Tag Archives: Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald tries to shore up print sales with iPad app

The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia has been criticised after an announcing that local users would have to subscribe to the print edition in order to access the Herald’s new iPad app.

The SmartEdition app is advertised by the paper as enabling users to “read the Herald exactly as it appears in print, but on digital devices”.

It’s ideal for when you are away from home and crave local news in the newspaper format, with the convenience of digital access.

The design has already frustrated some commentators, who have called the app a “glorifed PDF reader”. The payment method outlined by the Herald on iTunes only served to annoy some further. mUmBRELLA.com.au writes:

Australian users can subscribe to a 7-day free trial if you download before August 31, 2010 if you are not a Herald subscriber. To access THE SMH app after downloading, tap the subscribe button within the app and follow the prompts.

Readers that live outside Australia can access a 7-day, 52-week subscription to The Sydney Morning Herald SmartEdition for just AU$52 a year.

According to mUmbrella this means “if you’re in New South Wales or ACT, the only way you can get hold of the iPad app is to subscribe to the print edition”.

It’s about using the iPad app as a way of shoring up plummeting print circulations. This is all about Fairfax being able to present its iPad subscribers to the Audit Bureau of Circulations as full price print subscribers who happen to be getting a “complimentary” copy of the app.

Techdirt added to the criticisms, saying this revenue stream will prove to be a “short-sighted” move by the publishers.

It’s no secret that some publications view the iPad and paywalls as ways to slow down the rate at which people are ditching subscriptions to paper publications — but it seems particularly short-sighted to make that the only way to get access to the digital app.

See mUmbrella’s full post here…

SHM.com.au: Italian photographer shot dead in Thailand violence

An AFP report on the Sydney Morning Herald site confirms that an Italian photographer was among those shot dead in the clash between protesters and military forces in Thailand.

“An Italian man was shot and died before arriving at the hospital,” said police hospital director Jongjet Aoajenpong. “He’s a journalist. He was shot in the stomach,” he added.

“Thai protest leaders have surrendered after an army assault on their fortified encampment in central Bangkok left at least five people dead on Wednesday,” the AFP reported.

Full story at this link…

SMH.com.au: News Corp in ‘second phase’ of paid-for content plan

The Sydney Morning Herald has obtained an email to News Corp online staff, from the company’s digital chief executive, Richard Freudenstein, indicating that paid-for content plans, as announced by Murdoch in August, were now in a ‘second phase’.

“The key points from Mr Freudenstein’s communique to News Digital Media (NDM) staff were that the company was reassured by the research it had conducted and that it was proceeding to the next round of development.

“‘News has conducted some audience research here in Australia and in the UK and US, which gives us confidence that, if we get the product and delivery system right, people will happily pay for news content online, on their computer, mobile, e-reader or other device,’ Mr Freudenstein told staff. ‘Here in Sydney we are about to move into the second phase of the project.'”

Full post at this link…

Sydney Morning Herald: Financial and sports news readers will pay online, says survey

A new survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers has suggested that readers interested in finance and sport showed a ‘relatively high willingness’ to pay for this type of content online.

“But overall, consumers were not prepared to pay as much for online content as for a traditional paper, and ‘would choose free content when the quality was comparable or sufficient for their purpose’,” says the Herald’s report.

Full story at this link…

How much is too much? Defining the grey areas in attribution and linking

As the mainstream media shifts to writing more online content, its standards and guidelines are up for discussion. Just how much of other people’s work on external sites can/should you use and how should you attribute in articles?

Stephen Hutcheon, of the Sydney Morning Herald, flagged up an issue in a blog post on February 5. He is not happy with the way material from an interview he conducted with GoogleEarth (30/01/09) was used in an article on TimesOnline by Mike Harvey (30/01/09) – the latest version of which is at this link.

Hutcheon’s account can be read at this link with a screen grab of the Times’ original article.

The original Times piece shows the Sydney Morning Herald was named in the third paragraph, and, later in the piece, it again specified ‘Mr Hanke told the newspaper’.

Hutcheon had two complaints:

  • Firstly, that Harvey had not linked to his original article.
  • Secondly, the proportion of the article made up of Hutcheon’s quotes, which Hutcheon feels weren’t adequately labelled as his own work.

According to Hutcheon, Mike Harvey then contacted him with a ‘sincere apology’. “He said it was not his publication’s policy to link back to original articles but said that as a gesture of goodwill, they would do it.”

The TimesOnline article now has a link to the original SMH article, but Hutcheon remains unsatisfied:

“I told him I accepted his apology. However, he made no mention about my central complaint about the amount of material he lifted, nor does he appear to have cut out any from his piece. But that’s about as much as I can do. That, I told him, was an ethical matter between him and his editors.”

Journalism.co.uk asked Hutcheon about his own paper’s linking policy, via email. Hutcheon said:

“My issue is less with the lack of a link. We [SMH] don’t have a hard and fast policy on links. If we quote a par or so, no need to reference where it came from. But if we write a story about this amazing thing someone’s photographed or found, or written and the story is largely based on the other person’s discovery or effort, then yes. It’s a bit like writing about a YouTube video without pointing readers to it. Mike apologised but failed to cut back the almost 500 words – most of them direct quotes from my one-on-one interview with John Hanke. If traditional news organisations are prepared to let their reporters get away with this type of cheap journalism, then it’s a race to the bottom and we’re all doomed. If everyone just copies everyone else, who is left to do the original reporting?”

Journalism.co.uk contacted Tom Whitwell, assistant editor of TimesOnline to clarify the situation.

He said the Times’ linking policy was being worked on and while there ‘was no official linking policy’, journalists could link to other work at the moment.

However, he said, the subbing system and workflow in place – used for online as well as print work – meant links often got omitted. But ‘the general policy would be to link out to things’, he said.

“In terms of the principle I’m extremely firm that [we link] not as courtesy, but as service to the readers.”

In regards to the proportion of quotes used, Whitwell said:

“I think it’s fairly clear that he [Hanke] was talking to the Sydney Morning Herald (…) that particular example is reasonable.

“This isn’t something we do often as a policy. We don’t have a policy to do this regularly – I think in this particular instance it’s fairly clear to the reader what the story is.

“We do need to have a clear written policy at what point we link, and I’m in the process of putting that together. That to me, is interesting, the motivations for linking. To me, it’s purely about providing the service to readers (…) a better way of telling the story. The idea that it’s good manners, legally crediting something, isn’t the key thing for me.

“It is very different for online than print (…) I don’t want to get into the way some other newspapers operate, which is rather different from the way we operate, in terms of using material from other sites. In some sites there is real culture of picking up stories from lots and lots of places, constantly, as a matter of course. That’s not something we usually do,” Whitwell said.

The problem with linking arose in the production system, he said, which “has no way of capturing URLs, a purely manual process – I suspect this piece went through this process. We need to work out how to get the process to work.” Getting more links into place is ‘tricky’, but ‘not impossible’, he added.

Journalism.co.uk also contacted the Times piece’s author Mike Harvey, who did not respond by email.

Here’s an example where a paper did not attribute at all: a case over at Regret The Error, involving the NY Daily News, in which an accusation was made that material had been lifted from the Express-News, ‘without attribution’, for a piece on NYDailyNews.com.

A later amendment at NYDailyNews.com noted that ‘An earlier version of this story should have attributed quotes by certain individuals to reporting by the San Antonio Express-News.’

Hutcheon’s post hasn’t yet received any comments; perhaps this one is up for debate? Just how much is too much?

The Sydney Morning Herald: Daily Telegraph outsources production to Australia

UK broadsheet the Daily Telegraph has outsourced some of its production work to Pagemasters, a company based in Rhodes, western Sydney.

The company, owned by news agency Australian Associated Press, will copy edit and layout raw copy for the Telegraph’s travel, motoring and money pages as well as parts of The Sunday Telegraph.

The move is intended to “save on night and overtime penalties for workers in Britain and get more expensive staff off its books”, writes the Herald. Full story…

The Australian: Australian journalism may need government support in wake of Fairfax cuts, says veteran

Former Sydney Morning Herald editor Eric Beecher has said the government may be forced to step in to safeguard ‘quality journalism’ in Australia, following last week’s announcement by Fairfax Media of 550 job cuts.

Alternative media outlets, such as websites, will not be sufficient to plug the gap left by traditional outlets unless backing is found, said Beecher.

Fairfax staff ‘too old’ for youth news website

Fairfax media’s digital arm has launched TheVine – a news, entertainment and social networking site aimed at 18-29 year olds, The Australian reports.

According to the report, Pippa Leary, Fairfax digital managing director for media, Fairfax staff will make some contribution to the site, which is also be linked to by the group’s Sydney Morning Herald, Age and Brisbane Times websites.

However, an editorial team for the site will be recruited and managed by project partner youth marketing company LifeLounge, as the Fairfax team is too old for the TheVine’s intended readership.