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Media briefs

Jul 7, 2014

Media briefs: Fairfax twits … news-comedy grows up … Grey Lady explains …

Fairfax's entertainment reporters have been told to get with the digital age, and pronto. Plus other media tidbits of the day.

Fairfax sets Twitter targets. If a reporter tweets on the web and there’s no one around to hear it, will she still have a job?

According to an email sent on June 18 to Fairfax’s entertainment reporters (and seen by Crikey), Fairfax wants all its entertainment reporters to have at least 1000 Twitter followers by June 30 next year. Editors and producers who don’t often get bylines are given the slightly lower target of 500 followers. “It’s like something out of the fucking Office or something,” an insider said about the email, which also gives the journalists handy tips like adding their Twitter handle to their email signatures, asking high-profile Tweeps to retweet them and putting up lots of pictures. “If you’re looking to tweet a story from another news site, please check whether Fairfax has the story first and if so, tweet our version instead,” the email suggests.

Will Fairfax’s entertainment reporters make it? Crikey, ever helpful, takes a look at how the Fairfax crew is doing.

Entertainment editor and TV critic Michael Idato (@michaelidato) is the rock upon which Fairfax shall build its church. Saint Michael — whose flock  has reached over 10,000 — tweets like a prophet seized by the holy fire of popular culture. It is a little disconcerting to find links to stories on Iraqi massacres sprinkled among wistful memories of his days covering Seinfeld, though. Followers: 10,762

The dubious honour of most actual tweets goes to Brisbane Times arts reporter Natalie Bochenski (@girlclumsy), who has (at press time) been responsible for over 27,000 tweets. Recent highlights include a series of highly entertaining tweets during a visit to her old high school. She has 4350 followers.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Lisa Visentin (@LisaVisentin) strikes just the right balance between media professional and that casual acquaintance you wish you saw more often. Fairfax reporters take note (699 followers).

Entertainment reporter Sarah Thomas (@SarahLT101) clocks in at just under 250 followers, which is kind of amazing seeing as her display picture has her sandwiched between Irish twin heartthrobs Jedward. Tweets include this one, entirely stripped of context: “More cowbell!!!!! o”. — Crikey intern Paul Millar.

In defence of our CEO. Crikey doesn’t normally regale readers with stories about ourselves, but an item in today’s Oz media section really got our goat. Media Diary, you see, decided to take on our CEO Marina Go, who from September is leaving Crikey to become a general manager at Bauer Media. The Oz rehashed a column written by Go on managing up, which included tips like always being the bearer of good news, showering your boss with gifts and the like. “Quite extraordinary tips from a senior woman in journalism who is on the Walkley advisory board. It doesn’t appear to be a joke article,” media editor Sharri Markson wrote. She’s right — it’s not a joke article, but the quoted advice is clearly not advice that Go advocates.

If you read the full article and not the quotes used by Markson to make her point, you’ll see Go writing that while she has seen plenty of people manage up successfully using the above tips, “unfortunately I have never known my manager’s favourite wine or restaurant, and I prefer my meetings with industry leaders and clients to have a direct purpose”.

Reading comprehension failure, or just an axe to grind?

What John Oliver brings to the new-comedy genre. British comedian John Oliver is no longer a sidekick The Daily Show’s John Stewart and is taking on hard news programs in his new HBO show, according to Variety:

“In recent weeks, Oliver has presented a segment lasting than 13 minutes on the ‘net neutrality’ debate and one of more than 16 minutes about the troubles of dietary supplements pitched by luminaries such as Dr. Oz. He eviscerated FIFA, the governing body behind the World Cup, in a bit lasting 13 minutes and 14 seconds, according to a video posting from HBO on YouTube.

“How different are Oliver’s content pieces? The typical segment on the often hard-hitting 60 Minutes typically comes in between 11 minutes and 13 minutes, according to a spokesman for the CBS newsmagazine. Producers at Last Week Tonight declined through an HBO spokeswoman to comment.

“‘I see Oliver as the next logical extension of the genre,’ said Dannagal Young, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware who studies the use of political satire. Oliver, she said, ‘is going beyond traditional satire to give audience members specific directives that allow them to take action on the issues he deconstructs on the show.’”

Sisi weighs in on Greste decision. In a bit of good news for jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste and his colleagues, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said overnight that he wished the jailed Al Jazeera journalists had been deported rather than jailed. Their sentence, he added, has had a “very negative effect”.

It’s a slight change of tune for Sisi, who commented a fortnight ago that he would not interfere in the independence of Egypt’s courts.

Showing our age. Know what a phone booth is? The New York Times decided not to take the risk in Saturday’s edition, spelling it out in case its younger readers had no idea what it was on about. From the front page:

Front page of the day. Because we got high …

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6 thoughts on “Media briefs: Fairfax twits … news-comedy grows up … Grey Lady explains …

  1. klewso

    So, did The Oz/Markson plagiarise that piece?

  2. Yclept

    I know nothing of this Markson clown but from what you report she is obviously an oxygen thief of the worst kind.

  3. AR

    Reading comprehension failure, or just an axe to grind?” Both?

  4. Kevin Herbert

    But Markson’s a Walkley Award winner don’t you know….well she won the gong riding on the back of two fellow joint winners…an opinionated lightweight if ever I’ve seen one.

  5. klewso

    (from 1) ….. or just twist it out of context – to suit their jaundiced, bitter, bilirubin-tainted narrative? Again?

  6. klewso

    “Nation of dopes”? We don’t all read the Teletrash?