From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Shining the eye on private investigators and police payments. Crikey media reporter Matthew Knott’s story on Friday about private investigators in Australian journalism seems to have hit a nerve. “Why stop with private eyes? You should be asking about journalists paying coppers like they did/do in London,” one media insider tells Crikey.
This insider reckons that a senior media police officer was on the payroll of a television station in Western Australia. As part of the cop’s duties, they apparently informed the station of inquiries made by other media. “Doubt it’s an individual case. Typical of what TV infotainment brought to journalism,” said our media watcher.
One of those PIs Knott examined was Colin Chapman, who was hired by Channel Seven’s Today Tonight and lured Mercedes Corby into an interview by pretending he was an official. Chapman now styles himself as a “child recovery” specialist. We hear he’s been working for the Italian father of the four Sunshine Coast Queensland girls who were allegedly abducted by their Australian mother from Italy.
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Fairfax redundancies. We’ve received a few tips about which journos are eyeing off the Fairfax redundancy packages and we’re currently following up with those involved. But do you know of any other names? Send them to us anonymously…
Paramedic workload in need of resuscitation. Roster changes for paramedics in rural NSW have got ambos calling triple zero. Currently paramedics at rural stations do 10-hour shifts for a set number of days and in between those shifts the ambulance is taken home to their house and they remain on call. It’s a fatiguing system. But the roster changes being pushed by the NSW Ambulance Service will make it even worse, says one ambo (who we suspect might be from one of the health unions):
“But what the service is trying to do is reduce the shifts to eight hours which that in itself sounds good but what it does in turn does is increase on-call hours to 16 hours a day and increase days that we work and reduce our precious days off. So for example some station that work five or six days on with four days off will now be required to work for seven plus days and have only two days off. Think of it like this … you own a retail store in town. You open at 9am on Monday and your hours are nine to five. At 5pm you go home but during the night if anybody wants to buy something from your store, they ring you and you have to go down to the store, open up and serve your customer, close up, return home and try and get back to sleep. This could happen several times during the night and you do this again on Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night and maybe even Friday night. Sounds exhausting? Yes it is … which is why have at least four days off is essential to recover and catch up on lost sleep plus spend quality time with our families.”
And this only affects rural paramedics (and the people they serve). “Rural and regional residents of NSW deserve an ambulance service staffed by professional and healthy, fresh and sharp paramedics just as much as those who live in metropolitan areas where on-call doesn’t exist,” says our ambo.
Rivers of gold for story ideas. One eagle-eyed reader noted an interesting connection between an advertisement appearing in The Australian followed by an article in the paper the next day.
On Monday August 6 a job ad for ABC News leadership opportunities — vacancies for the positions of head of newsgathering, head of news content and editor of the Asia Pacific News Centre — appeared on page 27.
The following day on page five, a story appeared about these very positions under the headline “Top ABC jobs up for grabs“.
As our tipster asked: “Coming this week page seven: ‘Prices are down at Coles, a source has revealed’?!”