Not quite sponsored content. There was a time when working for the magazine of a major Australian broadsheet would guarantee you access to the company credit card, to fly wherever the story took you. Now? The stories that get told are increasingly those that someone else is willing to pay for. While you can’t be absolutely guaranteed of what a journalist might dig up, or how critical they’ll be, it is cheaper than advertising, and vastly more effective.

This week’s magazine in the Weekend Australian contains a profile of World Vision’s Tim Costello by Greg Bearup. At the end is this disclaimer:

“Greg Bearup travelled to Myanmar courtesy of World Vision.”

Worried about how junkets are shaping the news you’re told? Spotted anything interesting we should highlight? Get in touch — we want your help to keep an eye on it.

Curr apologises to Kenny. Refugee activist Pamela Curr, who was threatened with defamation action by Australian associate editor Chris Kenny after she said he had forced his way into a refugee’s room during the course of an interview, has retracted that part of her statement.

In a message posted to social media this morning, she wrote that she would like to “correct the record of events” about Kenny’s visit to the refugee known as Abyan on Nauru:

“I have established through conversations with the women at Ijuwe camp that Mr Kenny was not inside the room where Abyan and her roommate lived but was at the door in the breezeway which was common space for the six rooms which opened onto it …

“I was not lying but I accept now that Mr Kenny was not inside the room, however he was on the doorstep and within the space that Abyan was entitled to call her space and to choose who stood on her doorstep asking her questions.”

Curr maintains Abyan asked Kenny to go away. The confusion arose, Curr writes:

“… when Mr Kenny approached Abyan a second time for an interview and she became distressed and rang me. She said to me — words to the effect — the journalist is here and he won’t go away. I heard clearly what was taking place as Abyan told him to leave, to go away and that she was sick.”

“I apologise to Mr Kenny for any embarrassment he may have received, if people reading my original story, are thinking that Mr Kenny forced his way into Abyan’s hut.”

It’s not yet clear whether Kenny will now drop his action against Curr. — Myriam Robin

If you’re streaming, you can’t complain. Streaming video put out by TV stations is explicitly not covered by the new television code of practice, released by ACMA yesterday. An ACMA spokesperson told Crikey yesterday:

“While the complaint provisions of the current code do not explicitly refer or exclude streaming services, the code is clearly only about broadcasting services and therefore complaints about online content needn’t be dealt with formally by a licensee under the code.”

“In that respect the new code is the same, except it explicitly advises complainants that online content isn’t covered and therefore it’s not mandatory for a licensee to formally respond to a complaint based on that premise.”

Australia’s TV stations are subjected to further regulation than other media because they have access to the public airwaves. So no use of the public airwaves, no mandatory regulation around viewer standards and accuracy.

Australia’s commercial TV stations have not so far broadcast much content exclusively online, though the ABC has already moved in this direction, releasing some series only to iview. — Myriam Robin

Voice against The Voice. A desperate ITV has been running a very public campaign to grab singing program The Voice from the BBC by mounting all those shameless, phoney arguments so familiar to readers of the Murdoch press in the UK and Australia so far as state-owned broadcasters are concerned. The central one is that state-owned broadcasters should not be competing with the private sector (but the private sector has the “right” to compete against the state-owned broadcaster). The grubbiness of the campaign from ITV is underlined by two pertinent facts: 1) the crashing ratings for its central piece singing program, The X Factor, and 2) the fact that ITV owns the company that produces The Voice and faces a nearly US$1 billion payout to its former owner, Johnny de Mol (the man who gave the world Big Brother).

The crunching of The X Factor is by far the biggest concern for ITV; it was thrashed last Saturday and Sunday by the two episodes of Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC (Dancing With The Stars here in Australia on Seven). The X Factor’s ratings are rising after an early dip (and it and the dancing show are doing well in the record and watch ratings). But with the contract for The X Factor coming up for renewal next year, ITV is looking for a bit of insurance by lunging for The Voice.

ITV is also running a campaign to force the government to pressure the BBC to move its News at Ten from 10pm to allow ITV’s News At Ten to get better ratings. It is running the usual bullshit campaign about the BBC “crowding out rivals”. The problem is that ITV has a new newsreader and has spent a lot of money on the revamp of its 10pm bulletin, which started last month (and the audience still isn’t there). That, however, hasn’t stopped ITV from poaching the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston, making him political editor and building a Sunday talk show to directly compete with the BBC’s popular Andrew Marr Show. — Glenn Dyer

Video of the day. From Mark Davis’ 1992 film, Whitlam

Front page of the day. The knives are out, say the tabloids. It was bad timing for a royal visit …

Peter Fray

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