australian equivalent of the Central American “caravans” that were dividing the United States: asylum seekers coming to the country by boat from Indonesia and Malaysia, many of them Muslim. Days before Lachlan’s arrival, a national neo-Nazi leader, Blair Cottrell — who had recently been fined for “inciting contempt for Muslims” — appeared on one of the network’s shows. Cottrell had been interviewed on Australian TV before, but his deferential treatment by Sky caused a national outcry. Under gentle questioning, he called on his countrymen to “reclaim our traditional identity as Australians” and advocated limiting immigration to those “who are not too culturally dissimilar from us,” such as white South African farmers. (Sky apologized and suspended the program.)

Inside Lachlan’s living room, the talk turned to national politics. “Do you think Malcolm is going to survive?” Lachlan asked his staff. Malcolm was Malcolm Turnbull, the relatively moderate Australian prime minister who took office a few years earlier. Inside the government, a small right-wing uprising had been brewing over his plans to bring Australia into compliance with the Paris climate accord. It is well established among those who have worked for the Murdochs that the family rarely, if ever, issues specific directives. They convey their desires indirectly, maybe with a tweet — as Murdoch did in the spring of 2016 when he decided to back Trump — or a question, the subtleties of which are rarely lost on their like-minded news executives.

In the days that followed, Sky Australia’s hosts and the Murdoch papers — the newspaper editors had their own drinks session at Lachlan’s mansion — set about trying to throw Turnbull out of office. Alan Jones, a Sky host and conservative radio star, called for a party “rebellion” against him on his program. Days later, the Murdochs’ major paper in Sydney, The Daily Telegraph, broke the news that a leadership challenge was in the works. Cheering on the challenge, Andrew Bolt, the Murdoch columnist who was once convicted of violating the country’s Racial Discrimination Act, told his Sky viewers that Turnbull’s “credibility is shot, his authority is gone.” Peta Credlin, the commentator who was Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff, chewed out a member of Parliament for the chaos inside Turnbull’s administration. The Australian, the Murdochs’ national newspaper, was soon declaring Turnbull a “dead man walking.”......

It was always difficult to separate the personal from the financial and the ideological with the Murdochs. All appeared to be in evidence in their decision to turn against Turnbull. To begin with, he took office a few years earlier by ousting Lachlan’s friend Tony Abbott, and it was Abbott who helped lead the Turnbull uprising. Turnbull’s policies were also not perfectly aligned with the Murdochs’ interests. For instance, he had expedited the construction of the country’s national broadband network, which directly threatened the family’s highly profitable cable business by giving Netflix a government-subsidized pipeline into Australian homes.

The small number of Australian media outlets that the Murdochs did not own portrayed Turnbull’s ouster as a Murdoch-led “coup.” Kevin Rudd, a former prime minister whom the family had helped push out of office years earlier, described Murdoch in an op-ed in The Sydney Morning Herald as “the greatest cancer on the Australian democracy.”

Turnbull was replaced by the right-wing nationalist Scott Morrison, who quickly aligned himself with Trump. The two met in person for the first time in late 2018 at the G-20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires. “I think it’s going to be a great relationship,” Trump said afterward. With a national election scheduled for May 2019, Morrison quickly staked his party’s prospects on the polarizing issue of immigration, promising a new hard-line approach. It dovetailed with Sky’s regular prime-time programming. Andrew Bolt, who previously warned of a “foreign invasion,” said in one segment, “We also risk importing ethnic and religious strife, even terrorism,” as the screen flashed an image of Australia’s potential future: rows of Muslims on a city street, bowing toward Mecca. When the opposing Labor Party managed to muscle through legislation that would allow doctors to transfer severely sick migrants in detention centers on the Australian islands of Nauru and Manus into hospitals on the mainland, Sky Australia’s prime-time hosts went on the offensive.

Read the full article here.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's political moves reviewed in mainstream media

Murdoch-News Corp newspaper front pages may be shouting support for all things Scott Morrison on most days. However a little subversion loiters within.......

Weekend Australian, 19 January 2019, p.20:

Here are 10 missteps in the short time Morrison has been in the job that could have been avoided if only he had adopted the Costanza approach and done the opposite of his political instincts.

1. It started just days before taking over from Malcolm Turnbull. Standing in the prime ministerial courtyard, asked whether he had any ambitions to lead the Liberal Party, Morrison threw his arm around Turnbull and declared he was ambitious for his boss. Presumably the journalist asking the question had heard the same things I had: that Morrison and his lieutenants had been canvassing with colleagues whether he could come through the middle as a ­viable third candidate. It wasn’t a good look in retrospect.

2. Very early on as Prime Minister, Morrison decided it might be a good idea to start a debate about moving the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The storm of controversy that followed — international condemnation and threats from Indonesia to scuttle free trade talks — distracted voters in the days before voters in Wentworth went to the polls. The Liberals lost the seat, and Morrison was left to patch up a mess of his own making.

3. Speaking of Wentworth, the Prime Minister decided to weigh in on the party preselection and call for a woman to represent the Liberal Party. Only he did so after nominations had closed, and he didn’t do it publicly, which meant his support wasn’t able to attract better candidates. And a man won preselection anyway, leaving Morrison to pose for the cameras rather awkwardly with someone he’d effectively tried to prevent from winning the preselection.

4. Social media can be dangerous for all of us, but a religiously conservative prime minister probably shouldn’t post rap music by Fatman Scoop to play over video of his parliamentary team without first contemplating where the rap lyrics might go. Into obscene territory was the answer, which is why the video was removed and an apology was issued.

5. When calibrating his frontbench, Morrison decided to return close mate and political ally Stuart Robert. But, shortly after, the returned minister (who previously had been forced to resign) was again immersed in controv­ersy, including having to pay back an internet bill in the tens of thousands. If Morrison had done the opposite he would have been able to accommodate new talent and avoided an unnecessary controversy distracting the government.

6. Deciding not to speak out early during the religious freedom debate and defend children and teachers from discrimination left Morrison looking out of touch. It also offended many of his moderate colleagues, weakening him internally. It played into Labor criticisms that the new PM was too busy placating the hard Right in his party to appeal to the political mainstream.

7. Speaking of which, Morrison intervened to save maverick backbencher Craig Kelly from a pre­selection threat and in the process (to make it look as if he weren’t intervening specifically to save Kelly) he ensured that all sitting MPs in NSW were renominated. The same thing had happened in Victoria. However, it’s pretty hard to then claim you are taking serious steps to address the problem of so few female MPs when a prime minister intervenes to ensure all those blokes get automatically preselected without a democratic process.

8. Turnbull made the mistake of dumping the national energy guarantee, but when Morrison had the chance to bring it back he squibbed it, and in effect he now will go into the election campaign without a serious policy for addressing carbon emissions. Not reviving the NEG also put a wedge between Morrison and his new party deputy, Josh Frydenberg, who as environment and energy minister had crafted the policy.

9. Refusing to engage with questions from Labor as to why Morrison was Prime Minister and why Turnbull was gone kept the issue alive. Labor exploited the non-answers, continuing to ask the question, and it didn’t take long before journalists started doing the same. Morrison should have done the opposite and provided a detailed explanation early to avoid the wound continuing to bleed.

10. Finally, we all know that Morrison created a hard-man image for himself as immigration minister stopping the boats, which raises the question: why did he feel the need to suddenly shift from that to goofy Aussie bloke, putting an upturned empty beer glass on his head after a skol? It’s all part of his attempt to look like an ordinary knockabout bloke. As one of his colleagues told me: “I’m not looking for a new friend, certainly not in my PM. I just want a competent leader.” The ex-marketing man should have known better.

We haven’t traversed all the missteps since August last year, and we don’t want to be unfair and blame Morrison for things he has blamed his department for, such as the Photoshopped white sneakers on his Christmas card photo.

Equally, missteps such as the appointment of his former chief of staff to the independent position of Treasury secretary or opposing the banking royal commission for so long aren’t mistakes made during his time as Prime Minister.

The remarkable thing about the list above is the short time ­frame in which it has accumulated. Morrison hasn’t even been Prime Minister for five months. If he loses in May he will be one of the country’s shortest serving prime ministers,…… [my yellow highlighting]

Monday, 24 September 2018

One old man to rule them all and in the darkness bind them?

Octogenarian U.S. citizen, international media mogul and papal knight since1998  Rupert Keith Murdoch is a living example of the perils of concentrated media ownership.

For many in America, the United Kingdom and Australia his name is filed under 'arrogant' 'avaricious' and 'ruthless'.

Media mogul Rupert Keith Murdoch : Google Images

The Guardian
, 20 September 2018:

In his farewell speech as prime minister last month, Malcolm Turnbull pointed to “an insurgency” in his own party and “outside forces in the media” as the architects of his demise.

If there was any doubt at all who the media forces Turnbull was referring to during those final minutes in the prime mister’s courtyard in Canberra, there is, after the events of the past 24 hours, none now.

Rupert Murdoch is the name firmly in the frame along with his ubiquitous News Corp empire – an organisation which is accused of playing a major role in orchestrating the removal from office of not just Turnbull but also Labor’s Kevin Rudd.

In the case of Turnbull he believed his Liberal colleagues had been gripped by “a form of madness” so the only way they could see to end the unrelenting internal turmoil and negative coverage in the media was to cave into it and replace him as leader…..

But the details that have emerged over the past 48 hours of the role the US-based Murdoch played during last month’s visit to his Australian assets raise serious questions about how Australian politics can be swayed by a concentrated media industry where News Corp dominates.

Turnbull certainly believes he was the target of a News Corp campaign. When he narrowly fended off Peter Dutton in a party room spill on Tuesday 21 August, Turnbull phoned Murdoch to ask him why he was trying to replace him with the home affairs minister.

Rupert Murdoch intends to transform Australia into a conservative nation and he wants to put it on the Trump road
Associate Professor David McKnight

Turnbull had watched horrified as shortly after Murdoch’s arrival in Australia, News Corp, the most powerful media organisation in the land, turned on him. The Daily Telegraph warned of “a toxic brawl” over energy policy and that Dutton was preparing to challenge him. On Sky the night-time commentators Peta Credlin and Andrew Bolt ramped up their negative coverage of the national energy guarantee and Turnbull’s performance.

 “There was no doubt there was a marked shift in the tone and content of the News Corp publications once Rupert arrived,” one of Turnbull’s former staff told Guardian Australia. “And there was no doubt in our minds that News was backing Dutton.”
The prime minister had another reason to believe the octogenarian media mogul was driving the negative coverage – Turnbull had been warned by another media mogul that Rupert wanted him replaced.

According to both the Australian Financial Review and the ABC, Murdoch had told fellow media billionaire Kerry Stokes, owner of the Seven Network, a few days before that Turnbull should be replaced. Guardian Australia also reported that Turnbull was warned in a phone call from Stokes that Murdoch and his media company News Corp were intent on removing him from power.

Stokes is said to have replied that the likely result of such a campaign would be to deliver government to Labor and Bill Shorten. But Murdoch is reported to have brushed aside such concerns, saying it would only be for three years and he made money under Labor in the past.

By that week’s end the deed was done. Turnbull was out as prime minister, replaced by Scott Morrison after Dutton’s much hyped candidacy failed to get the numbers....

Read the full article here.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Peter Chapman's stint as editor of The Queensland Times is catching up with him

Peter Chapman first swam into public view as a Channel 10 sports editor, commentator and presenter in the late 1980s.

He left after ten years to work for Canberra Raiders NRL Club and the New Zealand Breakers basketball team.

He re-entered journalism in 2006 and stayed with APN News and Media for ten and a half years as editor first of The Daily Examiner, then the Fraser Coast Chronicle and finally The Queensland Times.

He quietly slipped out of journalism again in November 2016 when he went to work for Leda Holdings, a property development and investment company, as its Marketing and Media Manager. Presumably the new owner of APN's regional newspapers, News Corp, or Peter himself thought they would not be a good match.

Unfortunately for Peter his abrasive style as an editor meant that his journalistic 'sins' rarely go unnoticed and, on 28 May 2018 ABC TV "Media Watch" program finally featured his time covering Ipswich politics in QueenslandWith the program's presenter discussing the latest revelations of corruption in Queensland, and how a huge local story mysteriously went missing in the media.

As the Clarence Valley, home to The Daily Examiner, was never enamoured with his divisive, sometimes biased reporting, locals were quick to point out that "Media Watch" was doing a third segment on Peter.

Who could forget the first two, Peter as the the leaker in 1999 or as the sporting chauvanist in 2009

These are some of the program snapshots that were sent to me with the comment - "It was classic Chapman"!

How a journalist working with him at the time assesed the situation.

On Wednesday 2 May 2018 the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) charged Ipswich Mayor Antoniolli, former mayor Paul Pisasale, two council CEOs and eight other council staff with sixty-six charges of corruption.

Peter Chapman is probably still wiping the egg off his face.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

No need to worry about the possibility that a Liberal-Nationals Federal Government will impose censorship on the free press in Australia

The time to fret over the possibility of government censorship of the media is over because in February 2018 it ceased being a distant possibility and became fact.

This is what the Australian Press Council stated about the News Corp online article….

Australian Press Council (APC):   

The Press Council has considered whether its Standards of Practice were breached by an article published in on 31 May 2017, headed “Islamic State [IS] terror guide encourages luring victims via Gumtree, eBay”.

The opening paragraph read: “ISLAMIC State has released a step-by-step guide on how to murder nonbelievers, which includes how to lure targets via fake ads on Gumtree and eBay”. The article proceeded to relay in detail how an article in “[t]he latest edition of the terror group’s English-language propaganda magazine … encourages would-be terrorists to advertise products on second-hand selling sites … to lure victims and assassinate them”. The article mostly comprised extracts from the source material describing the steps necessary to perform such acts.

The Council considered that the article did publish much of the source material from IS verbatim, with limited accompanying analysis or context, such as comments from experts and websites such as Gumtree. The Council accepted there was no intention to encourage or support terrorism, but considered that republishing content from terrorist entities in this manner can perpetuate the purpose of such propaganda and give publicity to its ideas and practices.

However, the Council accepted the public interest in alerting readers to potential risks to their safety. It considered that on balance, the public interest in alerting readers to the dangerous content of the terrorist propaganda and its instructional detail was greater than the risk to their safety posed by the effective republication of terrorist propaganda content. Given this, the Council concluded that the public interest justified publication of the article. Accordingly, the publication did not breach General Principle 6.

The Council noted that great care needs to be exercised by publications when reporting on terrorist propaganda to ensure that public safety is not compromised. In particular, effectively republishing source material comprising instructional detail in how to carry out particular terrorist acts could pose a risk to public safety, and reasonable steps should be taken to prevent such an outcome.

This is what the Turnbull Government did……., 28 February 2018:

…the article titled “Islamic State terror guide encourages luring victims via Gumtree, eBay” no longer exists.

A week after it was published on May 31, 2017, the Attorney-General’s office contacted to demand it be taken down, saying the Classification Board had ruled it should be refused classification as it “directly or indirectly” advocated terrorist acts.

It appears to be the first time section 9A of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 has been used to censor a news report, since it was first added in 2007.

The action has alarmed the publisher of as Australian media in general were not informed the Classification Board had the power to ban news stories or that the eSafety Commissioner had the power to instigate investigations into news articles.

“The first knew of this matter was when contacted by the Attorney-General’s Department and advised of the Classification Board decision,” argued as part of a separate Press Council investigation into the article.
“The department, board and the eSafety Commissioner did not contact beforehand to advise of the investigation. Consequently, was not given the right to make submissions or a defence in regard to the article.” removed the article as it was facing legal penalties from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) if it refused, including fines or even civil or criminal legal action.
In justifying its decision, the Classification Board noted the article contained “detailed references and lengthy quotations from Rumiyah (Islamic State’s propaganda magazine)” with limited author text to provide context. asked the board why there was no opportunity for news organisations to defend the article based on public interest grounds but a response provided by a spokesman for the eSafety Commissioner did not directly address this.

The spokesman said the board did consider whether the material could “reasonably be considered to be done merely as part of public discussion or debate, or as entertainment or satire” before making its decision.

He also acknowledged this may have been the first time a news article had been censored using this section.

However, as a government which to a man fails to grasp how the Internet works their well-laid plans seldom go off without a hitch and, the article that Turnbull & Co wish to erase from memory remains on national and international news sites as I write.