Taylor to Seven. Seven has filled the vacancy left by executive producer Mark Llewellyn’s departure, appointing Foreign Correspondent executive producer Steve Taylor as the new head of Sunday Night. It’s strange for a commercial broadcaster to look to Aunty for senior talent, but Taylor’s got commercial media experience. He started his career at Seven’s Canberra bureau, though he’s been an executive producer with the ABC for 12 years (the first six with 7.30 Report, as it was then called, the next six with Foreign Correspondent).
In its statement on the long-mooted appointment, Seven paid tribute to Taylor’s “outstanding record of leadership, creativity, and commitment to great journalism”. Taylor said he was thrilled to be joining Sunday Night’s “crack team”.
Over at Aunty, Taylor’s departure was described as “a loss to Foreign Correspondent and to ABC News”. “Steve has been an outstanding executive producer for the past 12 years”, ABC head of current affairs Bruce Belsham said in an email to staff. “In recent years, he has overseen a renewal and consolidation of Foreign Correspondent with a commitment to compelling subjects and strong narratives.”
Taylor’s departure is less than ideal for Foreign Correspondent. Crikey understands its budget has been cut by 10% in 2015, though, as Taylor told us last week, the program was nonetheless going to broadcast as many hours in 2015 as it did this year. But your correspondent had the impression things were still in some state of flux with the program, and the loss of an EP can’t help that. Marianne Leitch, currently a producer at Foreign Correspondent, will step up as acting EP while the process to replace Taylor goes on.
Taylor declined to comment this morning, saying his first step should be to speak to his new staff at Sunday Night.
While we’re on the subject of departures from Aunty, the broadcaster announced yet another one yesterday afternoon. Patricia Barraclough, who’s been at the ABC for four decades, has decided to leave. She’s currently the executive producer of the axed 7.30 Canberra — a position she’s held for 13 years. Before that, she was the co-creator and first supervising producer of Australian Story, and was part of the team that started Lateline.
Kerry O’Brien paid tribute to Barraclough yesterday, describing her as “one of the very best I’ve worked with over nearly 50 years in journalism”. “Trish’s experience, maturity, determination to think outside the square, mentoring capacity and sheer good-heartedness, will be missed.” — Myriam Robin
Subtlety? We don’t need no stinking subtlety. As we (along with everyone else) pointed out yesterday, The Age’s Green Guide had a spectacular cock-up when it placed a photo of Nazeem Hussain on page three and said it was Waleed Aly. We asked what happened, and were told it was a “production error”. Some got in touch after deadline and said that was code for “those damn New Zealand subeditors” Fairfax has outsourced production to. But I digress.
The Guardian mentioned the error yesterday in its weekly media column by Amanda Meade, and features editor Brigid Delaney decided to have some fun and reverse The Age’s error, over and over. There are four photos of Waleed Aly in the article, but each of them is captioned to say they’re of another non-white Australian journalist. A photo of Lee Lin Chin, meanwhile, is captioned as being that of Aly.
Junkee picked up on The Guardian’s gag, and ran an article titled: “The Guardian Just Spectacularly Trolled The Age Over Their Waleed Aly/Nazeem Hussain Mix-up”. The story essentially explained the joke. You’d think media reporting on media reporting on media can get rather tiresome, but not for readers apparently. Junkee’s post was shared a massive 5600 times and got 70,000 views, according to the counter Junkee puts on its articles.
That’s way more than the original Guardian post, which had only 1400 shares that we could see. Go figure.
But perhaps The Guardian’s joke was too subtle. Here’s The Age’s news director Mark Forbes yesterday. We can only hope this was also meant in jest. — Myriam Robin
Federal Court to decide on Suruwaha case. At 2.30pm today, the Federal Court will hand down a ruling on whether the Australian Communications and Media Authority had the right to rule that Channel Seven had breached the broadcasting code of practice in a segment broadcast in 2011 that accused the Amazonian Suruwaha tribe of infanticide.
Channel Seven argued in the Federal Court in 2012 that ACMA’s findings contained legal errors, but the justice involved found in ACMA’s favour in June 2014. Channel Seven appealed, but only on ACMA’s finding that its program had perpetuated an intense dislike and contempt for the tribe on the basis of its ethnicity. — Myriam Robin
Video of the day. After 10 seasons, Stephen Colbert will grace American screens for the final time tonight. At least, for the final time as his famous blowhard character. Here he is talking to the man who inspired him.