tip off

Media briefs: Ten’s bloody Mon … Baker’s quest … Domain cut …

Blood on the floor as Ten slices. Call it “bloody Monday”, or the most cynical set of sackings since Eddie McGuire and Jeff Browne wondered if they would “bone” newsreader Jessica Rowe from the Nine Network a few years ago. The Ten Network continues to wield the axe and cut its most successful ratings business, its news division, with three newsreaders sacked in Sydney and Perth late yesterday. That followed the axing of the Breakfast program on and the mid-morning news bulletin earlier in the day, and the hasty forced redundancy of Melbourne news reader Helen Kapalos on Friday night.

In fact, the campaign to rid itself of on-air and off-air talent has all the hallmarks of a cynical network management prepared to say anything to avoid telling the truth. On at least two occasions the network, through its spokespeople and management, made claims about a program (Breakfast) and at least one newsreader (Bill Woods in Sydney) that were shown to be lies by later decisions from management. And it raises questions around how serious the network’s commitment to TV journalism is.

Woods was dispensed with late yesterday, leaving professional survivor Sandra Sully as the sole host of the 5pm news in the country’s biggest media market. After flicking Kapalos from her Melbourne co-hosting role after Friday night’s bulletin, Ten spent all weekend denying Woods would go.

The axing of Breakfast and the morning news (with the departure of another veteran reader in Ron Wilson) was never announced publicly, only leaking when staff were informed. And it came 16 days after Ten told the world the show would return in 2013. That’s close to the fastest management rethink of the year. Was management lying on October 26 when they said Breakfast would return? — Glenn Dyer (read the full story here)

Mark Baker’s quest at The AgeLooks like the increasingly prolific Age editor-at-large Mark Baker has run into a spot of trouble with his series of articles on Julia Gillard’s involvement in a slush fund, while working at Slater & Gordon in the early 1990s. Baker tells us today a complaint has been lodged “against Fairfax newspapers and this journalist over reporting of the firm’s role in the Australian Workers Union ‘slush fund’ scandal”, but in admirable style, he’s gleaned information from the complaint and used it for the story.

Baker has held a senior role at The Age for some years (he’s also served as editor of The Canberra Times) but used to write rarely; all that’s changing with his Gillard series, plus this unusual but no doubt heartfelt op ed about perceived inadequacies in the Melbourne postal service. This left us wondering who wrote the headline “Mail menopause in post without haste” — perhaps not a fan of the story?

End of the Domain. Fairfax Media has announced the closure of its Sydney mini-Domain division, which publishes Domain Inner West, Domain East and Domain North & Beaches. The poor-yielding, but bulky mid-week regional supplements will have their last editions in mid-December. Domain East dates back to October 2004 and 2005 for the Inner West and North editions. Fairfax had previously advised advertisers Domain East, et al, coupled with Saturday Domain, maximised their readership reach.

In a strategic simultaneous decision the Saturday metropolitan Domain print supplements from both Sydney and Melbourne will also be included within The Australian Financial Review on Fridays from next year. By adding Saturday Domain to The AFR, Fairfax aims to capture the corporate market. It also suggests it will give “buyers a jump start on the weekend’s inspections”.  — Jonathan Chancellor (read the full story here)

Video of the day. Three cheers for US Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, who explains what a career is and inspires rugrats to aim high. As she says, “pretending to be a princess is fun, but it is definitely not a career”. Take that, Kim Kardashian!

Front page of the day. Barack Obama will make an historic visit to Burma next week, becoming the first sitting US president to visit. This local English-language weekly is a little excited …

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  • 1
    zut alors
    Posted Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Television executives rarely handle sackings of on-air presenters with finesse. Particularly if the about-to-be-jobless talent is female.

    Most TV executives are male, most of them are gutless.

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