Monday 1st of March 2021

google journalism...


There’s a big hint in the name, Nine Entertainment – not “Nine Public Interest Journalism”.

It’s Nine Entertainment that is reportedly copping $30 million a year from Google after the government, primarily on behalf of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Nine Entertainment, pressured the tech giant into subsidising media companies for their inability to compete in the advertising business.

There’s another hint in that description, “media companies” – not “public interest journalism companies”.

There are further hints about the political media mates’ game in the latest Nine Entertainment annual report and the final annual report of Fairfax, before it was taken over by Nine.

Unless the Nine house committee (if there still is one – Nine hasn’t bothered to sign the old Fairfax charter of editorial independence) has something in writing that the Google millions will all go to increase the journalism budget, journalism will have to take its place in the queue behind stuff that is more important to Nine, like Married At First Sight and increasing the dividends paid to shareholders.

There’s innocent optimism among Nine journalists who bought into the management story that the government strongarming Google was about the public interest.

I suspect they don’t spend much time reading their employer’s annual reports.

Great news for journalism. Google has agreed to pay Nine Entertainment Co more than $30 million a year

— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) February 16, 2021


In the last Fairfax report just before the takeover in 2018, the then CEO boasted about the Metro business – the key Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Australian Financial Review newspapers.

“Our journalism is stronger than ever. We are investing heavily in quality editorial. It is a key competitive point of difference and at the heart of our premium brands and audiences,” the CEO said.

“A new advertising model underpins the Metro business. Our industry-leading sales and technology partnership with Google is maximising the value of our brands, audiences and advertising for programmatic buyers. We are seeing signs of print revenue mitigation as a result of a new industry-aligned vertical sales structure driving deeper, direct and more valuable partnerships with advertisers, and leveraging our rick data, audience expertise and insights.”

Yes, a great partnership with Google, maximising value. Funny how things change when there is the chance to grab of a dubious pot of money.

The 2017 Fairfax results showed Metro costs fell 12 per cent and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) soared 26 per cent to $49 million.

The final 2018 results for Metro had costs down another 8 per cent and EBITDA up 8 per cent to $53.1 million.


How the key newspapers are faring is more opaque within the much bigger Nine Entertainment operation, but two messages come through: It was COVID that really hurt the newspapers last year, not Google; and chairman Peter Costello wasn’t focused on public interest journalism in his cash grab.


Nine Entertainment said that in the year to June, the SMH, The Age and AFRwere going gangbusters in readership, “all clear leaders in their respective sectors”, leading to increased subscription revenue. Digital subscriber growth was more than 20 per cent June on June for all three titles.

“In a difficult broader advertising market, Nine grew its digital advertising revenues by 4 per cent,” reported the report. “This was offset, however, by a 19 per cent decline in print.”

Key print advertising revenue used to be travel and luxury goods – COVID whacked them, not Google. Anyone remember all the ads for cruises?

“Digital advertising outperformed the broader ad market, driven both by the benefits of consolidation within the Nine Group as well as the advertising sales agreement with Google which resulted in an increased share of digital revenues.”

Nine chairman Peter Costello wasn’t bothering with anything as vague as “public interest journalism” in his contribution to the annual report. He was too busy complaining about the market power of Facebook and Google and how they weren’t subject to local content rules, as Nine television is.

“Nonetheless, they are able to use the premium content we produce to attract audiences in the Australian market,” Mr Costello wrote.

Read more:


Cornflakes news with no controversies added, except tasteless Russia and China bashing... The empire is in good hands..

our glasshouse is bulletproof...

People in glass houses should be careful about throwing stones


By JOHN MENADUE | On 18 February 2021

A group of Australian journalists in their never-ending hostility to China keep throwing stones at China for human rights breaches in Xinjiang, but largely ignore Australian and other breaches. Their ignorance of China explains a lot.

Echoing Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo, they point regularly to the human rights abuses and possible genocide of the Chinese Communist Party, not the Chinese Government, against the Uighur people in Xinjiang.

Chinese actions in Xinjiang need close international examination for likely human rights breaches. We should be part of that examination.

But as Professor Colin Mackerras has pointed out, we need to look carefully at the full story in Xinjiang where the Uighur population has increased substantially.


We must also look at the wider context of human rights abuses not only by China but also by ourselves, our allies and our neighbours.

Let’s start with our Frontier Wars that really were genocide. More than 50,000 of our Indigenous people were murdered by settlers and police on our frontier for more than a century. Our First Nations people were hunted, killed, poisoned, forced from their land and separated from their children. The policy then and in subsequent decades was to eliminate our Indigenous people. We don’t want to acknowledge or remember what early European Australians did.

With a population of only 1 to 2 million in Australia at the time, this was genocide and human rights abuse on a vast scale. And the legacy of that genocide is still with us – in the much lower life expectancy of Indigenous people and a much higher incarceration rate. Australian history is grounded in genocide. We hardly have clean hands in throwing stones at others. Any mention by the anti-China brigade?

We have treated refugees and asylum seekers cruelly since the days of John Howard. We have breached human rights and refugee conventions, but scarcely a whisper about this from out anti China brigade.

Again and again, we turn our back on the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the dispossession, cruelty and human rights abuses to which the Palestinian people have been subjected.

Along with six other countries, as a member of the International Criminal Court, we have just intervened to argue that the ICC does not have jurisdiction to investigate war crimes and breaches of humanity in Palestine. But once again, our anti-Chinese hawks show little interest in Australian breaches of human rights conventions. But China is always in their prejudiced minds.

And what of human rights’ abuses and likely genocide in West Papua. As Professor Stuart Rees in Pearls and Irritations wrote on 16 February 2021:


A citizens’ tribunal held in Sydney in 1998 reported on hundreds of Papuans murdered on Biak Island. Violence to suppress any signs of pro-independence activities was documented in a subsequent report from the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University, ‘Anatomy of an Occupation: the Indonesian Military in West Papua.’

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch confirmed the Sydney findings and a corresponding conclusion from Griffith University researchers that in the previous 50 years, the killing of half a million West Papuans amounted to ‘a slow-moving genocide’.

But what do the China critics say about this ‘slow moving’ genocide’ on our doorstep?

Media hysteria is serving us very badly. All human rights abuses need urgent international action. We detract from our  role in the defence of human rights when we are so partisan on the issue.

So much of the hostility to China is ignorant, unbalanced, damaging, pointless and so unnecessary.


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Google will lead us to the promised land of sanitized news...