ATNIX: Australian Twitter News Index, August 2016

As the 2016 federal election campaign recedes into memory, online engagement with the news in Australia has returned to what passes for normality these days. This is also reflected in the news sharing activities we are able to observe in the Australian Twitter News Index for August: the long-term patterns of how Twitter users’ attention is distributed across the leading news sites in the country continue to hold.

As this month’s data show, ABC News remains by far the most widely shared Australian news site, followed by the Sydney Morning Herald and The Conversation, whose numbers are as always substantially inflated by its large and growing international userbase. Further down the order, news.com.au has moved ahead of The Age again, reflecting perhaps the shift of focus away from sharing political news during the election campaign – an area that might be seen as the natural domain of The Age.
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Sky’s the limit – now share the love

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Sky News Sydney City Studio, by Newtown grafitti Flickr CC BY 2.0

Former editor of The Australian Chris Mitchell praised the performance of Sky News’ election coverage in a column last week, suggesting that it surpassed that of the ABC’s in some key respects, notably in its flexibility around scheduling, and in the range of commentators and contributors. Having followed both Sky News and ABC News 24 these last few weeks (and indeed for quite a few years now), I think this is a fair judgement, albeit one that has to be contextualised by the very different regulatory frameworks within which both channels operate.
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Whose kitchen rules? Annabel’s, of course!

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Annabel Crabb dines with colourful crossbench Senator Jacqui Lambie. Image: ABC Media Room.

Last week saw the return of one of the ABC’s most popular and innovative political media formats – Annabel Crabb’s Kitchen Cabinet, featuring on the first edition Jacqui Lambie.

You probably know the drill: Annabel rocks up to a politician’s home, or said pollie comes to her place in Sydney, and the two converse over food and drink about, well, anything really – not usually the big issues on the campaign news agenda, or the merits of the latest stoush between Malcolm and Bill, but personal stuff.
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Memo to Michelle Guthrie: as local newspapers die, might the ABC help out?

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ABC South Brisbane. Image source: Ash Kyd, flickr. CC By 2.0

The ABC’s new managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has been in the job for just over a week. She has already made it her mission to increase diversity at the broadcaster and Helen Vatsikopoulos offers some suggestions how this could be done. Our experts consider how to improve news and current affairs coverage, local content and digital services and Brian McNair (below) suggests how Guthrie could assist with the crisis in local and regional journalism.
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The death of newspapers – have we reached the tipping point?

conversation - brian

In a 2013 Monthly essay Eric Beecher warned of a looming “civic catastrophe” for Australia if the decline of newspapers continued as it had been in the preceding years. The Australian’s report on a Fairfax plan to dump print and go digital-only, as yet unimplemented but convincingly detailed in the leaked 2013 document prepared by management consultancy firm Bain & Co, suggest that such a move is, if not a certainty, highly probable in the foreseeable future.
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Australians couldn’t care less about politics? Really?

Cross In The Box - Adam Wyles, Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

Cross In The Box, Adam Wyles, Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

It has become accepted wisdom in public discourse that Australians are disengaged with politics. But is that really the case? Or are we more invested in our political system than we appear to be?

A poll last year noted that less than one-third of respondents had “a lot” or “some” trust in either their federal or state parliaments. The figure for the former had dropped from a relatively lofty 55% in 2011.
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Making A Murderer and the cult of factuality

Image source: Netflix

Image source: Netflix

As Netflix approaches two million subscribers in Australia, free-to-air TV execs have called on government to “ensure a level playing field for Australian media businesses”. The US-based streaming service is alleged to be at an uncompetitive advantage over the established broadcasters, which must follow regulations and legal constraints that do not apply to Netflix. That’s a fair point, and a topic for another column.
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Apple News could change the news business – will readers win?

Image source: Johan Larsson, Flickr

Image source: Johan Larsson, Flickr

In the early days of Web 2.0, the arrival of blogs and similar sites heralded an explosion in the number of news feeds we could follow. But such abundance also came at a price: it became increasingly difficult to keep up with all this content without having to browse at length from site to site every day.

In response, a friendly acronym briefly flourished: Rich Site Summary, better known as Really Simple Syndication or RSS. Coupled with a feed reader tool, RSS enables users to quickly scan the headlines and click through only to those stories that pique their interest.
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Why the Murdoch press wants to exterminate public broadcasters

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Image Source: Edgar Zuniga Jr., Flickr

Like most people with even a passing interest in the part played by News Corporation in British politics, I remember exactly what I was doing when scandal broke in 2011 and the sense of a seemingly indestructible media behemoth crumbling into chaos and ruin before our eyes. Now, Rebekah Brooks is to return as chief executive of News UK, publisher of the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times. In 2014 she was cleared of all charges relating to the phone-hacking scandal.
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