The Philadelphia Inquirer is the latest news outlet to shut down comments on most of its stories, following similar decisions by platforms including NPR, The Atlantic and NJ.com. The only content exempt from the decision are the Inquirer’s sports stories and Inquirer Live events. The paper says that just two percent of Inquirer.com visitors read the comments, with even less posting. Noting the amount of time spent on policing comments, the paper said, “We’d rather invest in vital local journalism than an endless and expensive game of comment whack-a-mole.” Readers will still be able to comment through letters to the editor and social media, and the Inquirer says it is “working on building new two-way connections with our existing audience and with new audiences we hope to reach.”
The New European, a British pro-EU weekly newspaper that started up in 2016, has been purchased by its management and investors. The buyers include Mark Thompson, the former BBC director-general and chief executive of the New York Times and Lionel Barber, the former editor of the Financial Times. Matt Kelly, former head of content at Archant, the publishing company that launched the paper, will be majority owner and serve as chief executive and editor-in-chief. Launched in the wake of the Brexit referendum as a “pop-up,” the New European was expected to have a print run of just three or four weeks. However, it is still publishing, with a combined weekly print and online circulation estimated at around 20,000. “Since the referendum, The New European has shown that there is a significant market for high-quality, informative, provocative and entertaining journalism written for an audience who cares deeply about both Britain and Europe’s future,” said Kelly.
Microsoft is offering to fill in the digital gap that would be created in Australia if Google pulls its search engine there, a Reuters report says. Google’s search engine currently has 94 percent of the country’s search market, according to industry data. Australia has introduced laws that would force Google and Facebook to negotiate payments to domestic media outlets whose content links drive traffic to their platforms. Both companies say the laws are unworkable and they would withdraw key services from Australia if the regulations went ahead. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told him the company was ready to grow the presence of its search tool Bing, the distant No. 2 player, to make up for any loss of Google’s services.