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ProPublica-inspired global news site launches in Australia

A new not-for-profit online journalism start-up launches today in Australia, backed with $15 million of funding from a philanthropist to see the site through its first five years.

The Global Mail is edited by former ABC broadcast journalist Monica Attard and aims to provide “public interest journalism – no ads, no subscription, no celebrity stories, no spin”.

Attard told the Australian: “I had long viewed, with a degree of envy, the ProPublica model in the US. The model was inspired by ProPublica.org, even though we won’t and can’t do investigations alone.”

She adds: “We would like to think we can come up with novel ways to help pay our way in the world. We haven’t thought of any yet. That’s the honest-to-god truth.

“The market is small in Australia, so we figure there’s room for a new player aimed at covering the world, with Australia in it.”

The site launched this morning at www.theglobalmail.org

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Sydney Morning Herald: The Australian to reveal paywall details this week

October 18th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Online Journalism

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that News Limited (the Australian arm of News Corporation) will officially announce its paywall for the Australian this week, after it outlined plans for a ‘freemium’ subscription model for its online content back in June.

It had already been announced that the model will offer access to some content for free, but others will require payment.

According to the SMH report the site will charge $2.95 a week to access all content across the website and its phone and tablet apps.

It will be the first paywall for a general newspaper in Australia, an experiment that has achieved mixed success overseas by newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, the Financial Times and The Economist.

It will follow the approach of News Corp stablemate The Wall Street Journal. Some stories will be able to be read for free while others will need a subscription to be read, most likely to be its analysis and specialised sections.

At the World Editors Forum last week, three publishers – including the New York Times – outlined their paywall strategies and lessons they had learnt along the way.

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Australian titles publish afternoon editions to update cyclone news

February 3rd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Several newspapers published by Australia’s News Limited brought out “rare” afternoon editions today in an attempt to keep print readers updated after Cyclone Yasi hit last night, according to a report by mumbrella.com.

A special edition of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph is available in the Sydney CBD, North Sydney, Parramatta and at airports with nine pages of new coverage along with updates on the situation in Egypt and the arrest of Bulldogs player Ryan Tandy.

According to mumbrella.com’s report the Australian also published a special lunchtime edition which was distributed in Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Read the full post on mumbrella.com at this link.

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The Australian: Digital boosting morale in Australia’s newsrooms despite job losses

December 9th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers, Online Journalism

A look at the Future of Journalism study released by Australian industry group the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, which suggests that despite 700 job losses in the metropolitan news industry in the country since 2008, morale is still relatively high amongst working journalists.

Full story on the Australian at this link…

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Australian journalism academic asked by newspaper editor to apologise for tweets

Australian journalism lecturer Julie Posetti has received a letter from the lawyer of the Australian newspaper’s editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell, asking for an apology for tweets which he claims were defamatory of him.

Journalism.co.uk reported earlier this week that Mitchell had threatened Posetti with legal action for defamation following tweets posted by Posetti in relation to comments made by former reporter for the Australian Asa Wahlquist about working at the title.

Posetti has since confirmed on Facebook that she received a “letter of demand” from Mitchell’s lawyer. The Australian reported on its blog that Mitchell has invited Posetti to visit the offices of the paper to “observe its operations for herself”.

Mitchell’s offer is contained in a legal letter send to Posetti yesterday, as part of the defamation proceedings that have become known as ‘#Twitdef’.

The letter, which has also been published by the Australian, adds that it is “immaterial” whether or not the quotes within the tweets were said.

The fact is they were published by you on an occasion which does not attract a defence and it is obvious from the above facts and email they are patently false.

In the circumstances, our client offers you an opportunity to correct the record by publishing (in agreed manner) a correction, and perhaps meeting with him, to discuss the matter.

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The Australian: News Limited to create centralised sub-editing hub for Australian titles

October 1st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Plans for a new sub-editing hub for News Limited’s titles in Australia, part of News Corporation, have been announced. More than 100 sub-editors and designers will move to the centralised production operation.

Full story on the Australian at this link…

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ABC News advertises new 24-hour news channel for Australia

July 8th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

ABC news has released a video to advertise their impending 24-hour news channel, ABC 24, in Australia.

According to a report by mUmbrella.com.au, the national broadcaster is keeping quiet about the launch date of the all day news channel, although rumours include 14 July as a potential deadline.

The trailer is being played on ABC’s HD channel, which will eventually host News 24, aiming to deliver “ABC news and current affairs around the clock, so it suits the viewer’s schedule, not ours.”

ABC News 24 claims it will offer news coverage from across 12 foreign bureaus and 60 regional newsrooms.

Full post at this link…

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Inside Story: Behind the Age’s Australian banknote investigation

June 23rd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Investigative journalists Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie talk to broadcaster Peter Clarke about their work on an investigation for Melbourne’s The Age into allegations of international bribery involving Securency, the banknote company half-owned by the country’s Reserve Bank. If you get a chance to listen to the podcast in full it’s a great behind-the-scenes account of how an investigation can develop from the first hint of information to the final story – and why this can sometimes be a slow-burning thing.

Podcast at this link…

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#tomwantsajob – Tom gets a job

Last month Journalism.co.uk shared the story of Australian journalism student Tom Cowie, who had created a social media campaign to boost and document his search for that elusive first job in the industry.

He told Journalism.co.uk:

In the past few years, journalism students have been told that now they need a published portfolio to get noticed, which is often built through unpaid work. I think we have gone past that now. The industry is becoming increasingly reliant on social media and students need to be able to boast a personal brand, whether that be through Twitter, Facebook or blogging. Journalists need to be able to market and promote their own work. While this philosophy may seem like it has foundations in PR, I don’t think today’s journalism students have a choice if they want to get employed. The onus is on us to build audiences and make sure the right people are reading.

Well, 38 days after starting his site, hashtag and search, he’s landed a job as a junior reporter with Australian news and commentary site Crikey. Congratulations Tom.

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Australian newspaper prevents publication of police leak report

The Murdoch-owned newspaper, the Australian, last month secured a order to prevent the publication of a report about its police scoop in summer 2009.

As we’ve previously reported on this blog, on 4 August 2009 Australian police arrested four people in terror raids – a planned operation reported exclusively by the Australian newspaper, part of the News Ltd group. But the police claimed copies of the newspaper were available in Melbourne before the operation had taken place, citing that an “unacceptable risk”.

It was an enviable scoop and won journalist Cameron Stewart the ‘Gold Quill’ in the Melbourne Press Club awards. But the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) and the and the The Victorian Office of Police Integrity (OPI) produced a report, examining the source of the leak.

The Australian newspaper subsequently acquired a Federal Court order prohibiting publication of the report. The OPI then sought to overturn the order. But on 23 April, the Australian won the right to keep the document private. Crikey.com.au journalist Margaret Simons has been reporting – and tweeting – the case.

Simons last reported:

Justice Michelle Gordon said that continued suppression of the Victorian Office of Police Integrity’s report on the matter is necessary because The Australian is arguing that the whole investigation was invalid, and the evidence gathered “tainted”.

But the case isn’t completely over yet. Simons continued:

Justice Gordon’s decision means that it will be at least another three weeks, and probably much longer, before we know the full story of what occurred between Stewart, his source and the OPI. News Ltd has made it clear it will appeal against any judgement that would allow the OPI report to be released.

Last week, I asked Margaret Simons, who is a freelancer for Crikey – an independent online news and comment site – about her own views of this complicated case. She says she doesn’t know why the Australian is so keen to suppress the document.

Does Simons think the report should be released? “Without knowing all the facts, it is hard to say. The Australian claims the OPI’s investigation was very flawed. Maybe so. The OPI has a chequered record.

“There is an irony, though, in The Australian’s leading role in the Right to Know Coalition, pressing governments for more openness, and its contesting of suppression orders in other matters … and its active suppression in this case.

“It would be nice to think that the rights and wrongs of this matter could be fought out in open. However, without knowing all the facts of what is contained in the report, it is genuinely hard to judge and I do not have a strong point of view at present.

Simons says that Crikey’s editorial position is not so much a matter of opinion, but an attempt to raise awareness. “[I]n a country where the print media is dominated by just two publishers, with News Ltd being overwhelmingly dominant, there is a particular role for an independent outlet such as ours in covering the media’s own story,” she said.

Neither News Ltd or Fairfax – Australia’s other main newspaper publisher – are giving this case “the weight it deserves,” she said. “We are doing our best. Keep in mind that our audience includes most of the country’s journalists!”

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