December 15, 2014 Last Updated 9:49 am

In U.S., Europe, social media starts the reporting on Sydney cafe hostage stand-off

Morning Brief: Sony writes to The New York Times, other news outlets, demanding stolen emails be deleted; Aquafadas issues update to viewer app

Eearly Monday morning a gunman entered a Sydney café and took an unknown number of hostages. So began the news week, despite much of the world’s media being unprepared to begin reporting.

SMH-fron-featureThe Lindt Chocolate Cafe was quickly surrounded and speculation began as to the gunman’s motives. A black flag with Arabic writing appeared briefly, and reports said the gunman who a black shirt and headband with writing on.

Hours after the stand-off began several of the hostages were seen running from the building to safety.

The lack of facts concerning the motivations of the gunman did not stop The Daily Telegraph, a Rupert Murdoch tabloid, from quickly calling the incident the work of a “death cult” on the front page of a quickly published special edition. The Sydney Morning Herald, a Fairfax Media paper, also rushed out a special edition, though its front page was adorned with a poignant photograph of one of the escaping hostages.

Because of the timing of the incident, early morning in Australia, European and American media outlets were unprepared for the news. But social media immediately began to inform readers. Many reporters and media observers quickly began tweeting reports from local Australian media.

Andy Carvin, who will be leading the new First Look Media news venture Reported.ly, immediately took to Twitter to begin reporting what others were saying – though his tweets ended late last night. One expects that with staff spread across the globe one can imagine that a story such as this could be covered on a 24-hour basis in this manner.

Update: at just a little past 2 in the morning, Sydney time, the siege was ended. Reports say several hostages may have ben injured and the hostage taker identified as Man Haron Monis, 50. Monis had previously run ins with the police and was a frequent critic of the Australian government on social media for its involvement in Afghanistan. He is reported to have been sending letters to the families of those soldiers killed in Afghanistan. The Sydney Morning Herald has been maintaining a live blog on its website.


Sony Pictures has sent a letter to several news outlets demanding that they stop reporting on the hacked emails of the company. The hack, widely suspected to have been executed by the North Koreans, has greatly embarrassed Sony executives, and provided the NYT and other outlets with plenty of editorial copy.

That the hack occurred against a corporation, rather than the U.S. government, and that material was mostly gossip material rather than state secrets, seems to have freed up U.S. news outlets to report the material. Fox News, which lambasted the reporting on the Snowden leaks, had no problem reporting the Sony emails.

David Boies, a lawyer representing Sony, wrote news outlets stating that Sony “does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading or making any use,” the NYT reported. Sony is demanding that the stolen emails be deleted by the news organizations.


The number of media app updates has slowed considerably as we approach the holidays. Many newspapers and magazines needed to issue multiple updates in order to work out bugs to their apps following the release of iOS 8 by Apple.

One of the few of interest to publishers was an update from Aquafadas for its Viewer for iOS app. The app is used to preview digital editions produced using the Aquafadas digital publishing platform.

What’s New in Version 3.4.7

  • Updated localisation.
  •  Added handler for “Go to web” action from a sublayout in a pdf document.
  • Improved behaviour of popovers.
  • Fixed preview reading of Reflow zave files.
  • Fixed collision action in maze collider.

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