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May 17, 2012

Simons v Oz ... jail for C-Mail journos? ...

In today's Media Briefs: ACMA squibs while Austereo squirms ... Simons: Oz revelations 'unremarkable' ... Front Page of the Day ... Journalists may face prison for identifying family and more ...

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Simons: Oz revelations ‘unremarkable’. A few weeks ago, we at the Centre For Advanced Journalism were advised that a freedom of information request had been received by the federal government’s independent media inquiry, seeking documents to do with the appointment of staff and researchers to assist Ray Finkelstein QC. A few pieces of email correspondence between me and the inquiry secretariat were caught up in that request, and I was consulted about whether I objected to their release. I had no objection, other than to a small item of information about a commitment  I had on the day of my dealings with the secretariat. So the correspondence was duly released, with my consent.

It emerges that the person behind the request was The Australian’s Christian Kerr. Yesterday, The Australian ran a story about correspondence from the minister’s office regarding the appointment of professor Matthew Ricketson to assist Finkelstein. Ricketson has posted all the details of his dealings with Conroy’s office, and his full reply to Kerr’s questions on his Facebook page. It’s a non-story, so far as I can see. The headline perhaps should have read “Media Journalist Known to Minister”. Well, shock horror.

Yesterday evening I took a call from The Australian about the fact that I had had a role in finding research assistance for the inquiry. The resulting story is in the paper today — front page news, would you believe.

It’s another non-story, but in the interests of total transparency, the complete email correspondence (without the small detail regarding my appointment, and the name of a researcher who does not wish to be identified) is published here … — Margaret Simons (read the full story here)

Thomson just wants the truth told. The Sydney Morning Herald splashed with a front-page story this morning by investigative journo Kate McClymont, revealing that embattled former Labor MP Craig Thomson has declined Victoria Police’s offer to nominate those he claimed has set him up. Thomson — who will face parliament next Monday to finally speak about the Fair Work Australia investigation and its allegations — took his Twitter account to complain that McClymont had not gone to him for comment.

A multi-Walkley winning journalist, McClymont immediately offered Thomson the chance to correct the record regarding the Fairfax defamation case which Thomson chose to drop.

News Limited’s Samantha Maiden weighed in:

And McClymont offered one reason of why she may not have pursued the MP for comment:

But that wasn’t enough to satisfy Thomson, who is a big fan of proper procedure and ethics:

Last word to McClymont:

Dick’s fake PR to attack News Ltd. We don’t normally run press releases, but this surprising (and poorly formatted) release from News Limited CEO Kim Williams — via entrepreneur Dick Smith — is worth publishing in full:

In a surprise announcement, Rupert Murdoch has announced that The Australian newspaper will be re-branded to the more accurate, “The American”.

Kim Williams, Chief Executive of the Murdoch press in Australia, said, “our market surveys have shown that many Australians believe that our national paper is actually Australian and reflects Australian values. Nothing could be further from the truth”.

“These simplistic, ultra-nationalistic positions stir an upsetting echo of Pauline Hanson”, Williams said.

“Our newspaper is American-owned and proud of it and exists entirely to send more profits from Australia to America”.

“Just as we were outraged when the American company, Kraft, re-branded ‘Vegemite’ as ‘Australia’ as a marketing gimmick, we have realised that our masthead could be described as rolled-gold baloney”, Williams stated.

Williams is also concerned about other serious problems regarding the name, “and deep down just how removed is it from the provocations of the Cronulla riots?” he said.

Williams said, “we have now realised that climbing even further onto this ‘patriotism’ bandwagon is the last resort of the commercial scoundrel”.

Just why the Murdoch press in Adelaide would not financially assist the desperate Gutilla boys as they were about to lose their home after their mother was killed in a road accident, Williams said, “we’re an American company. If we give away anything substantial at all — and I doubt this very much — it is to Americans. We don’t want to be accused of having a sinister overtone of strident nationalism if we give to Australians, so we never will”.

Senior journalist with The Australian, Dennis Shanahan, says, “I agree entirely with the new branding. This jingoism has to go”.

Soon to be Editor of the Daily Telegraph, David Salter, is also said to be a supporter of the new name for The Australian. Salter says, “we all know everything is better in America and we are indeed lucky to have our major newspaper network owned by an American. I kowtow to them every day!”.

For further information phone Kim Williams at The Australian American or if Mr Williams will not make himself available contact Dick Smith on 02-xxxx xxxx

Front page of the day. Today’s Guardian covers the unfolding European economic crisis:

Journalists may face prison for identifying family

“Journalists at The Courier-Mail face potential jail sentences after a Family Court judge accused the newspaper of deliberately identifying vulnerable children in ‘a clear prima facie breach of the law’.” — The Australian

‘First talent agency for bloggers’ launches

“Naked Communications PR manager Lorraine Murphy has left the agency to launch a talent agency for bloggers in what she claims is an Australian first.” — mUmBRELLA

Should journalists learn to code?

“This week’s debate in the software development community about whether everyone should learn to code shows that journalists aren’t the only ones who have religious wars.” — Poynter

Politician’s payments to Mexican journos were ‘sponsorship’

“I reported a couple of days ago about a Mexican presidential candidate having paid journalists for mentions on radio outlets. The radio station named as receiving money, Grupo Fórmula, has since explained that these payments — made by Enrique Peña Nieto — involved sponsorship and/or adverts.” — The Guardian

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