Where that $70 million went: Torney responds to Turnbull. ABC news director Kate Torney has issued a response to Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s blog post of last week, writing on The Drum that the ABC has vastly increased its output in five years.

Expanding on the message she sent to staff last week, Torney writes that the ABC must keep adapting to the needs of its audiences. “And as the New York Times, the BBC and other news organisations are discovering, there is no easy pathway to change. It is inevitable there will be painful steps along the way affecting jobs and programming,” she wrote.

Last week, Turnbull wrote in his blog post of the $70 million allocated to the ABC over three years to expand its news and current affairs programming for a digital age. “ABC viewers and staff have the right to question management on where this investment has been made,” Turnbull wrote.

Torney responds that she’s happy to detail where the investment went. She says 90 jobs have been created across a range of projects, including the National Reporting Team (which has delivered “293 stories which formed the basis for 979 pieces of content”, with 40% of these stories picked up by other outlets), ABC Fact Check, and the ABC’s new regional video journalists.

These projects, Torney wrote, represent “a substantial return on investment”. — Myriam Robin

The market ain’t buying it. If the struggling Ten Network is a takeover target, as writers from The Australian Financial Review have been trying to suggest for much of this year, why did the share price fall to an all time low of 22 cents last Friday? That’s a fall of 10% for the week and more than 6% for the day. The price is up a whole 0.2 of a cent today to 22.2 cents, which is derisory given all the attempts to improve, and reports that ITV was looking to acquire it, along with Foxtel and UK private equity group, Providence (which is Lachie Murdoch’s investor of choice. It partnered him in his abortive attempt to buy Cons Media six years ago, before the GFC erupted). But none of the Ten target mob have managed to explain why, if the company remains a target, so do many investors, especially the day trader punters and desperate hedge funds, think otherwise. — Glenn Dyer

Danby the Prescient. Federal Labor MP Michael Danby is not happy with our Bernard Keane. In the Oz’s media section, he has a rambling piece decrying numerous media outlets, most particularly The Age, which apparently wouldn’t publish him (even though he submitted at over 200 pieces!), and our good selves for publishing Keane, who is apparently not nice to him on Twitter. The piece is part of Media Diary’s lame “war” against Crikey, following our publication of their disastrous finances, the huge salaries awarded to some of their contributors, and the fact that Media editor Sharri Markson isn’t among them.

Danby accuses the market-oriented Keane of being on the far-left (which will be news to the far-left), and of being an obscure former public servant (nothing like a bit of snobbery from a Labor member) and of engaging in conspiracy theories. Since the article is devoted to a roll call of those who have excluded Danby from publication behind the scenes — The Age editors, Crikey‘s “ideologues” and of course the Jesuits — he is at least in his area of expertise. In other areas, he’s a bit shaky:

“My experience with Melbourne’s The Age is worse. In 1985, when I was the editor of the fortnightly newsletter The Australian-Israel Review, I wrote an opinion piece for The Age in support of the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and his then imminent signing of the Rose Garden Peace Accord, under Bill Clinton’s auspices, with then Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.”

That would have been a prescient article indeed, since the Oslo peace process was a decade away in 1985, Ronald Reagan was US President, and Shimon Peres was prime minister of Israel. Perhaps The Age found it just too forward-thinking for them. Or maybe it was as mentally disorganised and inaccurate as Danby’s current piece, and gas, there’s no conspiracy — people don’t publish him because he’s a terrible writer. Let’s face it, not being able to get a pro-Zionist piece in The Age of the 80s-2000s is akin, in the old saying, to leaving the IDF still a virgin. You will be amazed when I tell you that no one at the Oz picked up this elementary error. Watching those sweet airheads go to war is like watching the coyote unwrap a new delivery from Acme.

He’s fucking boring to interview. Here’s something that’ll send a shiver up the spine of every judicious journalist. Musician Orlando Higginbottom was interviewed recently in Melbourne by a so-far unnamed journalist, who was unlucky enough to leave his notes behind. Those notes included rather honest advice on how to interview Higginbottom, including the warning that he’s “fucking boring to interview”, “doesn’t smile” or even make eye contact.

Higginbottom posted the note to his Facebook page, noting wryly that it’s “all true”.

Front page of the day. A long-awaited return to glory …

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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