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Jul 26, 2016

Media briefs: Devine retribution … welcome Independent Australia … terror! (or not) …

Croats v Tony Jones ... Guardian still bleeding ... car bomb terror (or not) ...

Devine providence. Last night’s Media Watch parsed a story by Miranda Devine last week that claimed teachers at a NSW school had been asked not to refer to students using gendered terms.

Teachers at a leading Sydney all-girls school have been asked to stop calling students “girls”, “ladies” or “women”, but to use “gender-neutral language instead,” the front page splash claimed.

The claim was widely slammed following statements by the NSW Education Minister and the school itself saying no such edict had been made. But the issue was mentioned, Media Watch revealed, though perhaps not in the way the Tele implied it. Media Watch says the suggestion was made by a junior teacher, who said gender-neutral language should be used when students requested it. It’s a little short of school policy, but Devine is taking it all in stride.

“So Media Watch tried their best but had to confirm our story was correct, that CGHS teachers WERE asked to use gender-neutral language,” she tweeted this morning. 

“So now you’ve confirmed our story true, why let off Minister Piccoli for media denials & false claim it’s not a safe school?” — Myriam Robin

Guardian tries to stop the bleeding. Guardian Media Group, which publishes The Guardian and Observer newspapers, will this week reveal one of the highest annual losses for a UK media company in recent years — more than 170 million pounds or around US$300 million as it battles high costs, falling investment values and weaker-than-expected ad revenues.

A well-informed story in the Financial Times revealed the loss of 173 million pounds, including an operating loss of nearly 69 million pounds, or well over A$122 million. The higher figure includes a loss of about 80 million pounds (more than A$140 million) in the value of its stake in Ascential, a listed magazine and events company formerly known as Emap). On top of that is a 20 million pound (A$32 million) restructuring charge over severance payments for 270 jobs shed in a cost-cutting exercise forced on the company by the rotten result for the year to March 31. Guardian management said earlier in the year that it would also close 60 unfilled vacancies across the company.

Of interest to other media groups and analysts will be the size of the GMG cash pool left over from selling a string of assets. Its rapid fall in 2015-16 because of factors such as the fall in ad revenues and markets (which cut returns on that cash pool) triggered a sense of panic earlier this year at the paper remains palpable today.

The Guardian’s coverage of a key area of interest, the media, is being cut in half, with the two pages in Monday editions halved to one, starting immediately. The explanation: cost cutting, As part of that, columnist Roy Greenslade will continue writing, but it is expected he will no longer have the freedom to self-publish his blog directly on the website as he has previously done on a daily basis.

The worsening financial position of the company is widely thought to be why former editor Alan Rusbridger decided not to go ahead with his previously announced decision to become chairman of the Scott Trust, which controls GMG and the papers. He resigned from the trust as it became clear there was growing internal opposition to his move because he and former CEO Andrew Miller were being blamed (mostly by journalists on the two papers) for the group’s financial problems. — Glenn Dyer

More in the Croats v Tony Jones. While the ABC appears to have no plans to address the concerns of some members of Australia’s Croatian community about comments on Croatian terrorism in the 1960s and 1970s made by Tony Jones a week ago (we covered the complex issue yesterday), the ABC may yet have to answer questions about it. Crikey understands Croatian-born businessman Marko Franovic has plans to send letters to the all the members of Australian Parliament explaining his strong objection to Jones’ comments. The letter, which Crikey has seen in draft form, will likely be included in this week’s edition of Croatian paper Za Dom Spremni. From there it’s one short hop to the issue being raised at Senate estimates — it’s not like conservative politicians need much of an excuse to hammer the ABC. — Myriam Robin

A tale of two front pages. On Friday, we covered how many parts of the media initial believed Thursday night’s attack on a Merrylands police station to be a terrorist attack — a suggestion hosed down by police later in the night. After police denied that the attack was terrorism, much of the coverage was updated.

A tipster has since sent us through images of two different editions of the Daily Telegraph. The one on the left is obviously an early one, while the one on the right is the one that was most widely published later in the night. The word “terror” was initially in the headline, but it was later dropped. Papers print very few copies of their earliest editions.

carbombterror

 

Independent Australia joins Press Council.Two more publishers have joined the Press Council. Echo Publications, which publishes the Byron Shire Echo and Echonetdaily, has signed up, along with lefty news website Independent Australia.

The Press Council is hailing this as a vote of confidence in it. For readers, it means that they can now complain to the Press Council about any breaches of the Press Council’s principles published in any of the above titles.

The Press Council, which is mostly funded by News Corp and Fairfax, aims for total coverage of the Australian print media. It’s had some big wins lately, with the Daily Mail and Huffington Post’s local outfits signing up last year. But it has yet to sign up the Guardian Australia, which prefers to deal with complaints internally. In May, The Guardian appointed Paul Chadwick as its latest readers’ editor — tasked with considering reader complaints about its coverage. Chadwick was Victoria’s first privacy commissioner and the ABC’s first director of editorial policy. — Myriam Robin

Front page of the day. The NT News on Four Corners’s staggering report …

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2 comments

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2 thoughts on “Media briefs: Devine retribution … welcome Independent Australia … terror! (or not) …

  1. MJM

    “Guardian tries to stop the bleeding.”

    I read the Guardian Australia site every day and would happily subscribe if I could do so in $AUD. But I can’t so I don’t. The Conversation, Crikey and Inside Story all seem happy to receive my $AUD support.

  2. Kevin_T

    A car lit on fire hurtling into the entrance of my place of work, would terrorise me. I really don’t think the use of the word terror or even terrorism in this case is inappropriate. However, linking it to a group, race or religion would be.

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