Since the ABC's managing director Michelle Guthrie stepped into the most-scrutinised media job in the country, her lack of a news background has often been raised in commentary. While the ABC was bumbling around sorting out the Emma Alberici mess it created, Fairfax's Tony Wright argued that the broadcaser needed a separate editor-in-chief, given that Guthrie was "out of her depth ... (and) is not a journalist".

Guthrie's immediate predecessor Mark Scott had worked as an education reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald before moving up as a Fairfax Media editorial executive. And in the late '90s, Brian Johns was at the helm (after a stint in the same role at the SBS), having worked as a journalist and chief of staff for The Sydney Morning Herald, before some time in book publishing. The bosses between those journalists were Russell Balding, who'd been a financial director, and the disastrous Jonathan Shier who had worked in the business side of broadcast media.