Chaser turned serious interviewer. The summer schedule for Radio National contains some “program surprises”, ABC publicity boasts. No kidding with its fill-in presenter for Fran Kelly’s breakfast show — the hard-nosed agenda-setter the Canberra clique locks its dials to each day. Rising ABC News star Steve Cannane usually slips into Kelly’s chair over Christmas, while James Carleton, Geraldine Doogue and Paul Barry have all graced the studio.

But not this summer. From December 13 the program will be hosted by a Chaser — Julian Morrow, the lawyer turned executive producer of the TV hit who’s more accustomed to ambushing pollies in silly costumes rather than with probing questions in the studio. Said ABC Radio National manager Jane Connors: “We’re delighted that Julian will present RN Summer Breakfast and understand he’s currently in rigorous training for the early morning starts.”

At least Morrow won’t do all of Kelly’s grueling shift — Radio National will beam in the BBC World Service leading into AM at 7am, with Morrow to take the chair from 7:30 until 8:30. Kelly makes way on December 13 with Morrow to host until late January. — Jason Whittaker

Praise from Rupert — plus breakfast! Some journalists, Caroline Overington laments, mock the News Awards — News Limited’s exclusive back-slapping knees-up held on Friday night (and a hearty congratulations to all the winners). But always ready with company rebuttal, The Australian‘s media diarist retorts: “…when was the last time your proprietor threw $100,000 at good journalism?” Consider yourselves served.

Journos from other companies — those that lack the “buoyant … big-hearted” culture of News — can only dream of such lavish galas and star treatment, as Overington graphically explains today:

“The awards are the social highlight of the News Limited calendar and there’s a good reason for that: most of the time, it’s tough to get a spare pen around here. Journos famously have to keep a spare pair of knickers in the desk drawer, lest they get called out on an overnight job, because a claim for a new pair won’t get through the bean counters.
“But then, once a year, the coffers spill open for finalists in the News Awards.

“It’s a black-tie, champagne-fuelled do, as posh as posh gets. Guests from interstate, whatever their status in the company, stay in suites in five-star hotels, with soft white robes and slippers at their disposal, and breakfast thrown in.”

Only the softest robes for News Limited’s finest. Our knickers are in a firm knot of jealousy. — Jason Whittaker

Only in the NT News. The NT News has a spiffy revamped website — and a one-stop-shop for all those wacky stories we love. The ‘Only in the Territory’ section houses all the greatest hits — ‘Aliens suspected of creating mutant Drumstick’; ‘Horny ghost Kev spooks housewife’; ‘UFO cut off my car’; ‘Horny roo stalks NT woman’; etc. We’ve added it to our favourites. We suggest you do the same.

ABC News to live on the ground in Kabul next year

“The ABC has announced it will open a news bureau in Afghanistan next year. ABC director of news Kate Torney says the move follows a review of the national broadcaster’s internal operations.” — ABC News

Life after Kerry: 7:30 Report under review

“A group of six or seven people is currently overseeing the review of what The 7.30 Report should look like when O’Brien, its host of 15 years, leaves at the end of the year. ABC chief Mark Scott will present the review’s findings to the ABC board in December, although it is unknown what part, if any, the board will play in the major news and current affairs decision.” — The Australian

He wants to run a newspaper — but he could go back to jail

“Conrad Black, the former Hollinger International Inc. chairman, lost his appeal of two convictions while winning reversal of two others in a ruling that may send him back to prison. A guilty verdict for obstruction of justice, for which he received the longest sentence, was upheld today by a U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago, as was one of three fraud convictions.” — Bloomberg

Paywalls drive away readers — but at least those who remain are rich

“The good news for News International is that those who vaulted the wall were a bit older, richer and more dedicated to scanning the site carefully. They are the ‘engaged readers’ advertisers admire — as opposed to the click-by-night trade who never stop to buy anything. The bad news is that a few hundred thousand unique visitors sounds pretty puny compared with the 20 million or so The Times was claiming before the wall went up.” — The Observer

Unmasking the teller of Christine O’Donnell’s s-x secrets

“Readers of today’s first-person account of a s-xless one-night stand with kooky Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell might have noticed that the author — whom Gawker cloaked as ‘Anonymous’ — was wearing an actual Boy Scouts uniform in photos accompanying the story about the purported Halloween night encounter three years ago. While the man’s identity remains a secret (at least for the time being), TSG has determined that the uniform’s owner is a buddy of ‘Anonymous’ who actually works for the Boy Scouts of America.” — The Smoking Gun

Who’s Stephen Fry to talk? Let the Twits decide

“The broadcaster and writer Stephen Fry today used his favourite medium, Twitter, to accuse The Observer of portraying him as ‘the antichrist’ after it reported that he said women do not really like s-x.” — The Guardian

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey