When Channel Seven Sunrise host
David Koch jumped into the ambulance carrying Todd Russell as it left
Beaconsfield Mine this morning, his move sent a chill through the large
Nine Network contingent at the mine.

It appears that before he
came out of the mine, Russell asked if he could meet Koch as soon as he
could. The miner shouted out and waved Kochie over to the ambulance –
Seven sources say that’s all there is to the story. But such is the
paranoia and intensity of competition between Nine and Seven – and all
other media – that this was seen as significant.

So what are the miners worth as a story?

Remember
there are three miners and their families involved and from reports,
the two survivors, Todd Russell and Brant Webb, won’t do anything
without a deal being done with the relatives of Larry Knight. Celebrity
agent, Max Markson reckons the story is worth half a million each to
the two survivors: if that’s the case, the figure might have to rise.

There
was a joke going around on the weekend that there had been a
breakthrough in the rescue attempt – Harry M Miller had tunnelled
through from the other side to secure their signature on contracts.

If
Markson is right then the $250,000 fees mentioned as being on offer
from Nine late last week, have doubled. There were also suggestions
that Seven Network had offered half a million dollars.

The executive producer of Seven’s Today Tonight,
Neil Mooney, is on record as saying that he doesn’t like paying for
stories, but in this case Seven and Nine could use the magazine route:
Nine could use Woman’s Day from the ACP arm of PBL to make the offer and Seven would use New Idea from its Pacific Magazines stable.

Nine and ACP could also spread the story across Australian Women’s Weekly. Nine would use it to promote A Current Affair and the News in their increasingly desperate battle with Seven, while Seven would use it on Today Tonight ands its News.

Nine’s 60 Minutes and A Current Affair
paid money for exclusive arrangements with the family of Schapelle
Corby and for some of those in the Bali Nine group of convicted drug
runners. Those payments were for “travel and legal costs” to avoid
suggestions that someone convicted of a crime might benefit by
receiving a payment from a media group: something that is now seen as
bad publicity and banned in some states by law.

Seven paid
$100,000 to a Sydney security guard who had allegedly shot a man during
an attempted robbery. That money was frozen, even though Seven and the
guard claimed it was for legal costs.

Nine, through 60 Minutes
paid an estimated $200,000 in early 2005 for an exclusive interview
with Mamdouh Habib, who was freed after being held as a terrorist
suspect in Guantanamo Bay.

And Ten reportedly paid a six figure sum (believed to be $250,000 or more) for an interview with Douglas Wood.

But none of those stories had all the elements of this one. So prepare for a lot of noughts.