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Social media as news novelty is a disastrous relic that needs to end

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
We’re in the thick of quite the horror show when it comes to chaos, conspiracies and disinformation on social media. Add the loudest voices in the world doing more to fuel the problem than calm it and it’s hard to know how any of this ends.
Right alongside this is, of course, the local fight to force social media and search to pay for access to news media. That’s its own debate, but there’s no question that social media is front and centre in how the world is being shaped and represented in the media ecosystem today.
What blows my mind is that Australian media still treats social media formats as something to be mocked, feared or shrugged at. It’s OK for media professionals to giggle and say they “don’t get it”. TikTok is still a weird thing the kids are doing, regardless of the fact it’s got hundreds of millions of active users.
It should be analysed. It should be criticised. But it’s tiring to watch social media trends treated like the novelty news item at the end of a bulletin while these media forms are reshaping the world we live in.
Is it a form of jealousy? Or a suggestion that if they are acknowledged as peers in the media ecosystem we might lose yet more of the audiences that remain in traditional environments?
Australian media has always been the worst at accepting cross-pollination as a net positive. Other countries hold telethons (well, does anyone really hold a telethon anymore?) and charity events that cross the streams across broadcast networks. Late-night talk shows in America promote shows from other networks in the name of healthy competition and having stars pop up wherever they might help create good content.
Good. Content. Every time people sneer or look down at TikTok they also dismiss some incredible work done by genuinely talented creators who are reaching audiences that publishers and broadcasters lost years ago. For every dodgy influencer there are many more who are using memes to actually hold political power to account or to inform and report on the issues of our day.
And then there's the viral spread of conspiracies and disinformation through these channels. Sadly these exist in traditional media too, but by treating social media as that 'other' to be pointed at from the outside and treated like a weird object outside ‘the real world’ we continue to fail to use the best qualities of traditional reporting to help people read more deeply on what is happening within those ecosystems.
I was going to say “imagine having a court system but never having anyone report on how courts work, simply that people walk into this strange building and sometimes they don’t come back out the front door again and we’re not sure why”. But then I realised that beat reporters have been slashed and the quality of court reporting has been under threat for years.
It’s hard in the thick of the deep, deep cuts in reporting to wish there was better specialist reporting on the things influencing how society works today the most.
These things are part of the cause of what’s gone wrong for traditional media – not through direct theft of revenue or readership, but also because traditional bosses have failed spectacularly to build better business models. But that makes it more frustrating to see such a blind spot in how producers and publishers and editors treat these categories of the digital world.
Every aspect of what good reporting on these issues could be. The business stories. The social stories. The arts stories. The technology stories. They’re just so consistently viewed from the outside while more and more of the world is being shaped on the inside.
Yes, I have no answer. No, I don’t spend much time inside TikTok either. But if we’re not wrestling with these questions of how to look at this part of the world more clearly then we’re not doing our jobs.

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Stephen Brook joins The Age

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Stephen Brook kicks off July as The Age’s new CBD columnist.

He tweeted that the time had come to move to Melbourne for a new opportunity. Current CBD columnist Samantha Hutchinson is relocating to Sydney and will work alongside him.

Brook had contributed articles to The Age for the past two years. Prior to that, he spent seven years with The Australian, as editor at the media desk and covering the weekend A Plus magazine.

Follow Brook on Twitter @ViscountBrook.

How many buckets do you use?

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
I’ve moved house more than 20 times in my life. It was a childhood filled with constantly changing address details and phone numbers that probably helped me flex my memory muscles and build a good sense of direction.
Most of that was from the time when we had pen and paper address books, and our family friends used to joke that our details were always written in pencil. There was an expectation of change.
Today our critical details are phone and email address. I’m pretty sure most PR agencies don’t even keep my physical address details in a database – if they do, staff don’t seem to trust their data, because for almost every delivery I’m asked my address before sending.
Of course, we’re dealing with expensive gear. And it isn’t a major imposition to check an address before sending. But even when it comes to email addresses I get the feeling there’s a disconnect between centralised agency data and what’s

Domain marked for return

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Leading property title Domain is set to return to print.

The Nine Network confirmed that the Australian Financial Review will carry Domain once more, starting with the 31 July 2020 edition. The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald will follow suit on 1 August.

Melbourne’s Domain Review will start republishing on 5 August, but Domain Prestige insert will be brought back into The Australian Financial Review’s Wednesday editions sometime in the spring. 

Nine withdrew Domain from circulation in March this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Our magazines have always been an important way that we communicate with our audience on their property journey, and are integral to our multi-platform publishing. As we start to see encouraging signs in the property market, it’s a great time to bring back these much loved publications,” explained Domain CEO Jason Pellegrino.

Cenatiempo set for 2CC brekky show

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Stephen Cenatiempo is coming to Talking Canberra 2CC as its new breakfast show host, starting 13 July 2020.

He said in an Instagram message that he had been itching to get back in the booth after so many months, and sees his new show as a vehicle for ACT residents to have their voices heard. He was made redundant as Australia by Night host late last year.

“I’m looking forward to moving to Canberra and really shaking things up, especially with the ACT election just around the corner. My local breakfast show will put the listeners first,” said Cenatiempo.

News Corp Australia QLD print centers closed

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

News Corp Australia is preparing to reorganize its printing operations in Queensland.

EGM for production, logistics and property Marcus Hooke said the plan calls for merging the staff and machinery at Yandina and Murarrie into a single site over the next few weeks. Both sites’ personnel are being consulted on the matter.

The move is part of consolidation after much of News Corp Australia’s regional and community papers were either closed down or transitioned to digital. 

“Since the transition to digital-only mastheads we simply don’t have the same demand and are now facing excess production capacity,” Hooke explained.

Careful with the email window dressing

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on


When you're dealing with journalists with a more technical persuasion, don't forget they can often be using tools that give them more custom control over how and what they see. And this means they want to access the information you’re sharing in the most clinical way possible.
We've discussed how you make emails personal, which is definitely a top priority, but it's also important to deliver the information in a way that can be read – and searched – by the journalist without too much fuss.
This means:
- Do not ONLY include the important text in an attachment
- Do not ONLY include the important text in an embedded image
- Be careful with your text formatting
Those first two should be obvious, but they happen often enough to know that many people seem to worry more about making something look pretty or just converting a Word doc into a PDF as the most comfortable path to delivery. To those people – stop doi

Nine to publish new Good Food guide

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Nine’s publishing division is tweaking the Good Food brand with a new restaurant guide, called The Good Food Guide 200, reported Mediaweek.

Slated for release in November 2020, the new guide will temporarily replace the Good Food annual guide by highlighting 200 specific dining places in regional NSW and Victoria, and all state/territory capitals. Nine is considering bringing back the Good Food Guide annual in 2021. 

The entries were tagged as among those that have weathered the pandemic and are ready to be back in action after implementing all safety precautions. 

Good Food Guide editor Myffy Rigby led the evaluation for the guide.

“In recognition of the challenges the industry has faced, and continues to face, with enforced shutdowns and social distancing measures, we will not be publishing our traditional guide book with scores and hats in 2020,” said Nine travel and food publishing director Trudi Jenkins.

“Instead we are focusing on supporting

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