Ross’ new gig. From next week, former ABC tech editor Nick Ross starts a job as editor of PC World and the Good Gear Guide. It’s a return to the tech press, his old stomping ground before getting hired by the ABC five years ago.
Ross took redundancy from Aunty after a protracted period that he says had him sidelined within the organisation after he was accused of taking an activist role in his coverage of the National Broadband Network. When he left earlier this year, he said the ABC had gagged him from writing on the NBN because he was critical of the Coalition, which Aunty wanted to keep onside. The ABC says it was just enforcing its editorial policies. — Myriam Robin
Bolt’s exclusive (now with bonus objectivity?). News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt turned on George Pell last night, saying on both Sky News and in his Herald Sun column this morning (syndicated nationally) that Pell’s comments that the actions of paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale weren’t of much interest to him would haunt the cardinal forever.
But by this morning on Sky News, he said he owed the cardinal an apology, saying he felt “embarrassed because I think I’ve joined the pack attacking” him. Bolt appeared rather uncomfortable with the fact that he was “trending positive” on Twitter. “I think I owe an apology and I’ll go back to being hated on Twitter,” he said (note to left-wing readers: if you want to annoy Bolt, maybe saying nice things about him online will do the trick).
The odd messaging is curious in light of Bolt’s upcoming exclusive interview with the cardinal, revealed by the Oz and 2GB last night. It’ll air on TV and radio. It’s not clear whether the interview will air on Sky, which wouldn’t confirm that to the Oz yesterday, or another commercial network, but it will air on 2GB. But it’s the only one the cardinal will give, and has given for some years.
This morning, the sceptical souls in the Crikey bunker pondered whether Bolt’s criticism of Pell was intended to lend credibility to the interview — to show Bolt can be tough and objective, and should be worth watching as he grills the cardinal. But now that he’s taken it back, frankly we don’t know what to think. — Myriam Robin
It’s a man’s world. The most popular noun in Australian online news headlines is “man”, and you’re more likely to read stories with the words “Australian”, “police” and even “Abbott” than you are to see a headline with the word “woman”. The word “Sydney” is the fifth most popular noun, but you’ve got to go quite a way down the list to number 10 to get to “Melbourne”.
The rankings come from Share Wars’ Likeable Engine, which trawls 30 major Australian news websites to track shares on particular news headlines. An analysis of which nouns are most likely to appear in the titles of stories reveal some of the obsessions of the Australian news business.
The data show that while stories with the word “man” in them are very common, much more so than the word “woman”, stories about “men” are far less likely to get written than stories about “women”.
In a blog post, Share Wars’ Andrew Hunter, who is also the editor-in-chief of MSN.com, muses on why this could be the case:
“Our data suggests issues affecting women (domestic violence, safety, discrimination) were reported on more frequently than those affecting men.
“Men in the news are a more finely sliced pie. Sometimes they are agents of crime and violence (brawling men, murderers), other times they are society’s protectors (‘The men who are trained to be invisible: Meet Australia’s navy clearance divers’). Occasionally they are to be studied and puzzled over (‘Millions of men have no close friends’).”
— Myriam Robin
ITV’s woes. Britain’s main commercial TV network, ITV, reports its 2015 revenue, profit and dividend tonight, and the figures are expected to do the network proud; all should be higher as Britain’s TV ad boom continues. ITV has a considerable presence in Australia, producing programs like The Chase Australia for Seven, I’m A Celebrity for Ten, Mad As Hell and Dr Blake for the ABC, with several more new programs to come for Seven.
ITV has spent close to US$2 billion in actual and possible future payments to become one of the largest independent TV production houses in the world (top two in the US and Europe and No. 1 in the UK), but many of the programs that have failed have been in-house productions, which has increased pressure on the board to stop the rot. Key executives outside London in the US and Australia have been removed for no good reason (head office power plays), and this has led to a loss of relationships with some key content buyers (outside ITV).
The end of Downton Abbey after six seasons has ripped an enormous hole out of its Sunday night schedule, with the network failing to find an adequate replacement. The network’s 10pm news has fallen further behind the BBC’s news program at the same time, and ITV’s breakfast program also lags behind the BBC’s. No wonder ITV has been lobbying the government to restrict what the BBC can buy, produce and broadcast.
ITV’s long-time chair Archie Norman retires soon and will be replaced by TV veteran Sir Peter Bazalgette (the man who brought Big Brother to Britain), while the network’s head of TV, Peter Fincham, was replaced in January at his request (he goes at Easter). He will be replaced by Kevin Lygo, the head of ITV Studios, which has become part of the problem for the broadcaster. — Glenn Dyer
Video of the day. John Oliver finally goes Donald Trump. It’s long, but worth it …