What’s an ABC story? The ABC released on Friday a review of its news coverage compared to other outlets. Unsurprisingly, it found that the ABC covers more federal and international politics than its commercial competitors, and fewer general interest and “hip-pocket” stories. One of its observations was that there was an “opportunity for the ABC to increase the number of lighter, human or general interest stories it runs without trivialising or ‘dumbing down’ its (TV and radio) bulletins”. There has been regular criticism of the ABC that it is becoming increasingly tabloid in its approach to news. 

Rita Panahi’s new Sky gig. Herald Sun columnist Rita Panahi is joining Sky News with her very own program. The program will air on Friday afternoons — called The Friday Show — and, she said in a statement, “will have the usual mix of politics and current affairs that Sky News viewers know and love but will also include pop culture, social issues and plenty of sporting content”.

According to Sky’s press release about the program: “Rita is passionate about a number of issues from the plight of women in the Muslim world to the suppression of free speech in the West.”

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Wet journos. The weekend’s cyclone dominated the NT’s news coverage over the weekend, including a good dose of the particular genre of TV reporting that we see during such weather events: wet journos. The ABC’s Jano Gibson made several appearances in his raincoat during the day on the ABC, as did his colleague Kristy O’Brien.


A special mention, though, should go to another of their colleagues at the ABC, Dijana Damjanovic, who reported live into Saturday night’s bulletin, in front of her own car, which was under a fallen tree.

The revolving door. Seven’s Mark Llewellyn has quietly left the network, The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend. Llewellyn was executive producer of the axed Murder Uncovered on the network — a program he moved to from a dramatic stint at Sunday Night

Exclusive watch. After Batman, comes the hour, cometh the bulldust. Here’s John Ferguson in The Australian today: “It was The Australian that broke the story of the infighting among local Greens, and bickering escalated as the campaign progressed …”

Well, we’re accustomed to the Oz plastering “exclusive” all over the TV listings, bowls results from Moama, etc, but this one tickled us in particular. Y’see, not only did this publication and this correspondent break the story of the internal complaints against Alex Bhathal, and the factional divisions associated with it, but the Oz actually credited us with it: “Reports in the online news journal Crikey said Ms Bhathal faced a complaint from some party members …”

Who wrote that report? Victorian state reporter Samantha Hutchinson and a young tyro named John Ferguson. Well, it’s a common name … — Guy Rundle

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Married At First Sight is into the home stretch, so it will be Nine’s week, as it was Nine’s night last night with Married attracting a touch over 2 million viewers. Seven’s MKR was left behind again with 1.55 million nationally. Meanwhile the slump in Ten’s ratings continues — a 10% metro share in total people and a 6.3% main channel share, which is laughable. NCIS was Ten’s most watched program at 8.30pm with just 440,000 national viewers, just ahead of Ten News at 5pm with 416,000. The Sunday Project — 348,000 for 7pm and 292,000 for 6.30 pm —  also attracted pitiful figures.

Insiders was watched by 574,000 national viewers — 350,000 on the ABC’s main channel and a record 224,000 on ABC News. Landline was watched by close to an all time high of 467,000 national viewers.  In context: Insiders had more viewers than any program on the Ten Network in the whole of Sunday, as did Landline. Both had more viewers than the better resourced programs on Nine and Seven in the morning, and The Project and Ten News. And yet this success is ignored by the people who run ABC News and CEO Michelle Guthrie.

In regional Australia Married was tops with 562,000, Seven news was second with 495,000, MKR was third with 489,000, the 6.30pm Nine/NBN News was fourth with 371,000 and Sunday Night was fifth with 350,000. — Read the rest on the Crikey website

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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