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APN buys 100% WOBH, Appoints Slater as New Media Editor

MARKET ANNOUNCEMENT

APN TO ACQUIRE 100% OF WHALE OIL BEEF HOOKED  BLOG ASSETS
- APN to move to full ownership of WOBH for $4.273 million
- Purchase price represents an a random number dreamed up by all concerned.
- APN confident in new media as a growth medium and in the ability of WOBH to continue increasing market share
- Majority of APN’s earnings post-Acquisition expected to be in growth businesses (radio, outdoor and digital)
- Exclusive 10 year agreement with WOBH and editor Cam Slater secured to operate WOBH and broadcast a new blog radio show via the iHeartRadio digital radio platform in New Zealand
- APN appoints Cam Slater as New Media Editor

Overview
SYDNEY, 19 February, 2014 – APN News & Media Limited [ASX, NZX: APN] today announced that it will acquire full ownership of Whale Oil Beef Hooked (‘WOBH’) for an enormous amount of hooter (the ‘Acquisition’). The purchase price represents a big truck load of cash beeping backwards into the loading bay of Slater’s bank.

As a result of the Acquisition, APN will own 100% of the largest and most effective news and political blog with an audience that exceeds most of the rest of their stable of newspapers. and even some of their radio assets. WOBH writes for an audience that exceeds 2.5 million page views each month. Read more »

Daniel Hannan nicely sums up MSM v Blogs

Daniel Hannan explores and explains the sometimes unhappy relationship between traditional media and blogs…from his own blog, that is ironically part of The Telegraph.

Back in the pioneering days, blogs were seen as a challenge to the established media. And, in one sense, they were. When Guido scalped his first minister, Peter Hain, in 2008, something changed, though the newspapers were slow to notice. When, the following year, he aimed his tomahawk at Derek Draper and Damien McBride, old-style pundits were still laboriously explaining to their readers what these blog thinggies were. By the time Tim Yeo became Guido’s latest victim, no one needed to ask any more.

When a dozen dead tree newspapers determined the agenda, the media’s chief power lay in not reporting a story – not through conspiracy, but from shared assumptions about what constituted news. Take the leak of the “hide the decline” emails from climatologists at the University of East Anglia in late 2009. At first, the astonishing trove was reported only by bloggers. It wasn’t that environment correspondents were meeting behind drawn blinds and vowing to repress the discovery; it was that, being uncomplicated believers in the AGW orthodoxy, they couldn’t see why the emails were a story. Only when repeatedly needled by online commentators were they were eventually forced to report perhaps the biggest event in its field of the century.

The key moment came when the story was picked up by James Delingpole, whose post attracted 1.6 million hits. Tellingly, that post appeared here, on Telegraph Blogs. Blogs were now part of the established media. In the early days, some had believed that the MSM would be displaced, others that the old brands would conscript the upstarts. In fact, something more interesting happened: the distinction broke down.   Read more »

Whaleoil is mobile again

The Team at Cre8d implemented the new theme for Whaleoil late on Friday.  You may have noticed some small visual changes for the main site, but the objective was to fix the mobile view for Whaleoil.

We pretty much didn’t have much to “fix” – we needed something that worked, at all!

So try it out on your phones, tablets, iPads and phablets – it’s going to zoom along.

This is last month’s breakdown of platforms

dfg

It will be interesting if those stats change significantly now that Whaleoil does a better job of delivering mobile content.

Now that the Mobile Theme project is off the list, the next thing we need to focus on is to get the merchandising store up and running!  We have a supplier – next to-do is to put up a little e-shop.  Will keep you informed.

Another month gone, how did we do?

FEb14-stats

With February a short month, we still got our coveted 2 mil.  Always hard with the additional public holidays, so that’s made the Team happy.

Thank you, and goodbye… to Nick.  Nick Bird has been a faithful Whaleoil volunteer for well over a year, and it’s sad to have him leave us.  Thank you for all your help Nick, and all the best with your studies.  Whaleoil volunteers may all be doing a relatively small part every day, but add those together and it allows Cameron and I to spend more time on the meatier stuff.   Read more »

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We are in the finalists

The ESET NetGuide Web Awards Finalists have been announced and we are in the finalists for Best Blog.

blogawards

So…we are competing with a travel, arts and fitness blog, a blog about cats and dogs, a blog about a wedding that hasn’t posted a single thing since October last year and a blog by a librarian with a kid.  Read more »

Does anyone still read the news?

Apparently not according to research by Microsoft. 

If analysts at Microsoft Research are correct, a startling number of American Web users are no longer paying attention to the news as it is traditionally defined. In a recent study of “filter bubbles,” Sharad Goel, Seth Flaxman, and Justin Rao asked how many Web users actually read the news online. Out of a sample of 1.2 million American users, just over fifty thousand, or four per cent, were “active news customers” of “front section” news. The other ninety-six per cent found other things to read.

The authors defined an active news customer as someone who read at least ten substantive news articles and two opinion pieces in a three-month period—if you remove the requirement of reading opinion pieces, the number of news readers climbs to fourteen per cent. The authors studied U.S.-based Web users who, between March and May of 2013, accumulated a total of 2.3 billion page views.

News can be a vague category; the authors defined by collecting news sites with appreciable traffic (the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and Fox News), blogs (Daily Kos and Breitbart), and regional dailies (the Seattle Times and the Denver Post). Using “machine learning” algorithms, the authors separated what, based on word usage, they considered front-section news from the other content on news sites, like sports, weather, life style, and entertainment. What’s left is the narrow, classical news article, about, say, the State of the Union, as opposed to one about the latest adventures of Justin Bieber or Farrah Abraham.

Various influences shaped the study. The data was collected only from Internet Explorer users (who, the authors say, tend to be slightly older), and it represents only those who agreed to make their Web-browsing history available. Additionally, just because people don’t surf news Web sites doesn’t mean that they don’t get news from other sources, like physical newspapers, talk radio, Twitter, “The Colbert Report,” or the evening news.

That said, the sample size, 1.2 million, is impressive—far greater than that of a typical survey. And the number of people whom the study shows to be paying attention to the news online is consistent with the low ratings of cable news during the same period. Also, as opposed to relying on what people said they did, the Microsoft researchers drew on a record of what they actually did, which is significantly different. In a 2012 Pew survey, for example, thirty-nine per cent of people said that they had read news online the day before. The difference between the two numbers—fourteen and thirty-nine—may, in part, reflect different definitions of “news.” (The Pew survey did not define the term.) And, of course, what people like to think they do is often different from what they do.   Read more »

The Axis of Envy or The Overton Window as it applies to blogs

A reader emails some thoughts about media, blogs and the future:

Hi Cam

On holiday now and have some time to ponder the role of Blogs in NZ.

The New Zealand Herald, TV3 and TVNZ (The Main Stream Media or MSM) are not comfortable with the rise of Blogs and especially the rise of Whaleoil.  I have spent some time considering this and believe the major driver for their concern is that they fear the loss of their privileged position as the ordained elite guardians of enlightened thought in New Zealand.

To understand this we first need to understand the Overton Window.  The Overton Window concept comes out of an American Think Tank (www.mackinac.org) and was created by Joe Overton in the mid 90’s. Joe wrote an essay in which he observed that any collection of public policies within a policy area, such as education, can be arranged in order from more free to less free (or from less government intervention to more).

He also noticed that debates on policy tended to be limited by the boundaries of public acceptance, and ideas outside those boundaries are usually rejected with little examination. If the change you are pushing is outside of those boundaries, your chances for reasoned debate and more importantly changes to public policy or law are very low. Overton called these boundaries a window and hence the term The Overton Window.   Read more »

Derryn Hinch: “very unpleasant, very right wing, and very popular”

Who on earth was Derryn Hinch talking about?

Firstly he explains a bit about his recent issues regarding name suppression.

Without boring you with all the details of my recent expensive court battle I should point out that in his judgement – explaining why I should be fined $100,000  for contempt of court  – Judge Stephen Kaye ruled that I could have deleted an offending blog  from the humanheadline website 12 hours  before I did.  That the night before, I could have called my lawyer – as if a one-man editorial band has 24. /7 access to a law firm.  Hey judge, I’m not Rupert Murdoch.

He also was of the opinion that as a ‘news junkie’ who reads The Age and the Herald Sun I should have been aware of a suppression order brought down in Melbourne when I was in Sydney.  A suppression order implemented five hours after my editorial had been published from another city.

Judge Kaye’s verdict also has opened a can of worms that I don’t think has registered yet with MSM.  He ruled that a website story is deemed live on the net if somebody accesses it days or weeks later after a suppression order has kicked in.

That is different to a printed newspaper article.  I mean, no court would rule that archive copies of the Herald Sun should be burned because they contained a since-suppressed name.  They wouldn’t. Would they?  Read more »

Daniel Hannan on judging blogs by their comment threads

People, okay mainly left wing tossers with their heads jammed up their fundament, claim that this website is rubbish or a sewer not by what is written on it but by what is in the comments. their site is better, smarter or more erudite because we have nicer commenters is the answer.

Of course it is petty jealousy fuelled with an unhealthy dose of intellectual snobbery. The market speaks and the market decides if you’re good enough not some pompous leftwing snob’s idea of what people should say or think.

Daniel Hannan explores this in his blogpost (again the Telegraph is a mainstream “news medium” that has bloggers).

The FT’s former correspondent at the European Parliament used to ask me the same question at every press conference. “So does this mean you voted the same way as Jean-Marie Le Pen?”

It’s amazing how many people want to judge a proposal, not by its merits, but by its incidental supporters. We need only state their implication openly – that you should drop an otherwise sensible idea because someone you don’t like agrees with you – to see how absurd it is.

Yet people carry on doing it. It’s the phenomenon that lies behind Godwin’s Law, the observation that all Internet discussions, if allowed to run long enough, end with comparisons to the Nazis. Hitler didn’t like trade unions! Hitler banned foxhunting! Hitler was a vegetarian! Hitler was an atheist! Hitler was a Catholic! Hitler was a pagan!

Now there’s a new variant of the phenomenon: judging a blog by its comment thread. Again, the absurdity should be obvious. Bloggers are not responsible for what happens after they have posted. Those who comment most aggressively are more often than not hostile to the writer. The word “troll” didn’t originally mean, as is often thought these days, someone who is rude and unpleasant; it meant someone who used an assumed identity to discredit someone else.  Read more »

Southland Times editorial on me, journalism and the law

The Southland Times editorial doesn’t like me, but they have still come out against Judge Blackie’s decision.

He is heavy and he ain’t our brother.

In journalistic terms, Cameron Slater is more like one of those relatives that you don’t get to choose. A distant one, we’d like to think.

The Whale Oil blogger forces us to reconsider the boundaries of what constitutes a journalist. It pains us to acknowledge kinship of any sort. But we do.

Right now he’s embroiled in a defamation hearing, during which a High Court judge has ruled he’s not a real journo, so cannot rely on the special – though still sorely limited – protections journalists have to keep their sources secret.

And that’s a ruling that cannot stand.

Whether Cameron Slater is a good journalist is a different argument from whether he is one at all.  Read more »