Thursday, September 17, 2009

The myopia of the Australian Financial Review

Margaret Simons has an item about the proposed ethics policy for reporters for the Australian Financial Review. It is a ghastly throwback to the days of command and control and a total failure to comprehend the power of the new tools of social media.

I have the pleasure of following many journalists on Twitter, and it is obvious that they use it to test reader interest, fish for information and hype stories. It is a good medium for a naturally gabby community like journalists.

Weirdest of all is the proposed restrictions on books:
Full time AFR journalists are prohibited from working outside Fairfax, including on books or by accepting speaking engagements. The Editorial Director can waive this prohibition – which presumably will come as a considerable relief to noted AFR authors such as Neil Chenoweth.

Considering that they only reason I have ever heard of the Australian Financial Review is the work of Chenoweth, I would think that they would want to encourage their reporters to publish books. It is the cost effective way of increasing brand awareness while increasing the prestige of the brand. What is Fairfax management thinking?

No sector of English speaking news media is better poised to profit in the online world than the Australian news media (with the obvious except of New Zealand). The Australian Financial Review truly does have tomorrow’s news today and could use Twitter to hype breaking news in the Pacific market, where they will invariably beat their British and North American competition. It is incredible that they would toss away such valuable tools.

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