News hangs journo out to dry. According to UK media reports, a London judge has blasted News International, News Corp’s UK subsidiary, for refusing to pay the costs of a former Sun journalist who was convicted for aiding and abetting misconduct in public office (in other words, bribing a public official to get news stories). Because of that refusal, the reporter, Anthony France, has been forced to pay a portion of the prosecution’s costs.
Judge Timothy Pontius had awarded prosecution costs of 34,618 pounds, but he slashed that to just 10% after News International refused to pay. Pontius told an Old Bailey court room in London this week that News had a “moral duty” to support France and had previously insisted it would pay for the legal bills. France is the only journalist to be found guilty as a result of the multimillion-pound Operation Elveden investigation by the the Metropolitan Police into newspapers’ relationships (mostly The Sun) with public officials.
Pontius then rounded on News, saying “It remains a matter of considerable disappointment to me that News International, this defendant’s employer, will not pay the costs of the prosecution … After all the company funded his representation … at considerable expense.” According to the media reports Pontius noted that the practice of paying for stories was encouraged and “routinely followed” by The Sun. “In these circumstances I’m concerned to learn that News International still refuses to put its hands into its capacious pockets and accept the consequences.”
France now has to pay 3461 pounds. A crowdfunding appeal has been launched in the UK. — Glenn Dyer
The Oz‘s shrinking media section. The Australian‘s marketing writer and online media editor Lara Sinclair has tendered her resignation, and is expected to leave the paper in coming weeks.
Sinclair is one of the few writers who has spent years writing about media at The Australian — she’s been covering the marketing sector for more than a decade, and leaves paper with a gap in its specialised marketing knowledge, though presumably media business scribe Darren Davidson can hold down the fort if no one new is hired. Contacted yesterday, Sinclair said she wasn’t sure if she could say exactly where she’s going yet, but said “in general terms, it’s a tech start-up and I’ll be head of content”.
The Australian‘s media section has experienced heavy turnover in recent years, with many of its long-standing faces off to other outlets, sections, or to the well-remunerated world of public relations. Many haven’t been replaced. If we go back only three years, to 2012, the section had eight reporters on it. It’s now down to four, counting Sinclair. — Myriam Robin
Peak Guardian. It’s probably not sporting in these dark days, but one has to call out Peak Guardian when one must — if m’comrade Van Badham really thought that the Delta G/Jessie J “feud” on The Voice was a contrived catfight, why did she believe that a full op-ed on it would be anything other than a meta-contrivance? Or “analysis”, as we call it. Today’s Peak Guardian ratio, first of a regular service, is 0.4, being the ratio of articles that could only appear there to all op-ed articles on the page (perfect Peak Guardian would be epitomised by a ratio of 1. Excluding First Dog of course, touched by God). The second of the five articles today earns its stripes by being indistinguishable from byline and title of the commentisweird tumblr (Macer Gifford: “Why I left my job in finance to fight ISIS”). Hadley Freeman’s exploration of racism through the sufferings of multi-millionaire tennis superstar Serena Williams was a line-ball. — Guy Rundle
Front page of the day. Who needs page-3 girls …