Revised Alberici piece re-posted. The ABC has finally re-posted chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici’s analysis of corporate tax cuts. The piece was back online yesterday with an editor’s note that, according to The New Daily‘s Quentin Dempster, was negotiated between Alberici’s lawyers and the ABC. As well as the usual sentence explaining that the piece had been revised and that “passages that could be interpreted as opinion have been removed”, the note says: “Our editorial processes have also been reviewed. Emma Alberici is the ABC’s chief economics correspondent and is a respected and senior Australian journalist”. 

Alberici’s article was taken down amid criticism from the government and business leaders, although the ABC insists its response was not due to pressure from outside the broadcaster. The furore has capped off a horror few weeks for the ABC, where it has repeatedly been accused of bowing to political pressure.

Parkland student journos: reporters and survivors. The teenage survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting last week have been widely applauded for speaking out on US gun laws. Some of those students are also reporters on the school’s newspaper, The Eagle Eye, and the Columbia Journalism Review has spoken to some of its staffers about their experience:

The Eagle Eye staff took photos and videos of students and teachers crammed into classroom closets and, later, of students being evacuated from the building, their hands above their heads. Ryan Deitsh, a staff reporter for both The Eagle Eye and the school’s television station, tweeted videos of students being led into a classroom to hide, and of a procession of students running to safety, surrounded by law enforcement.

Another student reporter, David Hogg, interviewed students from inside a dark closet. “We tried to have as many pictures as possible to display the raw emotion that was in the classroom,’ Ma says. ‘We were working really hard so that we could show the world what was going on and why we need change.”

Murdochs’ big pay packets. Is this the sickest joke in a long list of sick jokes about the way the Murdoch family keeps giving itself fat pay and share rewards at its two companies, 21st Century Fox and News Corp? In the latest case 21st Century Fox, now in the depths of merger talks with Disney in a deal worth more than US$60 billion, will give the top five executives in the company, including Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch, millions of dollars worth free shares to keep them incentivised doing what they would always be doing, making sure the Disney deal works.

From August, they will be allowed to access restricted performance shares awarded three years ago and worth $US27.5 million for the trio of Murdochs. That will be on top of other restricted performance shares they are already entitled to which will 50% vest on the date of the merger and the rest 15 months after that date. They have a current value (at US$37.16 for the A class Fox shares) of nearly US$56 million, making a total of close to US$84 million, or around AU$106 million for the three Murdochs alone.

This was the weak Fox explanation for the latest largesse in the statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission:

The Compensation Committee believes this change, which leverages the current compensation program of aligning compensation with the interests of our shareholders, will drive substantial shareholder value by strengthening retention incentives for key employees at a time of uncertainty while the Company completes the Disney Transactions on an accelerated timeline and during a time of substantial change.

Why do the trio of Murdochs need any more incentive than what they already have? Isn’t it enough that they (and the rest of those in the Murdoch Family Trust) now control Fox and will continue to do so after the Disney deal with just 14% of the shares in the company (through their 39% plus holding of the B class voting shares)? This will be in addition to their regular salaries which, if 2016-17 is any guide, will top US$60 million between them. — Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Seven’s night with an easy win as My Kitchen Rules (1.67 million national viewers and the 13th night of the Winter Games (1.05 million on the main channels and 293,000 on 7mate for a total audience for the games of 1.34 million from 5pm) did the job for Seven. Nine ran dead — it didn’t have an episode of Married At First Sight. Ten battled with Googlebox doing well with 911,000 and I’m A Celebrity improving to 832,000 national viewers. The ABC wasn’t sighted.

In regional markets MKR was tops with 559,000, Seven News was second with 485,000, Home and Away was third with 439,000, Seven News/Today Tonight was fourth with 420,000 and the Winter Games coverage was fifth with 328,000. — Read the rest on the Crikey website

Peter Fray

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