John Gatfield sacked from Sky News, takes a swipe at his former employers on MediaSpy :

Well it doesn’t take long for word to get around, does it?

I heard I was being mentioned on here, so I thought I might as well dispel any rumours and at least ensure the word is accurate.

Yes, when I came off air at 6pm on Wednesday, Angelos Frangopoulos called me into his office and told me my services were no longer required, because of a change in direction and a new focus for Sky News. And I was to be the first of several people he was sacking. He also said he couldn’t afford me any longer — although I did ask if that was the case, why had he hired Jim Waley and Ian Cook.

So after almost 14 years, that’s it. That’s what it means to have worked harder than I was ever asked to do. That’s what it means to have cancelled annual leave to go to Melbourne for the bushfires. That’s what it means to have volunteered to work on a day off on ANZAC Day to provide live coverage — without a dollar or a day in lieu. That’s what it means to have done my best to support my colleagues and especially to give some guidance to younger journalists. That’s what it means to have spent all those years trying to lift and maintain standards in simple things like spelling, grammar, and accuracy.

There have been some good times and I’m proud of my record at Sky. I’m also happy to see so many people go on and achieve success elsewhere, helped, I hope, by the grounding they received at Sky News. A few who come readily to mind — even if they rarely acknowledge they got their start in television at Sky News — are Adam Boland, Robert Ovadia, Kath Robinson, Sam Armytage, Michael Pell, Mel McLaughlin…. There will be many more to follow because Sky News is a tough place to work and any employer knows that someone who can last the distance at Sky is worth hiring.

So there are the facts.

Funnily enough the only other time I’ve ever posted here was a couple of years ago when I registered and wrote a message defending one of my co-presenters and demanding (successfully) that the moderators remove a thoroughly despicable piece of personal abuse. That’s what loyalty is about — even if the colleague is someone you’re not particularly close to. Loyalty these days is in short supply.

John Gatfield on MediaSpy

Canadian two step dance and American zombies. Years ago, young people with an eye to impressing the opposite sex at snappy dances, would break into the Canadian Two Step and strut across the floor. It’s a dance with a slow polka 2/4 beat. These days the Canadian two Step refers to the on going negotiations between Canada’s biggest media owner, the insolvent Canwest, its banks and 8% noteholders who are owed somewhere around $C3.7 billion or more.

Two weeks extension in every four, a slow beat that encourages partners to look into each other’s eyes and tell porkies, such as: Canwest: “We will repay the money, its just that we are a little short, so give us a loan for the next couple of weeks’. From the banks and noteholders, “the cheque is never in the mail, we can shut you tomorrow, here’s a few million more”.

It’s a ritual that is fascinating Canadian business and amusing those in Australia with an interest and knowledge, such as the Ten network, the most saleable of Canwest’s assets, if only there were any buyers. There won’t be for ages because the media is now the death industry not to invest in, having assumed that mantle from the world’s banks and especially America’s zombies.

The company this morning told the markets that its new deadline to “do something” about its debt is May 19.

You get the feeling there’s an automated message service that kicks in at midnight of the day of the latest extension deadline, to be triggered by a Canwest executive, holding hands with one of its bankers or note holders. Out goes the message, Canwest gets a few more million dollars to handle payroll and other costs over the next fortnight, then the various parties reschedule a meeting that they know will end in the same result. — Glenn Dyer

Cairns Post vox pop answers prove sound grabs work. Either the vox poppers had to explain the ETS issue to their victims before they asked the question, or the “ETS will cost lots of jobs” message is the only one getting through in Cairns. Dave may not have understood properly… From today’s Cairns Post :

Bob Marley explains Swine Influenza. From yesterday’s Barbados’ Daily Nation newspaper:

The magical mystery touring Google bus. The Beatles would be proud, but is there a sitar playing guru accompanying the Google bus? From India’s Deccan Chronicle yesterday:

More boobs at Note second dot point at top of story. Fair comment?

That evil environment and it’s awful scheming ways. Headline of the day. Yesterday’s Australian exposes the environment:

Of odds and horses. According to Betfair Odds, Pride of Westbury is a good chance in the next at the ‘Bool. The main story confirms otherwise: “Today’s Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool will face scrutiny like never before in its 137-year history after jumps racing suffered its third death this season when Pride Of Westbury fell heavily yesterday at the last obstacle in the Galleywood Hurdle.”

Boston Newspaper Guild, Globe reach tentative agreement. The Boston Globe and its largest employees union reached a tentative agreement early Wednesday morning on concessions that will keep the 137-year-old newspaper publishing, the union president said. The breakthrough came at about 4am, said Dan Totten, president of the Newspaper Guild. He did not release details pending a meeting with Guild members scheduled for Thursday. “Out of respect for our members, the Guild and the New York Times Co. have agreed not to release details until Guild leaders have a chance to meet with our members,” Totten said. — Editor and Publisher

Senator John Kerry: relaxing ownership rules won’t save newspapers. Newspapers may be facing tough economic times, but easing the ban on cross ownership with broadcasters won’t save them, the chairman of a US Senate telecommunications panel said Wednesday. “When you look at how fast technology is moving — how the economics of news delivery really work in an age where everything you read in ink can be found on the Web faster and cheaper and further from where it is printed — well, you are whistling past the graveyard if you think that relaxing cross ownership rules will save newspapers,” said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet . — Wall Street Journal

Murdoch’s secret plan to charge for content. Only a few years ago, Rupert Murdoch described himself as a “digital immigrant” and the Internet as “an emerging medium that is not my native language.” Since then, he has gobbled up social-networking sites like MySpace and digital-content delivery systems like Factiva. Now Murdoch’s News Corp. has set up a global team, based in New York, London, and Sydney, to create a system for charging for online content in an environment where consumers have come to expect to get it for free. — The Daily Beast

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey