ABC staff vacancies. The ABC will look to its existing staff to fill the two crucial management positions left vacant after the departures of Director of Radio, Sue Howard and Director of News, John Cameron. Managing Director Mark Scott told Crikey last Friday that he would be looking at internal candidates first, and that he believed there were a number of people presently on staff “some of whom you have identified” who would be excellent in the positions.
The two positions are being advertised internally this week. Howard’s position fell vacant late last year after she was pressured to resign amid perceptions that she was not sufficiently strategic in her approach, particularly when it came to new media. Cameron announced his departure last week. His resignation came at a time of his own choosing, and despite attempts by Scott to persuade him to stay. He may return to another position at the ABC.
Scott said he expected to be able to announce the new executives within weeks. Meanwhile former Director of News Max Uechtritz has written a paean of praise for John Cameron, describing his contribution to the ABC as “an extraordinary legacy”. Read it on the blog here. — Margaret Simons
Will we get Sound Relief from the bushfire ballyhoo? There’s a risk the whole Sound Relief concerts concept and accompanying ballyhoo could become a bad taste mutual back slapping exercise in self genuflection. How many will attend? Sound Relief promoters must be relieved Peter Garrett’s participation as Midnight Oil’s singer at least guarantees a sell-out, of sorts. Last week’s National Day of Mourning ceremony at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne was barely half-full. Not that you’d know it. The media rather disingenuously reported the venue “was filled with people” with “thousands of mourners attending“.
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Amid the mood of despair besetting the nation, untruths which supposedly make us all feel better prevail. The cover of Sony Music’s Bushfire Aid album, for example, features everyone’s favourite cuddly, cute marsupial — “bushfire survivor” Sam the Koala — drinking from a firey’s water bottle. Of course, we now know the iconic image was actually photographed the week before the deadliest bushfires in Victoria’s history, during preventive backburning operations. But we’ll conveniently let that one slide. Never let the truth get in the way of a communal feel good yarn. Cynics be damned.
Trujillo payout reporting off by about $27 million. In the furore over the termination payment to Telstra’s Sol Trujillo, little time was spent on recording the figure accurately. On the ABC’s Lateline late last week reporter Desley Coleman said: “Shareholders will foot that bill and they’ll also have the estimated $30 million golden handshake Sol Trujillo will receive when he departs at the end of June. The discussion over whether he’s worth that will probably be a feature of Telstra’s next shareholder meeting.”
The $30 million figure was used by other media as well. This prompted Telstra chairman McGauchie to issue a statement last Friday saying:
Sol is eligible for an exit payment of $3 million when he leaves the company on 30 June, 2009. According to Sol’s contract, the exit payment is equal to 12 months of his fixed remuneration, as we disclosed to you at the time the contract was entered into. Sol’s fixed remuneration is $3 million and has not changed since his arrival in July 2005. Sol’s entitlements, including the calculation of the payment to be made to him when his contract terminates and his annual salary and related performance incentives, are stated in his contract which has been lodged with the ASX and is publicly available.
Let’s see whether the ABC and the other media — which added the extra zero to Trujillo’s departing package — have the intergrity to make a correction. — Alex Mitchell
Nine swing both ways on Norman-Evans affair. You have to admire Channel 9’s chutzpah in having an each way bet on the ongoing Greg Norman and Chris Evert “did they or didn’t they have an affair” hullaballoo. Last night’s 60 Minutes featured a cringeingly sycophantic interview by ‘old pal’ Eddie McGuire — on the Shark’s private jet, no less — with the only new revelation gleaned being the admission Norman and Evert both “have a foot fetish”. Ewwww. The PR puff piece on 60 Minutes was quickly followed by an ad for this evening’s Current Affair previewing another ‘exclusive’ interview with Norman’s ex-wife Laura Andrassy in which she’ll claim to have “the damning evidence they did have an affair”. — Neil Walker
Hun double shocker. It seems the Herald Sun has sacked its spellcheckers. Couldn’t resist passing on this double shocker:
— Anonymous Crikey reader
Police investigate 2DayFM Kyle and Jackie O gag. Sydney radio station 2DayFM is under police investigation after an alleged prank call for the Kyle and Jackie O Show backfired. The pre-recorded stunt for the top-rating breakfast show sent police and ambulance officers rushing to an elderly woman’s St Marys home in Sydney. A listener, trying to win $1000 in the show’s “Desperate Acts” contest… was required to trick her sister into believing their mother had been injured at home, saying she had fallen over, hit her head and that there was blood everywhere. But the sister panicked and allegedly called 000 to report the incident. — News.com.au
TV to be granted greater access to footy stars. The AFL’s TV broadcasters are to be allowed unprecedented permission to interview players, as the league finds ways to maximise media rights deals… While several clubs, such as Essendon and Collingwood, are mostly willing to allow interviews to promote games, broadcasters say most are extremely uncooperative. The AFL, aware a new TV rights deal will likely be struck during the global financial crisis, is determined to help its broadcasters find value from the five-year $780 million deal. — Super Footy
Broadcasting legend Paul Harvey dies. A spokesman for ABC Radio Networks told the Associated Press that Mr. Harvey died at his winter home, surrounded by family. No cause of death was immediately available. Mr. Harvey was the voice of the American heartland, offering to millions his trademark greeting: “Hello Americans! This is Paul Harvey. Stand by! For news!” — Washington Post
Reader’s Digest gets bold with launches of new mags. Reader’s Digest Association is throwing Hail Mary passes, starting three new magazines in a down economy even as it sags under a mountain of debt that’s been slapped with a “junk” rating. While CEO Mary Berner wouldn’t disclose how much RDA is spending on its magazine launches, Berner told Media Ink the cost is “far below the cost of a traditional magazine launch.” — New York Post
Fortune‘s Barney Gimbel leaves magazine amid plagiarism charge. In the March 16 issue of Fortune magazine, which will hit newsstands on March 9, the magazine is issuing an apology to its readers for plagiarizing a New York Times Magazine article from 2004. When the author of the Fortune story, a young, rising star at the magazine named Barney Gimbel, was presented with the two stories and the lifted passages during an internal investigation, he offered his resignation. — NY Obeservor
NYT gets hyperlocal. On Monday, the NYTimes.com will announce plans for hyperlocal sites throughout New York and New Jersey. The new online channel is called The Local and will blend citizen journalism and staff reports, according to a draft of a release obtained by paidContent . — paidContent
Newspaper convention canceled amid industry woes. An annual convention of newspaper editors has been canceled for the first time since World War II, undone by the worst economic crisis since that harrowing era. The American Society of Newspapers Editors’ decision to skip this year’s meeting was announced Friday, coinciding with the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News . — AP
Pulitzer preview: Who might take a prize? The preliminary awards competitions settled already this year did not provide many consensus picks. Still, with the Pulitzer jurors preparing to meet next week in New York to choose finalists in the 14 journalism categories, we will attempt to highlight those that appear to be frontrunners. — Editor & Publisher