The Nine Network is sacking another 100 people, mostly in news and
current affairs and adding a new head of News and Current Affairs for
good measure. It’s the third round of cuts in the past 12 months and
will take the total job losses since June last year to over 260.

In a
major surprise, Garry Linnell, currently editor-in-chief of The Bulletin, will become head of News and
Current Affairs, a dramatic upgrading of his role. Mark
Llewellyn, the current News and Current Affairs Director, is becoming Executive
Producer of News and Current Affairs, effectively adding another layer of
management and cost.

Nine’s
CEO explained the moves in this statement
today:

Nine Network CEO Eddie McGuire
today appointed Bulletin Editor Garry Linnell as Head
of News and Current Affairs to lead the development of a new, cutting edge
blueprint for news and current affairs broadcasting in
Australia.

“Around the world, the way news
is gathered and presented is changing rapidly, and I want Nine to lead the
evolution in this country,” Mr McGuire
said. “Internet and mobile technology
is changing the way people communicate and this means we have to adapt the way
we deliver news and current affairs. Our
emphasis will be on increasing live elements, discussion, commentary, and
breaking news.

“We
regard Garry Linnell as one of the best news people in
Australia, and he is the right person
to lead, innovate and invigorate our news and current affairs
programming.”

Linnell is a savvy operator, but fancy
picking a magazine and
newspaper editor to innovate in the age of the
internet and digital TV. It
sounds like Nine will be dramatically scaling down or axing shows
like Today, Business Sunday, Sunday and the 4.30pm news. All are made in Sydney.

Linnell’s move follows the decision
by ACP deputy CEO, David Gardiner, to leave in July. Both
moves follow the appointment of a new CEO at ACP in Ian Law from West Australian Newspapers.

Which leaves one question on everyone’s lips: is Law about to close ACP’s 125-year-old flagship magazine, The Bulletin, in the face of continuing losses and modest circulation? Or is it about to be relaunched as an online-only mag?