‘It’s making my eyes bleed’: News Corp’s Knewz on the nose | Weekly Beast | Media

Rupert Murdoch’s lieutenant Robert Thomson unleashed a grand global news project on Wednesday with the corny name of

“We live in a world of vexatious verticals, of crass clickbait, of polarised perspectives and fallacious, fact-free feeds – Knewz is knowing and needed,” the publisher of the Australian and the Daily Telegraph said without a hint of irony.

“Knewz nous is in the house.”

But the name – widely mocked since it was announced last August – is not even the worst thing about the site, which provides links to news stories from more than 400 publishers.

Anthony Stewart

what the fresh design hell is this #knewz

January 30, 2020

It’s almost certainly the ugliest website to go live in decades, immediately eliciting cries of “It’s making my eyes bleed” on social media in response to the endless black and white headlines, cluttered links and yellow highlighter scrawl.

Comments on the Australian’s own news report were similarly unflattering: “Visually appalling, terrible to navigate”; “The formatting hurts my eyes!”

Thomson has lofty plans for; claiming it will be “transformative for the global publisher” and will provide an antidote to the “fake news and clickbait” of the social media giants and competitors Facebook and Google.

‘Extremely graphic’ coverage

Academics from New Zealand and Australia have analysed the coverage of the New Zealand massacre and concluded that the two countries covered the tragedy in starkly different ways in the days after the attack.

While New Zealand newsrooms focused on the victims, the Australian media was far more interested in the perpetrator and only 8% of the stories were about the victims, Gavin Ellis and Denis Muller found.

Ellis and Muller scanned almost 300 newspaper reports, watched web-based TV content and interviewed news executives to conclude that the disparity in editorial decision making was driven by the “effect of proximity”.

“New Zealand media were focused largely on empathetic coverage of victims and resisted the alleged gunman’s attempts to publicise his cause while their Australian counterparts showed no such reluctance and ran extended coverage of the alleged perpetrator, along with material ruled objectionable in New Zealand,” the New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences said.

“The authors conclude that a proximity filter was used by New Zealand media who identified the victims as part of their own community, but the events of 15 March 2019 were seen as ‘foreign’ by Australian journalists who used perceived distance as justification for extremely graphic content.”

Hun catches virus outrage

The Herald Sun’s decision to frame the coronavirus on its front page as a “Chinese virus” – complete with a red Communist star as a surgical mask and word play on the national animal the giant panda – has angered the Chinese community.

A Daily Telegraph headline “China kids stay home” has also been criticised for its potential to provoke discrimination against kids with a Chinese background.

Tele editor Ben English apologised on Friday.

“Our headline was in no way intended to single out Chinese people,” English said.

“However, it became obvious from reader letters that many felt the Chinese community had been targeted.

The last thing we want during this public health emergency is for people to feel they are being picked on.

We know Chinese people have long formed an important part of Sydney’s community.

If people have taken offence at the headline then I would like to apologise to them”.

Jason Om

So do only Chinese people get #coronavirus? Asking for the Herald Sun, which said it was a “Chinese virus”. If so, I won’t worry. I’m not Chinese! Gotcha. But remember when we used to say a disease belonged to a particular group of people? #auspol #wuhan

January 29, 2020

A petition signed by 45,000 Chinese community members says the Herald Sun has “inappropriately labelled the coronavirus by race” and asks for an apology.

A spokesman for News Corp said “Chinese virus” referred to the source of the coronavirus being China.

Mondays mean Macdonald on ABC

Monday night sees the return of the ABC’s current affairs line-up of Four Corners, Media Watch and Q&A, complete with its new host, Hamish Macdonald, who will introduce Four Corners as well as host Q&A.

It will be bushfire-themed across all three programs, with Macdonald anchoring his first program live from Bega, on the south coast of NSW.

Four Corners sent a team of reporters and producers across the country to track down the Australians who found themselves in the centre of the firestorms we saw in the videos that circulated online.

ABC Communications

The bushfire videos have been viewed tens of millions of times, but who filmed them and how did their stories end? On @4Corners Monday 3 February: “Black Summer”. via @tvtonightau

January 29, 2020

Paul Barry’s Media Watch, which will be examining the coverage of the bushfires and the role of climate change, was very nearly pushed aside or to a later time slot as Four Corners was keen on extra screen time, but each program’s patch was maintained in the end.

Seven apologises to Yirrkala

Channel Seven has apologised to members of the Yirrkala Aboriginal community over the use of images of adults from Yirrkala in the backdrop to a controversial Sunrise segment calling for Aboriginal children to be adopted by white families.

But the apology was broadcast in a commercial break before 7am on Thursday and was not mentioned by the hosts, David Koch and Samantha Armytage.

The file footage aired without permission in the background of a notorious segment on the popular breakfast show in March 2018, in which an all-white panel debated the merits of encouraging white families to “take in abused kids”.


Seven West Media was ordered by the Federal Court to pay the group from Yirrkala an undisclosed amount of money, cover the group’s legal costs, and issue a public apology.

January 30, 2020

“On 13 March 2018, we aired a story about alleged child abuse and neglect in Aboriginal communities and white people adopting Aboriginal children,” the statement read. “During the story, we showed unrelated blurred file footage of the Yirrkala community and Yolngu families in that community.

“The Yirrkala community and those Yolngu families had nothing to do with the story. And they have nothing to do with the alleged child abuse and neglect. They do not support any of the comments made in the story.

“Channel Seven apologises to the Yirrkala community and especially the Yolngu people shown in the story and their families for the hurt and distress that the misuse of this footage has caused them.”

Top secret job Exposed?

The ABC advertised internally for an investigative researcher/journalist to work with executive producer (and former Four Corners chief) Sue Spencer and series producer Jay Balendra on a top-secret project. As they are the gun producers behind Caro Meldrum-Hanna’s last television documentary Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane, Weekly Beast reckons there’s another Exposed project in the pipeline. Meldrum-Hanna is a Gold Walkley award-winning journalist who broke away from Four Corners to work on her own projects after winning accolades for her scoops on live baiting in greyhound racing and the Don Dale youth detention centre, among others.

Cartoonist erases tweet

The Australian Cartoonists’ Association has resolved a bitter dispute over a cartoon posted on social media by its deputy president, David Blumenstein. The cartoon, titled Easy Bigotry, depicted a News Corp cartoonist licking Rupert Murdoch’s backside.

The editorial cartoonist for the New Zealand Herald, Rod Emmerson, complained that the cartoon was offensive to members who worked at News Corp.

“Declaring News Ltd cartoonists are pandering to systemic racism and bigotry through their employer is completely untrue and clearly defamatory,” Emmerson wrote to the board.

David Blumenstein

I posted a piece of art here about a year ago which I have now removed. Anyone interested in this matter may see the minutes of the Australian Cartoonists Association’s AGM, 7 Dec 2019:

January 29, 2020

Blumenstein said he did not “have an issue with professional members who are employed by News Ltd” but stands behind “the content of the cartoon and my right to make satirical commentary on the behaviour of public figures, including cartoonists”.

“I think Emmerson is correct when he says that office bearers should exercise discretion when making statements regarding members, so I have deleted the tweets in question and I apologise to any member who sees my cartoon or statements as harmful to the ACA.”

Rumours of the death of TV sexism

It would have been a huge story if only it were true.

The Australian made the bold statement that the longevity of the newsreaders Sandra Sully from Ten and Melissa Doyle from Seven proved that sexism in the news business was dead.

“Gone are the days of TV news programs being presented by pretty young female journalists and much older male counterparts,” the Oz media section reported.


Sorry to burst your bubble, but there’s still lots of sexism in broadcast news media. #MEAAmedia

January 27, 2020

But the media union was quick to jump in and say the fight is not over and sexism is still rife.

To mark her 30 years with the Ten network, Sully’s bosses have set up a $7,500 university journalism scholarship to support a journalism student at Western Sydney University.

No backing for coronavirus claim

The Daily Telegraph reported the shocking tale of a 60-year-old who died from an apparent cardiac arrest “was reportedly not given CPR by bystanders out of fears that he had coronavirus”. The Daily Mail picked up the story and ran it on Thursday.

The Daily Telegraph

A man who died from a heart attack on a busy Sydney street did not receive vital CPR that could have saved his life because bystanders feared he may have had coronavirus.

January 29, 2020

But the claim that bystanders didn’t help because they were afraid of the coronavirus is unsourced in the story and a Sydney Morning Herald reporter said police had not confirmed the claim.

Singing from the Brexit song sheet

It was good local news hailed by the Hobart Mercury on its front page: “London Calling! Tassie eyes Brexit trade bonus”.

“Tasmania’s fruit and vegetable growers are expected to be among the winners as Australia looks to sign a trade deal with the UK by the end of the year,” Claire Bickers reported on Friday.

But a quick scan of the other News Corp papers revealed the apple isle wasn’t that special after all. Brexit was also a “unique opportunity” for South Australia’s wine industry.

The Bickers story was “placed” by federal trade minister Simon Birmingham’s office and massaged into a local story by Bickers. Good news for everyone!

Birmingham himself even tweeted out a montage of favourable headlines.

Simon Birmingham

Australia stands ready to launch trade deal negotiations with the ?? to give our farmers & businesses new export opportunities & to help create more ?? jobs.

January 31, 2020

Meanwhile, in an AAP story published in the Canberra Times, the news was not so good: Australia would not greatly benefit from Brexit.

“The geographic distance between the two countries has always been a restriction on trade, but essentially Australia’s biggest export earners, things like coal and iron ore, are not in demand by the UK,” the newspaper reported.


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