This week, we launch a new weekly column that takes a look at global media news.
EVEN CELEBRATED SCIENCE WRITERS AND MEDIA PUNDITS FIB
The author of Imagine: How Creativity Works and source of many a pithy and intelligent quotes used by, among others public radio programme Radiolab, the New Yorker and the Wall Street Journal, has confessed to making up the quotes used in his book.
The learned Jonah Lehrer – who writes on neuroscience and psychology – was outed by writer Michael C. Moynihan in Tablet magazine, in a piece titled ‘Jonah Lehrer’s Deceptions’, that exposed the fact that he’d fabricated quotes by none other than Bob Dylan.
Not long afterward, Lehrer resigned his staff writing position at The New Yorker. “The lies are over now,” Lehrer told TPM. “I understand the gravity of my position. I want to apologize to everyone I have let down, especially my editors and readers.”
The Wall Street Journal is “reviewing Mr Lehrer’s work for the Journal”, spokeswoman Ashley Huston told TPM.”
For more: Globe and Mail
POYNTER QUERIES NEW YORK TIMES’ NUMBERS
The New York Times posted some noteworthy numbers this week, but Rick Edmunds, blogging for the Poynter Institute, raised questions about the discrepancy between its massive growth in digital subscriptions and its circulation revenue.
Digital subscriptions passed the 500 000 mark, a growth of 12 percent since March this year, the previous quarter, a measurement period that is not the norm but which, Poynter says, could be “justified given its fast growth and the intense investor and public interest in the Times’ paywall”.
Circulation revenue, however, was compared to the second quarter of 2011, a year-on-year measurement. “This time a year ago, three months after introducing the paywall, digital subs stood at 281 000,” Poynter quoted chairman and acting CEO Arthur Sulzberger as saying. Which means, in essence, that digital subscribers rose 80 percent in a year, but only delivered an 11 percent growth in circulation revenue.
Source: Poynter Institute
For more: Bloomberg
US VOTERS REJECT TARGETED ELECTION ADVERTISING
It seems the cleverer the campaign managers get, the more the voters are turned off political advertising. With the US elections looming, the University of Pennsylvania and the Annenberg School for Communication researched just how effective targeted online advertising is in reaching voters. And they found voters were more likely to reject the candidate who engages in tailored political advertising.
“Critics of the new advertising regime have lambasted it for threatening privacy and undermining democratic values. Marketers have defended the practice by insisting it gives Americans what they want: political advertisements and other forms of content that are relevant to their concerns,” the researchers said.
“Moreover, we found that the rejection of targeted political ads is unrelated to political-party affiliation or political orientation. It also cuts across gender and age, and it while does vary with race and ethnicity the numbers opposing tailored political advertising are high across the board,” they claimed.
Facebook came in for particular flak with voters saying they found out that Facebook was sending them ads for political candidates based on their profile information that they had set to private, they would be angry. 70% of adult Americans said their likelihood of voting for a candidate they support would decrease if they learn a candidate’s campaign organisation uses Facebook to send ads to the friends of a person who “likes” the candidate’s Facebook page. The ads contain Sally’s photo and proclaim her support of the candidate.
Source: Pennsylvania University
For more: New York Times
MURDOCH’S ‘THE DAILY’ CUTS STAFF
Is Rupert Murdoch losing his Midas touch? News Corp announced this week that it was cutting 50 staff members (around 29 percent of the total number of employees) from its 18-month-old tablet magazine, The Daily.
Like so many print titles, The Daily has fought to find its feet in the current market and is battling for its share of advertising. Now it is losing its opinion section, and its sports pages will be supplied by sister company, Fox Sport.
“Unfortunately, these changes have forced us to make difficult decisions and to say goodbye to some colleagues who have worked hard to make The Daily successful,” said editor-in-chief, Jess Angelo, adding that the changes would “help make the title more nimble to focus on readers interests better”.
For more: ABC
THE WORLD’S TOP 50 DIGITAL MONEY SPINNERS
There are media companies making money in the digital economy, says paidContent, which issued its second annual 50 list this week, asking what it takes to make money in the burgeoning industry, and finding out which companies are leading the way.
paidContent bases its ratings system on the revenue these companies earn from digital content, and the amount of advertising revenue they score.
“Creating this list wasn’t easy. We wanted digital revenue from the last full year, either calendar or fiscal, depending on the company. To get those numbers, we combed through public filings, read an ungodly number of news stories, and worked our network of contacts and analysts for data and background,” said Robert Andrews for paidContent.
Twitter didn’t crack the list, nor did the New York Times. But interestingly, from a South African angle, Naspers did. “And South African old-line publisher Naspers is little talked about, but, at #22, you can see what its aggressive strategy of overseas online investments has done for the firm.”
For more: The Atlantic
FAIRFAX MEDIA WON’T SELL RADIO ASSETS
Australia’s Fairfax Media’s battle with its stroppy (and biggest) shareholder, Gina Rinehart, saw the share price drop to record lows. Chairman Roger Corbett is defending the performance of his board on one side while fighting off speculation that he’s about to sell the company’s radio assets on the other.
“Our radio business is a very good business and it’s been extremely well managed and I think it’s got quite an upside for Fairfax in the future,” Corbett told Sky News Business.
Rinehart, who made her fortune in mining, wants Corbett to institute performance milestones, if the share price doesn’t recover by the company’s annual general meeting in November.
Corbett refused to comment on Rinehart’s comments, saying she was “entitled” to do so. He says Fairfax has performed pretty much in line with other Australian media companies.
At issue still in the rocky relationship between the company’s newest and biggest shareholder is the fact that Rinehart has refused to sign the board’s governance principles, apparently as she disagrees with a clause about editorial independence.
Source: The Australian
For more: Business Day (Australia)
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