Jan 25, 2012

News Ltd moves: Williams’ ‘strong response’ to protect Whittaker

The material concerning Paul Whittaker came to me from a person who would normally be referred to as an impeccable source.

Margaret Simons

Journalist, author and director of the Centre for Advanced Journalism

Yesterday evening, according to a report in The Australian, News Limited's new CEO Kim Williams attended The Daily Telegraph news conference to rebut the lead paragraph of yesterday’s Crikey story claiming Paul Whittaker was "in the firing line" as editor. Crikey has still not heard anything directly from either Williams or Whittaker. I have tried to speak to Williams this morning. The material concerning Whittaker came to me from several sources within News Limited. Close to deadline yesterday I spoke to someone in a position to know -- a person who would normally be referred to as an impeccable source -- and was told among other things that it was true Whittaker was in the firing line. In the time available before deadline yesterday, I rang Whittaker but did not hear back. I had earlier rung Chris Mitchell, but did not hear back before deadline. I should, I acknowledge, have rung Williams. I have spoken again to my source this morning. The person concerned says that, at the time of our conversation, he understood the information concerning Whittaker to be true, but that Williams' action was "a strong response" that countered what he had understood to be the case. News Limited is awash with rumours at the moment, as one would expect given the moves Williams is making to introduce new faces and move on old ones. I am hearing dozens of suggestions every day about who is in and who is out. Most don’t make it to publication. This one I judged to be sufficiently confirmed to warrant inclusion in my story. It seems I was wrong in that judgment. The remainder of yesterday’s story has not been contested.

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4 thoughts on “News Ltd moves: Williams’ ‘strong response’ to protect Whittaker

  1. Georgie

    So, Professor, this is Advanced Journalism? Can we go back to the retrograde version please?

  2. ggm

    Journalists like to be first. I think this was a time that being right counted for more than being first.

    Of course, its not impossible the plan was as you wrote, and they did a ‘f**k you’ about-face, in the greater News Ltd Interest ( I doubt it: “that which was done, has been done in the interests of the state” only works in the three musketeers once, and Chris Mitchell is not Richelieu)

    Would it have killed you to hold off on gossip until afterward and write the detail behind it instead of the headline?

  3. klewso

    See what happens when you wear sandles and kick up a fuss when the Sisters of the Fashion Stasi takes the opportunity to put their boot in (but let someone do the same thing to one of theirs….?)?
    “Booby traps”?

  4. klewso

    “No tongue please – unless you mean it.”?
    Bit like those “glowing endorsements for Big Harto” – from “Godfather #1”?

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