Sunday Herald Sun does it again: The hard ball journalistic ethics of Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun are again in the firing line. Crikey readers will remember the paper’s shameful hounding of newsreader Peter Hitchener in April, conduct that came close to blackmail. Today’s instalment features the paper’s never say die attempts to secure an interview with brain damaged Richmond footballer Graham Polak, a man still recovering from being hit by a tram in June.

According to Fairfax reports this morning: 

Richmond is furious at what it has described as the “gutter journalism” of the Sunday Herald Sun, which sent a reporter to Polak’s house on Wednesday and “bullied” him into an interview.

The club threatened to hold a press conference with Polak today to scupper the paper’s exclusive, but that was withdrawn because of doctors’ advice that Polak was not ready to participate in interviews. On Wednesday, Richmond claims, Sunday Herald Sun reporter Stephen Drill arrived unannounced at Polak’s house, asking for an interview. After being refused, Drill left but returned several hours later with a photographer dressed in Richmond club clothing.

The club says Polak “felt extremely pressured, confused and uncomfortable” and agreed to an interview under duress.

Sources close to the paper, suggest that Drill had been pressured to return by editor Simon Pristel, who had also suggested that the photographer wear Richmond team clothing. 3AW’s Neil Mitchell took the long handle to the story this morning. Listen here and here. — Jonathan Green

News.com top stories conflict. Crikey reader Warwick Sauer noted:

  1. sixth most popular story;
  2. most popular story.

Coren flirts with Phelpsy: Watch here as Today Tonight host Anna Coren bats her eyelashes at fish man Michael Phelps. “We’ll keep the hopes of all Australian women alive” …. and straighten that cap, Phelps!

 

Conrad Black Still a Vain Prima Donna in Prison: ‘Conrad Black is lecturing fellow prisoners about his own life under the guise of a course on American history, it was revealed today. His highly anticipated talks to inmates and guards have been labelled “narcissistic” rather than educational. The peer and former Daily Telegraph publisher is five months into a six-and-a-half-year jail term at Florida’s Coleman federal prison following his conviction for fraud and obstruction of justice. His talks have been so eagerly awaited they have been moved from the library to a bigger venue within the prison to accommodate demand. But sources inside the jail suggest his much-vaunted lectures are more an exercise in vanity. — Jossip

Las Vegas TV Reporter Fired for Soliciting S-x Online KTNV-TV reporter, Jeff Gradney and his girlfriend reportedly posted a Craigslist ad looking for “a cool guy to play with.” We don’t know if he found that cool guy, but apparently he’ll have plenty of time to play, as station managers reportedly canned Gradney for seeking a threesome. — Fishbowl LA

No news from News Ltd. Now that we have seen financial results from the major media groups, such as Ten Network, the Seven Network/Seven Media, Consolidated Media (PBL Media) Foxtel/ Premier Media Group, Austar, Prime and yesterday Fairfax, it would be fair to say there’s a gaping hole still to be filled.

I of course refer to News Ltd, the local arm where newspapers such as The Australian, the Herald Sun, Courier Mail and Telegraph regularly take potshots at their media opposition, but are light on detail about their own operations.

We know Foxtel and PMG did well, because Consolidated Media, the Packer media rump, revealed it. Seven and Cons Media also told us in broad, but not detailed terms, how their TV and magazines businesses went, while Austar and Ten have provided more than ample information in interim and quarterly reports. In fact the level of disclosure by Foxtel and its discussion of its business should make the management of News Ltd cringe with embarrassment.

If Foxtel, which really doesn’t have to disclose, can do it, why not News Ltd? — Glenn Dyer

Spam headers of the day: Paris Hilton clearly makes it into the top ten spam auto keywords: “Old man dies inside Paris Hilton” and “Stephen Hawking defends Paris Hilton s-x allegations”

Peter Fray

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