Roundup: Government funds micro-publishers, WSJ reporter arrested, Eddie McGuire

wall street journal

Meta, Peter Usborne dies, Universal Music Group, Kate Langbroek

Business of Media

Government confirms $1.5m micro-publishers push

The Albanese government will tip $1.5 million into micro-news publishers through a new industry group representing digital and hyper-local community websites, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

The Local and Independent News Association (LINA) will host Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland in Sydney on Friday morning at its first major event since launching in 2021.

The organisation has members such as the Beaudesert Bulletin and the Illawarra Flame, as well as larger publications including Australian Property Journal. It gives support and access to third-party services that would be too expensive for small players.

Rowland said the government had put funding aside for LINA under its News Media Assistance Program, which was aimed at supporting local and diverse news services in smaller communities. The government committed $4 million to the News MAP, of which $1.5 million will go to LINA.

“I have tasked my department to work with LINA and to assess their proposal under the government’s News Media Assistance Program and ensure it will deliver value to taxpayers,” she said.

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Meta reportedly considering Europe political ads ban

Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, is reportedly considering a company-wide ban on political advertising in Europe amid fears it could struggle to abide by new EU campaigning laws, reports the Guardian’s Kalyeena Makortoff.

Policymakers in Brussels are proposing rules that would force online tech groups including Facebook and Google to divulge information about political adverts, including how much they cost, who paid for the content and how many people have viewed them.

Those proposals have caused concern among Meta executives, who are worried about how wide the definition of political ads might be and how hard it may be to comply with the rules, according to the Financial Times.

Meta – which is led by Mark Zuckerberg, its founder and chief executive – is now considering whether it would be easier to turn down all paid advertising for political campaigns on its platforms to avoid falling afoul of EU laws.

The corporation is among a raft of social media companies, including Twitter, which faced criticism for allowing users to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories across their platforms after the 2016 US presidential election, raising fears over how voters may have been manipulated by the content.

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See Also: New South Wales election ad spend: Media agency leaders reflect messaging and effectiveness

Children’s books publisher Peter Usborne dies at 85

Peter Usborne, the founder of the children’s books publisher Usborne and the co-founder of Private Eye magazine, has died aged 85, the publisher has announced, reports the Guardian’s Tom Ambrose.

He died “unexpectedly but peacefully” surrounded by his family this morning, the Bookseller reported.

Usborne founded his publishing house in 1973 and in February this year received a CBE for his services to literature from King Charles at Windsor Castle.

The publisher said in a statement: “Peter was, in the truest sense of the word, a genius – his brilliance was matched only by his determination to make books accessible to all children.

“This determination was fuelled by his passion for ‘doing things better’ than any other children’s book publisher, matched with a childlike energy and curiosity that made him light up every room he stepped into.

“He was an exceptional publisher, an inspirational leader and a very kind, generous man who will be sorely missed by everyone who was lucky enough to know him.”

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Universal Music Group extends CEO Lucian Grainge’s contract through 2028

Universal Music Group has extended the contract of its CEO and Chairman Sir Lucian Grainge until May 1, 2028, reports the Hollywood Reporter’s Caitlin Huston.

As part of the extended agreement, Grainge will move from an all-cash compensation package to a combination of equity and cash, with the majority paid in UMG equity and UMG performance-based stock options. His annual salary will be cut to $5 million, a reduction of more than two-thirds of his currency salary.

However, Grainge will also be eligible for an annual bonus of $10 million and the equity portion of his compensation package includes annual grants of $20 million. He will also receive a one-time transition award of $100 million, with half coming from restricted stock units and the other half coming from performance stock options, which will be paid out if the company’s stock hits a certain threshold by the end of his employment agreement.

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News Brands

Russia arrests Wall Street Journal reporter on spying charge

Russia’s security service arrested an American reporter for the Wall Street Journal on espionage charges, the first time a US correspondent has been detained on spying accusations since the Cold War. The newspaper denied the allegations and demanded his release, reports the Associated Press.

Evan Gershkovich was detained in the city of Yekaterinburg while allegedly trying to obtain classified information, the Federal Security Service, known by the acronym FSB, said Thursday.

The service, which is the top domestic security agency and main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, alleged that Gershkovich “was acting on instructions from the American side to collect information about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex that constitutes a state secret”.

The Journal “vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich”, the newspaper said. “We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family.”

The arrest comes at a moment of bitter tensions between the West and Moscow over its war in Ukraine and as the Kremlin intensifies a crackdown on opposition activists, independent journalists and civil society groups.

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Kate Langbroek opens up on pay situation with radio co-host Dave Hughes

Kate Langbroek has revealed she earned 40 per cent less than her radio co-host Dave Hughes – and talking about their pay gap led to the end of their partnership, reports News Corp’s Mary Madigan.

Langbroek was guest hosting Channel 10’s The Project when the discussion of gender pay parity came up.

“Hughesy and I did a radio show together for eighteen years and had never ever discussed what we got paid,” she explained.

“It turned out he was getting paid 40 per cent more than I was. This was the Hughesy and Kate Show that we had made together and didn’t exist without us,” she said.

“Showbusiness is not a standard situation but we did a radio show together for 18 years. It changed our relationship when we talked about money and I then left.”

She did, however, save some praise for Hughes.

“Apart from my husband he was the most significant man in my life. And it has been like a marriage, and now like a divorce,” she said

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ABC ‘disappointed’ by Eddie McGuire comments on journalist

ABC is objecting to comments made on Footy Classified on Wednesday in which Eddie McGuire repeated statements that journalist Russell Jackson has called the “smearing” of his reputation, reports TV Tonight.

The remarks centre around the allegations of racism against Hawthorn Football Club late last year.

McGuire claimed three former Hawthorn employees named in Jackson’s story were denied a fair opportunity to properly respond.

Jackson previously hit out at that suggestion, saying, “Eddie McGuire has attempted to smear my reputation here and I will not stand for it.”

On Wednesday McGuire repeated the claims and added: “Are we hearing anything from (Russell Jackson) these days? Seems to have gone quiet.”

ABC described that as “disappointing.” In a statement it said Jackson is a Walkley Award-winning reporter whose work has led to major reviews and policy reform.

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