We sent this email to Herald Sun editor-in-chief Peter Blunden earlier this week:

Peter, do you have a policy of requiring your journalists to disclose
to you any third parties that are paying them – whether for speaking
fees or for other reasons?

Regards, Stephen Mayne


We were pleased to receive the following reply yesterday afternoon:

Thanks Stephen.

Yes,
I recently carried out an “audit” of all staff, asking them to inform
me in writing of any work for TV, radio, etc. I have to approve all
outside work. Some get paid, some don’t. And I’ve never accepted a cent
for any media or speaking engagement.

Regards, PB

CRIKEY: It might have taken eight years for Blunden to take action, but
at least the editor of Australia’s biggest-selling paper now appears to
be tracking who’s paying his journalists. We’ve still not heard back
from Andrew Bolt, so the lad is clearly squirming about our revelation
that he pocketed $3,000 from a recent speech to the Pharmacy Guild.

Meanwhile, this interesting missive arrived from a hotmailer about David Koch’s nice little earner on the speaker’s circuit:

I don’t know if he qualifies as a journalist, but Seven’s Sunrise
host David Koch is charging between $8,000 and $12,000 per appearance.
On average, he’s doing four to six a month which is making him nearly
half a million bucks a year extra. None of these commitments are
disclosed on the Sunrise or Seven websites. So quite possibly, he has
major conflicts of interest on some of the business interviews he does
for Seven (and other broadcasters) because some of those companies may
be using him as a guest speaker or MC. Nice work if you can get it.

CRIKEY:
This is a good point and Koch should be disclosing. At the very least
his executive producer Adam Boland and Seven’s news and current affairs
boss Peter Meakin should be informed of his outside earnings,
especially when there’s some spillover into what appears on Sunrise. We’ve emailed Koch this morning and will let you know his reply. Keep the speaker fees tips coming to [email protected]

Peter Fray

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