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Rupert Murdoch 5th wedding, Malcolm Turnbull, Amazon

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Mediaweek

Do Facebook ads still work in politics? We’re about to find out

They are quick, they are cheap, and they can help you reach a particular type of over-60s NIMBY in your local area, reports Nine Publishing’s Mark Di Stefano and Samantha Hutchinson.

For years, political campaigners have been relying on Facebook ads to target swing voters. But their effectiveness will be put to the test this weekend in the NSW state election.

New data shows teal candidates have been sinking tens of thousands of dollars each into Facebook ads, while bigger parties shell out for glitzier TV and radio spots.

The tracking data from political advisory firm Populares shows five teal candidates have spent more than $35,000 each, solely on Facebook ads. Those candidates are hoping to win seats off the Liberal Party in the electorates of North Shore, Lane Cove, Manly, Pittwater and Wollondilly.

Ed Coper, co-founder of Populares – the relatively new firm that advised the teals at last year’s federal election but is not involved in providing advice at this one – said the current crop of candidates was hoping for a rerun of last year’s campaign.

“If you’re running an independent campaign, then you’re starting from zero primary and digital advertising is one of the most effective ways to get your name out there,” Coper said. “Clearly, the teal candidates in these five seats have learnt that lesson from the federal election and are trying to replicate the tactic.”

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Rupert Murdoch to marry for fifth time at 92: ‘I knew this would be my last’

The billionaire mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose conservative media empire spans the globe, is engaged to marry for the fifth time, he told an interviewer in his own tabloid newspaper, the New York Post, reports the Guardian’s Edward Helmore.

“I was very nervous. I dreaded falling in love – but I knew this would be my last. It better be. I’m happy,” Murdoch, 92, said of his new fiancee, Ann Lesley Smith, 66, whose late husband was Chester Smith, a country singer as well as radio and TV executive.

The pair intend to get married in the summer. “We’re both looking forward to spending the second half of our lives together,” Murdoch said.

The summer wedding will mark the fifth time that the media titan – whose business empire includes the currently scandal hit Fox News in the US and the powerful rightwing tabloid the Sun in the United Kingdom – has tied the knot.

Murdoch has six children from his first three marriages. Prudence MacLeod, with his first wife Patricia Booker, then Elisabeth and sons Lachlan and James with his second wife Anna Mann. He has two more daughters – Grace and Chloe – with his third wife Wendi Deng. Murdoch’s fourth wife was the former supermodel Jerry Hall, from whom he split last year.

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Turnbull to take over News Corp royal commission campaign

Former Coalition prime minister Malcolm Turnbull will take over from ex-Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd as the head of the campaign for a royal commission into Rupert Murdoch’s Australian media empire, reports Nine Publishing’s Paul Sakkal.

The man who was Liberal leader less than five years ago has urged Opposition Leader Peter Dutton to distance his party from Sky News to boost its electability, saying the party he once led had been in “coalition” with News Corp.

Turnbull, who will co-chair Australians for a Murdoch Royal Commission alongside trade unionist Sharan Burrow, said he would continue to donate to the movement and attempt to influence the behaviour of advertisers in a bid to diminish the media empire’s power.

In an opinion piece for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Turnbull and Burrow argue that revelations in the Dominion Voting Systems case of Fox News’ on-air talent indulging former president Donald Trump’s “stolen election” lies “justify the rigorous inquiry that only a royal commission can bring”.

“The Foxification of Australia won’t be halted by piecemeal media reforms that can’t pass parliament unless they are signed off by Rupert,” he said.

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Amazon will lay off 9,000 more employees

Amazon plans to lay off another 9,000 employees over the next few weeks, CEO Andrew Jassy said Monday, reports the Hollywood Reporter’s Caitlin Huston.

This is in addition to the planned layoff of 18,000 employees that the ecommerce giant announced in January. This round of cuts will largely impact workers in Amazon’s advertising department, on its video live streaming service Twitch, and on the Amazon Web Services and People Experience and Technology Solutions teams.

“For several years leading up to this one, most of our businesses added a significant amount of headcount. This made sense given what was happening in our businesses and the economy as a whole. However, given the uncertain economy in which we reside, and the uncertainty that exists in the near future, we have chosen to be more streamlined in our costs and headcount,” Jassy wrote in a note to employees Monday.

The previous round of layoffs primarily impacted staffers in the Amazon stores and the People Experience and Technology divisions.

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Agencies

SPEAK Communications is appointed as NBA Asia’s corporate communications agency partner

SPEAK Communications has announced its appointment to NBA Asia as their corporate communications agency partner in Australia.
 
Starting immediately, the Sydney-based PR agency will work hand in hand with the NBA to develop the league’s corporate PR press office functions across partnerships, merchandising, and more.

SPEAK Communications, which are specialists in the sports industry, is well placed to support NBA Asia and its ambition to increase the profile of the game in Australia.
 
Snezana Hay
, founder of SPEAK Communications, said of the appointment: “Basketball is one of the fastest growing sports in Australia and the NBA has played a fundamental role in building that momentum and fandom.
 
“We are thrilled to welcome the NBA, the MVP of sports brands and one of the world’s largest sports leagues, to our client roster. We are excited to develop campaigns that support the brand’s local footprint in Australia,” she added.

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Reprise Digital launches AIpril Fools campaign generator

Reprise Digital has developed and launched AIpril Fools campaign generator, an ideation tool that will help get the creative juices flowing ahead of April Fools Day.

Powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the tool uses the latest in AI Large Language Models (LLM) technology to churn out witty campaign ideas and can be the inspiration for all marketing teams – from any industry – to help create the ‘perfect’ April Fools campaign idea in a matter of seconds.

Mychal Whittle, head of growth and integration at Reprise, said:  “Don’t be fooled by the AIpril Fools Campaign Generator, we don’t expect any Cannes Lion-winning ideas. This is more of a tongue-in-cheek creation highlighting the functionality of AI tools and how marketers should – and more to the point shouldn’t – be using them.

“The aim of this stunt is to show we still need people to drive creativity and salience for marketing campaigns, but there is a future world where we can combine both the human mind and AI to facilitate and deliver best in class creative ideas and results for our clients,” he continued.

[Read More]

Television

Why this season of Australian Survivor will go down in (meme) history

Reality TV is known for its hyperbole. Every fight or twist or blindside is touted as “explosive” and “game-changing”. Somehow, every single season is “the best ever”. But the latest season of Australian Survivor, themed Heroes v Villains, is actually delivering on that promise, reports Nine Publishing’s Meg Watson.

The ratings have been steadily climbing (from an average overnight audience of around 550,000 in its first week to around 715,000 now). Critics have been raving. And it’s captured plenty of attention from international viewers too, with fans of the global franchise regularly gushing on social media about how much better the production and gameplay has been compared to the ongoing US version.

In the lead-up to next Monday’s series finale, we asked past Australian Survivor players Khanh Ong and Brooke Jowett – who also co-host Channel 10’s recap show Talking Tribal – about what exactly has made this season so good.

Spoiler: yes, a lot of it comes down to the work of political operative George Mladenov, an eccentric returning player and self-professed villain, so devoted to the game he has an immunity idol tattooed on his chest. But that doesn’t mean they want him to win …

[Read More]

How the Ferrones were cast for Back in Time

The Ferrone family are much-loved as the cast across the Back in Time franchise, currently appearing in Back in Time for the Corner Shop, reports TV Tonight.

Carol Ferrone recently told TV Tonight how the family – husband Peter, son Julian 22, daughters Sienna 19 and Olivia 15- were discovered by producers.

“Five years ago, we were actually shopping at Miranda Westfield and somebody tapped me on the shoulder and asked literally said, ‘I like the look of your family are you interested in auditioning for a TV show?’” she said.

“But a couple of months before, I’d actually seen the casting call on one of the social media platforms and I sent it to Peter ‘We should apply for this,’ but we never did.

“Funnily enough, this lady tapped me on the shoulder, and in the beginning, you kind of think it’s all a bit bogus.

“I did ask what show it was and she had a brochure and showed me and I said to Peter, ‘That’s the one that I had sent you.’ So then immediately, I realised it was Warner Bros. casting and the rest is literally history. They’d been looking for months for the right family and turns out, we were the right fit.”

[Read More]



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Facebook Faces Yet Another Outage: Platform Encounters Technical Issues Again

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Facebook Problem Again

Uppdated: It seems that today’s issues with Facebook haven’t affected as many users as the last time. A smaller group of people appears to be impacted this time around, which is a relief compared to the larger incident before. Nevertheless, it’s still frustrating for those affected, and hopefully, the issues will be resolved soon by the Facebook team.

Facebook had another problem today (March 20, 2024). According to Downdetector, a website that shows when other websites are not working, many people had trouble using Facebook.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has had issues. Just a little while ago, there was another problem that stopped people from using the site. Today, when people tried to use Facebook, it didn’t work like it should. People couldn’t see their friends’ posts, and sometimes the website wouldn’t even load.

Downdetector, which watches out for problems on websites, showed that lots of people were having trouble with Facebook. People from all over the world said they couldn’t use the site, and they were not happy about it.

When websites like Facebook have problems, it affects a lot of people. It’s not just about not being able to see posts or chat with friends. It can also impact businesses that use Facebook to reach customers.

Since Facebook owns Messenger and Instagram, the problems with Facebook also meant that people had trouble using these apps. It made the situation even more frustrating for many users, who rely on these apps to stay connected with others.

During this recent problem, one thing is obvious: the internet is always changing, and even big websites like Facebook can have problems. While people wait for Facebook to fix the issue, it shows us how easily things online can go wrong. It’s a good reminder that we should have backup plans for staying connected online, just in case something like this happens again.

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Christian family goes in hiding after being cleared of blasphemy

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Christian family goes in hiding after being cleared of blasphemy

LAHORE, Pakistan — A court in Pakistan granted bail to a Christian falsely charged with blasphemy, but he and his family have separated and gone into hiding amid threats to their lives, sources said.

Haroon Shahzad (right) with attorney Aneeqa Maria. | The Voice Society/Morning Star News

Haroon Shahzad, 45, was released from Sargodha District Jail on Nov. 15, said his attorney, Aneeqa Maria. Shahzad was charged with blasphemy on June 30 after posting Bible verses on Facebook that infuriated Muslims, causing dozens of Christian families in Chak 49 Shumaali, near Sargodha in Punjab Province, to flee their homes.

Lahore High Court Judge Ali Baqir Najfi granted bail on Nov. 6, but the decision and his release on Nov. 15 were not made public until now due to security fears for his life, Maria said.

Shahzad told Morning Star News by telephone from an undisclosed location that the false accusation has changed his family’s lives forever.

“My family has been on the run from the time I was implicated in this false charge and arrested by the police under mob pressure,” Shahzad told Morning Star News. “My eldest daughter had just started her second year in college, but it’s been more than four months now that she hasn’t been able to return to her institution. My other children are also unable to resume their education as my family is compelled to change their location after 15-20 days as a security precaution.”

Though he was not tortured during incarceration, he said, the pain of being away from his family and thinking about their well-being and safety gave him countless sleepless nights.

“All of this is due to the fact that the complainant, Imran Ladhar, has widely shared my photo on social media and declared me liable for death for alleged blasphemy,” he said in a choked voice. “As soon as Ladhar heard about my bail, he and his accomplices started gathering people in the village and incited them against me and my family. He’s trying his best to ensure that we are never able to go back to the village.”

Shahzad has met with his family only once since his release on bail, and they are unable to return to their village in the foreseeable future, he said.

“We are not together,” he told Morning Star News. “They are living at a relative’s house while I’m taking refuge elsewhere. I don’t know when this agonizing situation will come to an end.”

The Christian said the complainant, said to be a member of Islamist extremist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan and also allegedly connected with banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, filed the charge because of a grudge. Shahzad said he and his family had obtained valuable government land and allotted it for construction of a church building, and Ladhar and others had filed multiple cases against the allotment and lost all of them after a four-year legal battle.

“Another probable reason for Ladhar’s jealousy could be that we were financially better off than most Christian families of the village,” he said. “I was running a successful paint business in Sargodha city, but that too has shut down due to this case.”

Regarding the social media post, Shahzad said he had no intention of hurting Muslim sentiments by sharing the biblical verse on his Facebook page.

“I posted the verse a week before Eid Al Adha [Feast of the Sacrifice] but I had no idea that it would be used to target me and my family,” he said. “In fact, when I came to know that Ladhar was provoking the villagers against me, I deleted the post and decided to meet the village elders to explain my position.”

The village elders were already influenced by Ladhar and refused to listen to him, Shahzad said.

“I was left with no option but to flee the village when I heard that Ladhar was amassing a mob to attack me,” he said.

Shahzad pleaded with government authorities for justice, saying he should not be punished for sharing a verse from the Bible that in no way constituted blasphemy.

Similar to other cases

Shahzad’s attorney, Maria, told Morning Star News that events in Shahzad’s case were similar to other blasphemy cases filed against Christians.

“Defective investigation, mala fide on the part of the police and complainant, violent protests against the accused persons and threats to them and their families, forcing their displacement from their ancestral areas, have become hallmarks of all blasphemy allegations in Pakistan,” said Maria, head of The Voice Society, a Christian paralegal organization.

She said that the case filed against Shahzad was gross violation of Section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which states that police cannot register a case under the Section 295-A blasphemy statute against a private citizen without the approval of the provincial government or federal agencies.

Maria added that Shahzad and his family have continued to suffer even though there was no evidence of blasphemy.

“The social stigma attached with a blasphemy accusation will likely have a long-lasting impact on their lives, whereas his accuser, Imran Ladhar, would not have to face any consequence of his false accusation,” she said.

The judge who granted bail noted that Shahzad was charged with blasphemy under Section 295-A, which is a non-cognizable offense, and Section 298, which is bailable. The judge also noted that police had not submitted the forensic report of Shahzad’s cell phone and said evidence was required to prove that the social media was blasphemous, according to Maria.

Bail was set at 100,000 Pakistani rupees (US $350) and two personal sureties, and the judge ordered police to further investigate, she said.

Shahzad, a paint contractor, on June 29 posted on his Facebook page 1 Cor. 10:18-21 regarding food sacrificed to idols, as Muslims were beginning the four-day festival of Eid al-Adha, which involves slaughtering an animal and sharing the meat.

A Muslim villager took a screenshot of the post, sent it to local social media groups and accused Shahzad of likening Muslims to pagans and disrespecting the Abrahamic tradition of animal sacrifice.

Though Shahzad made no comment in the post, inflammatory or otherwise, the situation became tense after Friday prayers when announcements were made from mosque loudspeakers telling people to gather for a protest, family sources previously told Morning Star News.

Fearing violence as mobs grew in the village, most Christian families fled their homes, leaving everything behind.

In a bid to restore order, the police registered a case against Shahzad under Sections 295-A and 298. Section 295-A relates to “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs” and is punishable with imprisonment of up to 10 years and fine, or both. Section 298 prescribes up to one year in prison and a fine, or both, for hurting religious sentiments.

Pakistan ranked seventh on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of the most difficult places to be a Christian, up from eighth the previous year.

Morning Star News is the only independent news service focusing exclusively on the persecution of Christians. The nonprofit’s mission is to provide complete, reliable, even-handed news in order to empower those in the free world to help persecuted Christians, and to encourage persecuted Christians by informing them that they are not alone in their suffering.

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Individual + Team Stats: Hornets vs. Timberwolves

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CHARLOTTE HORNETS MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES You can follow us for future coverage by liking us on Facebook & following us on X: Facebook – All Hornets X – …

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