Fairfax I: Board doesn’t make editorial decisions: Kirk. Following last Thursday’s query from  The Age independence committee and The SMH ‘s Friends of Fairfax group asking why the 10,000-word Wendi Deng profile commissioned by the Good Weekend wasn’t published, the following emails were circulated on Friday:  

From: David Kirk
Sent: Friday, 4 May 2007 12:47 PM
To: Alan Oakley; Andrew Jaspan
Cc: Don Churchill; James Hooke

Dear Alan and Andrew,

With respect to recent correspondence and communications from some staff regarding Good Weekend :

This is, and has always been, a matter for the Editor of Good Weekend . Our editors make the editorial decisions, and we stand behind them and their integrity. Neither the CEO nor the Board makes or overrules editorial decisions.



Dear Andrew and Alan,

I am more than happy for you to let staff know that this was my decision and that it was based on editorial judgments. As always, those judgments are for me to make and I do not enter into public discussion about them.

All the best,


Judith Whelan
Good Weekend

Fairfax II: Holy Moses! Sunday Age preys on Crikey?

20 April, Crikey:


Illustration: Chong Weng Ho   6 May, The Sunday Age, page 15:


Illustration: Simon Rankin

Fairfax III: HIV = alcoholic effect: On Saturday, The Age — possibly mistaking itself for The Sunday Age — went on the rampage with its cover story : “Alcohol time bomb set to explode”. Alcohol use is a very serious issue and worthy of attention. But one inclusion in The Age ‘s informative illustration, “Alcohol’s effects on the human body”, caught our eye: HIV. As far as we could see, none of the articles discussed how HIV was an alcoholic effect, though “having unprotected sex” was listed as one of the “short-term harms” of alcohol defined at the bottom of the page. But if HIV is worthy of a mention as an indirect effect of alcohol abuse, surely embarrassment, regret and unfortunate incidents involving nudity and fire hydrants should also get a look-in. We note that the artwork’s source is listed as “WWW Resources” — Jane Nethercote

Artwork: Michael Whitehead

The curious case of Aunty’s missing money.  ABC Online reported late this morning: “A former ABC employee has admitted to defrauding the corporation of more than $54,000. Mark John Williams, 51, has pleaded guilty in the District Court in Sydney to six charges including falsely claiming petty cash and the unauthorised use of ABC credit cards and cab charge vouchers.” But in 2005 this was reported in The SMH : “The ABC is conducting an internal inquiry into its financial processes after an employee at its Sydney headquarters was charged with defrauding the broadcaster of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The ABC’s human resources director, Colin Palmer, said yesterday that the inquiry had been under way for several months, after the allegations involving Mark John Williams came to light last year. Williams, 49, of Avalon, is facing eight charges relating to a total amount of $701,000. He is accused of misusing taxi-charge dockets, credit cards, expense claims and petty cash, as well as using false invoices to bill the ABC for hiring freelance TV crews.” So what happened to the $647,000 from the original charges? Crikey broke the story in late 2004 and reported at the time that the amounts involved were in excess of $800,000. Most curious. — Glenn Dyer

Microsoft-Yahoo partnership poses online headaches for Seven and PBL. The Seven Network and PBL have a difficult situation looming should their online partners, Microsoft and Yahoo, form some sort of partnership. Microsoft and Yahoo have had discussions about a possible linking; a partnership rather than a full merger, which would bring into question Microsoft’s relationship with PBL through Ninemsn and Yahoo’s relationship with Seven in Yahoo7. The tech giants each own half of their Australian portals. Driving the talks between Microsoft and Yahoo is one company: Google, which is rapidly becoming the pre-eminent tech company, a position once occupied by Microsoft. If such a partnership did occur, how would ad revenues be apportioned? After all, the point of the partnership would be to streamline and improve the offer between Yahoo and Microsoft in competition with Google. Partnerships such as those in Australia would take second place to the overriding corporate objectives set in the US. — Glenn Dyer

Seven makes it 12 ratings weeks in a row. Thanks to the departure of Dancing With The Stars the Seven Network will this week face its first real challenge from Nine for weekly ratings crown after last night’s Logies. Dancing peaked last week at almost 2.2 million viewers, the highest audience for the program for a year and the big difference between Seven and Nine last week. Dancing With The Stars finale pushed Seven to a 19 point win on the night and that was enough to give it a comfortable margin by Saturday night. Seven won by two clear share points, 29.2% to 27.2%. It was an improvement by Seven on the week before when it averaged 27.4 and Nine averaged 26.6%. Ten was third with 22.1% (22.4%), the ABC was on 15.6 (16.4%) and SBS was on 5.9% (5.8%). Seven won Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Sydney. Nine won four nights last week, Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Seven won Monday, Tuesday and Friday.  Seven has replaced Dancing with the second series of It Takes Two , the singing version of Dancing With The Stars . It will not get the same sort of traction early on that Dancing had (audiences around 1.5 million which built to last Tuesday’s climax) and The Logies have given Nine enough of a lead to carry through to around Wednesday or Thursday. Seven has won all 12 weeks since ratings started (including the two Easter weeks). — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: As expected Nine won because of the Logies which had their worst performance for 12 years. The Logies were tops with 1.718 million followed by Seven News with 1.544 million, the Logies Red Carpet arrivals half hour was 3rd with 1.541 million and Where Are They Now on Seven at 6.30pm returned and won the slot with 1.506 million. Nine News was 5th with 1.408 million, Grey’s Anatomy was 6th with 1.298 million and Ugly Betty was 7th at 7.30pm on Seven with 1.149 million. The 7pm ABC news averaged 1.088 million, the Big Brother Live Eviction averaged 1.038 million at 7.30pm and Robin Hood averaged 1.018 million at 7.30pm. What About Brian averaged 653,000 on Seven at 9.30pm. The 6.30pm Big Brother 995,000 and Beat Nine’s new one, The Lost Tribes . The Einstein Factor on the ABC at 6.30pm, 792,000.

The Losers: The Lost Tribes ; Nine’s new ‘reality’ show at 6.30pm. 991,000 wasn’t compelling enough to start with, especially as the lead-in to The Logies. It was derivative, predictable and the stars are the ‘Lost Tribes” in Africa and Indonesia. They had a dignity that the Australians couldn’t understand or even recognise. A tacky series which will hopefully improve. Some viewers have already seen variations on Pay TV. Which means up to a quarter of the audience may not be interested.The fact that a new series did so poorly (beaten in the second half hour by the ABC 7pm News) for most of the hour does not mean a strong future is ahead of it. Apart from that nothing else mattered because the Logies telecast was so dominant.

News & CA: Seven News won nationally but Nine won Sydney and Melbourne while Seven won Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The ABC news was very solid as was the Ten News which averaged a solid 820,000 for the half hour. World News Australia on the SBS at 6.30pm, 189,000. Weekend Sunrise at 8am averaged 444,000 (why would Lisa Wilkinson want to go to the lower rating Today Show ?), Landline on the ABC at Noon was next with 264,000, Sunday on Nine averaged 208,000, Insiders, ABC at 9am, 140,000, Offsiders , at 10.30pm, 133,000 (and needing more time), Inside Business at 10am, 122,000 and Ten’s Meet The Press at 8am, 59,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 38.0%(31.5% a week ago), from Seven with 25.6% (27.8%), Ten with 18.9% (21.3%), the ABC with 13.2% (14.2%) and SBS with 4.2% (5.3%). Nine won all five metro markets. In regional areas a win to Nine through WIN/NBN with 35.4% from Prime/7Qld with 25.6%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 18.0%, the ABC with 15.6% and SBS with 5.4%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Now it’s safe to return to the TV set with The Logies finished for another year. Tonight looks like a Seven win. That will help bridge the gap and for once this year Seven will play catch up for most of the week. It probably all revolves around Tuesday night. Nine had What’s Good For You , the Logie for the Lifestyle program of 2006. This year its in need of pepping up, an injection of relevance and a harder edge; it’s all a bit mushy and like recycled A Current Affair stories.The ABC’s A Difference of Opinion finishes its first series tonight. Next week its the viewing highlight of the year, Bastard Boys over two nights. Mythbusters might be worth a glance tonight on SBS, Desperate Housewives on Seven after The Rich List and what about Eddie McGuire’s 1 vs 100 at 8.35pm. Ten has Big Brother . Actually the Nine Network should have taken a leaf out of their own programming book (or borrowed from Seven’s Where Are They Now ) and gone for either a 20 to 1 highlights package of past Logies at 6.30pm or a Where Are They Now sort of program of past Logie greats. It would have been far more relevant and entertaining than The Lost Tribes . It’s why Nine has lost its touch with these big events.