Gawenda departs Melbourne. Michael Gawenda, the former Age editor and director of the Melbourne University Centre for Advanced Journalism, has quit his post. “This was always going to happen, I knew that my time had come,” Gawenda revealed to Crikey. “It was always my intention to get the centre up and running and make sure it had a life and then after I’d done that I would move on.”

Gawenda commenced at the centre in April 2009 with the mandate to bring real world journalism back to Parkville’s sandstone cloisters. He told Crikey the uni has committed to keeping the journalism centre operating and will advertise for a new director soon.

Two weeks ago Andrew Jaspan, also a former Age editor, launched new online academic portal The Conversation with substantial funding from the University and other group of Eight institutions. In December, Gawenda was critical of the site, questioning its connection to journalism and long-term financial viability.

Gawenda’s centre, located on the other side of Grattan Street, has two remaining paid staff members, a hefty ARC research grant and receives a substantial six figure funding sum.

Gawenda told Crikey he didn’t have any immediate plans but would maintain some connection to the ongoing research at CAJ. He would also like to take the time to get back into writing, he said. — Andrew Crook

ONE relaunch not that smart. Forget the obvious conflict of interest Ten’s acting CEO Lachlan Murdoch has in ordering the reprogramming of the ONE sports multichannel. His family’s company (News Corp) controls half of Premier Media Group via News Ltd. PMG runs the three Fox Sports channels, and owns 25% of Foxtel, where the Fox Sports channels make a lot of money for the Murdochs, and James Packer (and Kerry Stokes, who control the other 50% of PMG). That aside, the statements yesterday from Ten and Murdoch raise several questions. This is how the reprogramming was put:

“ONE will now broaden its focus on engaging and entertaining males 25-54 and the schedule will centre on targeted drama, HD movies and documentaries, and premium sport. Ten has a 2.5+ per cent share aspiration for the relaunched ONE. The company is confident this will result in additional revenue and an earnings improvement.”

Getting rid of a lot of prime-time spot from Ten will help Fox Sports. Murdoch and Ten said ONE would remain in “premium sport” but that wasn’t defined, but presumably means the AFL, which is simulcast or broadcast on ONE at times. But does that mean the main “prime time sport”, the trans-Tasman netball will be axed or pushed to a non-prime time position? I can see that going down well with women’s groups and some sports journos. The NBL is another that is broadcast in prime time on some nights (the finals are now under way). Will that change or be punted for non-sports programming?

Murdoch said ONE’s rating so far of about 0.8% was unacceptable and the 2.5% target was now in place. So, how unacceptable was ONE’s 0.8% average? Well, based on how Fox Sports 1, 2 and 3 went last year, and how they have gone so far this year, ONE was right on average, the average of the sports channels run by the family company via News Ltd’s management control of Premier Media.

According to OzTAM figures, Fox Sports 1 had an average rating in 2010 (weeks 7-48, which is the official ratings period) of 0.7%. Fox Sports 2 had a rating of 0.6% and Fox Sports 3 had a rating of 0.5%. So far this year the ratings are Fox Sports 1, 0.7%, Fox Sports 2, 0.8% and Fox Sports 3, 1% — not much difference. In terms of the family-controlled competition at Fox Sports, ONE isn’t doing all that badly. It hasn’t underperformed in terms of what it originally was designed to be, an all-sports channel.

Now, having seen the obvious success of Nine’s male-skewing GO and Seven’s male-skewing 7Mate, Ten thinks the easiest way to boost performance would be to get some of those viewers by relaunching ONE as a clone of those two channels. It’s not a relaunch of ONE at all. It’s merely reshaping it to try and fool viewers watching 7Mate or GO, that ONE is for them. Nothing original about that. — Glenn Dyer

Ten shake up — ONE: take two

“TEN Network Holdings interim chief executive Lachlan Murdoch has warned that more difficult decisions lie ahead after banking the broadcaster’s recovery on a revamped programming line-up [including channel One to show more than sport] and cost-cutting drive.” — The Australian

End of year, end of New Zealand Press Association

“The New Zealand Press Association will close down by the end of the year, owners Fairfax and APN News & Media told over 40 staff members on Wednesday.” — Media Spy

Time Warner Cable and Viacom in court over app

“Time Warner Cable and Viacom each filed lawsuits on Thursday that seek to resolve a stormy dispute in the television business over the right to stream channels to new devices like iPads.” — Media Decoder

Paywalls to save newspapers

“We believe we’re about to experience a great newspaper revival. With fresh word from The New York Times that it’s following News Corp’s lead and charging for online content, we think most major publishers will follow suit — leading to more robust profit margins and higher quality journalism.” — Seeking Alpha

Goodbye Glenn Beck (and Good R…)

“Fox News and Glenn Beck announced Wednesday that Beck will “transition off of his daily program” later this year.”Huffington Post

Peter Fray

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