The Mandarin denies it intentionally copied rival’s logo

The MandarinPS News Tom Burton publisher of new online website The Mandarin, which is aimed at members of the public service, has rejected suggestions by rival PS News that the new Private Media venture copied their logo.

In a video hangout with Mumbrella yesterday, Burton was challenged by the group editor of his rival over what it claimed were similarities in the design of the two logos.

“It certainly wasn’t meant to be,” said Burton. “I don’t even know what the logo for Public Sector News is to be honest.”

“It was put together by a design agency and we went back and forwards on it a million times arguing about whether Tasmania should be part of Australia or Bass Strait should be recognised — should it be pink, should it be blue or should be angular.”

“The real issue there was trying to find something which gave a sense of what this is which is an Australian product.”

Burton, who said he was familiar with the commercial rival, argued that the propositions of the two outlets were somewhat different.

“I think Public Sector News is a good product it works well in the space and we’re here to compete with them,” he said. “However, they have a slightly different model it’s a more newsy model if you will.

“We are much more into the inside of the game — the administration side — how that all works and that’s our focus. as a proposition.”

(Logo question comes 26.00 minutes in)

The question arose from a comment posted in the Mumbrella comment thread from Frank Cassidy, group editor of PS News, who argued the similarities in the colour and design had to be more than coincidence.

“I hope the Mandarin isn’t planning on using the logo you have on this page,” wrote Cassidy. “If it’s not a rip-off of the 8-year-old PS News logo (see it’s an extraordinary coincidence.

“As you may be aware PS News is the long-established Public Service newspaper (with 113,000 subscribers nationwide) providing online news and information for public servants since 2005.

“While we welcome the new Mandarin magazine and wish it well, nicking someone else’s logo idea and colour scheme so they look like they’re part of us, is a bit average.”

Further comment is now being sought from PS News.

Private Media announced it was launching the new online publication, earlier this year taking aim at the hundreds of thousands of public servants working around Australia.

It is edited by former Crikey editor Jason Whittaker who today said the publication will have a B2B focus.

“It will look like a lot of other (Private Media) publications and not at all like our other publications,” said Whittaker. “From an editorial perspective its a B2B publication for public servants. Its a professional publication if anyone from outside the public service has cause to read it then fantastic but we’re not in it from a general interest model we’re very much in it as a B2B type model for senior public servants in the state and commonwealth governments.”

Burton said The Mandarin would be funded by subscription, traditional advertising and also sponsored content.

“There’s the traditional advertising but it’s an interesting audience. There are more than one million public servants at the state and federal level and then they gate keep four to five hundred billion dollars of the economy,” said Burton.

“There are a lot of people who want to engage senior public servants. So if we can get the editorial right and get them reading and interacting with the site then we have two models there to read the content and to engage with us.

“We know there is a very large Government Affairs industry that seeks to engage with public servants and we are saying bring your content in — a lot of them have interesting materials — around certain issues and are keen to present them to government.”

Asked about the potential for conflict of interest and transparency the publisher said they would clearly label content which was paid for.

“We are then forming commercial relationships to make that happen. It’s certainly an issue but Private Media comes with a very strong independent editorial streak.”

“Commercially we know we will be covering issues say around tax reform, so if you have materials around that… we will say bring your content. We will make it very transparent. It will be obvious that it is sponsored content but what we are trying to do is bring it into a unified environment.”

Nic Christensen

Update July 24: Group editor of PS News Frank Cassidy told Mumbrella, this morning, they would be discussing their concerns about The Mandarin’s colour scheme with Private Media.

“Our full intention is to at least raise it with them,” said Cassidy. “The main problem is that it is the exact same colour scheme and I’d be interested to know why they chose those colours.”

“If they were trying to get to government I would have thought they would have gone for green and gold or green and white which is the public service colour.”

“The reason we picked those three colours, 8 years ago, is that they were my primary school colours and I thought they were really attractive. I would be interested in why they chose the exact same colours.”


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