AAP ‘outsourcing’ monitoring jobs to NZ. AAP will export about 55 Australian broadcast monitor jobs to New Zealand to reduce its operating costs. Monitors in the AAP’s Redfern office were told last Wednesday that the company was “moving forward” with a new business strategy and as a result their work would not be required. All of the casual staff — which make up the majority of the Redfern office — will gradually lose their jobs, while almost all of the full-time staff will be made redundant.

One of the dismissed broadcast monitors — who asked to remain anonymous — told Crikey that Redfern employees were suspicious of the company’s actions before the dismissal. He says the company’s unusual behaviour started when “a guy from New Zealand” toured the office and observed the broadcast monitors work three months ago. About one month ago, staff started noticing that New Zealand employees were accessing the AAP’s Australian broadcast media database.

The dismissed broadcast monitor says management “never responded” to any communications staff sent expressing concerns for their job security weeks before the dismissal. But AAP CEO Bruce Davidson says the build-up of staff within the Redfern office was part of a trial to increase the AAP’s media monitoring production. He says it was “coincidental” the trial conflicted with the company’s plans to relocate the jobs.

When asked why AAP management would not reply to the concerns of staff before the dismissal, Davidson said the final decision was only made this week and “like all business decisions was kept confidential until its announcement”. Davidson says the decision was justified by two points: AAP will be able to reduce its costs and that by moving the jobs to New Zealand — rather than any other country in the Asia Pacific — broadcast monitors will be able to maintain the same “relevancy” in terms of what they monitor.

The Media, Arts and Entertainment Alliance says it is disappointed by decision. It urges AAP’s former employees to contact the union if they are unhappy with their redundancy packages. “It’s sad to see another example of another company outsourcing its employer’s jobs to another country,” an MEAA spokesman said. A skeleton crew will continue work at the Redfern office until November 23 while the transition takes place. — Crikey intern Harrison Polites

A campaign to tackle media framing of alcohol. Recent media coverage of alcohol and other drug issues has been cause for hope and despair. We have watched in disbelief the general celebration of a 14-year-old boy returning positive blood and urine tests for cannabis as a great outcome for natural justice, while the usual stigmatisation of anyone else with a link to drug use continues unabated.

Alongside this, recent attention to beyondblue has, if nothing else, at least served to remind us of the transformation that has been achieved in public attitudes towards depression and anxiety when initiatives are well resourced and evidence based. The apparent double standards for the “Bali teen” and those people generally dismissed in media reports as “drug users”, “addicts” or “junkies” are disappointing but not surprising. — Laurence Alvis, CEO of the Moreland Hall Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment and Education Service, at Crikey’s health blog, Croakey

Front page of the day. Like Melbourne before it, New York appears to have had enough of its Occupy movement tent city …

Phone hacking: number of possible victims almost 5800

“The number of possible victims of phone hacking by the News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire is now close to 5800, the Metropolitan police have confirmed.” — The Guardian

News Corp executive in New York resigns

“Beryl Cook, News Corporation’s chief human resources officer and a trusted colleague of James Murdoch, resigned on Thursday, the company said, and will return to the Asia Pacific region to be closer to her family. Jeff Mook, senior vice president for global compensation, will succeed her.” — New York Times

Nine News bulletin avoids legal breach.

“Nine News viewers in Regional Victoria would have been a bit surprised to be watching Peter Overton’s Sydney News rather than Peter Hitchener’s Melbourne bulletin on Wednesday. But there was no Playout error at hand. WIN was forced to play the Sydney bulletin for legal reasons.” — TV Tonight

Google to integrate journos’ Google+ profiles into Google News

“Users of Google News will soon be able to find their favorite journalists on Google+ more easily. That’s because Google will soon begin to integrate the Google+ profiles of journalists with their bylines on Google News.” — 10,000 Words

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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