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Murdoch to launch Wall Street Journal in German

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is launching a foray into German-language financial news with an online version of its flagship business daily, The Wall Street Journal, the media reported Friday.

Murdoch to launch Wall Street Journal in German
Photo: DPA

The Australian-born media tycoon, who has been battered in recent weeks by the snowballing UK tabloid phone-hacking scandal, is set to launch his online edition in late November or early December, the Swiss business daily Tagesanzeiger reported.

The bold move will shake up the German-speaking media market and constitute a full-frontal assault on the current web leaders for business news, the Financial Times Deutschland and Handelsblatt. It will target all the German-speaking areas – not just Germany but also Austria and German-speaking parts of Switzerland.

The German WSJ will begin as an online service only. It will initially be free but will begin after some time to charge for some content, though what payment model will be used is yet to be decided, the the Tagesanzeiger reported.

It is unclear whether there will later be a print edition.

Industry insiders said Dow Jones, which publishes the WSJ, would spend about €15 million to kickstart the online venture.

“This is the biggest project cost for Dow Jones this year,” said a senior editor at the WSJ.

It will employ about 40 people, who are being recruited at the moment. Murdoch’s deep pockets and Dow Jones existing network of journalists will give the new online paper a strong advantage over competitors the FTD and Handelsblatt.

“We want to fill a hole in the German market and bring in content from the Anglo-American and Latin American regions, where German correspondents are not for most part well-established,” a Dow Jones editor said. “The Financial Times Deutschland for example is a purely German product.

Some of the stories will be taken from Dow Jones’ existing network and translated into German. The rest will come from the new team of journalists in Germany.

The Local/djw

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FACEBOOK

Facebook News set to launch in Germany in May

Facebook will roll out its news platform in Germany from May, providing articles from around 100 existing German media outlets, the US-based tech giant said Monday.

Facebook News set to launch in Germany in May
Newspapers on a high speed train in Germany. Photo: DPA

“Facebook News, a place dedicated to journalistic content will launch in German in May 2021,” the social media giant said in a statement, adding that it would offer content from a “strong and diverse range” of German titles.

The platform, launched in the US in 2019 and in the UK in January, delivers users of the world’s leading social network curated news content bought from traditional publishers.

Facebook will pay publishers for their content, with the list of German partners ranging from prestigious national weeklies such as Die Zeit and Der Spiegel to regional dailies like the Rheinische Post.

“We are delighted to try out new ways to reach our readers with quality journalism in close partnership with platforms like Facebook,” said Spiegel Group Managing Director Stefan Ottlitz.

READ ALSO: German court fines Facebook over hate speech action failings

In total, Facebook claims the German platform will host “more than 100 media brands”, including major groups such as Funke and Conde Nast. Yet it will not include German media giant Axel Springer, which owns top national titles such as Die Welt and the country’s most widely read Bild daily.

“We consider it problematic that some platforms are on the one hand trying to become news media themselves, while at the same time fobbing off publishers with disproportionately low payments,” an Axel Springer spokesman told AFP.

“We advocate for a European copyright which allows all media companies to receive reasonable remuneration.”

Facebook claims its platform will help German media companies “win new readers, monetise content and expand business model in a sustainable and long term way”.

Media companies have struggled with dwindling advertising revenue and print sales as content has moved online and become available for free, forcing a host of titles to close.

In an attempt to redress the balance between traditional media and modern tech giants, the European Union included a so-called “neighbouring right” in its 2019 reform to copyright law, forcing digital giants to sign remuneration agreements with media companies.

Yet Facebook is yet to sign any such agreement, preferring instead to focus on its own initiatives such as Facebook News and the Facebook Journalism Project.

In February, Facebook blanked out the pages of media outlets for Australian users and blocked them from sharing any news content for several days, in protest at proposed legislation to force it to pay for journalistic content.

It eventually ended the blackout after reaching a last-ditch deal with Australian lawmakers.

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