Fake News’s Rise Reinvigorates Subscription Model Debate

 

Since inception subscription models for newspapers have been a hard sell for many. Sure, there’s the question of quality, of brand loyalty, and even incidental spending – a main masthead in the author’s hometown of Melbourne currently campaigns on subscription for just 50c (USD 38c) a day – but a tough question remains: Why would I buy access to news when I can get it for free?

In seeking to win subscriptions many newspapers now operate on a freemium model. From The Age in Melbourne all the way across the world to The New York Times, many newspapers now give readers a form of free access. This may be 1 article a day (reset every 24 hours), up to 30 articles a month (not reset daily but merely capped at 30), and beyond.

There are those who’ll happily pay for news, or incentivised by the promise of exclusive or bonus content. Yet when online news was free for so long, the idea of subsequently needing to pay for it is something many readers long found unpalatable. But the past year has changed this in a big way.

 

The Devil is in the Details

Tracing the exact origin of … Click to continue reading

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The Cross-Border Animal Crisis in Africa

 

2016 has illustrated there are many challenges facing the African continent as a whole, and African Union as a collective representation of the region. This has been seen in democratic deficits, civil conflicts, and larger questions of how to balance trade and defence relationships beyond Africa. Looming large among these problems is an issue often overlooked – but one that is now held to be at crisis point; the management and security of African wildlife.

To those yet to read of the severity of the situation it may at first seem tangential or peripheral to the more visible and overt problems facing the African region. Yet, it is also a reality that even those who would regard animal welfare as a middle order or secondary issue would need consider the wider dangers of leaving poaching unaddressed. As National Geographic reported in August 2015, the link between elephant ivory hunters and terror financing affirms both the need for disinterested parties to look once more at addressing animal welfare. Alongside offering a good avenue for security and political leaders to combat and campaign against terrorism.

As a West African Lion may roam through 100 square miles (259 Click to continue reading

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Africa’s Mining Future after the 2016 Mining Indaba

Africa’s Mining Future: Looking beyond the 2016 Mining Indaba in Cape Town

 

The 2016 Mining Indaba was held in South Africa amidst a crucial time for the African minerals industry, the African region, and the wider international economy. With the past ten years seeing a veritable resources boom being experienced across the continent, questions grow surrounding its future. While the African continent enjoys ample resources – holding approximately a third of the world’s mineral reserves  – the sector has been embattled by concerns over how best to manage the close links between African and resource hungry China, conditions for mining workers, as well as mining’s broader place in the economic forecasts of a number of African nations. To examine the current state of the sector, an overview of the Mining Indaba is first necessary.

 

Mining Indaba is now the world’s largest mining event

 

For their part, the Mining Indaba organisers spoke of a desire to achieve numerous aims.  “We are proud that Mining Indaba has been the platform providing the catalyst for expansion. After two decades, it is a benchmark of its kind, having become much larger and more significant than simply just an event”, said Click to continue reading

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The African Union and the European Union Part 2: Security

This is part 2 of Ed’s piece on the AU and EU. Part 1 can be found here 

The African continent faces a number of visible challenges within the security sphere. From sizeable but straightforward battles against narcotics dealing and piracy, to issues of immense complexity based on identity and sectarian conflict. Yet, among the 54 states that comprise the African region there are three issues the loom especially large, and of which the African Union (AU) can heed lessons learnt from the European Union (EU). Increased coordination on terror threats, a unified response to political instability, and the growing rivalry between the US and China.

The Terror Threat

Within the EU, revelations assailants in the November terrorist attacks in Paris were planning their attacks in Belgium illustrated traditional borders are no longer a failsafe of security given the capacity of terror groups to work both locally and across state lines. Though exact trends and faultlines differ region by region (and country by country), the international community is moving towards a greater globalisation and borderless world; and this poses risks for traditional state security.

Just as calls were heard across the EU following the Parisian attacks for the Click to continue reading

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The African Union and European Union: shared lessons but separate destinies Part I: Political process

 

The months and years ahead shall pose growing challenges for African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU). Though vast differences exist in geography, economy, and governance, there is much the AU can stand to learn from the EU – both in achievement and shortcomings – as it progresses into an uncertain future with it already certain 2016 and beyond shall pose some significant challenges to AU in its 15th year of existence since establishment in 2001.

 

Assessing the future of a nation – much less an entire continent – is always a task fraught with great peril. This is true of the future of the AU and EU. Yet, within their recent history clear trends can be seen which illustrate the EU is likely to face further threats to its structure due to political events, and it is conversely due to political events that the AU need grow its structure. To assess where the AU can learn from the older EU’s missteps, first an overview of Europe’s recent years are necessary.

 

Put simply, the European Union in recent times has battled through the lowest point in its 22 year history. First, the monetary crisis between Greece Click to continue reading

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What Economic Trouble in China Could Mean for Africa

 

Chinese investment on the African continent is huge. This in itself is not news. Further, China as a global economy is huge. By one measure in recent times, it has overtaken the United States as the world’s biggest economy. Yet, it is also a reality that Beijing began January 2016 by sending tremors of fear throughout regional and global stock markets, and so it need be considered what a continuation of this would mean for African nations. First, an overview of recent events is necessary.

Upheaval on the Chinese share market is not new. Foremost among the turmoil of recent times is perceived inexperience of new Chinese ‘mom and pop’ investors combined with the Chinese government’s need to maintain a positive economic outlook at all costs to ensure its ongoing legitimacy. Though investors may have traded before believing it a manageable risk Beijing could be artificially fabricating figures, the rate in which the economic slowdown in China has occurred – with this month’s figures showing annual growth the lowest in 25 years – has meant there is growing concern the risks of doing business in China right now outweigh the rewards.

Yet, it Click to continue reading

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The growing importance of Germany to Africa and the world

 

Recent years has seen ample discussion of the growing trade and economic relationship of China with numerous African nations. Accordingly, this has led to debate surrounding the USA’s ongoing status as a trade leader on the African continent; and how this may change with China’s rise. Yet, thus far there has been little in-depth coverage of the capacity for growth in trade and political links with African nations and Germany, and the EU more broadly. All signs show this will change fast.

Germany offers the African continent an array of advantages.  While ongoing challenges remain with Greece and the Euro, domestically Germany has enjoyed a long and sustained period of economic growth in recent years, and this has largely occurred alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel’s record ten-year tenure as Germany’s leader. Stability in a nation’s politics generally encourages confidence in its economics. Further, Eurozone crisis has shown Berlin’s leadership in maintaining a (relative) cohesion in the EU, and increasingly viewed as the de-facto leading nation of Europe.

Further, while much has rightfully been written of China’s growing presence across Africa, it is undoubted Beijing main priorities reside within Asia. This is evidenced by its territorial skirmishes in the South Click to continue reading

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