Drummond to GQIn the most surprising career move since Ben Naperstek jumped from Good Weekend to SBS’ online division, The Weekend Financial Review has lost editor Matthew Drummond, with the Walkley winner and former lawyer deciding to move to News Corp’s New Life Media to head up GQ Australia.

For much of Drummond’s tenure at the Weekend Fin, Fairfax journos guessed the publisher might be close to closing the weekend paper, which struggled in circulation. That said, it posed a circulations rise last audit release — which is virtually unheard of these days. At the Weekend AFR, Drummond encouraged colourful features and surprising takes on issues, in a bid to break out of the Fin‘s more straight-laced Monday-to-Friday template. — Myriam Robin

AFL ratings not worth promoting the other guys. Last month, the AFL signed a record $2.5 million broadcast rights deal with Seven, Foxtel and Telstra. But while that showed Seven was willing to pay big money to screen AFL, it certainly doesn’t want it enough to air the finals of the West Australian league, given the West Perth Falcons have the Channel Nine logo emblazoned on their stomachs.

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The Falcons signed a three-year, $300,000 contract with Channel Nine to sponsor the club last year, which has led to Seven refusing to air its games. When it signed the deal, the ABC held the rights, but The West Australian has reported the club was warned a deal with Seven in 2015 was likely. Last weekend, the WA Football Commission found West Perth in breach of its playing licence and threatened to impose financial penalties on the club unless it removes the logo. The Falcons, meanwhile, have threatened to take the Football Commission to court over the matter. Seven is still refusing to broadcast the games, but Channel Nine last month said it’d be happy to broadcast them itself if the Falcons made the finals.

Over the weekend, West Perth defeated Peel Thunder to qualify for the second semi-final next Sunday. — Myriam Robin

Domestic violence reporting under the spotlight. Yesterday in Canberra, media organisations met with Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, as well as several others including former Victorian police commissioner Ken Lay and representatives from domestic violence support services Our Watch and 1800 Respect to talk about ways the media can report more responsibly on domestic violence.

Representing the media at the meeting were reps from:

  • ASTRA and Sky (pay TV);
  • FreeTV and Prime7 (free-to-air TV);
  • Commercial Radio Australia;
  • the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia;
  • the ABC and SBS;
  • the Walkley Foundation;
  • the Australian Press Council
  • the Independent Media Council, representing The West Australian

From the government, the ACMA, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Communications all had reps in the room. At the conclusion of the discussions, industry reps had said they would encourage their members to add the 1800 Respect domestic violence helpline to the bottom of stories on domestic violence issues, and to write to the government outlining what further steps they would take.

Speaking at the press conference flanked by Malcolm Turnbull and Michaelia Cash afterwards, Batty said that media organisations should be careful of how they can sometimes blame the victim when reporting on issues of domestic violence.

“I have to say, when you get it right, you get it so right it is amazing,” she told reporters in Canberra. “When you get it wrong you ruin people’s lives. So when you see things written in an informed way, an informed way you can change attitudes of society in the most powerful way that we can ever do. But when you use victim blaming language and you don’t even know that you’re doing it, that is what we’re all struggling with as a society because you’re using the same tools as everyone else to condone violence without realising. So our challenge is really for us all to improve our understanding and depth of knowledge of the myths associated around family violence, about the victim blaming that we do.” — Myriam Robin

Journos like talking. Macquarie University’s Centre for Media History has announced a new annual lecture in honour of Brian Johns, the former managing director of the ABC and CEO of SBS.

Delivering the inaugural lecture is current ABC MD Mark Scott. He’ll be speaking on “The Future of the Australian Story” next Tuesday.

Last week, Melbourne University announced the speaker at its A.N. Smith lecture next month — ABC journo Sarah Ferguson is to deliver a lecture entitled “Freedom from Information: Australia’s War on Transparency”.

Who says there’s a housing crisis. Fairfax is a launching a new supplement — and in print!

Domain Prestige launches tomorrow for 12 weeks. Inserted into the Financial Review, it’ll include listings and stories devoted only to homes worth $3m and up. In the release, executive editor Stephen Nicholls said there was a gap in the market for coverage of the prestige homes sector.

The red tops’ red top. It was simply signed “Rebekah” and was the first communication from the returning head girl at the rowdy UK school controlled by the influential Murdoch family (aka News UK). In her email to staff, Rebekah Brooks, reinstalled as head of News UK and returning to the job after a four-year break, said: “It is a privilege to be back and many thanks for the warm welcome.” There are hundreds of people at News UK no longer there who worked with her in her previous roles as editor and CEO.

Brooks resigned as chief executive of News UK in July 2011 after the News of the World phone-hacking scandal engulfed the company, along with the bribery scandal at The Sun. She was in charge of both papers when these offences occurred. She was cleared of all charges relating to hacking, corrupt payments and allegations of the perversion of the course of justice in June 2014 and within months had rejoined the empire in a consultancy role, working with Rupert Murdoch in New York, being brought up to speed on all things digital in Dublin with News’ video news arm, Storyful (whose founder and CEO quit earlier this year saying he was “getting out while the going is good”), and then negotiating her return to the CEO’s role once a new editor for The Sun had been found (Tony Gallagher, a deputy editor of the Daily Mail and editor of The Telegraph).

So Brooks is back but with a huge task. She no longer has control of her future — it is in the hands of those at Facebook, Apple, the hated Google, and other emerging social media giants. The hard and high paywall debacle at The Sun has enfeebled the paper, as has the pop diet of diets, celebrities, gossip, sport, with few hard news stories.

The maths of the UK business is being driven by the fading glories of The Sun. Its sales fell 11.5% in the year to August to 1.84 million copies a day, while the Sunday paper has lost 8.3% of its sales in the same time. Revenues are falling, and so are profits, from 62.1 million pounds in 2013 to 35.6 million pounds in the year to June 2014. Its online presence has become farcical — around 800,000 on July 9, as reported last month; the lowest of all the UK’s national papers and tens of millions behind the likes of the Mail and Daily Mirror and Guardian websites (all of which are free). — Glenn Dyer

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Peter Fray
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