MEAA responds to Quest Newspapers’ staff pay claim: In Crikey’s comments section on 30 May, Steve Zeppa, acting Editor-in-Chief, Quest Community Newspapers, wrote:

Re. “Tips and rumours” (22 May, item 7). Crikey’s disgruntled correspondent at Quest Newspapers has been busy composing three separate missives in recent weeks alleging staff are livid because they haven’t had a pay rise for three years. Perhaps your correspondent who moonlights as one of our staff hasn’t had an upgrading for a while for a good reason. Accuracy is a basic requirement of good journalism and sadly it is lacking in your correspondent’s reporting. Staff at Quest receive annual increases in pay and allowances in line with their employment agreements. Pay rates at Quest are not among the lowest in the industry; they are among the best. Grading reviews are held annually and based on performance, some get upgraded and some don’t. The MEAA has advised Quest that no current staff member has raised with them a specific grievance about pay. If any member of staff feels (differently) they should raise the issue with their line manager, or the Managing Editor. No editorial staff are asked to work Good Friday or Christmas.

The Alliance has written to Crikey in response: “Quest acting editor-in-chief Steve Zeppa is correct to say his journalists receive annual increases in pay and allowances over the past three years, but in real terms they have taken a pay cut. In 2006, for example, the increase was 1.5 per cent. The only way to keep pace with inflation at Quest is to be upgraded and it would be fair to say the most common complaint among Quest journalists is they don’t receive upgrades when they believe they are entitled to them. In one case, a journalist was on the same low grading for more than a decade and for many journalists the movement is glacial despite their professional development. Perhaps if management were to publish the number of journalists in each band annually, there would be some transparency to what is an opaque grading system. For the record, Mr Zeppa was told by the Alliance that annual increases have not kept pace with inflation and a lack of upgrades remained a common complaint among staff.”

Canetoads back Origin. Queenslanders backed their state’s big win in the second State of Origin Rugby League game last night on Nine, but audiences in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth were slightly lower. An extra 58,000 viewers in Brisbane offset the fall to push the overall five city metro audience up 4,000 compared to the audience for the first game last month. An average 2.096 million watched in the five metro markets, compared to 2.092 million. In Sydney 885,000 viewers on average watched the game last night from kick off just after 8 pm compared to 897,000 for game one. Brisbane saw 768,000 watch last night (710,000 for game one), Melbourne 261,000 (283,000), Perth, 108,000 (119,000) and Adelaide 73,000 (84,000). The game was live into Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide and on delay in Perth. It was a similar story in regional areas: a solid audience but down a touch from game one: 1.235 million for game one and 1.215 million last night for the actual game. That made a total of 3.22 million for game two watching at home, compared to 3.337 million for game one. — Glenn Dyer

The British Government to ban product placement on UK TV. In a speech to a London media conference, British Culture Minister Andy Burnham said the government had an economic interest in protecting standards in UK broadcasting because they were “part of Britain’s brand when it comes to world markets.” Burnham, said that “as a viewer, I don’t want to feel the script has been written by the commercial marketing director”and that “British programming has an integrity that is revered around the world and I don’t think we should put that hard-won reputation up for sale.” Burnham also indicated he would not allow partisan news coverage in the UK in the style of Fox News in the US, also suggested that government should have a role in ensuring the same standards were met on the internet as on television and radio. — Glenn Dyer

Street style, Burnie style. Sydney and Melbourne have their afternoon commuter papers that feature a “steet stye” section, in which trendy kids are interviewed wearing the latest designer gear at the fashion hot spots of Toorak or East Sydney. Tasmania’s Burnie Advocate also has its own “street style” section… 

What magazines still don’t understand about the web If publishers want to maximize value on the web, they have to put the web first every time — that means you can’t just take what you create for print and dump it on the web, regardless of the cost efficiencies, because you’re destroying value for web users. If a user can’t find what they want going straight to your site, the next time they are going to go straight to Google — and Google will capture the value of that content distribution. — Publishing 2.0

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
NRL State of Origin match averaged a record 2.096 million, well ahead of Seven News in second place with 1.6 million. Today Tonight was third with 1.398 million and the Origin pre-match material from 7.30pm was 4th with 1.354 million. Home And Away averaged 1.301 million at 7pm for 5th spot, just ahead of Two and a Half Men on Nine with 1.293 million people. Nine News was 7th with 1.280 million and A Current Affair averaged 1.231 million in 8th spot. Spicks and Specks was 9th with 1.199 million viewers at 8.30pm for the ABC and the 7pm ABC News averaged 1.167 million. The Gruen Transfer was 11th with 1.121 million. The 7.30 Report was 12th with 1.064 million and the State of Origin after match averaged 1.038 million in 14th spot (and had a big audience in Brisbane, naturally!).

The Losers: Million Dollar Wheel of Fortune at 5.30 pm on Nine, 561,000. The Cook and The Chef averaged 704,000 for its 100th episode on the ABC at 6.30pm. Big Brother‘s 902,000 was 4th in the 7pm slot.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Today Tonight won nationally but lost Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide to ACA. Ten News averaged 922,000 and the late News/Sports Tonight, 393,000. Lateline averaged 308,000, Lateline Business, 146,000. Nightline, 388,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 180,000, Dateline, 201,000 and the late SBS News at 9.30pm, 202,000. 7am Sunrise, 380,000, 7am Today, 283,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 35.0% (25.5% a week earlier and 35.6% for the first Origin game), from Seven with 23.3% (25.0%), Ten and the ABC tied for third with 18.5% (20.5% for the ABC last week and 24.0% for Ten; and SBS on 4.7% (5.0%). Nine won Sydney and Brisbane by big margins, Seven won Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Nine was third or fourth in the latter three markets. Nine leads the week 30.0% to 26.5%. In regional areas a big win to Nine through WIN/NBN with Origin and a 45.0% share (League dominates regional NSW and Queensland and its why the AFL will battle outside the major metro markets). Prime/7Qld was next with 21.7%, the ABC was third with 14.2%, Southern Cross (Ten) was 4th with 14.1% and SBS was on 5.1%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The NRL State of Origin did the job for Nine, but once again the ABC was pretty resilient. In fact there was a boost to The 7.30 Report of around 170,000 viewers last night, compared to Tuesday night’s audience of 894,000. It seems there’s a group of people out there who watch Nine and Seven and have no interest in League and watched “Red” Kerry instead of the pre-match stuff on Nine. Audiences for The New Inventors at 8pm hardly budged, Spicks and Specks at 8.30pm was down on the previous week, as was The Gruen Transfer. But the drops were not big and the audiences will return next week. SBS hardly moved as well. Seven suffered as did Ten, but only in Sydney and Brisbane. Ten ran fresh episodes of Back To You, Rules of Engagement and Numb3rs and a repeat of House at 8.30pm. It’s back to normal viewing tonight: Nine has the AFL and NRL Footy Shows, plus Gordon Ramsay swearing in Hell’s Kitchen, plus Getaway. Seven has How I Met Your Mother, My Name Is Earl which has been switched from Sunday night and Bones. The Amazing Race returns at 9.30pm. The ABC starts the Gil Mayo Mysteries which, in the promos, looks more interesting than the previous occupant of the slot, The State Within. Q&A is on at 9.35pm.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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