The media has gone into great detail on the actions and words which
led to David Hookes’ untimely death, but question are being raised
about just how much the media should reveal.


Sealed January 28

There’s no stopping 3AW Drive presenter Derryn Hinch. The man who
announced the imminent death of David Hookes before it happened last
Monday has now just revealed on his website that Hookes had split with
his wife Robyn last year and taken up with another woman.

Check it out here.

The key quotes are as follows:

“David Hookes’s wife, Robyn, took no part in the official ceremony. In
fact she sat in the grandstand. This is delicate but, I have said many
times before about a lot of people, that all history owes the dead is
the truth. And the truth is that Hookes and his wife separated last
year. That has not been made public. There is another woman, whom I
have talked to off-air, who is grieving for a loved one right now. And
I need say no more.”

It will be interesting to see if he goes further on air this afternoon
and whether Hookes on-air partner Gerard Healy buys into the issue on
3AW’s Sports Today this evening.

Crikey hears that Hookes had decided to leave his wife for his new love only days before his death.

The media need to be very careful not to be seen to be protecting one
of their own. If Hookes had split with his second wife (yes, the
existence of a first wife has also been missing from reports) and taken
up with another woman who was present on the evening of the assault
then this should have been reported.

The closest we got were these lines in the Phil Cornford piece in the SMH last Saturday:

“Or was it, as one independent eyewitness and several of Hookes’s
companions have claimed, a king hit ‘from out of nowhere’ which
flattened Hookes as he was getting into his car, driven by a blonde
woman about whom his friends have been silent?”

“The report said Micevic walked away, returned five minutes later and,
getting the same response from Hookes, put an arm around his waist and
directed him to the door. Hookes resisted, another crowd controller
came to Micevic’s aid and Hookes’s companions, including the women,
intervened to separate them.”

“Robilotta gives a contrary account. He says that a blonde woman got
into Hookes’s pale blue Ford Escape four-wheel drive and drove it into
the middle of the street. He saw a man he later identified as Hookes
walk to the car. Lapthorne saw the car and the woman driver and heard a
woman calling: “Get in the car. We’re leaving.”

Read the full Cornford piece here: “A split second in St Kilda”

It will be interesting to see if the blokey culture of cricket and
sports media gets debated once the dust has settled on this story.

For instance, a female subscriber and cricket follower writes:

“Did anyone notice the guard of honour at the Adelaide Oval yesterday
was a 200 metre line of international, state and local club cricketers.
All men of course.

If Hookes had decided to start a new life with another woman, maybe she
should have been in Adelaide for the public funeral amongst all those

Presumably Hookes’ first wife Roxanne Hewitt was also not at the Adelaide Oval yesterday.

The February issue of Women’s Weekly has just hit the streets with
Simone Warne giving the exclusive “why I stayed with Shane” interview.

It’s unlikely that the Packer-owned 60 Minutes and Women’s Weekly
package will be offered to Robyn Hookes, lest we tarnish the image of
the larrikin cricketer.

In time, somebody will do the story. Until then, be satisfied with the
sanitised male oriented “always loved a beer” stories that ring true
for the audience.

In the meantime, share some sympathy for the wounded women who play second fiddle to the lives of international cricketers.”

Sealed January 27

Under the gaze of the Channel Nine cameras and accompanied by the
sombre commentary of Eddie McGuire and Neil Mitchell, David Hookes’s
hearse rolled onto the Adelaide Oval.

While not all the oval’s stands were full, the audience was packed with
cricketers, both old and new, sports stars, celebrities, media
identities and politicians.

Both the South Australian and Victorian premiers, Mike Rann and Steve
Bracks, and their sporting governors, John Landy and Marjorie Jackson,
were in attendance.

The Channel Nine cameras singled out Shane Warne in the stands, sitting
next to his wife, plus Merv Hughes, Gerard Healey, Dean Jones and

Other high profile guests included Russell Crowe, Anthony Mundine,
Garry Sweet, Port Power coach Mark Williams and 2GB shock-jock Alan
Jones, who gave a moving tribute on The Today Show this morning which
Eddie McGuire made special mention of.

It’s not up on the website yet, but check out as The
Parrot was on the issue for Channel Nine last Tuesday, Wednesday and

Today’s funeral was very much a Packer-backed affair and you do get a
sense of the trademark Packer loyalty to all those cricketers who stuck
it up the establishment in 1977 and joined his World Series Cricket
which now delivers about $50 million a year in advertising for Channel

The support from the Parrot, the ultimate Packer foot-soldier, and the
broadcast of the funeral for 1 hour and 45 minutes on Channel Nine
today says it all.

In what was a made for television funeral, the mourners at the Adelaide
Oval listened to the Robbie Williams song “Angels” whilst the
television audience saw a montage of images from Hookes’s life, from
the early cricketing days to family snaps and his media career.

Ian Chappell, the ringleader of World Series Cricket from a player’s
perspective, spoke at the funeral and told the funniest anecdote. When
Andy Roberts broke the Hookes jaw in 1978, rather than wait for the
ambulance, Kerry Packer threw him in the back of the Jag and drove
dangerously to St Vincents on the wrong side of the road and through
red lights, telling Hookes the dangerous driving was to take his mind
off his broken jaw.

Hookes’s stepbrother Terry Crange, who was 13 years older than David,
was the first of a number of speakers to address the crowd, recounting
childhood memories of the young David.

Hookes’s stepchildren Caprice and Kristofer Gellman also gave eulogies, with Caprice describing David as her “rock”.

Others who spoke included Hookes’s friend and former manager, Robert
Zadow, South Australian cricket coach, Wayne Philips and Leonie Zadow
(Robert’s wife).

Whilst a cynic might argue it was all a little over the top, the
overall impression in the bunker was that the service was put together
well and the speeches didn’t over-embellish the man or his achievements.

Second Sealed January 23

Fox Sports finally got around to placing a death notice for Hookes
in today’s Herald Sun but someone really should have fixed the
programming schedule.

At around 11.30pm on Fox Sports 1 last night, a schedule of the Friday
night viewing came up with the following voice over: “and at 6pm its
Inside Cricket hosted live by David Hookes”.

And this at the exact same time the Nine tribute special was running.
Poor form indeed from the Murdoch managed operation which is promising
the world with its new digital offering.

3AW had Hookes “broadcasting live” when he was dead on Monday night but
at least they now have Gerard Healy’s emotional tribute to his on-air
colleague on the home page:

Meanwhile, an Adelaide subscriber has this to say about the Hookes funeral next Tuesday:

“It seems like we have another case of Eddie Everywhere given that it
has just been announced that ‘Eddie McGuire and Neil Mitchell will host
Nine’s broadcast of the service from the Adelaide Oval.’

Surely we could take a moment and let Adelaide conduct their own
funerals. South Australia has heaps of great people that could have
done the same as Eddie and this Neil bloke who hardly anyone knows in
South Australia.”

CRIKEY: There is a lot of public interest in the Hookes tragedy so it
us understandable that it is being broadcast and Eddie is Nine’s number
one host who also knew Hookes. Similarly, Mitchell worked with Hookes
at 3AW for nine years although eyebrows will be raised at Seven about
this appearance on Nine given his latest contract with Seven was only
inked in November.

Sealed January 23

Q. How many pages has the Herald Sun devoted to the David Hookes story this week?

A. 28.

You have to wonder if they’d give World War III that much. Then again
the death of AFL legend Ted Whitten produced a week of consecutive
splashes almost 10 years back.

Meanwhile, it was ironic that The Age journalist who revealed the
Micevic street address, Jamie Berry, had today’s front page story which
in the third paragraph talked about death threats and hate mail.

Gee, how did that happen Jamie?

A senior journalist has pointed out that revealing the address of defendants is standard practice in media circles:

“It’s standard practice at most media outlets to include the name, age,
street name and suburb of people accused of serious crimes. It has been
for years. It prevents them being confused with people with similar
names who are not accused of crimes. It’s a bit unfair to single Jamie
Berry out for criticism as other outlets, including AAP, did it too.”

This may be true as a general rule but surely the media knew this case
was different and revealing Micevic’s address would lead to death
threats. This was especially so given the extremely biased and
prejudicial coverage from the media which provided one-sided and
inaccurate reports which no doubt inspired some nutters to make death

Meanwhile, reporting on the Sunday night incident has all dried up now
that the manslaughter charge has been laid. We still haven’t heard back
from the heavyweights at The Australian about their major stuff-up
yesterday in continuing to publish a detailed account of the fight on
its website AFTER the manslaughter charges were laid. It wasn’t removed
until well into yesterday afternoon after the Crikey sealed section
pointed this out.

There were another 25 death notices for Hookes in today’s Herald Sun
bringing the total for the past three days to 125. The Hookes family
led today’s tributes and his employers at Fox Sports finally appeared
as well. There were plenty of logos on display once again, sparking
this complaint from a subscriber:

“Dear Crikey,

Is it just me or is anyone else angered by the blatant branding
exercises that seem to accompany Hookes’ death notices in the paper.

Sure corporate and sporting organisations can submit their notices to
show their respects to Hookes and his family and certainly they can
sign them off as coming from their organisation. But to top and tail
them with their corporate logos I think is beyond the pale and is just
plain bad taste advertising.



Sealed section January 21

Media goes right over the top over Hookes

Day three of the tragic David Hookes story and the media is now really going way over the top.

The second paragraph of The Australian’s splash today talked of a
“savage bashing”. Doesn’t that imply multiple kicks to the head when
Hookes was lying on the road? It was one punch. Earlier reports of a
“king hit” also now appear wrong as Hookes was punched in the face and
then fell backwards.

Hookes did not die from head injuries as the autopsy is likely to
confirm that he died from a heart attack. That is why police haven’t
laid any more serious charges yet. Can you believe a reader claims the
Baggy Green website carried the word “murder” at one point on Monday,
though we can’t confirm it?

The silliest media comment yesterday goes to John Laws who said words
to the effect that “it’s not safe for a famous person to walk down the
street anymore”. This comment was played in promos on 2UE for much of
the day.

It’s a stupid comment because there is no evidence that Hookes’ fame
had anything at all to do with the assault. If Micevic knew who Hookes
was it probably wouldn’t have happened. As a keen boxer he probably
wouldn’t have punched a boxing hero like Jeff Fenech.

Almost as silly on 2UE was Steve Price campaigning for Hookes to be
named Australian of the Year after a suggestion from a listener.

Afterall, it was Price who hired Hookes at 3AW and the two were mates.
By all means mourn a mate but don’t use your media power and influence
to put him up for Australian of the Year when he was a humble
broadcaster doing some cricket coaching on the side.

A subscriber describes Hookes as follows:

“Look, Hookes was a good player and a major media figure, probably did
his bit for charity and seems an all round good bloke but can the media
please contain themselves when dealing with one of their own.”

With a modest average of just 34.36 in 23 tests, he was neither a
“legend” or a “champion” as the tabloid press keep telling us. The
Guardian got it right in the UK with the headline: “Australia mourns
gifted Hookes”.

He burst onto the cricket scene with those memorable five consecutive
fours off Tony Greig in the Centenary Test but then didn’t quite live
up to the potential in test cricket, although his record in one day
internationals was better and certainly served South Australia well.
However, it is on the test arena that champions are made.

Check out Hooke’s full cricketing profile here.

Finally, there was a very strong reaction against the spindoctor
featured in yesterday’s sealed section so we’ve published some of the
abuse and a response from the spinner here.

The Age crosses the line revealing address

We were wrong to describe The Age’s coverage as “measured” yesterday
because they printed the name of Micevic’s St Albans street, which
meant any vigilantes could track him down in the whitepages, and car
registration number in yesterday’s paper. The email address of the
journalist concerned, Jamie Berry, is [email protected] if you’d like to “counsel” the lad.

Crikey was even getting grief from journalists for the following line in Monday’s edition:

“Micevic might want to clear out of his St Albans home pretty quickly
as there will be plenty of angry sports fans looking for a bit of
street justice. There are four listings for Micevic in St Albans but
none of them are Z.”

One journalist wrote:

“I know your audience is supposed to be well-educated, but I
interpreted it as almost an incitement to lynch this bloke. Especially
by pointing out you’d gone to the phone book looking for this guy.
Guess trial by media is inevitable nowadays and “innocent until proven
guilty” is unfashionable but reckon paragraphs like those downgrade
your news service.”

The Beaconsfield Hotel in St Kilda has already had bricks through the
window last night and we agree that the media should not identify the
Micevic family home in St Albans as they’ll now probably cop some
unwanted attention once the press pack has cleared off.

The Herald Sun hasn’t been as irresponsible in revealing the address
but they have certainly gone over the top in its coverage, cashing in
on the extra sales that come with excessive jingoism in these

The paper splashed today with the story that Hookes has donated his organs – “Champion’s gift of life”

The news coverage also covered pages 3,4,5 and 7, including more
information about Micevic’s previous charges and his background in
boxing. Reader’s tributes filled another double spread across pages 26
and 27.

The back page was a nice Hookesy/Australian Open cross-over, with a
tearful Andre Agassi declaring he will honour a request from Hookes to
speak to the Victorian cricket team.  This emotional display, from
a man who had never met Hookes or played cricket, illustrates the
effect this tragedy has had on the entire sporting community.

Seven the worst of the tabloid TV twins

There were 52 death notices for Hookes in today’s Herald Sun and nine
in The Age (see next item), but it was Channel Seven’s notice which was
easily the biggest in both papers.

Seven has also pushed the envelope the most in terms of coverage that
could prejudice Micevic’s trial if police do indeed lay a more serious
charge than common assault.

It was Seven which first revealed the earlier assault charge on Monday
night (and has anyone asked why it took 12-months for the charge to be
laid late last year resulting from an incident in December 2002?)

Today Tonight and A Current Affair both opened their programs with an
uninterrupted 13-minute deluge on the Hookes story last night. TT was
out there “revealing more about the past of the bouncer” and ACA gave
it to a spokesman for the hotels/security industry.

The irony was probably lost on ACA stand-in host Tracy Grimshaw that
her boss, Kerry Packer, is known to employ some of the toughest
bouncers in Melbourne at Crown casino to deal with the criminals and
thugs who love to congregate at the 24-hour gaming mecca.

A subscriber writes: “I have seen 3 or 4 occasions whilst working at
Crown where bouncers overreacted or “taught someone a lesson”.  I
thought that the role of a bouncer was to ensure the safety of all
patrons (including those they are ejecting from the premises).

Sealed Section January 20

The Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions has today warned media
outlets not to go too far in reporting details of the incident which
led to the violent death of David Hookes last night.

This is the text of Paul Coghlan’s press release:

“Paul Coghlan QC, Director of Public Prosecutions today expressed
concern about the publicity and conjecture surrounding the tragic death
of David Hookes.  All media outlets are reminded of their
responsibilities relating to the laws of contempt and to the principle
that persons charged with serious criminal offences are entitled to a
fair trial.  If there be any doubt about the matter, outlets
should seek independent legal advice. The Director, otherwise,
refrained from any comment on the case.

Tania Bolton
Associate to Director of Public Prosecutions”

The DPP seems to be jumping the gun at the moment as so far police have
only charged Micevic with a summary offence for common assault which is
nothing like the “serious criminal offences” referred to by the DPP.

This afternoon the story is at the stage where the media are ringing
the police every 15 minutes pushing for news on a manslaughter charge
but the police are holding the line and saying they’re still looking
into it.


The Broadcasters

Dwayne Russell filled in for Hookes on 3AW’s Sports Today program and
was joined by Terry Wallace. Hookes’ normal co-host Gerard Healy will
be back tonight although it was unfortunate the 3AW web site proclaimed
that both Hookes and Healy were “broadcasting live” for the duration of
last night’s program up until 8pm.

The story filled the first 5-6 minutes on both Seven and Nine, and
was the second item on the ABC’s PM program last night. Norm Beaman on
Seven News was the first to reveal the angle that Micevic had another
assault charge pending.

Today Tonight had an exclusive interview with St Kilda resident Joseph Robilotta, who
witnessed the incident and described the sound of Hookes’ head hitting
the ground in horrifying detail.

It was much better than ACA’s effort, which didn’t really add anything
to what we had seen on the news, as they interviewed Dean Jones, Allan
Border and Clark Forbes from 3AW. And during the live cross to the
hospital, reporter Elise Mooney didn’t really seem up to speed with the
latest developments.

ACA didn’t even lead with the story – it had the far more important
“exclusive” interview with the couple that  quit the new
series of Nine’s reality show The Block to run.

The 7.30 Report got it right last night by sticking with their prepared
story and then back-announcing at the end of it that Hookes’ family had
just announced his death. They then broadcast the footage of Hookes’
half-brother at the end of the program. Maxine McKew handled it well.

On the net

Thousands of cricket fans turned to the internet for the latest news on
Hookes’ condition but found many left confused by some News Ltd
websites, which were out of action due to a hardware failure. was still reporting Hookes’ was in a coma late last night,
hours after news of his death had been announced.

And plenty of rumours of what really happened outside the Beaconsfield
Hotel turned up message boards around the country.  This one
example from a Melbourne Demons fan website Demonology:

“Spoke to one of the guys in the state squad today who rang me after a team meeting this morning

There WASNT a fight in which he was involved.

in the night a patron who was blind was kicked out (someone who had
nothing to do with the VICS that were there.) Evidently the bouncers
instead of putting this bloke in a Taxi took him outside and bashed the
[censored] out of him.

At this stage Hooksey stepped in a told
them to stop and that they were as weak as p*ss for doing such stuff to
a bloke obviously unable to defend himself!!

Hooksey then
copped grief off the bouncers for the rest of the night – things such
as you will get something back etc etc…………

At close
time Hooksey and another Vic Player (Rob Cassell from Melbourne) went
to walk down the sidestreet from the Beaconsfield (Hooksey was not
drunk only had been drinking light beer) when beset upon by 5-8
bouncers when the 22 yr old Yugo who has been charged went Whoosska and
knocked him out cold – as soon as he hit the ground he had a MASSIVE
heart ATTACK and as reported was dead for 30 mins……….”

But today’s newspaper reports tell a different story.

The papers

Predictably the Herald Sun went over the top, splashing both the front
and back pages as well the first five pages in the main news section
and another four pages in the sports section filled with news reports
and tributes.

The detail of the incident reported by the Hun included
Darren Lehmann being in a headlock, derogatory comments made by the
bouncer to one of the players’ girlfriends and requests that they
“skol” their last drinks – “Celebration turns to tradegy”

And the eulogies flowed in from cricketing identities like Dean
Jones, Allan Border and the Chappells, as well as golfers including
Ernie Els who learned of the tragedy at a tournament in Hawaii.

The Age had more measured coverage; splashing the front page the headline “Cricket legend’s violent death”
and a double page spread across pages 4 and 5, which included a tribute
from sports columnist Greg Baum and a good attempt to decipher what
really happened from the differing eye-witness accounts.

The Age’s sports section was topped with a very personal eulogy from Test vice-captain Adam Gilchrist –
“David Hookes – cricket’s champion of free speech”

The Australian carried similiar coverage with a straight news report
splashing the front page and an item focusing on Ian Chappell’s
relationship with Hookes and the thoughts of other cricketers flowing over onto page 2 –
“Chappell fields a tragic phone call about mate”

News of Hookes’ death has also been picked up by the UK papers. The Guardian reports
Australia mourns the death of ‘gifted’ Hookes.

And a good summary of Hookes’ test and one-day cricket statistics can be found with his Elitesports CV.


Have the media gone to far? Read what the Crikey readership has to say here.

And let us know what you think at [email protected]