Maybe it’s the crap money but gone are the days where journalists were simply journalists working away for the one outlet.
Journalists who do media training is one area that we are going to focus on in the months ahead.
To start with, we hear that Nine’s man in Canberra Lawrie Wilson moonlights as a media trainer and even taught some federal health bureaucrats how to handle some curly questions. Surely not Lawrie.
And ABC TV’s newsreader in Sydney Richard Moorcroft is another prolific and well-paid trainer. He even trained some of those executives in the Ebay Australian joint venture with Kerry Packer.
Then you have journalists who double up with two or three outlets which is not a sin in its own right but reduces diversity of opinion out there. Outlets guard their exclusives very jealously but are increasingly allowing their talent to spread their stories around.
For instance, when Eddie McGuire has a footy scoop, does he break it on Nine’s Footy Show or on Triple M during game coverage or in his Saturday Herald Sun column. And there are times when he can’t break the scoop because he knos it from being an insider through being the President of Collingwood, shareholder in the dud Tipstars venture and provider of internet sites to clubs.
The Herald Sun’s Mike Sheahan also appears on Packer’s Sunday footy panels. The Age’s Caroline Wilson appears on Seven’s Talking Footy each Monday night. Both also have regular radio spots so they are triple dipping at some levels and saving the broadcasters from ferreting around and finding their own stories.
News Ltd’s Terry McCrann columnises 6 days a week for Murdoch then talks at the Packer camera on Business Sunday on the 7th day. He’s even shared between the Adelaide Advertiser, Courier Mail, Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and The Australian so newspaper consumers are not getting much diversity from Murdoch in their business commentary.
3AW’s Steve Price expresses strong opinions on radio for two hours a night and now gets a whole page to himself every Wednesday in the Herald Sun. Surely Melbourne already has a good dose of Steve’s strongly felt opinions. Steve was talking about his Herald Sun column on air this week so you’ve got to wonder if these deals are more about promoting the paper in another medium than providing diversity of opinion.
Laurie Oakes doubles up with Nine and The Bulletin but at least they are owned by the same bloke and the two outlets strive to cross-promote each other.
Aunty likes to think of itself as purer than the driven snow but one area where they’ve become more pragmatic these days involves on air presenters doing outside work.
Aunty’s drive time presenter in Melbourne Virginia Trioli is allowed to have a weekly column with Packer’s Bulletin magazine, even though Packer is currently suing Aunty with all he’s got in the NSW Supreme Court over a Four Corners program.
The same goes for Maxine McKew who writes up her long lunches for Packer’s Bulletin in between hosting various programs on Aunty.
Alan Kohler doubles as the 7.30 Report’s business and economics editor as well as being a Fin Review columnist and feature writer.
And Sally Loane has a column each week in the SMH – from whence she came – as well as her morning program on ABC Sydney.
Then you have people like Bruce Jacques from the Bulletin who is paid for daily business updates for 2UE.
The Bulletin seems to like this practice because their Asia correspondent Michael Maher also does work for Aunty.
And now The Bulletin has poached the Fin Review’s guru feature writer and analyst Ivor Ries who will write a column.
Crikey is no stranger to this issue because I’ve got a monthly column for the new magazine Ethical Investor and appear on four radio stations a week – ABC Brisbane, ABC Sydney, 3AK and RRR. But at least I’m independent of the Packer-Murdoch-Fairfax nexus which so dominates the media in Australia.
Media training is another subject altogether and this is a list of working journalists (some former) who have doubled up with some paid media training gigs at the same time:
Richard Carleton, Terry Willesee, Jill Singer, Ian McMinn, Peter Thompson, Michael Schildberger, Michael Roberts, Jock Rankin, Mike McManamara, Mary Delahunty, Adam Kilgour, Frank McGuire, Richard Moorcroft, Tracey Spicer, Steve Fenelly, Cheryl Taylor, Lawrie Wilson, Sharon Gydela, Nick Tabakoff.
We’re interested in building both the media training and two-hats list up so please send in some corrections and additions.