Can you listen to the radio and watch TV while surfing the net reading a paper? Media junkie Hillary Bray likes to try.

Great to see the 7:30 Report maintaining the fearless independence that characterises the ABC’s news and current affairs reporting.

Take their coverage of the New South Wales Coroner’s inquest into the disappearance of Kerry Whelan and Dorothy Davis and Bruce Burrell, the man charged with Mrs Whelan’s kidnap and murder charges dropped after much of the evidence was ruled inadmissible in court

The 7:30 Report used the Telegraph’s court reporter, Cindy Wockner, as an independent commentator on the matter even though her hubby is a New South Wales copper.

Gagged, bound, suppressed they’re yours

When we talk about “press”, as in Melbourne Press Club, we presume we are talking about “acting upon with weight or force”, “to force in a certain direction or into a certain position”, “to weigh heavily upon”, “to oppress or trouble”, “to put to straits”, “to constrain or compel” etcetera and not “press” as in media.

That’s the only explanation of why a “press” club would elect two lawyers to its committee while their firm is pursuing legal action against three journalists in Sydney legal action that could result in the journalists’ imprisonment for contempt if they choose not to break their very own organisation’s code of conduct.

Coincidence?

A number of expensive remakes and relaunches have failed to arrest the decline in the Bulletin’s circulation, so it wasn’t surprising to see the mag being advertised during the Sunday program. It was surprising, however, to when Sunday launched straight afterwards into a detailed story on Mark Latham and his comments in, er, the Bulletin.

Musical editors

When you dominate an industry in the way Rupe dominates newspapers in Australia, one change of editor can cause a great deal of shuffling as happened when the Australian’s editor-in-chief, David Armstrong, stepped aside to focus on a mysterious special project for News Ltd.

Courier Mail editor, Chris Mitchell, forgiven for his Manning Clark Order of Lenin fiasco was resurrected the new editor-in-chief of The Australian, coming over the top of editor Michael Stutchbury.

David Fagan, the deputy editor of The Weekend Australian, took over from Mitchell in Queensland but what of his wife, Madonna King, the deputy editor of The Daily Telegraph. Has she been left standing when the music stopped? Word is she’s waiting to see.

Tabloid TV

May 29: Mike Munro complains to the Daily Telegraph about Today Tonight pinching A Current Affair promos to take the edge of the stories they’re doing.

June 2-4: Today Tonight runs promos for a hospital waiting lists story, complete with hidden camera footage taken inside emergency waiting rooms around the country.

June 22-24: A Current Affair ditto ditto ditto

Scud-buster

Crickee might be full of typos but the Australian’s effort “Skud lands in fourth round” can’t pass unmentioned. An odd headline for a story reporting the Scud winning through to the third round.

Bruce’s baby

Contacts, contacts We were surprised to get this e-mail last week: “You might be interested to know that a little birdie told me that Bruce C. Wolpe is married to Lesley Russell who works for Simon Crean as an adviser on health and aged care issues.”

Ah well. It didn’t help Fred on the media laws.

Rupert and the Queensland deficit

News Corp’s share price has been up and down of late with some surprising consequences.

According to News’ annual report, the QIC holds some 70 million News Corp shares worth about $2 billion at the peak, but now down to around $600 million. And what did the Queensland Treasurer Terry Mackenroth blame the surprise deficit on in the recent state Budget? Poor QIC investments. Thanks for the deficit Rupert.

Cogitate, don’t litigate

Yes, the upmarket Guess Who, Don’t Sue, is back: Which Sydney hack was given the flick recently for a scam involving cab charges and a friend in the taxi game? Word is that this enterprising hack was claiming Cabcharges home, but would drive and passed the unused Cabcharges on to the buddy in the cab caper. Buddy would redeem the cab charge, split the $100 non-existent fare with the hack and both did rather handsomely out of it until hack got a little careless and was caught out.

Bargain

Media monitor Rehame is for sale. We’d love to know what they’re factoring in under “goodwill”. Shame that no buyers emerged from a recent European roadshow.

Apology of the week

Red faces at the Age after it was forced to apologise to David Feeney, the vanquished former Victorian Labor state secretary, after publishing a false death notice under his name on Friday saying he would be missed by his “stacks” of friends.

Still, it means we’ll all have to stop alleging links between advertising and editorial content.

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

Peter Fray

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