The Media in the Press 24.11.09

Media magnate, Rupert Murdoch, has been forthright about his desire to make people pay for access to his news websites. But has he found the solution?

Second-year Journalism student, Alan Robertson, of Strathclyde University, takes a look at the media stories making it into the pages of today’s papers….

Charging for journalism online looks set to become a reality with Microsoft and Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation entering talks that could see the technology group pay for exclusive rights to content from his newspapers.

The move would see stories from News Corp publications, such as the Times and the Sun, appearing on Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, while removing search results from rival, Google.

Murdoch Turns to Gates for Website Help’, reports The Independent (page 18), while business columnist, David Prosser, adds that the deal could be ‘a win-win’ for both parties (page 35). The story also crops up in the business pages of The Daily Telegraph (Business, page 8) where James Murdoch, News Corp’s head of Europe and Asia, is quoted from last week, saying: “We invest quite a lot in our journalism and we are proud of it. We think we should charge a fair price for it.”

The Guardian (page 25) says that the talks are at ‘an embryonic stage’ and are part of Murdoch’s wider vision to establish new revenue streams online and prevent “what he sees as theft of his content by large web companies such as Google”. As part of this vision, several News International titles, including The Times, will have paywalls in place by next Spring.

The Scotsman (Business, page 8), meanwhile, quotes Elisa Dashwood, account director at Edinburgh-based internet marketing agency, Ambergreen, who says: “Murdoch has laid out a blueprint for how to kick Google in the teeth. All it would take is for someone like Daily Mail & General Press or Trinity Mirror to follow suit and, all of a sudden, Google will be asking what’s going on.”

Elsewhere, another of News International titles, the News of the World, makes it into the pages of today’s papers after a former reporter was awarded almost £800,000 for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. Matt Driscoll, a sports reporter sacked in April two years ago, received what is believed to be the highest payout of its kind in the media for alleged bullying, The Guardian (page 2) reports.

The BBC has come under fire once again, this time by the Taxpayers' Alliance for spending £153,500 giving away trees and vegetable seeds. The handouts are part of a campaign to encourage people to do more for the environment, yet the Alliance has condemned the Corporation for using license fees as if they were “a bottomless pit of cash”, the Daily Telegraph (page 13) says.

And The Herald (page 13) reports that ten journalists were among at least 21 people murdered in the southern Philippines yesterday after an election convoy was ambushed by dozens of gunmen. More recent reports from Reporters Without Borders suggest the number of journalists killed is at least 12, while adding: “Never in the history of journalism have the news media suffered such a heavy loss of life in one day.”

Other media stories:

* The remains of British journalist, Alec Collett, who was kidnapped in 1985, have been found in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon -The Times (page 40), The Herald (page 13), The Guardian (page 13).

* Broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, has cleared X Factor judge, Dannii Minogue, after 4000 complaints were made over alleged homophobic remarks – Daily Record (page 3).

* The Scotsman’s 'Under the Radar' column, devoted to new music, has been shortlisted for a prestigious award honouring the best in music journalism and PR across the UK – The Scotsman (page 3).

* X Factor twins, John and Edward Grimes, look set to profit despite their departure from this year’s programme with industry experts estimating that the two could make as much as £2 million over the next year – The Times (page 9).

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