May 25, 2018

Media roundtable: should the head of the ABC be a journalist?

Is Michelle Guthrie's non-journalist credentials holding her back? Does the ABC need a seasoned reporter to steer it in the right direction? Crikey took the question to prominent media insiders to find out.

Emily Watkins — Media reporter

Emily Watkins

Media reporter

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.

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16 thoughts on “Media roundtable: should the head of the ABC be a journalist?

  1. Itsarort

    Should Gerard Henderson consistently declare his financial and social interests before pouting his religious sermons and faith in the Liberal government – as if he were Christ himself mounting the mound? I call people like Henderson ‘self-interested scoundrals’ and his “Institute”, a tedious mill for fraud and chicanery.

    1. AR

      I’m set slightly athwart by the image of Gerontius “..pouting his …sermons”.
      I hope that it was not a typo.

      1. Itsarort

        Ahh, nope. Just having some fun.

  2. paddy

    ROTFL … Ah Crikey, saved the best troll for last. Gerard Henderson? LOLOLOL

  3. Greybeard

    What tedious comment from Gerard Henderson. Nothing constructive to say, just a bitter rant.

  4. Lingo

    Good old Gerard, always reliable. “I prefer to term them Soviets” – of course you do. Gerard, of course you do. Your figure appears suddenly over the lip of the puppet show box. There’s Bronny B on one side, red slash of a mouth screeching madly, “Socialists! They’re all bloody socialists! They want to destroy capitalism and democracy and impound the world’s supply of pancake makeup and rouge…” and across the stage there’s Lonesome Gerard, the last of the conservative intellectual tortoises prognosticating miserably about the contemporary revival of the clsss war and the collectisation of lettuce production. Well. It keeps us revolting peasants amused. And at least he can’t say nobody asked him.

  5. Jimbo from Logan

    Oh, Droopy Dog, you never fail to disappoint. Also, btw, Henderson is no more a political commentator than I am. Why, only this morning I zinged off a few Tweets.

  6. AR

    It’s always interesting to be reminded that, for reasons entirely divorced from & unconcerned with efficacy, the opinions of Gerontius are sought given his almost perfect record of being comprehensively wrong about every issue upon which he has pontificated over the centuries.

  7. Lee Tinson

    Why on earth subject what was a reasonable discussion to Henderson? Does he forget that the ABC regularly has him on Insiders for comic relief? He should be more grateful.

    1. Peter Schulz

      And the old goat is on Q&A more often than he deserves. To these right-wing polemicists ‘balance’ means a single-note echo chamber – the presence of any other note in the symphony of public opinion means theirs is being ‘silenced’. Makes you wonder how little confidence they have in the defensibility of their opinions.

  8. Zarathustra

    Why on Earth did you question Gerard Henderson? His assertions about the ABC are patently absurd, but about what can be expected from a right-wing extremist lapdog for the LNP

  9. Peter Schulz

    Thanks for this thought-provoking range of erudite opinions, which gave my tired old brain a good work-out. And how thoughtful of you to give me a chance to relax with some outrageous satire at the end. And good old Gerard can always deliver it with such a straight face. It was satire, wasn’t it?

  10. Robert Smith

    A serious question & most of the comments are about Henderson’s précis of his weekly column in The Oz. Go figure.

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