The Age’s flagship film critic Jim Schembri has taken a swipe at the state of journalistic ethics at his employer, suggesting at a public forum in Melbourne yesterday that ethical standards had become an "optional extra rather than an ethos".

Schembri blamed a high turnover of staff for the degeneration of principles at The Age in recent years, telling an audience of at least 50 people that a poor understanding of basic ethics among some of his colleagues left him feeling like the paper had been "given a lobotomy" and often made him want to "throttle somebody like Homer Simpson".