No knee-jerk reaction: Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes has defended his program after The Age’s departing weekday editor Mike van Niekerk wrote a blistering op-ed attacking its latest episode. In the piece, headlined “Media Watch should keep to the standards it espouses”, van Niekerk lashes Holmes for not contacting him before implying he was leaving Fairfax because of declining editorial standards.
At the end of Monday night’s episode, which covered the latest redundancy rounds at Fairfax and News Limited, Holmes replayed part of a 2008 interview in which van Niekerk said he would “get out of this business” if the company cut back on quality journalism. Holmes then noted: “That was then, and this is now. One of the senior editors to take a redundancy package from The Age last week was Mike van Niekerk.”
This, according to van Niekerk, was an inaccurate “cheap shot”. “My reasons are personal but, for all Media Watch knows, I could have a terminal illness or have been offered a position at the The New York Times,” he writes. “They didn’t ask. It’s much easier and lazier to cobble together a quote here and a quote there to suit a point you’re determined to make.”
Holmes was unrepentant this morning. “It was just a juxtaposition of what he said then and what is happening now,” he told Crikey. “If we’d called him I’m sure he would have said he didn’t leave for those reasons.” Last week, Holmes corrected an online piece for The Drum in which he stated Vex News had “led the charge in pursuing the Julia Gillard-Bruce Wilson affair”. The website has in fact criticised The Australian for running hard on the issue. — Matthew Knott
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Front page of the day. Take a bow (again), NT News …
Typo of the day. Here at Crikey we are loath to point out other publications’ typos (glass houses and all that) but we found it rather humorous that The Australian columnist Janet Albrechtsen got the ABC’s PM host Mark Colvin’s name wrong today …
ABC MD on Aunty’s sport coverage, ratings
“ABC managing director Mark Scott reflects on role of the national broadcaster in celebrating Australian sporting achievement.” — The Drum
Murdoch pockets $30 million
“Some members of the British Parliament felt News Corp chief executive Rupert Murdoch was not ‘fit’ to lead his sprawling media company in the aftermath of the continuing phone-hacking scandal in London. But News Corp directors felt differently, bestowing Murdoch with a $30-million compensation package in the company’s 2012 fiscal year.” — The Los Angeles Times
Al Jazeera website hacked
“The websites of the Arabic news network, Al Jazeera, were hacked on Tuesday, apparently by a group sympathetic to the Syrian regime. Al Jazeera’s English and Arabic websites were affected by the hack, made by a group calling itself al-Rashedon, or ‘the guided ones’.” — The Guardian
Ukrainian journalists protest
“Top Ukrainian journalists interrupted President Viktor Yanukovych’s speech on press rights Monday, protesting increasing media censorship by the authorities.” — The Washington Post