Waterstreet off Q&A panel. Sydney barrister Charles Waterstreet’s controversial appearance on tonight’s special Q&A panel discussing the #MeToo movement has been scrapped. The ABC announced this morning that Waterstreet had withdrawn on advice from the NSW Bar Association. “It is disappointing Mr Waterstreet will not be able to contribute to the perspectives canvassed in tonight’s discussion,” the statement said. 

The decision to include Waterstreet on the panel was widely criticised, mostly due to claims (which he denies) of workplace sexual harassment against him.

AAP closes NZ newswire. News agency Australian Associated Press has announced it will close its New Zealand wire service due to a lack of clients. The service, called Newswire, launched in 2011, and will close at the end of April, keeping just two of its 14 journalists in New Zealand as correspondents for the Australian news wire service. Last year, New Zealand’s two biggest newspaper companies NZME and Fairfax Media had their bid to merge rejected by the competition regulator, a decision that is currently under appeal.

Yahoo7 TV team cut. After last week’s odd press release about a restructure, Yahoo7 has cut its TV team, Mumbrella reports. There were up to eight full-time staff who will be without jobs, as well as head of TV Homaira Razi.

Seven West Media now under water. Seven West Media was 48 cents on the ASX at Wednesday’s close, down 3% on the day and 8.5% from 52.5 cents last Friday. At that price, its value sits at $724 million, according to ASX data. The 2016-17 annual report said Seven West had $795 million of gross debt and $725 million of net debt. So the company is now underwater. The company reports its December quarter figures on Tuesday. The market is signalling that it thinks Seven West is a basket case. It got Ten right last year, so what about Seven West? — Glenn Dyer

A seven-hour NY Times career. It took only a few hours between The New York Times announcing Quinn Norton as a new member of the editorial board, and the storied newspaper and her parting ways. Shortly after the announcement, old tweets from Norton surfaced that included homophobic comments and a friendship with a white supremacist. New York Magazine has unpacked what happened:

As her tweets demonstrate, Norton is nothing if not open about her beliefs, and it’s odd to have only discovered her association with white supremacist trolls so late in the process. It seems just as likely that she was hired to play a ‘provocative’ role like other recent op-ed hires, but her candor ultimately made her position unsustainable. (Never underestimate the power of plausible deniability.)

Some good news. Research from The Guardian has found that when it publishes good news stories, or constructive or “solutions” journalism, it gets more readers, and they’re more engaged. Head of special projects Mark Rice-Oxley wrote that what they found over the 18-month project would mean The Guardian would “deepen its commitment” to these sorts of stories:

We won’t jump at every piece of puff and PR that comes our way. We will set a high bar, looking for things that appear replicable, robust and confront the big challenges of our times — the environment, health (particularly mental), atomised communities, flagging democracy, gender discrimination and technology.

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Another Seven win thanks to the dominance of the Winter Games from 9.15pm — which completely negated the win by Married At First Sight on Nine. It was the lowest audience so far for the Games — 1.07 million nationally on Seven’s main channel. That no doubt gave Nine and Ten encouragement. But there was another 383,000 people watching other Games feeds on 7mate, meaning the total audience for the Games coverage on Seven was a solid 1.46 million, which would make it the second biggest audience on the night behind Married’s 1.56 million and just ahead of Seven news with 1.46 million. 

My Kitchen Rules had a national audience of 1.39 million — the lowest national audience in its history and down around 18% from the week before. We are seeing the same pattern develop as we saw last year — Married rising as it gets crazier and more offensive, MKR falling as it moves away from the pop up restaurant section of the contest. That’s why Seven had a total audience share last night of 39% to Nine’s 27.4%. 

But that was it for the night. Mad As Hell grabbed 717,000, just behind Ten’s I’m A Celebrity with 741,000 nationally. Seven’s Sunrise again easily beat Today nationally and in the metros. In the regions, another Seven win with the news tops with 527,000, then MKR second with 467,000, Seven News/Today Tonight was third with 452,000, Married was fourth with 428,000 and Home and Away was fifth with 431,000. — Read the rest on the Crikey website

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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