Belt tightening at Nine. 60 Minutes reportedly paid $200k for the story of a backpacker who wandered around the bush for a few days. Meanwhile, Nine management sends out the below email:

I am writing to give you some outline of the approach to salary increases across the PBL Media group this year.

As a general guide there will, unfortunately, be no increase in salaries or wages for anyone on an annual review within PBL Media group this year (2009/10).

This policy will be applied equally to me, the senior management group which includes the CEO’s of all our businesses within PBLM, and any employee or executive at ACP Magazines, the NINE Network, NBN Broadcasting, Ticketek or PBL Media head office.

The only exceptions to this policy on wages will be where an individual’s employment conditions are prescribed by pre existing arrangements such as an employment contract, or an industrial instrument. I realise that even this approach will create some inequities where people covered by an industrial instrument or a prior existing arrangement will get an increase and some others around them will not. But there is nothing that can be done about that and we have no choice but to honour arrangements set in place before the impact of the global economic crisis.

I realise that the concept of no increase in wages is difficult for individuals.

And I am aware there has been a lot of uncertainty in recent months with a number of staff reductions across the group. We have had to work hard to get the business through this economic downturn and this meant our cost base had had to be amended to reflect our lower revenue base.

The freeze on salaries and wages will apply for 2009/10 and we will review the situation this time next year. It is to be hoped that conditions have improved by then and normal procedures will apply.

Kind regards,

Ian

Ian Law
Chief Executive Officer

$360,000 final price tag for the Golden Tonsils. 18 months after his final broadcast, John Laws’ former employer, Radio 2UE has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay $360,000, for 13 separate breaches of sponsorship guidelines in Laws’ final months on-air. The fines relate to Laws failing to properly mention his sponsorship arrangements with Qantas, Telstra, Hamilton Island and Oately Family Wines. This includes a staggering four breaches in his last show alone.

The guidelines were set for Laws following the cash-for-comment scandal and required Laws to declare his sponsorship arrangements whenever they were mentioned on-air. In response, Laws frequently complained about having to ring his special sponsor cow bell each time a sponsor was mentioned and often compared the media watchdog, ACMA, to the skin ailment acne. The case was the first of its kind to be heard by the Federal Court. — Josh Taylor

Chaser pull Chaser-style stunt, The Australian reports on it. Ever since the infamous Make a Realistic Wish Foundation sketch, the Chaser boys have been in the sights of News Limited publications. After almost every episode since the show was brought back from the sin bin, News have taken to publishing episode recaps, similar to Television Without Pity, in what could only appear to be a vain attempt to find any sort of controversy to be outraged about.

Yesterday, their dreams came true, after Julian Morrow attempted to climb a Canberra church attended by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The climb was in parody of the controversy over a proposal to ban climbing on Uluru due to the sacred nature of the landmark. The Oz declare the stunt a no-no in light of the recent bombings in Jakarta and the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan. Given this is the last series of The War on Everything, News appear to be making the most of it. – Josh Taylor

Nine reveals plans for digital channel. Channel Nine has revealed plans for a new digital television channel, which will begin airing in August with a focus on light entertainment. The free-to-air content, called GO!, will screen on channel 99 and target the 14 to 39-year old audience demographic. — Michelle Johnson, The Age

Cronkite and the voice of authority gone. Barely a generation has passed since Walter Cronkite disappeared from our evenings. But the notion of one man — a single, authoritative, empathetic man, morally reassuring and mild of temper — wrapping up the world after dinner for America seems incalculably quaint in the technological coliseum that is 21st-century communications. — Ted Anthony, The Associated Press

More than forty journalists now in Iran jails. Reporters Without Borders has expressed great concern over the growing repression of journalists and cyber-dissidents in Iran after a month of post-election protests and called for them all to be freed at once. Five more were recently arrested, bringing to 41 the number of journalists currently in prison. — Toronto News

The new pioneers of the West. Investigate West’s mission is to help fill the investigative and narrative reporting void left by widespread newspaper layoffs from the Pacific to the Rockies, producing stories focused on the environment, social justice, and health. “Newspapers don’t have the kind of content we used to have,” said McClure. — Sanhita Reddy, Columbia Journalism Review

How The Huffington Post can pay its bloggers. As brilliant of a strategy as hiring legions of unpaid writers is, there is a catch. Eventually and, some would argue, already, the only writers that will write for free are writers that can afford to write for free. The voices of the passionate amateurs that The Huffington Post showcases are becoming increasingly homogenous and, in the long-term, a blog dominated by rich people and celebrities will alienate readers that aren’t a part of this demographic. — Michelle Haimoff, Huffington Post

Free but never cheap. They said it would never work. But since its launch in 2005, Grazia has blazed a trail through magazine publishing, leaving a Louboutin-shaped footprint on the reading habits of British women and the foreheads of its competitors. So it is no surprise that recreating its success has become the holy grail of publishing — and October will see another title launch. However, the newest pretender to Grazia‘s crown will have an eyebrow-raising cover price: it will be free. — Simon Kurs, The Guardian